Margin: Liberal 26.2%
Region: Western Coastal
Click here for electoral boundaries map
Flinders extends from the southern half of the Eyre Peninsula all the way west to the Western Australian border, the dominant population centres being Port Lincoln and Ceduna. The redistribution before the 2006 election had a substantial impact on the physical shape of the electorate by extending it through largely unpopulated territory across the entire coastline of the Great Australian Bight, where it formerly ended at Ceduna. The electorate has been unchanged by the redistribution.
A seat bearing the name of Flinders has existed since self-government was established, and it has at no time been held by Labor. It changed hands from Nationals to Liberal in 1993 when Liz Penfold, a former teacher and public servant, unseated incumbent Peter Blacker, who for 20 years had been the state’s only Country/National Party MP. Penfold was boosted by the Liberals’ strong overall performance at that election, but ultimately owed her win to a redistribution that temporarily added distant Kangaroo Island at the expense of Finniss, to the displeasure of voters at both ends. Blacker attempted to recover the seat when this was reversed at the 1997 election, but he was soundly beaten, scoring 9.4% to Penfold’s 64.7%.
Penfold bowed out at the 2010 election and was succeeded as Liberal member by Peter Treloar, who was involved in a family agricultural business at Edilillie north of Port Lincoln. He was easily elected with 58.0% of the vote, the Nationals vote down from 24.3% to 14.7% after a strong performance by a popular local candidate in 2006. In September 2012, Treloar made the surprise announcement that he would not seek a second term, but changed his mind a few days later. Daniel Wills of the Sunday Mail reported that colleagues said the father of four had “struggled with the demands of politics and regular travel to Adelaide”. Treloar was one of a number of rural MPs whose support helped Isobel Redmond defeat Martin Hamilton-Smith’s October 2012 leadership challenge by one vote, and he was subsequently promoted to Shadow Minister for Emergency Services. However, he was demoted to parliamentary secretary when Redmond made way for Steven Marshall the following February.
All post-redistribution margins are as calculated by Jenni Newton-Farrelly of the South Australian Parliamentary Library. Corrections, complaints and feedback to William Bowe at pollbludger-at-bigpond-dot-com. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.