Margin: Labor 8.8%
Region: Outer Southern Suburbs
Outgoing member: John Hill (Labor)
Click to download SA Electoral Commission boundaries map
To be vacated at the election by the retirement of John Hill, the electorate of Kaurna covers Adelaide’s outermost southern coastal suburbs from Port Noarlunga south through Seaford to Aldinga Beach. The area is undergoing rapid population growth, particularly at Aldinga Beach and Seaford Rise in the centre of the electorate. The redistribution has accordingly transferred 2600 voters at Christies Beach in the north to Reynell along with 900 around Old Noarlunga at the interior end to Mawson, with little impact on the margin. The area is traditionally strong for Labor, although they were unable to hold the seat when it was created at the time of the 1993 landslide, and the Liberals polled strongly in the area at federal level in the late Howard years, which aided them to victory in Kingston in 2004.
John Hill first contested the seat unsuccessfully in 1993, and subsequently emerged as the party’s state secretary. He impressed many with his work rate at the time by simultaneously completing a law degree. Despite being left without a factional base by the collapse of the Centre Left, Hill again won preselection for the 1997 election, at which he comfortably defeated Liberal member Lorraine Rosenberg with an 8.2% swing. Hill immediately won a place on the front bench, and reportedly declined an approach to challenge for the leadership when discontent with Mike Rann developed in 2001. A healthy 6.7% swing secured his hold on the seat in the context of a generally static result at the 2002 election, partly assisted by Rosenberg running as an independent. He then went on to enjoy an outstanding result in 2006, picking up swings of 15.0% on the primary vote and 11.2% on two-party preferred, but this was more than reversed by a 13.0% swing in 2010, one of the biggest of the election and an indication of the volatility of growing outer suburban seats.
Hill served as Environment Minister in the first term of the Rann Government and Health Minister for the second and much of the third, before standing down in January 2013 and announcing he would bow out at the election. His successor as Labor candidate will be his one time chief-of-staff, Chris Picton, who later worked as a staffer for Nicola Roxon from 2009 to 2013, first in her capacity as Health Minister and then as Attorney-General. Picton has more recently held the position of associate director with accounting firm Deloitte Australia. He is aligned with the Left, for which the seat was reserved under an arrangement in which Mike Rann’s old seat of Ramsay went to the Right, both Hill and Rann having been unaligned. It was earlier reported that former state secretary Michael Brown and lobbyist Tim Ryan were potential contenders.
The Liberal candidate is Ben Caudle, who according to the party website works as “a software engineer for a leading Australian mobile app developer”.
Kym Richardson, who held the federal seat of Kingston for the Liberals from 2004 to 2007, is running as an independent.
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.