Margin: Labor 7.7%
Region: North-Western Suburbs
Federal: Port Adelaide/Hindmarsh
Outgoing member: Michael Wright (Labor)
Click to download SA Electoral Commission boundaries map
To be vacated at the election with the retirement of Michael Wright, the electorate of Lee covers the Lefevre Peninsula opposite Port Adelaide as far north as Largs Bay, the peninsula’s northernmost suburb of Largs North forming part of Port Adelaide, and extends south along the coast through Sempahore and West Lakes to Tennyson. The redistribution has added 1350 voters in eastern Seaton from Cheltenham, increasing the Labor margin by 0.3%.
Lee was called Albert Park prior to the 1993 election, the suburb of that name now being in Cheltenham to the east. The Liberal Party’s success in winning Lee was the high-water mark of its 1993 triumph, unexpectedly bringing to parliament Joe Rossi, an advocate of what Antony Green describes as “innovative policy ideas such as sterilising unmarried mothers after the third child, or introducing a modern version of poor houses for welfare recipients”. The seat inevitably returned to the Labor fold in 1997 and was moved well into safe seat territory by a 9.6% swing in 2006, before going 13.1% the other way in the fourth largest swing of the 2010 election.
The member throughout this time was Michael Wright, whose father Jack Wright was member for Adelaide from 1971 to 1985 and Deputy Premier during the first term of the Bannon government. Like his father, Wright emerged through the Right faction Australian Workers Union, and entered cabinet upon the election of the Rann government in 2002. Wright stepped down from cabinet in February 2011 and announced he would bow out at the coming election. This came shortly after he accused “immature” powerbrokers in his own faction of “an act of bastardy” in plotting to have him dumped, which appeared to refer to Peter Malinauskas, the 30-year-old state secretary of the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association.
Wright’s successor as Labor candidate will be another member of the Right, Stephen Mullighan, deputy chief-of-staff to Jay Weatherill and one-time chief-of-staff to Kevin Foley. Port Adelaide Enfield mayor Gary Johanson, who came within 2.9% of depriving Labor of victory in the by-election held to replace Foley in Port Adelaide in February 2012, will run as an independent. The Liberal candidate is Liz Davies, founder and chief executive of Storpac Smart Storage at Holden Hill, who ran in the federal seat of Makin in 2010.
Following in the footsteps of Danyse Soester in Wright, another campaigner against the government over its handling of the school sex abuse issue, Mel Calone, is running as an independent under a “put Labor last” banner. Lauren Novak of The Advertiser reports that Calone is a former ALP member who has worked for the Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union and the Australian Services Union. However, Labor found cause to dispute her bona fides as an independent after the Liberal Party paid for and authorised a radio advertisement voiced by Calone, which Electoral Commissioner Kay Mousley ordered the Liberal Party to withdraw and air a retraction for. The advertisement claimed Jay Weatherill “chose not to tell parents” about the rape of a seven-year-old, which was at odds with the findings of the Debelle royal commmission.
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.