Margin: Labor 14.7%
Region: Outer Northern Suburbs
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Playford is a safe Labor seat to the north-east of the city centre, created with the 1970 redistribution that gave effect to the electoral reform that dismantled the rural vote weighting system associated with the conservative premier who gives the electorate its name. It is bordered along the north-west by Main North Road and centred on the suburb of Ingle Farm, with the redistribution adding 1200 voters in part of Gulfview Heights at the north-eastern end of the electorate. Labor retained the seat by 2.7% at its low-water mark of 1993, and have carried it by double-digit margins at every election since. The seat has had three Labor members in its 44 year history: Terry McRae from its creation until 1989; John Quirke from 1989 until 1997, when he left to serve for three years in the Senate; and Jack Snelling thereafter. Snelling, who came to parliament at the age of 24, shares his predecessor’s association with the Right faction Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association, for which he had previously worked as an organiser. His other pre-parliamentary job was as an electorate officer to Martyn Evans, federal member for the since-abolished Adelaide seat of Bonython.
Snelling was appointed Speaker after Labor’s clear win at the 2006 election, prior to which the position was held by independents. He then moved to cabinet after the 2010 election in the employment, road safety and veterans affairs portfolios, before security Treasury when Kevin Foley stood aside in February 2011. The following July, Snelling and SDA state secretary Peter Malinauskas famously confronted Mike Rann to tell him he had lost the support of the Right. This was done on the last day of the parliamentary session, with a view to having Rann agree to an orderly exit before the commencement of the next. However, Rann was offended in particular by the involvement of Malinauskas, and announced he would hold off until October to allow him to finalise the Olympic Dam expansion. The reshuffle that followed Weatherill’s takeover saw Snelling exchange employment for defence industries and veterans affairs, and he lost Treasury when Weatherill assumed it for himself in January 2013, since which time he has served as Minister for Health and Ageing.
The Liberal candidate is Michael Santagata, who specialises in the design and construction of buildings, mostly in the residential market.
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.