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Federal Election 2016

Dec 15, 2013

Seat of the week: Grey

The seat which covers most of the geographical area of South Australia has typified Labor's decline in regional areas by transforming from safe Labor to safe Liberal status since the early 1990s.


Red and blue numbers respectively indicate booths with two-party majorities for Liberal and Labor. Click for larger image. Map boundaries courtesy of Ben Raue at The Tally Room.

The electorate of Grey has covered the bulk of South Australia’s land mass since the state was first divided into electorates in 1903, and it currently encompasses much the same territory as it did on its creation. The state’s eastern regions north of the Riverland were at times accommodated by Wakefield, but Grey has at all times accommodated the state’s west together with the “iron triangle” cities of Whyalla, Port Augusta and Port Pirie. Labor-voting Whyalla is the electorate’s largest centre with a population of around 22,000, while increasingly marginal Port Augusta and Port Pirie together with strongly conservative Port Lincoln on the lower Eyre Peninsula each have populations of slightly over 13,000. About 60 per cent of the electorate’s population is scattered through the remainder, the strongest concentration being in the rural conservative Yorke Peninsula. The latter area was added to the electorate from Wakefield when South Australia’s representation was reduced from 12 seats to 11 in 2004.

Grey’s industrial centres once made it a reliable seat for Labor, but their decline over recent decades has effected a decisive shift to the Liberals. Labor held the seat for all but one term between 1943 and 1993, the exception being after the landslide defeat of 1966. Laurie Wallis recovered the seat for Labor in 1969 and retained it by margins of 563 votes in 1975 and 65 votes in 1977, surviving on the latter occasion in the face of an unfavourable redistribution, and bequeathed the seat to Lloyd O’Neil in 1983. The turning point arrived in 1993, when the addition of the Clare Valley (since transferred to Wakefield) and the retirement of O’Neil opened the way for Barry Wakelin to win the seat for the Liberals on the back of a 4.3% swing. The Liberals’ position has been strengthening ever since, helping Wakelin to achieve swings of 6.4% in 1996, 1.9% in 2001 and 3.2% in 2004, with a correction of only 0.5% to Labor in 1998. Wakelin’s retirement in 2007 combined with the overall swing to Labor cut the margin that year from 13.8% to 4.4%, but the Liberal ascendancy has since been firmly re-established by successive swings of 6.7% and 2.4% in 2010 and 2013. The member since 2007 has been Rowan Ramsey, who runs a farming property at Buckleboo on the Eyre Peninsula.


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1,234 thoughts on “Seat of the week: Grey

  1. CTar1


    [Rowan Ramsay]

    Never heard of him!

  2. poroti

    The Chinese have landed.

    [China’s Jade Rabbit rover lands on moon

    China has reported landing its Jade Rabbit rover on the moon, in the first soft landing of a rover in nearly four decades today, the latest step in the country’s ambitious space programme.]


  3. BK

    Good morning Dawn Patrollers.
    Conservatism gone mad.
    Nice move, Tanya.
    China to build the new FWD 4-cyl Commodore. And it’s dog ugly, too!
    Katherine Murphy on Abbott’s attack on workers on low wages.
    I’m stuck for words!
    Michael Gordon on Abbott’s car wreck.
    “Operational effectiveness”? Yeah sure, Morriscum!
    Cathy Wilcox with Abbott’s statement on smacking children.

  4. guytaur

    Good Morning


    I see you really like good news with the Tanya Plibersek link. 🙂


    If you are aout some gratuitous advice regarding you’re/your. You’re is short for you are. If in doubt just type you are instead. Hope you find that helpful. 🙂

  5. guytaur


    Abbott’s gameplan is being derailed. Just look at COAG. One Stop Shop was supposed to be the headline of the day. Instead it was all Holden.

  6. guytaur

    While I am thinking of it Ithink I can see where Abbott’s RC into Batts will backfire.

    Given the facts we know the conclusion can only be not enough regulation was followed and that is where the Federal Government fell down.

    So the recommendation will be pay more attention to regulation meaning keep red tape Mr Abbott.

  7. poroti

    Next on the chopping block. Well done our lugubrious leprechaun Alan Joyce.

    [Qantas: Tony Abbott hints foreign takeover might be allowed]


  8. Steve777

    “… in no other policy sphere has the government’s soaring rhetoric crashed more forcefully into reality than in its boats policy”.

    Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/stop-the-boats-policy-all-talk-no-action-20131214-2zdvt.html#ixzz2nU1VMlkS

  9. guytaur

    Nobel Laureates on BBC. Politicians need to be taught to understand the benefits of long term thinking and the grave shortcomings of short term thinking.

    This in education of young politicians. Too late for current crop.

    An endorsement of the last six years of Labor to my mind. The most long term thinking government for some time.

    On BBC World TV now

  10. mari

    guytaur 8

    Think you are right

    I am also interested in Tanya’s request to Malcolm, I am maintaining on Twitter self preservation will sway Malcolm, others do not agree

  11. guytaur


    Turnbull showed his skills at self preservation on “utegate” and in accepting the “demolish the NBN” task.

    So much as I want to agree with you I have my doubts. However being an issue that affects many of his constituents and people he knows personally may make a difference.

    Senator Boyce having the lead in cross party working group does not bode well.

  12. guytaur

    @leighsales: “@emmafreud: Beautiful and unexpectedly moving comment from Dr Who star Tom Baker … http://t.co/QcrYvQi5Fd via @tim_brannigan

  13. mari


    thanks for your input

  14. lizzie

    No long-term thinking here.


    [The practical effect of the policy shift is that Australia’s lowest paid workers will be punished for saving for their retirement – which presumably makes them more likely to end up having to rely on the pension. Quite apart from the obvious inequity, it’s poor policy. The roiling news cycle largely swallowed that one too – it pretty much sank without trace.]

    [Outside the economic seminar are the people actually affected by these decisions, people who do important work on which many Australians rely. Single mothers working two jobs to support their kids. I know one such single mum with a couple of adolescent kids who works nights in an aged care home in addition to her day job because she wouldn’t dream of taking a welfare benefit.

    I know this woman voted Liberal at the last election because she liked Tony Abbott – as did a lot of workers that once would have voted Labor. Abbott, in fact, prides himself on his ability to communicate with this demographic. I wonder what these people make of the sum of recent events – if they can spot them through the daily fog.]

  15. lizzie

    Battle to save barn owl after freak weather kills thousands


    [Ornithologists say 2013 will be viewed as the worst year ever recorded for one of Britain’s favourite farmland birds.

    They fear that there are now fewer than 1,000 breeding pairs of barn owls in England, following four years of extreme weather that have resulted in the population of the protected bird declining by more than three-quarters. In a typical year, conservationists estimate, Britain should be home to as many as 4,000 pairs of the birds.]

  16. mari

    Lizzie 18

    I and other tweeters are interested in what the woman referred to hinks now

  17. sprocket_

    good morning all, not so good for some…

    [But in a political gamble for the Government in light of the Holden crisis, Treasurer Joe Hockey will announce on Tuesday the Government is terminating Labor’s $2.5bn trade training centre program in high schools.

    As Mr Hockey prepares to unveil a horror budget update on Tuesday that will confirm a massive blowout in the deficit of up to $50 billion and rising unemployment, the Abbott government will shut down future plans for trades training centres in schools.

    The Sunday Mail can reveal the decision to end the program will deliver a $400 million spending cut. The program offers vocational training at high school for students in Year 9 to Year 12.]

  18. guytaur

    [Devastatingly successful in opposition, Tony Abbott has discovered that it is much harder to control the news agenda in government – and that voters are a volatile bunch, particularly if you break a promise or appear to be just treading water.

    Most new governments have the occasional rocky moment, but the Coalition’s first three months have been ugly.]


  19. Steve777

    Malcolm Turnbull has bit his tongue on the Republic and Climate Change for all these years for a shot at the top job, which he still craves. He’s not going to risk championing gay marriage any time soon.

  20. sprocket_

    am liking Fairfax’s bolshie nose thumbing at the Guvmint’s narrative

    [What do Holden and Qantas have in common? Here’s a clue. It isn’t that they are being killed by the carbon tax, although you might think they were. In his letter to Holden on Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said axing the carbon tax would ”lower the cost of producing cars in Australia”. The truth is the cost would scarcely budge. The cheapest new Commodore sells for $35,000. Holden says the carbon tax costs it $45 per car. That’s right, only $45. It’s a fraction of a per cent.]


  21. Socrates

    Morning all. Thanks for the link(s) BK and others.

    Sprocket, that quote about cutting the training budget really nails the new government. OTOH they will not support failing industries and want them to change. Yet they cut the ability of workers to do that. Do they WANT higher unemployment?

  22. BK

    Hell no! I must have got somethingh mixed up there. It is a good move of Tanya’s.

  23. lizzie

    I wonder if any shock jocks will pick up the fact that JG’s house has been purchased by a couple of Chinese citizens for their daughter, who is I think a student. Or perhaps SJs don’t do irony.

  24. confessions

    [I wonder what these people make of the sum of recent events – if they can spot them through the daily fog.]

    Once again the press gallery refuses to accept that it had (and still has) a role in what people were informed of the coalition’s policy stances pre-election. Most voters get their politics from the news, the outlets that press gallery journalists are employed to report for.

    And in any case, it’s no use wondering what Liberal voters think of ditching the low paid super concessions now, because it was clear coalition policy pre-election.

  25. confessions


    That’s what I thought.

  26. daretotread


    I think the answer to your assumed rhetorical question is


    These loony right wing nut jobs seem to want lower wages and are deliberately using the closures to force the issue.

    Hope all those liberal voters running small retail businesses are happy. They are the REAL losers.

  27. Socrates


    Don’t give them ideas! Now this is the covert Chinese payoff for comrade Gillard selling out Australian interests to China while PM. The SJ listeners would probably believe it 🙂

  28. Boerwar

    I note that the Liberal Extinction Lovers Club is at it again: this time buckling to the rec fishing lobby by changing marine park management plans to allow open rec fishing.

    They call it ‘unlocking’. I call it ‘extinction’.

    After 100 days the Abbott Vision has come out from under the rock where it has been hidden for six years.

    SUBSTANCE OF THE COALITION VISION: ‘Greed, power and wealth are entitled. Everyone and everything else is not entitled, specifically:

    If it breathes, kill it.

    If it does not, dig it up and flog it to China.

    If it sways in the breeze, chop it down.

    If it works, screw it.

    If it floats, sink it.

    If it screams in pain, hide it.

    If it is the climate, cook it.

    If it creams the woodies, adore it.

    If it is disabled, discard it.

    If it is old, discard it.

    If it is a buck, grab it.

    STYLE OF THE COALITION VISION: ‘Don’t worry, be ugly.’ Specifically:

    If it is powerful, suck up to it.

    If it is a lie, lie about it.

    If it is an excuse, lie about it.

    If it is a promise, break it.

  29. Boerwar


    That is one of Crabbe’s more entertaining pieces. But where was she for the last six years?

  30. Steve777

    The single mum referred to by Lizzie in 18 above probably gets all of her information on how the country is travelling from the Daily Murdoch Tabloid in her state, together with commercial TV and radio ‘News’ and ‘Current Affairs’. Maybe her workplace has 2GB or its equivalent in her city on the radio at work. It seems that she doesn’t have much time to read newspapers, watch TV or listen to the radio, so she probably gets a general impression from the headlines.

  31. Socrates


    Yes I was implying that. They still do not seem to comprehend that the less workers have to spend, the less money their stores make.

    That being said, I was not in favour of more assistance to Holden. Frankly some claims in support of propping it up were BS. It was uneconomic, and the fact had to be faced. But the solution is to retrain people and invest in alternatives, not throw an entire sub-region (Elizabeth- Salisbury) onto the scrap heap.

  32. confessions

    [SUBSTANCE OF THE COALITION VISION: ‘Greed, power and wealth are entitled. Everyone and everything else is not entitled, specifically:]

    Well said Boerwar! And aren’t they off to a flying start in achieving that vision.

  33. frednk

    Posted Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Malcolm Turnbull has bit his tongue on the Republic and Climate Change for all these years for a shot at the top job, which he still craves. He’s not going to risk championing gay marriage any time soon.
    Agreed, however Tanya has him in a corner, and as he is responsible for destroying the NBN he is where he deserves to be.

  34. Boerwar


    [I wonder if any shock jocks will pick up the fact that JG’s house has been purchased by a couple of Chinese citizens for their daughter, who is I think a student. Or perhaps SJs don’t do irony.]

    Australians who will never become home owners because of the gross subsidies provided to homeowners over decades will not blame all Australian governments. They don’t get negative gearing. They don’t get capital-gains tax free housing. They don’t get the systemic impact of various government first home buyer grants. Nor do first home buyers get the way in which the banking system wants to screw them and the way in which local councils inactivity restricts land availability. Nor do they get the way in which so much of our national housing investment goes into macmansions which are inhabited by one or two people at a time. All that would require some real thinking by first home buyers.

    Humans have a genius for getting this sort of stuff wrong so they will blame the Chinese rather than the Australians.

    Incidentally, while the ‘Chinese’ girl looks Chinese, she is an Australian citizen. So she is an ‘Australian’ girl and not a ‘Chinese’ girl.

  35. guytaur

    “@DrCraigEmerson: Hey @chriskkenny did you know Bob the Builder is really a Left-wing construction union organiser?”

  36. lizzie

    Thank you for summing up my Sunday morning thoughts. I was trying to work out just what the Coalition vision could be. Perhaps I just can’t think at their destructive level.


    [We’re doing some pretty awesome things here in Australia as part of a global movement that is both history defying and future shaping.

    Just to be clear though, when I say “awesome” I mean it in the context in which it’s not often used these days.

    This “awesome” is the one that might evoke fear and dread. Like the awesome power of a cyclone or the awesome size of a mega-coal mine.

    This week, Australia showed its mettle again, when Environment Minister Greg Hunt approved four projects on the Great Barrier Reef coastline that are part of an attempt to liberate hundreds of millions of tonnes of coal and gas.]

  37. confessions

    Until someone here linked to Piers rant about that ABC cartoon, I’d never heard of Peppa Pig.

  38. Socrates


    Your obsolete fact-based narrative will not fly in the modern agenda-driven discourse promoted in Rupert Murdoch’s propaganda machine. Get with the program. Rob from the poor. Give to the Rich.

  39. Boerwar

    confessions, lizzie,

    just thought of a minor amendment:

    STYLE OF THE COALITION VISION: ‘Don’t worry, be ugly.’ Specifically:

    If it is powerful, suck up to it.

    If it is a lie, lie about it.

    If it is an excuse, lie about it.

    If it is a promise, break it.

    If it is a broken promise, lie about that too.

  40. guytaur

    “@ianbfarquhar: Phone, sitting unused, makes a tweet sound. Panicking, I rush to it, wondering whether it is compromised. It was a bird outside the window.”


  41. lizzie


    And the “chinese/australian” girl is a great fan of Julia, not Tony Abbott. We progress slowly 🙂

  42. Boerwar


    [Rob from the poor. Give to the Rich.]

    You good: pithy.
    My bad: prolix.

  43. confessions


    And if it’s the truth, don’t tell people about it.


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