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Federal Election 2016

Apr 27, 2014

Seat of the week: Wakefield

Seat of the week visits South Australia one last time to cover Wakefield on the northern fringe of Adelaide, held for Labor since 2007 by Nick Champion.

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

Wakefield extends from outer northern Adelaide to rural territory as far as Clare 100 kilometres to the north, with overwhelming Labor strength around Elizabeth and Salisbury partly balanced by support for the Liberals in the Clare Valley. It has existed in name since South Australia was first divided into electorates in 1903, but its complexion changed dramatically when its southern neighbour Bonython was abolished when the state’s representation was reduced from 12 seats to 11 in 2004. Previously a conservative rural and outskirts seat encompassing the Murray Valley and Yorke Peninsula, it came to absorb the outer suburban industrial centre of Elizabeth while retaining the satellite town of Gawler, the Clare Valley wine-growing district, and the Gulf St Vincent coast from Two Wells north to Port Wakefield.

Prior to 2004, Wakefield was won by the major conservative party of the day at every election except 1938 and 1943, when it was won by Labor, and 1928, when it was won by the Country Party. The Liberal member from 1983 to 2004 was Neil Andrew, who spent the last six years of his parliamentary career serving as Speaker. Andrew at first considered challenging Patrick Secker for preselection in Barker after the 2004 redistribution turned Wakefield’s 14.7% margin into a notional Labor margin of 1.5%, but instead opted to retire. Wakefield was nonetheless retained for the Liberals at the ensuing election by David Fawcett, who picked up a 2.2% swing off a subdued Labor vote around Elizabeth to unseat Martyn Evans, who had held Bonython for Labor since 1994. Fawcett’s slender margin was demolished by a 7.3% swing in 2007, but he would return to parliament as a Senator after the 2010 election.

Wakefield has since been held for Labor by Nick Champion, a former state party president, Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association official and staffer for state Industrial Relations Minister Michael Wright. The SDA link identifies him with the potentate of the South Australian Right, outgoing Senator Don Farrell. He nonetheless went against Farrell by coming out in support of Kevin Rudd in the days before his unsuccessful February 2012 leadership challenge, resigning as caucus secretary to do so. As with Labor’s other South Australian newcomers from the 2007 election, Champion had no trouble retaining his seat at the 2010 election, a 5.4% swing boosting his margin to 12.0%. However, the seat has since returned to the marginal zone following a redistribution in which it traded an area around Salisbury for Lydoch and Williamstown east of Gawler, reducing the margin to 10.3%, and a 7.1% swing to the Liberals at the 2013 election, which has left it at 3.4%.

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2933 comments

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Jackol
Guest
mb – to be told after working all their lives that they no longer could benefit from their hard work because the government viewed them as rich. So why do we have an asset test at all? Some people ‘benefit from their hard work’ with the result that they have a big share investment portfolio, or large term deposits. But if they have these things and they exceed the asset test thresholds then ‘the government views them as rich’. Strangely that is ok for other assets, but not the family home, and you have never explained why that makes sense.… Read more »
mexicanbeemer
Guest
B.C There is no disputing that and that isn’t the issue, we have Tom wanting to include the family home in the pension asset test and recommends would be pensioners take out a reverse mortgage. Tom has the view that the rich should pay more tax, now this brings us to university, if we want to tax the rich then one of the easiest ways is too increase university fees for kids of rich people remembering as you point out the benefits that come from a degree. Of course i don’t agree with Tom in regards to placing the family… Read more »
B.C.
Guest

A university education offers social and economic benefits to society, as well as to the individual. In the vast majority of cases the subsidy an individual receives in obtaining a tertiary education will be paid back many times over in increased tax payments due to their higher post-graduation income. Then there are the other potential gains to society and the economy in having a better educated workforce.
While it makes some sense for there to be some form of copayment (e.g. HECS), it should not be at such a level as to discourage tertiary education.

Tom the first and best
Guest
Tom the first and best

Parents do not have to be rich to let their children live with them, just not more than a bit poor. Gift tax should also be applied to parents who send their children to private schools. If the student takes out a loan, they have to pay it back. The wealthy get the advantage by the parents paying and thus not leaving them with the debt.

Parents are children are separate people with separate identities and tax and means-test liabilities. You need to remember that.

mexicanbeemer
Guest

Tom

Nice but students can take out a loan and the rest is sent off to the government while its possible for a kid to be living with his/her rich parents and still receive heavily subsides university place which leads to them obtaining high paying job.

While you will still be slugging the children of the working class who have benefited from years of hard work.

Tom the first and best
Guest
Tom the first and best

2925 & 2926

Means-testing students against their own assets and income is an idea with merit as is applying a gift tax when someone else (like their parents or grandparents) pay. That will effect the rich.

mexicanbeemer
Guest

Should have added go to university subsided by those that don’t go to university.

mexicanbeemer
Guest
Tom Your reverse mortgage idea is aimed at pensioners yet you are not willing to have the same treatment for university places. The children of the rich pretty much always go to university, if you survey people in white collar jobs above 80k a year they pretty much all have at least one bachelor degree, some industries require a lower level qualification but even so most will have at least one bachelor. You are arguing that a pensioner should have their home included in the asset test which will discriminate against working class people who have seen their once working… Read more »
DisplayName
Guest

Ttfab, fair enough. I was just going off the post immediately prior to mine.

Tom the first and best
Guest
Tom the first and best

2920

Means-testing owner-occupier housing is not tax based on postcode, it is a means-test based on actual realisable asset value.

Tom the first and best
Guest
Tom the first and best

2919

Inheritance taxation is not “working for the Government”. With inheritance taxation, they still get the money, they just have to pay tax on it. Workers pay tax on the income they get from working, it is thus unreasonable to workers not to make inheritors pay tax on money they inherit.

University education is not a service to the parent, but a service to the student. If the parent(s) or other wealthy relative or friend, charge gift tax.

DisplayName
Guest

Taxing people based on postcode sounds like a bad idea. What are the side effects? Ghettoisation?

mexicanbeemer
Guest

Tom if it is okay to tax based on postcode then charging for university by postcode is surely fair enough as well.

mexicanbeemer
Guest

Tom

I invite you to tell the average tradie or office worker that they work for the government.

I wonder what their response will be.

If you want to tax the rich then charge them 100% of their children’s university place.

By doing that you are hitting the source of their employability hence the key to their high income potential

Tom the first and best
Guest
Tom the first and best

2915

I am talking about taxing inheritance, not banning it.

I am not talking about requiring all incomes to be equal. If you work more, or more valuably, you should get paid more.

Tom the first and best
Guest
Tom the first and best

2914

Wealth is individual not suburban. Means-tests should be individual, not by suburb.

Tom the first and best
Guest
Tom the first and best

2913

You are thinking about inheritance from the point of view of those providing the inheritance. That sort of attitude is favorable to the very rich because not taxing inheritance, which is a form of mainly unearned income for the inheritor, spread their wealth across the generations.

Fulvio Sammut
Guest

Under your philosophy Tom it would be far simpler for a Government to sequestrate all private property and provide subsistence payments to all its citizens in equal measure.

I believe the experiment has been tried before.

mexicanbeemer
Guest

Maybe Kids from well heeled suburbs should pay 100% of the cost of their university place.

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