Margin: Labor 16.0%
Region: Western Suburbs
Federal: Port Adelaide
Click to download SA Electoral Commission boundaries map
|| JACK BATTY
Jay Weatherill’s seat of Cheltenham extends from the inner north-western Adelaide suburb that bears its name to Woodville and Findon in the south and Royal Park in the west, with Grand Junction Road forming its northern boundary with Port Adelaide. Prior to the 2002 election it was called Price, the two seats between them being won by Labor at every election since Price’s creation in the redistribution that gave effect to the electoral reform of 1970. The redistribution has made two adjustments at the electorate’s southern end, adding 1750 voters in eastern Findon from Croydon and transferring 1350 in eastern Seaton to Lee, shaving 0.1% from the Labor margin.
Jay Weatherill is the son of a former upper house MP, George Weatherill, and emerged through Labor ranks as an industrial advocate for the Australian Workers Union. The union’s state branch was at that time anomalously aligned with the Left, with which Weatherill has remained associated. Weatherill subsequently worked with industrial law firm Duncan Hannon before becoming a partner in his own practice. His entry to parliament coincided with the election of the Rann government in 2002, after he won preselection in Cheltenham at the expense of incumbent Murray DeLaine. This caused the factionally independent DeLaine to quit the Labor Party and attempt to retain the seat as an independent, but he was only able to poll 10.2%.
Weatherill went straight into cabinet in the urban planning and development portfolio, and was further promoted to families and communities, housing, ageing and disability in March 2004. Despite maintaining his rising star status, Weatherill was demoted in the widely criticised July 2008 reshuffle, being moved to environment and conservation in what was widely interpreted as a move by Mike Rann to diminish his leadership credentials. Weatherill angered some in the Right by challenging Kevin Foley for the deputy leadership after the 2010 election, but was defeated along factional lines by 20 votes to 13. He nonetheless won promotion in the post-election reshuffle to Education Minister.
As Labor’s polling stocks declined in the post-election twilight of Mike Rann’s leadership, Weatherill’s star continued to rise, with a poll in mid-2011 showing 40% favouring him as Labor leader against 27% for Mike Rann. In distant third on 11% was the favoured candidate of Rann and the Right, John Rau. So it was that Right powerbrokers fell in behind Weatherill, and told Rann that his hand would be forced unless he arranged to go quietly in the not too distant future. Rann made way with apparent reluctance in October 2011, and Weatherill was elected leader without opposition.
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.