Division of Mayo

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Australian House of Representatives Division
Division of Mayo 2013.png
Mayo (dark green) in the state of South Australia
Created 1984
MP Jamie Briggs
Party Liberal
Namesake Helen Mayo
Electors 100,519 (2013)
Area 9,315 km2 (3,596.5 sq mi)
Demographic Rural

The Division of Mayo is an Australian electoral division located in the hills east of Adelaide, South Australia. The 9,315 km² seat covers an area from Springton in the North to Goolwa in the South, taking in the Adelaide Hills, Fleurieu Peninsula and Kangaroo Island, including the towns of Bridgewater, Crafers, Echunga, Gumeracha, Hahndorf, Langhorne Creek, Lobethal, Macclesfield, Mount Barker, Myponga, Oakbank, Stirling, Strathalbyn, Victor Harbor, Woodside, Yankalilla, and part of Birdwood.

Established in South Australian redistribution of 3 September 1984, the division is named for Helen Mayo, a social activist and the first woman elected to an Australian University Council.

At its creation, Mayo was a rural based electorate that stretched from the seaside town of Victor Harbor to the Adelaide Hills. Alexander Downer, the son and grandson of former federal politicians, easily won for the Liberals in 1984 and 1987 but faced his first real challenge in 1990 from the Australian Democrats, who traditionally polled better in the area covered by Mayo than anywhere else in Australia. The Democrat candidate polled 21.3% and while Downer retained Mayo on a two party preferred basis comfortably, a swing of 6% away from Downer towards the Democrat may well have seen Downer lose the seat. Democrats leader, Senator Janine Haines, chose to contest the neighbouring Division of Kingston at the 1990 election, losing to the sitting member. It was postulated at the time that if the high profile Haines had contested Mayo, she may have gathered the further 6% required to unseat Downer.

A redistribution following the 1990 election shifted Mayo to an exclusively Hills based seat and theoretically consolidated Downer's hold on the seat to the detriment of the Democrats. As a result, Downer was comfortably returned at the 1993 and 1996 federal elections. In 1998, however, Downer, facing six opposition candidates, including high profile Democrats candidate John Schumann, One Nation Party and an independent candidate advocating increased public nudity,[citation needed] was re-elected by a narrow margin. Schumann's 22.4% was the best result for a minor party candidate in Mayo and lost to Downer on a two party preferred basis by only 1.7%, transforming Mayo into one of the more marginal electorates in Australia.

Another redistribution following the 1998 election made Mayo a safer Liberal seat and Downer was again returned comfortably at the 2001 elections, helped partly by an Independent Democrat candidate splitting the Democrat vote. The 2004 election saw a record eight candidates including independent Brian Deegan who polled 15 percent, but was successfully retained by Downer, and again at the 2007 election, on a reduced margin of seven percent.

Downer retired in July 2008 which triggered a Mayo by-election. The seat was retained by the Liberals by three percent against the Greens.


Member Party Term
  Alexander Downer Liberal 1984–2008
  Jamie Briggs Liberal 2008–present

Election results[edit]

Australian federal election, 2013: Mayo
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Jamie Briggs 49,195 53.82 +6.94
Labor Norah Fahy 19,325 21.14 −4.05
Greens Ian Grosser 12,931 14.15 −2.86
Family First Bruce Hicks 6,525 7.14 +1.39
Palmer United Bikkar Singh Brar 3,434 3.76 +3.76
Total formal votes 91,410 96.13 +0.56
Informal votes 3,684 3.87 −0.56
Turnout 95,094 94.60 +0.14
Two-party-preferred result
Liberal Jamie Briggs 57,141 62.51 +5.22
Labor Norah Fahy 34,269 37.49 −5.22
Liberal hold Swing +5.22



Coordinates: 35°31′16″S 138°01′44″E / 35.521°S 138.029°E / -35.521; 138.029