Division of Sturt

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This article is about the Australian federal electorate. For the historical state electorates, see Electoral district of Sturt.
Australian House of Representatives Division
Division of Sturt 2013.png
Sturt (dark green) in the city of Adelaide
Created 1949
MP Christopher Pyne
Party Liberal
Namesake Charles Sturt
Electors 101,845 (2013)
Area 85 km2 (32.8 sq mi)
Demographic Inner Metropolitan

The Division of Sturt is an Australian electoral division in South Australia. It was proclaimed at the South Australian redistribution of 11 May 1949, and was first contested at the 1949 federal election. Sturt was named for Captain Charles Sturt, nineteenth century explorer and the first European to discover the Murray River.

Currently stretching from Adelaide's mortgage belt suburbs in the centre-east to the wealthy south-eastern suburbs, boundaries at the seat's creation saw it take in suburbs as far west as Port Adelaide and as far north as Virginia until 1955, after which it began to occupy solely the eastern area of Adelaide. Current boundaries see Sturt covering an area of approximately 85 km² east of the city, from Oakden and Hope Valley in the north to Glen Osmond in the south, taking in the foothills of the Mount Lofty Ranges. Suburbs include Athelstone, Burnside, Campbelltown, Dernancourt, Frewville, Gilles Plains, Glynde, Glenside, Hectorville, Highbury, Hillcrest, Holden Hill, Kensington, Klemzig, Magill, Marden, Paradise, Tranmere and parts of Payneham and Rostrevor.

Sturt has traditionally been a Liberal Party constituency and has been home to the Wilson political dynasty of father Keith and son Ian. Five MPs have held the seat since creation. The 1954 election saw Labor candidate Norman Makin capture the marginal seat from Keith Wilson. However, before the 1955 election, most of the Labor-friendly northern suburbs previously in Sturt were shifted to the newly-greated Bonython, making Sturt notionally Liberal. Makin transferred to Bonython, and Keith Wilson regained Sturt with a large swing. He held it without serious difficulty until handing it to Ian in 1966. The 1969 election saw Ian Wilson temporarily unseated after he suffered a 15 percent two-party swing, but he was returned at the 1972 election against the flow of Gough Whitlam's federal victory. Wilson was a key early member of the progressive Liberal Movement faction within the Liberal Party. However, he remained with the Liberals when the Liberal Movement became a separate party, and eventually served as a minister in the last term of the Fraser government. The Liberal Movement ran a candidate in Sturt in the 1974 election, polling 7.2 percent, much of which derived from Wilson’s vote. The Wilson dynasty ended in 1993, when Ian Wilson was defeated for preselection by sitting member Christopher Pyne.

The Liberal Movement's successor party, the Australian Democrats, have traditionally polled well in Sturt, highlighted by 13.5 percent at their first showing in the 1977 election and 15 percent in the 1990 election, the best result by a minor party in Sturt. The Democrats vote has dropped sharply in recent years, they gained only 2.26 percent in the 2004 election. Additionally, an independent Liberal contested Sturt at the 1993 election, polling a respectable 14.6 percent.

At the 2007 federal election, Pyne suffered a 5.86 percent two-party swing but retained the seat on a 50.94 percent two-party vote, against Labor candidate Mia Handshin, making Sturt the most marginal seat in South Australia. Prior to the pre-selection of Handshin, No Pokies MP Nick Xenophon had been considering running in the seat as an independent, before deciding to run for the Senate instead. At the 2010 federal election, Pyne increased his two-party vote to 53.4 percent, which saw neighbouring Boothby became South Australia's most marginal seat. Pyne increased his two-party vote to 60.1 percent in the 2013 election and is now Minister of Education and House Leader in the Abbott government.


Member Party Term
  Keith Wilson Liberal 1949–1954
  Norman Makin Labor 1954–1955
  (Sir) Keith Wilson Liberal 1955–1966
  Ian Wilson Liberal 1966–1969
  Norm Foster Labor 1969–1972
  Ian Wilson Liberal 1972–1993
  Christopher Pyne Liberal 1993–present

Election results[edit]

Australian federal election, 2013: Sturt
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Christopher Pyne 49,429 54.40 +6.22
Labor Rick Sarre 26,258 28.90 −7.11
Greens Anne Walker 8,902 9.80 −0.28
Family First Kylie Barnes 3,565 3.92 +0.16
Palmer United Gabriella Scali 2,713 2.99 +2.99
Total formal votes 90,867 95.48 +0.79
Informal votes 4,303 4.52 −0.79
Turnout 95,170 93.45 −0.99
Two-party-preferred result
Liberal Christopher Pyne 54,591 60.08 +6.48
Labor Rick Sarre 36,276 39.92 −6.48
Liberal hold Swing +6.48

Historical Boundaries[edit]

Sturt in 1951
Sturt in 1967



Coordinates: 34°53′38″S 138°40′26″E / 34.894°S 138.674°E / -34.894; 138.674