Mayo by-election, 2008

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Mayo (red) within South Australia

A by-election was held for the Australian House of Representatives seat of Mayo, located in Adelaide, South Australia, on 6 September 2008,[1] following the retirement of Liberal Party MP Alexander Downer.[2] The by-election was held on the same day as the Lyne by-election, and the Western Australian state election.

The writ for the by-election was issued 4 August, with the rolls closing on 8 August. Candidate nominations closed on 14 August.[3] The by-election was contested on the same boundaries drawn for Mayo at the 2007 federal election. The seat was won by Jamie Briggs of the Liberal Party on a Two-candidate preferred vote of 53 per cent.

Background[edit]

Downer first won the seat of Mayo at its creation at the 1984 federal election. He retained the seat at each subsequent election. The 2007 Labor-Liberal two-party-preferred margin was the narrowest in the seat's history. Except for 1998, the seat has been won at each election by the Liberals on primary votes alone. Despite this, the Australian Democrats and independents have traditionally polled well, including two elections where the Democrats and independent Brian Deegan came second.[4]

At the 2007 federal election, Downer retained his seat against his main Labor Party competitor by a two-party preferred margin of 57.06% to 42.94%.[5] However, the opposition Labor Party defeated the incumbent Liberal-National coalition government, the first change of government in over 11 years. Alexander Downer had served as Foreign Minister throughout the duration of the previous government. He was also Liberal leader and leader of the opposition for several months in 1994.

On 3 July 2008, Downer announced his intention to resign his seat. He officially resigned from parliament on 14 July.[6] He, with Mark Vaile in Lyne, became the next former Howard government ministers returned at the 2007 election to resign their seats. Peter McGauran had done likewise earlier in 2008.

Candidates[edit]

Eleven candidates contested the by-election. They are listed below in ballot order.[7]

  • Independent - Bill Spragg, Adelaide Hills councillor and lecturer in information technology at TAFE SA, who had also contested Mayo in 2001.[9][10][11]
  • One Nation - Mathew Keizer, Adelaide Hills resident and domestic community support worker.[12]
  • Independent - Mary Brewerton, retired nurse, contested Mayo for Labor in 2007.[13]
  • Independent - Malcolm Ronald King, retired.

Labor opted not to stand a candidate.[21]

Liberal preselection[edit]

The candidature of Liberal Jamie Briggs was criticised because of his role in controversial industrial-relations policies and reports that some Liberal Party colleagues were unhappy with his preselection.[22] Bob Day, who had held membership of the Liberal Party for 20 years and was the endorsed Liberal candidate for Makin in 2007, quit the party after failing to win Mayo preselection by 10 out of 271 votes,[23] citing a "manipulated" preselection process.[24] Iain Evans, who came second to Briggs, agreed to some extent.[25]

Results[edit]

Mayo by-election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Jamie Briggs 30,651 41.28 -9.80
Greens Lynton Vonow 15,851 21.35 +10.39
Independent Di Bell 12,081 16.27 +16.27
Family First Bob Day 8,468 11.40 +7.38
Independent Mary Brewerton 1,868 2.52 +2.52
Independent Bill Spragg 1,545 2.08 +2.08
Democratic Labor David McCabe 1,426 1.92 +1.92
Democrats Andrew Castrique 923 1.24 -0.28
Climate Conservatives Rachael Barons 725 0.98 -0.32
One Nation Mathew Keizer 503 0.68 +0.68
Independent Malcolm Ronald King 219 0.29 +0.29
Total formal votes 74,260 95.01 -2.23
Informal votes 3,900 4.99 +2.23
Turnout 78,160 80.10 -15.78
Two-candidate-preferred result
Liberal Jamie Briggs 39,381 53.03 -4.03
Greens Lynton Vonow 34,879 46.97 +46.97
Liberal hold Swing N/A

The Liberal Party retained the seat on 53 per cent of the two-candidate preferred (2CP) vote.[26][27] Some commentators drew comparisons between this and the 2002 Cunningham by-election.[28] The reduction in the Liberal margin was caused in part by asymmetric preference flows in the absence of a Labor candidate, with seat results returning to form at subsequent elections such as with Cunningham.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mayo by-election date announced". ABC. 31 July 2008. 
  2. ^ "Downer quits politics". AAP. 3 July 2008. [dead link]
  3. ^ "By-elections to be held on 6 September". The Age. 31 July 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2010. 
  4. ^ "2008 Mayo By-election - ABC Elections (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Abc.net.au. Retrieved 2010-07-01. 
  5. ^ "SA DIVISION - MAYO". AEC. 
  6. ^ Adam Gartrell (14 July 2008). "Downer officially steps down". AAP. 
  7. ^ "Mayo by-election candidates". AEC. 8 June 2007. Retrieved 2010-07-01. 
  8. ^ Lynton Vonow - Candidate for Mayo: Greens.org.au[dead link]
  9. ^ "Councillors in bid for Mayo seat". The Courier. 17 July 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2010. 
  10. ^ "Independent for Mayo". Bill Spragg. Retrieved 1 July 2010. 
  11. ^ "Cr William (Bill) Spragg: Adelaide Hills Council". Ahc.sa.gov.au. 26 February 2008. Retrieved 2010-07-01. 
  12. ^ "One Nation SA Division". Sa.onenation.com.au. Retrieved 2010-07-01. 
  13. ^ John Wiseman (18 August 2008). "Ex-Labor woman in Mayo poll". The Australian. Retrieved 1 July 2010. 
  14. ^ LIVENEWS.com.au > National > Democrats to contest in 'abandoned' Mayo
  15. ^ "Former Howard govt staffer to contest Mayo by-election". ABC News (Australia). 20 July 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2010. 
  16. ^ Renato Castello (3 August 2008). "Disgruntled Lib in Mayo power play". The Advertiser. Retrieved 2010-07-01. 
  17. ^ G'day, Di here at Di Bell - vote4di.com campaign site
  18. ^ John Wiseman (12 August 2008). "Anthropologist and author Diane Bell throws hat into Mayo ring". The Australian. Retrieved 1 July 2010. 
  19. ^ John Wiseman (21 August 2008). "Xenophon backs Bell for Mayo by-election". The Australian. Retrieved 1 July 2010. 
  20. ^ Jamie Walker (25 August 2008). "Mayo candidates jockey for votes as saviours of the Murray". The Australian. Retrieved 1 July 2010. 
  21. ^ "ALP won't contest Mayo by-election". ABC News (Australia). 18 July 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2010. 
  22. ^ Glenn Milne, writing in The Sunday Times (25 July 2008). "Lib fears the enemy within". News.com.au. Retrieved 1 July 2010. 
  23. ^ "Family with the odd black sheep". The Sydney Morning Herald. 15 August 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2010. 
  24. ^ Jamie Walker (28 July 2008). "Loyal Lib quits over Mayo". The Australian. Retrieved 1 July 2010. 
  25. ^ 29 July 2008 12:00AM (29 July 2008). "Liberal chief Iain Evans admits to Mayo concerns". The Australian. Retrieved 1 July 2010. 
  26. ^ AEC Results: Mayo by-election 2008
  27. ^ John Wiseman, Comment (8 September 2008). "Bitter victory for the Libs in what is now a marginal seat". The Australian. Retrieved 1 July 2010. 
  28. ^ Glenn Milne (8 September 2008). "A tale of two leaders, and bad news ballots". The Australian. Retrieved 1 July 2010. 

External links[edit]