2014 Fisher state by-election

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A by-election for the seat of Fisher in the South Australian House of Assembly was held on 6 December 2014. The by-election was triggered by the death of independent MP Bob Such on 11 October 2014. Originally elected to Fisher for the Liberal Party of Australia at the 1989 election, defeating the one-term Australian Labor Party MP Philip Tyler, Such left the party in 2000.[1][2]

Though the Liberals were favourites to win the traditionally Liberal seat,[3] Labor's Nat Cook won the by-election by five votes, a 50.02 percent two-party-preferred vote from a 7.27-point swing away from the Liberals, resulting in a change from minority to majority government.[4][5][6] Despite this, the Jay Weatherill Labor government kept crossbench MPs Geoff Brock and Martin Hamilton-Smith in cabinet, giving the government a 26 to 21 parliamentary majority.[4]

ABC psephologist Antony Green described the by-election as a "very poor result for the Liberal Party in South Australia both state and federally", and that a fourth term government gaining a seat at a by-election was unprecedented in Australian history.[7] Much of the anti-Liberal swing was attributed to the unpopularity of then Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and additionally, the remark from then Defence Minister David Johnston several days before the Fisher by-election, where he stated he wouldn't trust South Australia's Australian Submarine Corporation to "build a canoe".[8][9][10][11]

Dates[edit]

Date Event[6]
8 November 2014 Writ of election issued by the Speaker
18 November 2014 Close of electoral rolls
21 November 2014 Close of nominations
6 December 2014 Polling day, between the hours of 8 am and 6 pm

Candidates[edit]

8 candidates in ballot paper order[6]
  Liberal Party of Australia Heidi Harris Former Lord Melbourne Hotel manager and political adviser to Duncan McFetridge. Liberal candidate for Elder in 2002.[6]
  Independent Australian Democrats Jeanie Walker Property investing and management, Aboriginal Family Violence Case Manager.[6] Australian Democrats, No Rodeo and independent candidate at prior elections.
  Australian Labor Party Nat Cook Flinders Medical Centre worker. Founded the Sammy D Foundation after her son died from a one-punch king hit.[6]
  Independent Leading the Community Rob de Jonge Unsuccessfully sought Liberal preselection.[12] City of Onkaparinga councillor for 8 years, recently defeated. Contested Davenport in 2010.[6]
  Stop Population Growth Now Bob Couch Accountant and other occupations. Upper house candidate at the previous election.[6]
  Independent Continue Such's Legacy Dan Woodyatt Government lawyer with a background in assisting with the implementation of large capital projects and community initiatives.[6] Endorsed by Such's widow.[13]
  Greens Malwina Wyra Commerce and Environmental Management Flinders University student. Staffer to Tammy Franks. Candidate in Fisher at the previous election.[6]
  Independent Honest True Local Dan Golding Involved with Neighbourhood Watch, Scouts, Air Force Cadets, Youth Advisory Council and the SA Tall Ships Association.[6]

Two-party-preferred history[edit]

The two-party-preferred vote in Fisher while Such was an independent:[6]

Election: 2002 2006 2010 2014
Liberal: 55.7% 40.6% 51.9% 57.2%
Labor: 44.3% 59.4% 48.1% 42.8%

Polling[edit]

One opinion poll was conducted and released by the in-house polling group at The Advertiser, Adelaide's main newspaper. Between one and two weeks prior to the by-election, 400 voters were polled in the seat. Voters were randomly selected at the sole pre-poll booth at Happy Valley Shopping Centre, as well as at Aberfoyle Hub. Primary votes saw 34.25 (−0.85) percent to Liberal, 30 percent to Woodyatt, 20.5 (+2.8) percent to Labor, with a collective 15 percent for the remaining five candidates. The Advertiser claimed that a Liberal primary vote below 40 percent and the high vote for Woodyatt with Labor remaining in third place, preferences could have seen Fisher retained by an independent, Woodyatt.[13]

South Australian Newspoll at the time of the by-election recorded a statewide six percent two-party swing from Liberal to Labor.

Result[edit]

Labor candidate Nat Cook won the traditionally Liberal seat of Fisher by just five votes after preferences from a 7.27 percent Liberal to Labor two-party swing, taking Labor from minority to majority government.
Fisher state by-election, 6 December 2014[14][15][16][17]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Heidi Harris 7,413 36.1 +1.0
Labor Nat Cook 5,495 26.7 +9.0
Independent Continue Such's Legacy Dan Woodyatt 4,789 23.3 +23.3
Independent Honest True Local Dan Golding 880 4.3 +4.3
Independent Leading the Community Rob de Jonge 809 3.9 +3.9
Greens Malwina Wyra 708 3.4 −1.3
Stop Population Growth Now Bob Couch 270 1.3 +1.3
Independent Australian Democrats Jeanie Walker 195 0.9 +0.9
Total formal votes 20,559 96.1 −1.5
Informal votes 841 3.9 +1.5
Turnout 21,400 82.9 −10.5
Two-party-preferred result
Labor Nat Cook 10,284 50.02 +7.27
Liberal Heidi Harris 10,275 49.98 −7.27
Labor gain from Independent Swing +7.27
Distribution of Preferences - 6th count
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Heidi Harris 8,128 39.5
Labor Nat Cook 6,325 30.8
Independent Dan Woodyatt 6,106 29.7

Though the Liberals were favourites to win the traditionally Liberal seat,[3] Labor's Nat Cook won the by-election by five votes with Woodyatt preferences, a 50.02 percent two-party-preferred vote from a 7.27 percent swing away from the Liberals, resulting in a change from minority to majority government. Despite this, the Jay Weatherill Labor government kept crossbench MPs Geoff Brock and Martin Hamilton-Smith in cabinet, giving the government a 26 to 21 parliamentary majority. The Liberals were successful in requesting a re-count which occurred on 15 December.[4][5][6][18][19]

Labor achieved majority government at a state level one week prior at the 2014 Victorian election.

ABC psephologist Antony Green described the by-election as a "very poor result for the Liberal Party in South Australia both state and federally", and that a fourth term government gaining a seat at a by-election was unprecedented in Australian history.[7] Much of the anti-Liberal swing was attributed to the unpopularity of then Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and additionally, the remark from then Defence Minister David Johnston several days before the by-election, where he stated he wouldn't trust South Australia's Australian Submarine Corporation to "build a canoe".[8][9][10][11]

Former Liberal leader Iain Evans in Davenport resigned from parliament on 30 October 2014 which triggered a 2015 Davenport by-election for 31 January.[20][21][22][23] Just a couple of days before the Davenport by-election, Abbott's infamous knighting of Prince Philip occurred.[24][25] Liberal Sam Duluk won the seat despite a five percent two-party swing, turning the historically safe seat of Davenport in to a two-party marginal seat for the first time.[26] ABC psephologist Antony Green described it as "another poor result for the South Australian Liberal Party".[27]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wills, Daniel (20 October 2014). "Voters to go to the polls in Bob Such's seat of Fisher on December 6 as Liberal Iain Evans also retires and triggers Davenport by-election". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
  2. ^ "South Australia set for two by-elections, in Fisher and Davenport state electorates". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 20 October 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
  3. ^ a b By-election for Bob Such's seat of Fisher expected to put pressure on Weatherill Government: ABC 13 October 2014
  4. ^ a b c Fisher by-election win for Labor gives Weatherill Government majority in SA: ABC 13 December 2014
  5. ^ a b Labor claims victory in Fisher by-election: The Advertiser 13 December 2014
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m 2014 Fisher By-election: Antony Green ABC
  7. ^ a b Likely Shock Labor By-Election Win in SA: The Conversation 4 December 2014
  8. ^ a b Defence Minister says he 'wouldn't trust' Australian Submarine Corporation to build a canoe: ABC 25 November 2014
  9. ^ a b Is Tony Abbott the hazard for Liberals in Fisher by-election?: The Advertiser 30 November 2014
  10. ^ a b Abbott government forced into sub-mission after shock loss in South Australia: Sydney Morning Herald 9 December 2014
  11. ^ a b Federal Libs blamed for big swing to Labor in SA: The New Daily 8 December 2014
  12. ^ Cakewalk for Labor in Jay's old haunt: InDaily 24 January 2019
  13. ^ a b Polling gives independent candidate Dan Woodyatt strong position in Fisher by-election: The Advertiser 1 December 2014
  14. ^ Results, 2014 Fisher by-election: Antony Green ABC
  15. ^ Results, 2014 Fisher by-election: ECSA
  16. ^ Polling booth results, 2014 Fisher by-election: ECSA
  17. ^ Final results, 2014 Fisher by-election: ECSA Archived 2014-12-13 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ Commentary, 2014 Fisher by-election: Antony Green ABC
  19. ^ Fisher by-election live: The Poll Bludger
  20. ^ Iain Evans to quit, Senior Liberal will retire from SA politics and force by-election: ABC 6 June 2014
  21. ^ Speaker Michael Atkinson defends decision to separate two SA by-elections: ABC 21 October 2014
  22. ^ Departing SA Liberal Iain Evans takes final swipe at parliamentary colleagues: ABC 30 October 2014
  23. ^ Davenport by-election date in South Australia set for January 31: ABC 13 November 2014
  24. ^ Davenport by-election: Tony Abbott's decision to knight Prince Phillip could affect voters: ABC 29 January 2015
  25. ^ Large swing to Labor at SA by-election another warning to PM Abbott: Nine News 2 February 2015
  26. ^ Liberals withstand swing to win by-election in South Australian seat of Davenport: ABC 31 January 2015
  27. ^ 2015 Davenport by-election commentary: Antony Green ABC

External links[edit]