Mayo by-election, 2008
A by-election was held for the Australian House of Representatives seat of Mayo, located in Adelaide, South Australia, on 6 September 2008, following the retirement of Liberal Party MP and former Liberal leader Alexander Downer. 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. 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 against the Greens.
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 Liberal two-party-preferred vote of 57.1 percent was at the time the narrowest in the seat's history. Except for 1998, the seat was 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. At the 1998 election the Democrats reduced the Mayo Liberal margin to just 1.7 percent.
Rebekha Sharkie of the Nick Xenophon Team was successful in defeating the Liberals in Mayo at the 2016 election with a 55 percent two-candidate vote to the Liberals' 45 percent two-candidate vote, a reduction of 17.2 percent. Additionally, Mayo became a marginal two-party seat for the first time with the Liberal two-party-preferred vote reduced to 55.4 percent, a reduction of 7.2 percent.
At the 2007 federal election, Downer retained his seat against his main Labor Party competitor by a two-party preferred vote of 57.06 percent to 42.94 percent. 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. 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.
Eleven candidates contested the by-election. They are listed below in ballot order.
- Australian Greens - Lynton Vonow, Adelaide Hills resident, school services officer.
- Conservatives for Climate and Environment - Rachael Barons.
- Independent - Bill Spragg, Adelaide Hills councillor and lecturer in information technology at TAFE SA, who had also contested Mayo in 2001.
- One Nation - Mathew Keizer, Adelaide Hills resident and domestic community support worker.
- Independent - Mary Brewerton, retired nurse, contested Mayo for Labor in 2007.
- Australian Democrats - Andrew Castrique, Adelaide Hills resident, school laboratory technician.
- Liberal Party of Australia - Jamie Briggs, former Howard government advisor
- Independent - Malcolm Ronald King, retired.
- Family First Party - Bob Day, businessman and former Liberal Party member.
- Democratic Labor Party - David McCabe, clerk.
- Independent - Di Bell, anthropologist and author. South Australian independent Senator Nick Xenophon gave support to Bell's campaign.
Labor opted not to stand a candidate.
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. 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 with 10 out of 271 votes, claiming a "manipulated" preselection process. Iain Evans, who came second to Briggs, agreed to some extent.
|Family First||Bob Day||8,468||11.40||+7.38|
|Democratic Labor||David McCabe||1,426||1.92||+1.92|
|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|
The Liberals retained the seat despite a reduced 41.3 percent primary vote after suffering a 9.8 percent swing. Some commentators drew comparisons between this and the 2002 Cunningham by-election. The Liberal two-candidate vote of 53 percent against Greens candidate Lynton Vonow compares to the previous election vote of 57.1 percent against Labor, turning Mayo from a fairly safe seat in to a marginal seat. The reduction of 4 percent cannot be considered a "two-party/candidate preferred swing" − when a major party is absent, preference flows to both major parties does not take place, resulting in asymmetric preference flows.
- "Mayo by-election date announced". ABC. 31 July 2008.
- "Downer quits politics". AAP. 3 July 2008. Archived from the original on 26 September 2008.
- "By-elections to be held on 6 September". The Age. 31 July 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
- "2008 Mayo By-election - ABC Elections (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Abc.net.au. Retrieved 2010-07-01.
- "SA DIVISION - MAYO". AEC.
- Adam Gartrell (14 July 2008). "Downer officially steps down". AAP.
- "Mayo by-election candidates". AEC. 8 June 2007. Retrieved 2010-07-01.
- Lynton Vonow - Candidate for Mayo: Greens.org.au Archived 19 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Councillors in bid for Mayo seat". The Courier. 17 July 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
- "Independent for Mayo". Bill Spragg. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
- "Cr William (Bill) Spragg: Adelaide Hills Council". Ahc.sa.gov.au. 26 February 2008. Retrieved 2010-07-01.
- "One Nation SA Division". Sa.onenation.com.au. Retrieved 2010-07-01.
- John Wiseman (18 August 2008). "Ex-Labor woman in Mayo poll". The Australian. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
- LIVENEWS.com.au > National > Democrats to contest in 'abandoned' Mayo
- "Former Howard govt staffer to contest Mayo by-election". ABC News (Australia). 20 July 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
- Renato Castello (3 August 2008). "Disgruntled Lib in Mayo power play". The Advertiser. Retrieved 2010-07-01.
- G'day, Di here at Di Bell - vote4di.com campaign site
- John Wiseman (12 August 2008). "Anthropologist and author Diane Bell throws hat into Mayo ring". The Australian. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
- John Wiseman (21 August 2008). "Xenophon backs Bell for Mayo by-election". The Australian. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
- Jamie Walker (25 August 2008). "Mayo candidates jockey for votes as saviours of the Murray". The Australian. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
- "ALP won't contest Mayo by-election". ABC News (Australia). 18 July 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
- Glenn Milne, writing in The Sunday Times (25 July 2008). "Lib fears the enemy within". News.com.au. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
- "Family with the odd black sheep". The Sydney Morning Herald. 15 August 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
- Jamie Walker (28 July 2008). "Loyal Lib quits over Mayo". The Australian. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
- 29 July 2008 12:00AM (29 July 2008). "Liberal chief Iain Evans admits to Mayo concerns". The Australian. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
- Glenn Milne (8 September 2008). "A tale of two leaders, and bad news ballots". The Australian. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
- Green, Antony. "2012 Port Adelaide by-election guide". ABC Elections. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
- John Wiseman, Comment (8 September 2008). "Bitter victory for the Libs in what is now a marginal seat". The Australian. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
- "A Comment on the Size of the Port Adelaide Swing, Antony Green". Blogs.abc.net.au. 2012-02-13. Retrieved 2012-07-26.
- An Example of Non-Monotonicity and Opportunites for Tactical Voting at an Australian Election: Antony Green ABC 4 May 2011