SA State Seat of Dunstan set for a By-election

Update: Steven Marshall has now resigned and the by-election date has been set for 23 March.

I have now published a guide page for the Dunstan By-election at the ABC elections site. For that reason I won’t make further updates for this post.

Former South Australian Premier and Liberal Leader Steven Marshall has announced that he will resign from Parliament this year, triggering a by-election in his very marginal inner-Adelaide seat of Dunstan.

The Liberal Party lost government at the 2022 state election after one term in office. Premier Marshall very narrowly retained Dunstan but suffered 6.9% swing. His victory margin was 0.5%, winning by just 260 votes.

This will be the second by-election since the state election. Former Deputy Premier and Attorney General Vicki Chapman resigned from the neighbouring seat of Bragg straight after the election. The Liberal Party’s new candidate Jack Batty won the July 2022 by-election, but suffered a 2.5% swing to Labor.

A repeat of that swing would be more than enough to deliver Dunstan to the Labor Party.

As Steven Marshall has not named a resignation date, I’ll wait before setting up a Dunstan by-election guide on the ABC elections site. (There’s already three by-election guides and a Brisbane City Council guide live on the site.)

In the interim I’ll create a Dunstan by-election page in this post.

Date – yet to be announced

Party Status: Marginal Liberal 0.5%


The by-election has been caused by retirement of former Liberal Leader and Premier Steven Marshall.

Information on enrolment, nomination, postal voting plus when where and how to vote will be available on the South Australian Electoral Commission’s website once a date for the by-election is named.

Electorate Description

Dunstan covers the inner eastern suburbs of Adelaide, including Norwood, Kent Town, Stepney, Hackney, College Park, St Peters, Joslin, Royston Park, Marden, Evandale, Maylands, Payneham, Payneham South, Firle, Trinity Gardens, St Morris, Beulah Park, Kensington, Kensington Park and Kensington Gardens.

Former Member

Steven Marshall has lived in the Norwood area most of his adult life. Having completed his secondary schooling in South Australia, Marshall studied for a Bachelor of Business at the University of SA and completed an MBA at Durham University in the UK. For many years he was involved in his family’s furniture manufacturing, becoming Managing Director of the firm in 1997, at which time it employed more than 200 people. After selling the firm and before entering parliament Marshall was the General Manger of the Textile Division of South Australian company Michell Pty Ltd, the company involved in exports of wool and textiles. Marshall became Liberal leader in early 2013 on the resignation of Isobel Redmond. He led the Liberal Party to a narrow defeat in seat terms in 2014 despite the Liberal Party winning a clear majority of the two-party preferred vote. Marshall led the Liberal Party to victory at the 2018 election and served as Premier for four years before losing government in March 2022. Marshall resigned the leadership after the election but continued to serve as Member for Dunstan.

Background

The electorate’s former name of Norwood derived from a local suburb and council, both named after an English village. Norwood had been held by both sides of politics from its creation in 1938, but it will be forever associated with its longest serving MP, Don Dunstan, who gained the seat for Labor at the 1953 election and held it until his retirement in 1979. At the 2014 election the name was changed from Norwood to Dunstan in his honour.

Labor’s Greg Crafter succeeded Dunstan at a by-election but was defeated at the 1979 election, only to re-gain the seat at a 1980 by-election ordered by the courts. Crafter held the seat and served as a senior Minister in the Bannon and Arnold governments until defeated at the 1993 election.

The Liberal who defeated Crafter in 1993 was barrister John Cummins, who Crafter had originally defeated for Labor pre-selection in 1979. Cummins lasted only a single term, defeated by Labor’s Vini Ciccarello in 1997. Ciccarello was re-elected in 2002 and 2006 before losing to Steven Marshall in 2010.

2022 Polling Place Results

Liberal two-party preferred majorities were recorded at eight of the 15 polling places used at the 2022 state election. The range of results was very small, the Liberal two-party preferred vote rising from 44.2% at Marden Education Centre in the north of the electorate, to 56.9% at Kensington Park RSL in the south. The Liberal Party lost the polling day vote, polling only 49.5% of the two-party preferred vote, victory achieved by the Liberal polling 52.1% with the various categories of declaration vote.


(Click on polling place for results)

Past Winners

Past Voting Trends

Norwood/Dunstan occupied a spot on the Labor side of the state’s electoral ledger until 2002. While retained by Labor at the 2006 state election, for the first time the seat recorded a higher Liberal two-party result than for the state as a whole. The seat has leaned Liberal at every state election since, by around five percentage points at the last two elections. That gap was just enough to deliver a very narrow Liberal victory at the 2022 election.

Declared Candidates

Liberal: Dr Anna Finizio

Labor: Cressida O’Hanlon

Greens: Katie McCusker

2022 Election Result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Steven Marshall LIB 11,219 46.7 -2.6
Cressida O’Hanlon ALP 8,445 35.2 +6.4
Tony Holloway FFP 1,067 4.4 +4.4
Kay Moncrieff GRN 3,279 13.7 +4.7
…. (SA Best) SAB 0 0.0 -9.9
…. OTH 0 0.0 -3.0
After Preferences
Steven Marshall LIB 12,135 50.5 -6.9
Cressida O’Hanlon ALP 11,875 49.5 +6.9

3 thoughts on “SA State Seat of Dunstan set for a By-election”

  1. Labor has announced Cressida O’Hanlon, and run ads on Twitter calling her “truly local”. She appears to have grown up in Europe and moved to SA from NSW 11 years ago.
    Liberal has announced Anna Finizio who grew up in SA but in the western suburbs not the leafy eastern ones.

  2. Do you really want to vote on the basis of where a person grew up? I kind of figure what they know about the state, the country and the world are far more important … and not just their knowledge, but do they have any relevant skills?

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