Girish Mahajan

Electoral district of Stuart

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State  South Australia
Demographic  Rural
Elector  23,595
Electors  23,595 (2014)
Member of parliament  Dan van Holst Pellekaan
Namesake  John McDouall Stuart
Electoral district of Stuart
Dates current  1938–1993, 1997–present
MP  Dan van Holst Pellekaan
Area  338,475 km (130,685.9 sq mi)
Party  Liberal Party of Australia (South Australian Division)

Stuart is an electorate for the South Australian House of Assembly. At 338,475 km², it covers the northeast part of the state extending from just north of the Barossa Valley all the way to the Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales borders. The seat's main population centre is Port Augusta, however the seat spans from Kapunda, 80km north of Adelaide, up to the state borders, and includes the agricultural areas of Orroroo, Peterborough, Jamestown, Burra, Morgan and Leigh Creek. Stuart is the second-largest electorate by area in South Australia.

The electorate is named after John McDouall Stuart, who pioneered a route across through this area from the settled areas in the south to the port of Darwin in the north. This route later became the path of the overland telegraph and then The Ghan railway.

The electorate was created in the 1936 redistribution—taking effect at the 1938 election. It was one of the few country areas where the Australian Labor Party did well, and for most of its existence was a comfortably safe Labor seat. It became even safer in 1975, when it absorbed Port Pirie. It was abolished in 1993. Most of its territory, including Port Augusta, was merged with the neighbouring seat of Eyre, while Port Pirie was transferred to the revived Frome.

The seat was revived ahead of the 1997 election. While the old Stuart had been a relatively compact district centred around Port Augusta and Port Pirie, the recreated Stuart was a vast electorate that stretched from Port Augusta to the Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales borders. It took in the eastern half of the abolished seat of Eyre, with the western half going to the Whyalla-based seat of Giles. On these boundaries, it was notionally a safe Liberal seat.

Graham Gunn, the longtime member for Eyre, transferred to Stuart, but saw his margin dwindle over the next three elections, culminating in 2006 when he won by just 233 votes after distribution of preferences. He retired at the 2010 election. His successor, Dan van Holst Pellekaan, gained a large swing at the 2010 election, making it a safe Liberal seat in one stroke. He received the largest swing in the state at the 2014 election, and now sits on a majority of 20.5 percent, the fourth-safest in the state. While Port Augusta still tilts toward Labor, as it has for more than a century, it is not enough to overcome the increasingly conservative bent of the rest of the seat.

References

Electoral district of Stuart Wikipedia


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