Ellis on edge
Kate Ellis says she’s not taking her Seat of Adelaide for granted today as polling suggests it could be lost.
LABOR MPs Kate Ellis and Steve Georganas are today facing the very real prospect of losing their seats as the Liberals eye up to four South Australian seats as potential gains.
Large statewide swings of up to 12 per cent would be needed to capture all four SA seats that the Liberal Party says are in play.
Election-eve polls show Ms Ellis, the Early Childcare and Youth Minister, will struggle to prevail against Liberal candidate Carmen Garcia.
But Adelaide, held by Ms Ellis on a 7.5 per cent margin, is a knife-edge race that may not be decided for days.
The party has moved to capitalise on her strong personal profile this week, downplaying the Labor brand in campaign material and asking voters to instead “keep Kate”.
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Hindmarsh, held by Labor’s Steve Georganas, is regarded as “gone” by some Labor strategists.
But Mr Georganas, voting today at Cowandilla Primary School, said he was confident of holding the western suburbs seat despite a strong challenge from Liberal candidate Matt Williams.
“I feel very confident. I’m going to win tonight,” Mr Georganas said.
“The polls are saying its 50/50 here in Hindmarsh.
“My view is it is a lot closer than what the newspapers have been saying, it’s a lot closer than what Newspoll has been saying, certainly we’re still in with a big chance.”
The Williams camp was “cautiously optimistic” the first-time candidate could wrest the seat from Mr Georganas.
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“There is clearly a mood for change,” Mr Williams said after casting his vote at West Beach Primary School this afternoon.
“There’s definitely a swing on nationally, but whether it will be enough here on the ground in Hindmarsh – we will have to wait to see.”
Mr Williams’ campaign was bolstered this week by the flying visits of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and former PM John Howard.
While optimistic a result would be clear tonight, “it could be lineball and we have to wait for postal votes”.
Liberals are less confident of their chances in Wakefield and Makin, held on respective margins of 10.5 and 12 per cent, but confident large swings can be achieved.
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Labor MP for Wakefield Nick Champion was philosophical.
“All elections are tight but I am getting a good response from voters,” he said.
“A key issue is the car industry – we want to keep manufacturing strong in the north.”
Liberal candidate Tom Zorich said he was buoyed by voter sentiment.
“We’ve worked flat out but it has been worthwhile,” he said.
“I can sense a swing is on – there is a mood for change among people I talk to.”
HE’S a former powerlifting champion who is facing one of his biggest battles- to retain the electorate of Makin in Adelaide’s north-east.
Makin MP Tony Zappia held a 12 per cent margin before voters took to the polls and while nervous, he said he had faith those in the electorate would vote for him again despite the national move away from Labor.
“I am nervous, but I’ve been nervous every single election day, even when I stood for local government, and today is no different,” he said.
“Given the way the polls have been going in recent months, I could expect some of my margin may go down. Anything can happen.
“I put my faith in the judgement of the people I have been serving for the past six years.”
Mr Zappia cast his vote at Pooraka Primary School and visited 10 polling booths before ending his low-profile campaign with a private function at Ridgehaven.
Liberal candidate Sue Lawrie, who voted at UniSA’s Mawson Lakes campus, said it was impossible to tell who would win when asked about her chances at 4.30pm.
“I believe there is a swing on, but I don’t know if it’s enough to get me through,” she said.
“My experienced campaigners say there’s a good swing happening but we’ll have to see how big it is tonight.
“The atmosphere has been really good today, it’s really one of the best campaigns I’ve been involved in on the day.”
The Sunday Mail spoke to voters at several polling booths, including Modbury North father-of-four Steve Westerholm, who voted at Modbury Primary School.
“I’ve always voted Liberal and thought there was no need to do any different this time around,” the 39-year-old said.
Mr Zappia first ran for the seat of Makin in 2004 and achieved a swing of 2.7 per cent, but was defeated by the Liberal Party’s Trish Draper.
He prevailed at the 2007 election with an 8.6 per cent swing- the largest to Labor in Adelaide- and increased his margin further in 2010.
A mayor of the City of Salisbury for 10 years, Mr Zappia has also won 10 national powerlifting championships.
He highlighted aged care and securing the future of the defence sector and Holden in SA as key issues in his electorate.
Today’s federal election marked the eighth time Ms Lawrie, who cast her vote at UniSA’s Mawson Lakes campus, has ran as a Liberal candidate at a Federal or State election.
She contested her first federal election in 1982 for the seat of Price and has ran for the State seats of Cheltenham and Port Adelaide.
This is her first time contesting the seat of Makin, where key campaign highlights included supporting Tea Tree Gully Council’s youth centre HIVE 12- 25.
Labor also anticipates it will lose ground in its safer seats of Kingston and Port Adelaide, but believes it has buffers large enough to prevent losses.
Both sides expect the Liberals to increase their advantage in the marginal seat of presently slim margin in Boothby.
A Coalition win would set the scene for infrastructure funding battles with the State Government, as well as clear the air for the start of the state election campaign.
SA Transport and Infrastructure Minister Tom Koutsantonis warned he was taking legal advice over Coalition plans to cut federal funding for a Tonsley Park rail upgrade.
A $32 million funding clawback was announced in Coalition costings on Thursday.
“There’s boots on the ground already,” Mr Koutsantonis said. “These are Budget announcements that we have entered into with the legitimate government of Australia.”
A dispute is also expected to flare over rival funding plans for South Rd, with the State Government favouring fixing a section near Port Rd instead of the Darlington interchange.
The next prime minister will also have to enter into immediate negotiations with Holden over a new rescue package to secure operations in Adelaide until 2022 and begin finalising multi-billion-dollar plans for a new submarine fleet to be constructed at Osborne.
An estimated 130,000 South Australians have already voted at pre-polling stations or by post.