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The Independent Weekly
August 13 - 19, 2010
The first federal member for
Wakefield, Sir Frederick
Holder, collapsed and died
during a rowdy debate in the House
of Representatives in 1909.
The campaign for federation and
the fighting between the parties had
taken its toll on the independent MP
and Speaker of the House, who was
heard to say, "Dreadful! Dreadful!"
as he fell insensible to the floor.
Another former Wakefield
representative, Charles Hawker,
died in a plane crash while still
an MP, and the only two previous
Australian Labor Party members to
hold the seat each did so for just one
and two years.
"The history of my electorate
indicates I should make the most
of my time in the House, because it
may be a brief stay," current Labor
member Nick Champion quipped
in his first speech to Parliament in
But the Kapunda-born MP is
proud of his achievements during
his first term in office and optimis-
tic about the August 21 poll.
"I will make a little bit of
history if I am re-elected," he said
Named after colonial promoter
Edward Gibbon Wakefield, the
electorate stretches from the
Adelaide suburbs of Elizabeth and
Munno Para, through Gawler and
as far north as the Clare and Gilbert
Valleys. Its industries range from
defence and car manufacturing (in
the northern suburbs), to cereal
crops, sheep and cattle farming, and
Previously a rural seat, Wakefield
was a Liberal stronghold until
2004, when it was combined with
the safe Labor seat of Bonython in
Adelaide s north. The Liberals won
the new Wakefield that year, but lost
it in 2007 with a 7.3 per cent swing
to Mr Champion on a two-party-
The 2010 Liberal candidate for
Wakefield, former Air Force flight
lieutenant and current Gawler
councillor David Strauss, blamed
the swing on WorkChoices and the
"Ruddslide". He believes he has a
good chance of winning back the
"One of my goals is to be engaged
with all of Wakefield," he said.
"Seventy per cent of the population
live in 30 per cent of the electorate
(the urban suburbs) and 30 per cent
live in the rural areas."
Mr Strauss and his family have
lived in the Gawler district for more
than 25 years. He said serving in
places such as the Middle East and
East Timor with the RAAF made
him appreciate the importance of
Australia maintaining its current
standard of living.
Two of the areas he singles out
as priorities for the electorate
are more assistance for young job
seekers and apprentices, and health
services in rural areas.
Ironically, Mr Champion lists
trades training in schools and the
planned establishment of a GP
Super Clinic on Gawler Road among
the key gains under the Labor
Previously an official and organ-
iser with the Shop Distributive and
Allied Employees Association, he
has credited his early experience as
a supermarket trolley collector at
Burnside with shaping his views on
industrial relations and compelling
him to join the union movement and
the Labor Party.
Mr Champion said jobs and the
national broadband rollout were
key issues for Wakefield voters this
election. But when it comes to his
personal achievements, he is most
proud of his involvement in helping
the residents of Elizabeth Downs,
Craigmore and Hillbank see more
Mr Champion said homes located
"in the shade of Mount Lofty" had
suffered poor television reception
for 30 years until he secured
funding for a new tower at Elizabeth
"It affected thousands of people.
If you can t watch the football or the
cricket, it s almost un-Australian."
The three first-termers
In 2007, SA elected three new MPs to Canberra: Nick Champion, Tony Zappia and Rowan Ramsay.
Will they win in 2010 or be known as a trio of oncers?
There are bigger electorates in
Australia than the seat of Grey --
there s one in West Australia which
is claimed to be the largest in the
world -- but nevertheless Grey is
impressive: more than nine million
It s the only one in the country
whose borders touch four different
states and one territory. There are
towns such as Port Augusta, Whyalla
and Port Pirie, but once past Orroroo
or Cook, there are more feral camels
and rabbits than voters.
Rowan Ramsey won the seat for
the Liberal Party in 2007, and looks
a firm bet to hold it again in 2010.
His opponent is Tauto Sansbury,
who unsuccessfully contested the
smaller seat of Flinders in the
March state election. When we
contacted him before the issuing
of the writs Mr Sansbury declined
to comment on local issues, saying
he d been pre-selected only recently.
When we tried to contact him
yesterday, his mobile went through
to a message service.
"That s not unusual," said Mr
Ramsay on a landline. Mobile
reception is patchy in some parts
of Grey, non-existent in others.
"I m probably the only member of
parliament who doesn t have mobile
reception at his own home," he said.
Ramsay and Sansbury have met
only once -- at the footy in Port
Augusta last weekend. The first-
term Liberal is confident of beating
his Labor rival, but "the polls aren t
as good for us in South Australia as
in other states", he says, and he s
not taking any vote for granted.
"The campaign s too bloody long
and too short at the same time," he
said. "Too short because you can
never get everything you want done,
and too long because you want it to
The mining tax still resonates
in Grey, and so does the future of
the Murray. The River Murray may
be well over the horizon, but the
biggest single user of the Murray in
South Australia is the steelworks at
Labor last held Grey in 1993.
Ramsay s margin is just 4.4 per cent,
but he s travelled 100,000km a year
by car around the electorate in the
three years he s been member and
shows no sign of easing up.
The Independent Weekly calls
Grey as a Liberal win.
Tony Zappia looks certain to hold
Makin for Labor, but Liberal
candidate Liz Davis could give him
a surprise, if not a shock.
The electorate, in Adelaide-
north-east, is a mix of comfortable
mortgage belts getting less comfort-
able with every interest rate rise.
Some parts, like Salisbury East,
are solidly Labor. Other parts, like
Golden Grove and Tea Tree Gully,
tend to fall in the blue corner.
Makin is representative of all of
middle Australia. At every election
since it was created in 1984, it
has gone to the party which won
-- Hendrik Gout
Shades of Grey
Wakefield in fright
The future of Australia s
broadband will be
decided by how you vote
on August 21.
On Tuesday the
its broadband policy. It
promised to spend $6
billion across a range of
technologies to deliver
broadband that would be
as slow as 12MBPS to 97
per cent of Australians
in seven years.
Labor is committed
to, and already building,
a $43 billion National
delivering 100MBPS of
to every Australian
household and business,
no matter where they
live, within eight years.
The Coalition s plan
is cheaper, but not as
fast, nor as flexible.
How important is fast
IT security company
CQR Consulting has
done the comparisons. It
finds current Australian
broadband doesn t
deliver the data transfer
speed or volume that
business needs to
access broadband is
quickly becoming a
for conducting business,"
said CQR Consulting
co-founder Phil Kernick.
joining on to this
with nothing more than
a goat track, leading to
us being bypassed as a
place to do business in
Tony Abbott said
on Tuesday he was no
"tech-head" and didn t
understand the finer
points of broadband.
He might have found it
easier to look broadband
up on his search engine
if he d had a faster
Highway or goat track?
Federal member for Makin Tony Zappia
and member for Wakefield Nick
Photo: Kate Elmes
she said "There are some things that can t
be measured." -- Julia Gillard, asked
on Q&A to rate "how big a tool" Mark
Latham is, goes off the scale to describe
her former colleague
"I m a happily married man and this
sort of stuff I found a little bit out of
the ordinary." -- Mark Latham, describ-
ing Gillard s supposed "physicality"
during their infamous public encounter
"Why is it that most politicians get to
hold babies and I get to hold a cane
toad?" -- Deputy Opposition Leader Julie
Bishop, campaigning in Darwin
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