Division of Wakefield

Australian House of Representatives Division

Division of Wakefield in South Australia, as of the 2016 federal election.
Created 1903
MP Nick Champion
Party Labor
Namesake Edward Gibbon Wakefield
Electors 112,237 (2016)
Area 6,407 km2 (2,473.8 sq mi)
Demographic Rural

The Division of Wakefield is an Australian electoral division in the state of South Australia. The rural 6,407 km² seat is really a hybrid rural-urban electorate that stretches from Salisbury in the outer northern suburbs of Adelaide at the south of the seat right through to the Clare Valley at the north of the seat, 135 km from Adelaide. It includes the suburbs of Elizabeth, Craigmore, Munno Para, and part of Salisbury, and the towns of Balaklava, Clare, Freeling, Gawler, Kapunda, Mallala, Riverton, Tarlee, Virginia, Williamstown, and part of Port Wakefield.

The Division was named after Edward Gibbon Wakefield, who promoted colonisation as a tool for social engineering, plans which formed the basis for settlements in South Australia, Western Australia, New Zealand and Canada. The division was one of the seven established when the former Division of South Australia was redistributed on 2 October 1903. It was first contested at the 1903 federal election on very different boundaries. Two of the seat's former members of particular note have been the inaugural Speaker of the House and two-time Premier of South Australia, Frederick Holder, and Howard government two-term Speaker Neil Andrew.

Before 2004

The redistribution for the 2004 election reduced the number of seats in South Australia by one, abolishing the Division of Bonython which had been in the outer northern suburbs of Adelaide. Before then, Wakefield was a rural seat that was held by the Liberal Party and its predecessors for all but five years from 1903 to 2004. For most of that time, it was a safely conservative seat. Labor only succeeded in winning it twice, at a a 1938 by-election and the 1943 federal election.

Prior to 2004, it stretched from the Yorke Peninsula in the west to the New South Wales border in the east, encompassing much of the eastern rural area of the state, including much of the Riverland. It covered the towns of Angaston, Balaklava, Barmera Berri, Gawler, Gumeracha, Kadina, Kapunda, Loxton, Minlaton, Moonta, Morgan, Mount Pleasant, Nuriootpa, Renmark, Tanunda, Waikerie, Wallaroo and Yorketown.[1]

The seat's character was dramatically altered by the redistribution prior to 2004. It was pushed well to the south, losing much of its vast rural territory and absorbing some outer northern Adelaide suburbs that had previously been in the abolished comfortably safe Labor seat of Bonython. Most of the rural area went to Grey and Barker. Wakefield's current area of 6,407 km² is roughly a fifth of its pre-2004 extent of 31,841 km².

Since 2004

While Neil Andrew held the old rural Wakefield with a comfortably safe majority of 14.6 percent, the new hybrid urban-rural (though classed rural) Wakefield became a marginal Labor seat with a notional 1.3 percent two-party margin. Andrew, the seat's member since 1983, believed this made Wakefield impossible to hold and retired. However, David Fawcett retained it for the Liberals in 2004 with a 0.7 percent two-party margin, defeating the former member for Bonython, Martyn Evans. At the 2007 election, Nick Champion became only the third Labor member ever to win Wakefield, with a 6.6 percent two-party margin. At the 2010 election, Champion made it a safe Labor seat on paper by winning a 12 percent two-party margin. He became first Labor member to be re-elected to Wakefield, and the second to be elected for a full term. The South Australian federal redistribution in 2011 had the greatest impact on Wakefield where the Labor margin declined by 1.5 percent. Champion retained it at the 2013 election on a 3.4 percent two-party margin even as Labor lost government, marking the first time the non-Labor parties won government at an election without winning Wakefield. Champion increased his two-party margin at the 2016 election to 11 percent, again making Wakefield a safe Labor seat on paper.


  Sir Frederick Holder Independent 1903–1909
  Richard Foster Commonwealth Liberal 1909–1917
  Nationalist 1917–1922
  Liberal Union 1922–1925
  Nationalist 1925–1928
  Maurice Collins Country 1928–1929
  Charles Hawker Nationalist 1929–1931
  United Australia 1931–1938
  Sydney McHugh Labor 1938–1940
  Jack Duncan-Hughes United Australia 1940–1943
  Albert Smith Labor 1943–1946
  (Sir) Philip McBride Liberal 1946–1958
  Bert Kelly Liberal 1958–1977
  Geoffrey Giles Liberal 1977–1983
  Neil Andrew Liberal 1983–2004
  David Fawcett Liberal 2004–2007
  Nick Champion Labor 2007–present

Election results

Australian federal election, 2016: Wakefield[2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labor Nick Champion 38,197 39.82 −1.70
Liberal Kathleen Bourne 25,299 26.37 −11.52
Xenophon Richard Inwood 19,592 20.42 +20.42
Family First Marilyn Phillips 5,396 5.62 −0.36
Greens Craig Vanstone 4,102 4.28 −0.87
Independent John Bolton 2,728 2.84 +2.84
Christian Democrats Ralph Anderson 619 0.65 +0.65
Total formal votes 95,933 94.61 +0.30
Informal votes 5,470 5.39 −0.30
Turnout 101,403 90.35 −2.76
Two-party-preferred result
Labor Nick Champion 58,494 60.97 +7.57
Liberal Kathleen Bourne 37,439 39.03 −7.57
Labor hold Swing +7.57

See also



  1. "Wakefield boundary map, 2001" (PDF). Australian Electoral Commission. 1999. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
  2. Wakefield, SA, Virtual Tally Room 2016, Australian Electoral Commission.

External links

Coordinates: 34°14′53″S 138°37′05″E / 34.248°S 138.618°E / -34.248; 138.618

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