DEEPER ISSUE: Contracts for local work on the next generation of submarines remains the most important issue in the Hindmarsh electorate. Photo courtesy of Royal Australian Navy
Matt Williams entered federal parliament in 2013 winning by a margin of 1.89 per cent.
The Division of Hindmarsh is one of the most marginal seats in South Australia with a significant proportion of citizens over the age of 65. The electorate is ethnically diverse with a large Greek-speaking population. The seat was previously held by Steve Georganas from 2004 – 2013.
Hindmarsh is South Australia’s most marginal seat and a critical indicator to the Liberal Party’s success in South Australia.
Named in 1903 after Sir John Hindmarsh, the first Governor of South Australia, the seat has traditionally been held by Labor. It was the only South Australian seat to change hands in the 2013 federal election, with an 8 per cent swing to the Liberals. Now held by Matt Williams, it has a margin of just 1.9 percent.
Labor has pre-selected Steve Georganas, who was the member for Hindmarsh between 2004 and 2013, as its candidate.
Nick Xenophon’s popular following in South Australia is also a new variable likely to influence voters in this important electorate, and the outcome may be closely tied to the preference distribution of votes for the Nick Xenophon Team candidate, Daniel Kirk.
Hindmarsh extends from Adelaide’s inner-west to its beachside suburbs, covering an area of 78 sq.km.
Local issues of concern include, noise pollution as air traffic increases at Adelaide Airport, services for the ageing, support for industry and small business are major concerns.
Historically, manufacturing was important in Hindmarsh, but its proximity to the city centre and beaches have seen gentrification increase across the electorate. Now, almost 23 per cent of workers living in Hindmarsh are white-collar professionals, with only 13 per cent blue-collar technicians and trades workers, while the representation of other key professions is, health care (13.4 per cent), retail (11 per cent) and manufacturing (8.4 per cent).
With the high unemployment rate in South Australia, it is no surprise that in a shopping centre survey of residents the main concern was the need for the Australian Submarine Corporation (ASC) contract to be seen as effective. With the closure of Holdens in 2017 and steel manufacturer Arrium in Whyalla in administration, job creation is a key concern in Hindmarsh, as it is across South Australia.
The Adelaide Airport curfew is a continuing issue, with some South Australian's arguing that the current airport curfew should be scrapped, as it limits new business ventures that may promote the growth of overseas opportunities.
Hindmarsh has a high percentage of citizens over the age of 65, the second-highest proportion in South Australia. All candidates identify policies regarding the pension, and how to improve the standard of living for the ageing population, as key issues.
Nick Xenophon Team candidate Daniel Kirk is standing on a platform that highlights policies based on greater respect and dignity for the aged, while both Williams and Georganas are campaigning for pensioner concessions.
Hindmarsh has a strong multicultural, multilingual community. The most common spoken languages aside from English (74 %) are Greek (4.6%), Italian (3.7%), and Mandarin (1.6%).
Georganas makes celebrating multiculturalism central to his campaign. Born in the electorate at Mile End, where he lives and has previously worked as a taxi driver and in the insurance industry, he has strong links to the Greek community, which was traditionally based in Adelaide's western suburbs and still constitutes a sizeable voting bloc in the electorate.
In response to the federal budget, Williams has concentrated attention on the predominantly white-collar professionals of the electorate, campaigning to support and encourage the growth of small businesses.
On July 2, Australia will watch with interest as the votes in Hindmarsh are counted as the size and direction of the swing in this key marginal seat are likely to provide an early indication of the overall election outcome.