Flint’s Reign In Boothby No Sure Thing

The once safe Liberal seat of Boothby is on a knife’s edge. Nicolle Flint is trying to maintain 70 years of Liberal control.

Nicolle Flint is the sitting member for a seat which has undergone much upheaval in recent years.

Historically, the Liberal party has held the South Australian seat of Boothby comfortably since 1949, enjoying a healthy majority for much of that period.

However, an array of factors – not least a significant boundary re-distribution – has left Nicolle Flint clinging to a slim 2.7% majority, and precariously placed to continue her party’s reign in the seat.

First term member Flint has endured an eventful opening three years, and this is reflected by the nature of the issues central to the 2019 campaign. 

Her positive work within the community is overshadowed to a some degree by her support for a leadership challenge which ultimately resulted in the removal of Malcolm Turnbull, something Labor has taken every opportunity to remind the electorate of.

The opposition have run both print and broadcast scare campaigns about the issue.

They have also attacked her support for the removal of penalty rates, which she voted for on eight occasions.

Both issues have been identified by numerous younger voters as important to them, and will likely prove a major consideration for this demographic in their eventual voting decision.

Fully aware of the voter backlash caused by the deposing of an elected Prime Minister for a second consecutive term, the Liberals nationally have avoided discussing it. 

Flint’s approach has been consistent with the party’s. She has evaded questions over her initial backing of Peter Dutton.

She declined a request of an interview to discuss this and other matters.

Rather then being drawn on this contentious matter, which she says distracts voters, Flint instead has focussed her energy on selling her case for the electorate of Boothby.

She presents herself as a strong advocate for the community, pointing to the reactivation of the Repat hospital and funding gained for the Oaklands crossing as significant local achievements of her first term.

The latter is the first time in 40 years that the busy crossing in the centre of the electorate has received funding for a much-needed upgrade.

Equally, she has made a number of commitments to local projects, notably to a number of community initiatives, whose volunteers have been cited as a key target for the government’s campaign.

Other important issues identified by the Member for Boothby include the support of families and small businesses in the area, as well as continued upgrades to roads.

A commitment of $35 million to upgrade the notoriously inefficient Cross and Fullarton roads addresses this issue in a manner likely to please voters.

She submits the continued support of projects of this nature are possible as a result of the government’s strong economic management, a consistent thread of their campaign nationally.

She has been joined at various stages of the campaign by a variety of Liberal figures, including numerous appearances by South Australian Premier Steven Marshall.

Flint’s campaign reflects a concerted effort to promote local issues within the electorate.

The result in Boothby will be heavily dependent on the success of the strategy.