Boothby Electorate Profile: Bush, Burbs And The Beach


By Michelle Stoddart

Candidates for Boothby in the 2019 Federal Election


Classified as an outer metropolitan electorate and spanning 115 square kilometres, Boothby covers the southern suburbs of Adelaide, stretching from the coast (Glenelg to Marino) and extending to the bottom of the Adelaide Hills.

The seat covers suburbs such as Brighton and Marion in the west, Seacombe Heights in the south-west, and Belair in the East.

As part of a recent redistribution, Boothby lost Aberfoyle Park and Flagstaff Hill to the Kingston Electorate and Craigburn Farm to the electorate of Mayo. The Boothby electorate gained Glenelg and Ascot Park from Hindmarsh and Black Forest from Adelaide.

The already marginal seat became more marginal after the redistribution, with the Liberal margin slipping from 5.5% to 2.8%.



Boothby maintains one of the oldest voter demographics in the country with the median age being 42 years. 16.7% of the population is children aged 0-14 years with people aged 65 years and over making up 19.5% according to the 2016 census.

The median household income of the area is $1,438 a week.



The electorate of Boothby takes in major retail hubs including Westfield Marion, army camps, military barracks, hospitals and tertiary education centres including Flinders University and their medical centre as well as a large proportion of private housing.


What matters to the people in Boothby?

Situated along the coastline, many Boothby residents raise concerns over the local environment and climate change. More than half of Boothby voters polled do not want drilling in the Great Australian Bight and more than eight in ten support its listing with the World Heritage Protection.

One of the key issues of the electorate is concern about significant roadworks surrounding the Oaklands Park and Darlington area. The Oaklands train station crossing and the Darlington Interchange are two projects that impact commuters in the region.

Calls have also been made to further ease congestion at the intersections of Fullarton Road and Cross Road, and at Springbank, Daws and Goodwood Roads.

The issues of franking credits is a hot topic federally and even more so for Boothby’s ageing population.

Labor candidate, Nadia Clancy has not provided a figure of any income loss for Boothby residents under the proposed changes, however, Nicolle Flint says residents could each be losing between $5 and $15,000 a year.

The electorate is named after William Boothby, the Returning Officer for South Australia during the first federal election in 1901. He implemented several standards and codes of conduct for elections that are still adhered to by candidates and polling officials today.

Labor member Lee Batchelor first held the seat from 1903 till 1911, and other notable members include former South Australian Premier Steele Hall and former Speaker of the House Sir John McLeay.

The Liberal party has held Boothby since 1949 with only a handful of Labor members representing the area since the electorate’s inception in 1903.

However, according to the Australian Electoral Commission’s records, there has been a shift to a more Labor sympathetic population in the last two decades with the two-party preferred vote declining from 60% in favour of the Liberals in 1996 to only 53.5% in 2016.

The electorate has historically voted in three distinct geographical areas.

The eastern section of the electorate along the coast, including the suburbs of Brighton, Seacliff, and Glenelg, is a strongly Liberal part of the seat. In the last election, they voted for Liberal candidate Nicole Flint 53.7% two-party preferred.

This trend is echoed in the western area of Boothby which covers the western Adelaide foothills and stretches as far north as Unley. In the 2016 federal election, the Liberals won a 57.4% two-party preferred vote in this region with some polling booths producing Liberal results as high as 66% two-party preferred.

The central section of the electorate has historically been slightly sympathetic to Labor candidates with the area only voting for a 45% two-party preferred for the Liberal party in the 2016 federal election.

Notions of a safe Liberal hold in Boothby from elections past are certainly not evident in 2019, with general agreement among analysts that the seat will be one of the closest fought of the entire campaign.

Labor has focused a large degree of attention in the early campaign on Ms Flint’s support of Peter Dutton in last August’s leadership challenge.

She was the ninth signature on the petition demanding Malcolm Turnbull spill the leadership and was clearly aligned with the downfall of his Prime Ministership.

Prime Minister Morrison – who has made 6 appearances in Boothby since February -has been regularly sighted with Ms Flint.

The Liberals have preferred to focus on the achievements of Ms Flint’s first term in office. Their main focuses have been the reactivation of the Repat hospital and the attaining of funding for the Oaklands crossing.