Voters in Adelaide’s eastern suburbs are heading to the polls for the third time this year as the electoral commission warns a result in this Saturday’s Bragg by-election will likely take days.
- Vickie Chapman resigned after the Liberals’ state election loss
- The Liberal Party has nominated Jack Batty to replace her, while Labor has chosen Alice Rolls
- Voters go to the polls on Saturday, July 2
The by-election was triggered by the departure of South Australia’s former attorney-general, Vickie Chapman, who quit politics after the Liberals lost the state election earlier this year.
Bragg — which overs most of the City of Burnside and overlaps with Sturt on a federal level — has been held by the Liberal Party since the seat was created in 1970.
The Liberal Party-selected lawyer Jack Batty — who has previously worked for Christopher Pyne and George Brandis — as their candidate.
“I don’t think there is any such thing as a safe Liberal seat anymore, so we’re not taking anything for granted,” Mr Batty said yesterday.
“That’s why we’ve been out working so hard over the course of this campaign, fronting up and listening to our community about what matters most to them.”
Mr Batty said he understood that voters were frustrated about having to go to the polls for the third time in four months.
“I understand some people are a bit frustrated about the timing of her [Vickie Chapman’s] decision to depart but, as frustrating as some people might find it, it is also an opportunity,” he said.
“It’s an opportunity for us to refresh and renew our team and [to] get a strong local voice into parliament in this new Liberal team.”
Labor’s candidate, Alice Rolls — also a lawyer who has worked for two of Australia’s largest commercial legal firms — has been working from home this week after her daughter tested positive for COVID-19.
“It’s not what we planned but, like so many other young families around South Australia, we are juggling COVID and kids and work so we made the most of it,” Ms Rolls said on Friday.
“What I did in the last seven days was pivot the campaign ever so slightly to me being at home, ringing around the electorate making calls and introducing myself and seeing if people have any issues they would like to raise with me.”
Ms Rolls said the community had been welcoming towards her throughout the campaign.
“What people are saying to me is that they have not been door-knocked in this community for nearly 40 years,” she said.
“They have been very receptive to me doing precisely that.”
Environmentalist James Bastiras is the Greens’ candidate and history teacher Daryl McCann is representing Family First.
According to the Electoral Commission of South Australia (ECSA), more than 4,500 early votes have been cast in the by-election with a similar amount of postal vote applications sent out.
“The Bragg by-election has continued the trend we saw in the recent state election of a higher rate of people voting early or by post,” ECSA’s director of communications, James Trebilcock, said.
“Over one third of votes in the Bragg by-election are declaration votes and won’t be counted until Monday.
“With this number of declaration votes, the results for the Bragg by-election may not be known until next week, after the declaration votes are counted.”
The Electoral Act specifies that ordinary votes cast on polling day are counted first and declaration votes are not to be counted until the Monday after polling day.