Surprise nomination Delia Brennan pulled out of the ALP’s preselection ballot for the Hindmarsh electorate last week, giving former MP Steve Georganas a clear road to re-contest the Adelaide seat he held for nine years at the next federal election.
In 2013 Liberal Matt Williams defeated Georganas with a 7.97 per cent two-party-preferred swing, but holds Hindmarsh with a wafer-thin majority of just 1.89 per cent, making it the most marginal seat in South Australia.
Widely tipped to return to the political arena when an opportunity arose, SA Labor Party sources described the hugely popular former MP as the party’s “number one candidate” and said that he effectively had “never stopped campaigning” for re-election since losing the seat.
Mr Georganas told Neos Kosmos that he was grateful to the ALP’s Hindmarsh branch members “for their overwhelming support and for once again putting their confidence and trust in me to be their candidate”.
The veteran parliamentarian said it was a “great honour and privilege” to have been chosen to fight the next election.
“I look forward to campaigning and doing all I can to ensure that Hindmarsh has the representation it deserves.”
Having experienced four terms as Hindmarsh’s elected member, a return to Canberra would be a familiar experience for one of Labor’s most popular operators.
“I’ll work hard, as I’ve always done, to ensure that Hindmarsh residents have a voice in the federal parliament, and to have their views and aspirations represented.”
High on Georganas’ agenda is the furore over the Abbott government’s position on the Future Submarines Project tender process, worth $20 billion to Adelaide’s naval shipyards.
Japan is considered the favourite to win the contract in a competitive tendering process against French and German firms who are keen to build the submarines in Adelaide. Bids close in November and the government is expected to decide a preferred partner early next year.
Georganas has called the process hypocritical and a “sham” that “was never based on facts or merit”.
“Industry experts have said unequivocally that anything less than a commitment to build both the Future Frigates and Future Submarines in Australia will put jobs at risk.”
South Australia’s unemployment rate is running at almost 8 per cent, the highest of any state in Australia, and is likely to be a central factor for voters at the 2016 election.