Electoral Form Guide: Barker
Margin: Liberal 9.5%
Location: South-Eastern Regional, South Australia
In a nutshell: Based on the conservative heartland of the Riverland in a state where the Nationals are a vague presence at best, Barker offers little to excite the election-watcher. Patrick Secker has held the seat since 1998 and is sure to continue doing so after polling day.
Electorate analysis: Barker has existed since South Australia was first divided into single-member electorates in 1903, and has at all times included the south-eastern corner of the state that includes Mount Gambier, Bordertown and Keith. Like all South Australian seats, it was substantially altered when the 2004 redistribution cut the state’s representation from 12 to 11, absorbing the Murray Valley/Riverland region from Wakefield and ceding the Fleurieu Peninsula and Kangaroo Island to Mayo. It has been in conservative hands at all times, becoming particularly safe after the expansion of parliament in 1949 removed its city territory around Glenelg. Patrick Secker came to the seat in 1998, succeeding first-term Howard government Defence Minister Ian McLachlan. He was a farmer and member of various local councils before entering parliament and has remained a back-bencher since, although he won a minor promotion to chief opposition whip in February 2010.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Read Bowe’s blog, The Poll Bludger.