Polls open for Dunstan by-election triggered by former SA premier Steven Marshall’s resignation

Polls open for Dunstan by-election triggered by former SA premier Steven Marshall’s resignation
  • PublishedMarch 23, 2024

Voters in the inner-eastern Adelaide seat of Dunstan are heading to the polls today for a by-election triggered by former South Australian premier Steven Marshall’s resignation.

Mr Marshall formally tendered his resignation to state parliament in February, nearly two years after losing the 2022 state election to Labor. 

Dunstan is South Australia’s most marginal state electorate, held by the Liberal party on a margin of 0.5 per cent. 

The Electoral Commission of South Australia (ECSA) said more than 27,000 electors are enrolled to vote in Saturday’s election, which is being contested by five candidates.

More than 7,000 voters have already completed either a pre-poll or postal vote, according to ECSA data.

Anna Finizio is contesting the seat for the Liberal party, Cressida O’Hanlon is re-contesting the seat for Labor, while Katie McCusker is contesting for the Greens.

An image of the Dunstan by-election candidates.
Cressida O’Hanlon (left), Anna Finizio (centre) and Katie McCusker (right).(ABC News)

The Animal Justice Party and Australian Family Party are also contesting the seat.

The by-election campaign has become increasingly heated in the lead-up to polling day, with both major parties levelling accusations at each other’s candidates.

The Liberal party, citing an email, accused Ms O’Hanlon under parliamentary privilege of breaching lobbying laws by using her position as a parliamentary staffer to secure her husband a meeting with a government minister.

Ms O’Hanlon has denied the allegation. 

Labor has accused Ms Finizio of “airbrushing” her LinkedIn profile to exclude her involvement with her family company that went into administration more than two years after she stopped being a director.

They have also accused her of applying for a job with former shadow attorney-general Kyam Maher in 2020 when the Liberal party was in government. 

Speaking at a polling booth on Saturday morning, Liberal candidate Anna Finizio said while the election result would be tight, she was feeling hopeful.

“I have been 100 per cent focused on the community of Dunstan and the things that matter to them, and in particular, holding this government to account,” she said.

Labor candidate Cressida O’Hanlon said, if elected, she would advocate for protecting local heritage and addressing urban infill.

“I hope that going forward I’m able to represent this community and take action on all the things that they’ve spoken to me about over the last three or more years,” she said. 

Greens candidate Katie McCusker said voters had been put off by the major parties and she was “excited” to see the results roll in tonight.

“What’s really clear to me is that people are quite disengaged with politics. They’re not feeling represented by the people they’ve got in there [parliament] at the moment,” she said.

Declaration and postal votes will be counted on Monday, meaning if the count is close, it may take days before there is a clear winner.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *