Voters in Bragg’s eastern suburbs head to the polls again, this time replacing Liberal Vickie Chapman


Voters in Adelaide’s eastern suburbs will head to the polls for the third time this year, as the electoral commission warns that the results of Bragg’s by-election next Saturday are likely to take days.

The by-election was triggered by the departure of former Attorney General of South Australia Vickie Chapman, who left politics after the Liberals lost the state election earlier this year.

Bragg — which spans most of the town of Burnside and overlaps with Sturt at the federal level — has been held by the Liberal Party since the seat was created in 1970.

Liberal Party-selected lawyer Jack Batty – who previously worked for Christopher Pyne and George Brandis – as their candidate.

“I don’t think there is such a thing as a safe Liberal seat anymore, so we don’t take anything for granted,” Batty said yesterday.

“That’s why we’ve worked so hard over the course of this campaign, being at the forefront and listening to our community about what matters most to them.”

Batty said he understood that voters were frustrated that they had to go to the polls for the third time in four months.

“I understand some people are a little frustrated with her timing [Vickie Chapman’s] decision to leave, but as frustrating as some people may find it, it is also an opportunity,” he said.

“It is an opportunity for us to refresh and renew our team and [to] get a strong local voice in parliament in this new Liberal team.”

A woman with a red blazer next to a car
Bragg’s by-election was declared after the departure of Vickie Chapman. ABC news

Labor candidate Alice Rolls – also a lawyer who has worked for two of Australia’s largest commercial law firms – has been working from home this week after her daughter tested positive for COVID-19.

“It’s not what we had planned, but like so many young families in South Australia, we juggle COVID and children and work so we made the best of it,” Ms Rolls said Friday.

“What I did for the last seven days was to run the campaign just a little bit so I was home, calling the voters around and introducing myself and seeing if people have any issues they’d like to discuss with me.”

Ms Rolls said the community welcomed her throughout the campaign.

“What people are saying to me is there hasn’t been a knock on the door in this community for almost 40 years,” she said.

“They were very receptive to me doing just that.”

Environmentalist James Bastiras is the Greens’ candidate and history teacher Daryl McCann represents Family First.

A children's crossing with many election signs on a fence
The Rose Park booth at the Bragg by-election.ABC News: Eugene Boisvert

More than 4,500 early votes were cast in the by-election, according to the Electoral Commission of South Australia (ECSA), with a similar number of ballot applications sent out by post.

“Bragg’s by-election has continued the trend we saw in the recent state election of a higher percentage of people voting early or by mail,” said ECSA communications director James Trebilcock.

“More than a third of the votes in Bragg’s 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 have been counted.”

The Elections Act stipulates that ordinary votes cast on the day of the election are counted first and that the declaration votes are only counted on the Monday after the vote.