Who will lead the Mackillop electorate?

THE power of the pencil will be tested on Saturday for the State election.

MacKillop voters will choose from five candidates (in order as they appear on the ballot: Steve Davies (independent), Mitch Williams (Liberal), Donella Peters (Greens), Terry Soulmatis (ALP), Bill Pomery (Family First).

MacKillop, created after a redistribution in 1991, is named after Blessed Mary MacKillop (1842-1909) who with Fr Julian Tenison Woods founded the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart in Penola in 1866. 

The electorate covers an area of about 24,267.1km, encompassing the SE and some of the Murraylands area of the State.

There have been two sitting Members for MacKillop: Dale Baker (Liberals) and the incumbent Mitch Williams (first as an independent Liberal and then a member of the Liberal Party).

In the 2010 election Mr Williams received 60.9 per cent of the votes (70.1 per cent after preferences) to easily retain the seat, gaining popularity from the 2006 election with a 2.1 per cent swing in his favour.

Mitch Williams - Liberal
Elected to the SA Parliament at the 1997 election, Mitch Williams has sat as the Member for MacKillop since then.
He has risen as far as deputy leader of the Liberal Party in SA and has also held the position of Shadow Minister for Water Security.
His belief is water is one of the most, if not the single most important issue facing SA, having been a member of the SE Water Conservation and Drainage Board before entering politics.
Mr Williams has been a farmer for most of his working life at Mount Burr, and has a first-hand understanding of running a business in a rural and regional community.
Married to Leonie, the couple have four adult children.

Mitch Williams - Liberal Elected to the SA Parliament at the 1997 election, Mitch Williams has sat as the Member for MacKillop since then. He has risen as far as deputy leader of the Liberal Party in SA and has also held the position of Shadow Minister for Water Security. His belief is water is one of the most, if not the single most important issue facing SA, having been a member of the SE Water Conservation and Drainage Board before entering politics. Mr Williams has been a farmer for most of his working life at Mount Burr, and has a first-hand understanding of running a business in a rural and regional community. Married to Leonie, the couple have four adult children.

Donella Peters - Greens
Donella Peters, based in the Adelaide Hills' Heysen electorate, is running as the Greens candidate in this election.
She believes her party is a clean alternative to the Liberal and Labor parties.
"I believe every South Australian should have the option to vote for a compassionate and environmentally-friendly alternative to the major parties," she said.
"I'm passionate about strong communities and wanted to stand as a candidate in this election to give everyone a chance to vote for a better way for SA."
Ms Peters' love of the country spurred her to join politics and she said her party was concerned about the environmental impact mining would have on the State's farmland.

Donella Peters - Greens Donella Peters, based in the Adelaide Hills' Heysen electorate, is running as the Greens candidate in this election. She believes her party is a clean alternative to the Liberal and Labor parties. "I believe every South Australian should have the option to vote for a compassionate and environmentally-friendly alternative to the major parties," she said. "I'm passionate about strong communities and wanted to stand as a candidate in this election to give everyone a chance to vote for a better way for SA." Ms Peters' love of the country spurred her to join politics and she said her party was concerned about the environmental impact mining would have on the State's farmland.

Steve Davies - independent
Millicent man Steve Davies has thrown his hat into the ring as an independent candidate.
Born and bred in the SE with a background in the shearing and paper industries, Mr Davies believes MacKillop is a forgotten seat due to its safe Liberal standing and he is determined to change that.
Tackling unemployment is one of Mr Davies' big focuses.
He is pro-mining, believing the revival of the industry in the SE will help create more work.
"We're sitting on a resource and yet we've got 40 per cent unemployment - it's intolerable," he said.

Steve Davies - independent Millicent man Steve Davies has thrown his hat into the ring as an independent candidate. Born and bred in the SE with a background in the shearing and paper industries, Mr Davies believes MacKillop is a forgotten seat due to its safe Liberal standing and he is determined to change that. Tackling unemployment is one of Mr Davies' big focuses. He is pro-mining, believing the revival of the industry in the SE will help create more work. "We're sitting on a resource and yet we've got 40 per cent unemployment - it's intolerable," he said.

Bill Pomery - Family First
A former mayor of Naracoorte, Bill Pomery is a well-known local identity.
At 89 years old he is MacKillop's oldest candidate by far, but in his words "life is the greatest teacher".
Mr Pomery holds strong views about family, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, foreign ownership, the decriminalisation of prostitution and abortion as well as many other issues.
He has been a member of the Family First Party from almost the start and was asked to stand by the party because of his standing in the community.
Mr Pomery is also a strong campaigner for the health system, believing the current government has placed too much emphasis on sport, such as with the Adelaide Oval redevelopment.

Bill Pomery - Family First A former mayor of Naracoorte, Bill Pomery is a well-known local identity. At 89 years old he is MacKillop's oldest candidate by far, but in his words "life is the greatest teacher". Mr Pomery holds strong views about family, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, foreign ownership, the decriminalisation of prostitution and abortion as well as many other issues. He has been a member of the Family First Party from almost the start and was asked to stand by the party because of his standing in the community. Mr Pomery is also a strong campaigner for the health system, believing the current government has placed too much emphasis on sport, such as with the Adelaide Oval redevelopment.

Terry Soulmatis - ALP
The youngest of the candidates at 22 years of age, Mr Soulmatis has spent his campaign travelling to and from MacKillop.
The major issue for the electorate in his eyes is jobs and growing industry.
Mr Soulmatis is based in Adelaide and has worked in a number of electoral offices, he has been a member of the Labor Party since the age of 14.
Although he has never lived in MacKillop, Mr Soulmatis has travelled to the district in his role as candidate and also as a recreational fisherman.
He has also been involved in the United Voice - a union campaigning for the rights of workers.

Terry Soulmatis - ALP The youngest of the candidates at 22 years of age, Mr Soulmatis has spent his campaign travelling to and from MacKillop. The major issue for the electorate in his eyes is jobs and growing industry. Mr Soulmatis is based in Adelaide and has worked in a number of electoral offices, he has been a member of the Labor Party since the age of 14. Although he has never lived in MacKillop, Mr Soulmatis has travelled to the district in his role as candidate and also as a recreational fisherman. He has also been involved in the United Voice - a union campaigning for the rights of workers.

This story Who will lead the Mackillop electorate? first appeared on Naracoorte Herald.