PM unveils Labor’s pick for tight Sturt race

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has revealed who he has backed to run as Labor’s candidate for an ultra-marginal Adelaide federal seat.

Jun 06, 2024, updated Jun 06, 2024
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese speaking to Labor's candidate for Sturt, Claire Clutterham, in Adelaide this morning. Photo: Twitter

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese speaking to Labor's candidate for Sturt, Claire Clutterham, in Adelaide this morning. Photo: Twitter

Albanese this morning revealed lawyer and local councillor Claire Clutterham was his pick to run as Labor’s candidate against Liberal MP James Stevens in the ultra-marginal eastern suburbs seat.

Clutterham is a special counsel at LK Law and an elected Norwood Payneham and St Peters councillor.

Her resume includes stints at Boeing as deputy director of contracts and at submarine builder ASC as deputy general counsel.

Albanese said Clutterham had “been an advocate for South Australians all her life, and I’ve asked her to stand as Labor’s candidate for Sturt”.

A Labor Party source said Albanese took a keen interest in Sturt, with Clutterham pursued by both the party and the PM to run.

Photo: Twitter

Party nominations for the seat are still open until midday tomorrow but no one else is expected to put their hand up after the PM made clear his preference.

Legal service commission executive Alice Rolls, who ran for Labor in the 2022 Bragg state by-election, was also sounded out last year to run in Sturt but declined.

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Clutterham is aligned with Labor’s right faction and is understood to have attended a factional meeting on Monday night.

Labor Unity has oversight of the Sturt campaign while the Left will try to sandbag Louise Miller-Frost’s ultra-marginal seat of Boothby at the next federal election.

Sturt is the Liberal Party’s last remaining seat in metropolitan Adelaide. It was once the stronghold of former Liberal MP and minister Christopher Pyne but is now the party’s second-most marginal seat on a razor-thin 0.5 per cent.

Stevens, who was first elected in 2019, suffered a more than seven per cent swing against him in 2022 to hold on by just over 1000 votes against Labor’s previous candidate, Sonja Baram.

The swing came off the back of a surge in votes for the Greens. The minor party netted 16.4 per cent of the primary vote in Sturt last federal election – 5.2 percentage points more than in 2019.

The Greens last month preselected federal staffer and state co-convenor Katie McCusker to run for a second time in Sturt.

Stevens’ position looks even more vulnerable after this year’s state by-election in Dunstan, where Labor knocked off the Liberals amid a surge in minor party voting.

Sturt covers the whole seat of Dunstan and spreads further northeast into Rostrevor, Newton and Highbury and south into Glenside, Burnside and Myrtle Bank.

The eastern suburbs electorate looms as a possible seat for a teal independent to target, with the Simon Holmes à Court-backed Climate 200 group open to backing an independent campaign in Sturt or Grey.

Climate 200 held its first event in Adelaide in April. The group supported independent Mayo MP Rebekha Sharkie in 2022 along with independent campaigns run by Jo Dyer in Boothby and Liz Habermann in Grey.

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