Catholic school teacher becomes Labor MP

An Adelaide Loreto teacher Chloe Fox achieved South Australia's largest swing to Labor - 14.9% - in Saturday's state election.

The Australian reports that Ms Fox was convinced prior to Saturday's poll that the count in the Adelaide beachside seat of Bright would go down to the wire.

Instead the 35-year-old school teacher and daughter of prominent children's author Mem Fox, transformed a marginal Liberal electorate into a Labor stronghold.

Ms Fox achieved a swing to Labor of 14.9 per cent, the largest in the state, claiming the seat held by the Liberals since 1989.

"I truly, honestly had no idea," Ms Fox said. "If you had talked to me on Thursday (before the poll) you would have found a flat Fox. I thought it would have gone down to about 100 votes at most."

Today, Ms Fox will resign from her job at an Adelaide Catholic girls' school and embark on a political career.

"That makes me a little sad," she admitted. "But I'm looking forward to representing the people of Bright adequately and equitably."

She defeated Liberal Angus Redford, who resigned from the upper house to contest the seat, held by retiring former Liberal minister Wayne Matthew. During the campaign, Mr Matthew admitted he would not have retired had he known how close the contest would be.

Ms Fox, headhunted by the Labor Right, cut her teeth contesting the Liberal-held seat of Boothby in the 2004 federal election.

Brimming with idealism and belief in the power of grassroots community activism, she had worked the electorate since preselection in October 2004.

Her Liberal opponents griped that she was not visible on the ground. But Ms Fox, who received strong fundraising support from Labor women, was also helped by Premier Mike Rann who made several multi-million-dollar infrastructure pledges for Bright.

Swing makes Fox Labor's Bright star (The Australian 20/3/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Ms Chloe Fox, Candidate for Bright

School, home tie needed to fight obesity (Catholic Weekly 19/3/06)
Teacher vetting campaign lagging (The Age 14/3/06)
New ALP candidate has literary pedigree (The Age 28/6/04)

20 Mar 2006