Annabel Digance – Wikipedia

Australian politician

Annabel Faith Catford Digance is an Australian politician who represented the South Australian House of Assembly seat of Elder for the Labor Party from the 2014 state election until her defeat at the 2018 state election.[3] She was an independent candidate for the South Australian Legislative Council in the 2022 South Australian state election and is awaiting trial on a charge of blackmail.[4]

Before politics[edit]

Digance has been a healthcare professional, company director, small businessperson and university lecturer. Digance holds multiple degrees including a Masters in Health Service Management, and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.[3]

Federal candidate[edit]

Digance contested the federal seat of Boothby for Labor at the 2010 and 2013 elections.[3] She nearly won the traditionally fairly safe Liberal seat of Boothby in 2010 with a 49.25 percent two-party vote.

South Australian parliament[edit]

Digance was the Labor Party candidate for the state seat of Elder in the 2014 South Australian state election. The southern half of Elder overlapped with Boothby.[5] Digance won the two-party-preferred vote with 51.8% of the votes.[6]

The Liberal candidate, Carolyn Habib, was targeted by a Labor Party flyer headlined “Can You Trust Habib?”, which the Liberals described as a racist attack on her surname and Lebanese heritage.[7] Seven years later, Digance apologised, saying that she did not know in advance about the flyer, and that she was also a victim.[8]

A redistribution ahead of the 2018 state election erased Digance’s majority in Elder and gave the Liberals a notional 4.3 percent majority.[9] Digance opted to stand for re-election and was defeated by Liberal Carolyn Habib.

After parliament[edit]

In 2019, Digance had been an associate professor in health administration at Flinders University, with a focus on aged care and ethics.[10]

Annabel Digance and her husband Greg Digance were arrested on 14 April 2021 for allegedly blackmailing South Australian opposition leader, Peter Malinauskas.[11] They are alleged to have threatened to make false accusations about Malinauskas if he did not orchestrate Digance’s return to politics through a safe seat, a seat in the South Australian Legislative Council or the Australian Senate.[1]

They appeared in the Adelaide Magistrates Court and were released on bail later the same day.[10] The couple were refused permission to travel interstate without seeking formal permission each time.[12] In October, a lawyer for Annabel Digance said his client would not be entering a plea and sought to have the case thrown out, saying that the case was a malicious prosecution by Malinauskas.[13] In December, magistrate Simon Smart determined that there is a case to answer. Both Annabel and Greg Digance pleaded not guilty, and their first appearance in the District Court of South Australia was set for 11 March 2022, less than two weeks before the state election.[14]

Annabel and Greg Digance nominated as independent candidates for the Legislative Council under the label Independent Annabel Digance.[15] They were unsuccessful, with a total of 2359 votes, the second-lowest of twenty groups on the ballot paper.[16]

On 11 March, both Annabel and Greg Digance pleaded not guilty to the charge and a trial date was set for May 2023, with ten days allowed to hear 23 witnesses. Following the brief court appearance, Annabel Digance read a two-page statement calling on voters to vote for her.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Hunt, Nigel; Fewster, Sean (14 April 2021). “Political bombshell: Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas allegedly blackmailed by former MP”. The Advertiser. Retrieved 14 April 2021.
  2. ^ “Annabel Faith Catford Digance”. Member Details. Parliament of South Australia. Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  3. ^ a b c Green, Antony. “Elder”. SA Votes – South Australian Election 2014. ABC.
  4. ^ a b Cosenza, Emily (11 March 2022). “Former MP Annabel Digance, who allegedly blackmailed Labor leader, makes pitch for votes in upcoming election”. NCA NewsWire. Retrieved 11 March 2022 – via Cairns Post.
  5. ^ Location SA Map Viewer showing 2010, 2013 and 2014 electoral boundaries (Map). Government of South Australia. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  6. ^ “2014 State Election Results Elder”. Electoral Commission of South Australia. 17 April 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  7. ^ Davidson, Helen (12 March 2014). “Labor election pamphlet a ‘thinly veiled racist attack’. The Guardian. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  8. ^ “Former SA Labor MP Annabel Digance claims she was also a victim of her party’s racist flyer”. ABC News. 29 March 2021. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  9. ^ “Final Redistribution Report”. Electoral Districts Boundaries Commission. 8 December 2016.
  10. ^ a b Campbell, Claire (14 April 2021). “Former SA Labor MP Annabel Digance and husband granted bail on blackmail charge”. ABC News. Retrieved 14 April 2021.
  11. ^ “Former SA Labor MP Annabel Digance charged with blackmailing Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas”. ABC News. 14 April 2021. Retrieved 14 April 2021.
  12. ^ Campbell, Claire (10 August 2021). “Former MP charged with blackmailing SA Labor leader blocked from unrestricted travel”. ABC News. Retrieved 16 August 2021.
  13. ^ Fewster, Sean (5 October 2021). “Ex-MP Annabel Digance tells court her blackmail case is ‘malicious prosecution’ by Peter Malinauskas”. The Advertiser. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  14. ^ Lee, Stacey (15 December 2021). “Former MP Annabel Digance and husband, Greg, to stand trial, accused of blackmailing Labor leader Peter Malinauskas”. ABC News. Retrieved 29 January 2022.
  15. ^ “Legislative Council candidates 2022”. Electoral Commission of South Australia. Retrieved 8 March 2022.
  16. ^ “Legislative Council Results”. ABC News. 27 April 2022. Retrieved 1 May 2022.

External links[edit]