Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bathurst (Key Seat)

Current MP: Gerard Martin (ALP), since 1999. He is retiring at this election.
Margin: ALP by 13%
History: Based on Bathurst, Lithgow and surrounding rural areas, this seat is typically a safe one for the ALP due to the high Labor vote in the big towns of Lithgow and Bathurst. However, the seat has been won by conservative parties in the past.
Candidates: The new Labor candidate is Dale Turner, an operator of a property conveyancing with his wife. Nationals candidate is Paul Toole, the local mayor of Bathurst Council.
Issues: A seat where privatisation might hurt.
Observation: On paper, this seat is safe for Labor. However, before the 1999 election, it was held by Labor by a margin of less than 1%, and the MP is retiring. There was also a big swing towards the Nationals at the federal election in this seat and it won't surprise if the Nationals pick it up. There could also be an independent challenge here somewhere.


Current MP: Kevin Humphries (National), since 2007
2007 margin: 6.2% for Nationals (over an independent)
History: Based on the vast area of Northern NSW, this electorate does not seem to have a base. The seat used to be a bellwether, but since the 1950's it has been held by the Nationals.
Candidates: Kevin Humphries is probably running again. No sign of an independent challenger or a Labor candidate yet.
Observation: While this seat is safe for the Nationals, other country electorates have had an independent challenger who have either won or done well in a country seat. However, the fact that it contains about a quarter of NSW means that it is harder for an independent to get a large enough vote to win.
Prediction: Nationals retain


Current MP: Tony Stewart since 1995 (ALP). He is retiring at this election.
2007 margin: ALP by 25.4%
History: Another seat based on Labor's ethnic, working class heartland. For all of it's history it has been held by the ALP, and it's been around since the 20's!
Candidates: The new candidate is local mayor Tania Mihailuk. It does not look like a Liberal candidate has been selected, showing their hopes in winning this seat.
Observation: This seat is very safe for Labor and the corresponding federal seat (Blaxland) did not get a big bump in the Labor margin like other similar seats.
Prediction: Labor retain

Monday, December 20, 2010

Balmain (Key Seat)

Current MP: Verity Firth since 2007 (ALP). She is the Minister for Education.
2007 margin: ALP by 3.7% vs the Greens
History: The area where Labor was founded, it was traditionally a very safe area for Labor, but the times are changing. Gentrification has changed the area from a seaside industrial area to a trendy place to live close to the CBD. While for whatever reason the seat is not at risk to the Liberals, it is one of the best areas in Australia for the Greens, with the Greens controlling Leichhardt Council, which runs through the seat.
Candidates: Although there were rumours that she wouldn't, Verity Firth is running again. The Greens candidate is local mayor Jamie Parker. Liberal candidate is James Falk.
Issues: There's always one. Verity Firth's husband Matthew Chesheh, a staffer to Roads Minister David Borger, was caught over possession of a ecstasy pill, which forced him to tender his resignation as a staffer. While this will hurt in many seats, in a hippie seat like Balmain, it may get her some sympathy.
Observation: Gentrification is wrecking the ALP alive here. Although Firth is a lot better than most of the ALP hacks, it is hard for her to retain the seat, and the Greens have put up a good candidate (unlike a lot of people which seem to be borderline-Communists, not that there's that much problem with it :p), so you'd expect that the Greens will finally win a lower house electorate at state level with single-member constituency's. The thing that may save Labor is sympathy over the drug scandal, plus a possible rise in the Liberal vote may give Labor a chance under OPV, and even give themselves an outside chance of snatching this seat.
Prediction: GREENS GAIN


Current MP: Don Page (National) since 1988.
2007 margin: Nationals by 14.5%
History: Based on the North Coast, at federal level it is a former Nationals heartland that is drifting strongly towards the ALP. However, at state level, it is still a safe Nationals seat, perhaps because Labor haven't tried hard enough, or maybe because the high Green vote that is wiped out due to OPV. Interestingly, it contains Byron Shire, an area of massive Green support.
Candidates: It is expected that Page will run again, despite being in parliament for ages.
Observation: A safe Nationals seat (albeit one that could be more marginal if Labor tried harder), however given Labor's troubles, don't be surprised if the Greens finish 2nd here.
Prediction: Nationals retain


Current MP: Barbara Perry since 2003 (ALP). She is currently the minister for Local Government and Juvenile Justice.
2007 margin: ALP by 28.7%
History: Based on Labor's working class heartland, it is one of the safest seats in the country. It has a high proportion of Muslim's and it was once held by Jack Lang, the radical socialist Premier.
Candidates: Barbara Perry is running again. Liberal candidate is Ned Attie, who doesn't have a profile on the Liberal candidate website, perhaps a sign on how they see their attempts to win.
Observation: While the demographics overwhelmingly favour Labor, it is less safe due to the problems with the government. However, it is hard to see this seat falling even in a rout like this electorate.
Prediction: Labor retain


Well, I'm doing a review of all of the 93 electorates in NSW. Should be good reading.

Albury - named after the town Albury.

Incumbent MP: Greg Aplin (Liberal), since 2003.
2007 margin: LIB by 19.0%
History: Based on the border town of Albury, Albury is like many country electorates, a conservative hotbed. As it is largely Albury rather than having a lot of rural areas around it, it is held by the Liberals. Although a mayor won it in the 70's and 80's, it is hard to see it going anywhere else.
Candidates: No news about the Labor candidate, it is expected that Aplin will re-contest.
Observation: This seat is incredibly safe for Liberal and any year, let alone this year, it is very predictable.
Prediction: Liberal retain

Sunday, December 19, 2010

According to the pendulum, 6 seats are held by margins under 5%, these being Miranda, Menai, Wollondilly, Camden, Gosford and The Entrance. Liberal should win them all, as none of them (apart from maybe the Central Coast seats, which have retiring MP's and are drifting gradually towards Liberal, despite the recent federal election saying otherwise) are natural Labor seats. Wollondilly might be salvageable, as Phil Costa has a high local profile and the issues that are making people pissed off at Labor being less noticeable in a country seat.

A further 6 are held by margins between 5-10%, these being Monaro, Londonderry, Wyong, Coogee, Drummoyne and Heathcote. These should probably all fall too. Monaro could stay put, as Eden-Monaro swung to Labor and it's the sort of seat where a local profile of the MP might count despite everyone hating the ALP in NSW, but Eden-Monaro's generally a bellweather (since 1972, it has gone with whoever won power federally), and in Monaro, from 1941-1995, it went with whoever won power statewise, too. Heathcote's normally a safe Labor seat, but the high Green vote, which goes to Labor via preferences at federal level, might well exhaust, giving Liberal victory. Wyong is normally a Labor seat, too, but the Coast is moving to Liberal, so it'll probably be lost to the Liberals as well. The other 3 are demographically shifting to Liberal, and there's no reason why Labor should them (Drummoyne's having a lot of new housing developments which is pushing the real estate prices up, whereas Coogee's renters are being replaced by people who actually the money to be able to live there, and Londonderry I believe has some semi-rural Hawkesbury territory and outer suburban mortgage belt areas).

It's also worth having a look at; Riverstone, Rockdale, Blue Mountains, Mulgoa, Kiama, Bathurst, Parramatta, East Hills, Oatley, Strathfield, Maroubra and Kogarah. All are safe Labor seats, but for various reasons, are probably in play this year.

Balmain and Marrickville are at a big risk of falling to the Greens (Keira's an outside chance, especially given the retirement of David Campbell, but that would require something weird to happen), whereas seats like Newcastle, Maitland, Woolongong, among others, could fall to independents.

Hard to see any Liberal seats falling, although some independent seats might be at risk (Lake Macquarie's an outside chance of the Liberals overtaking the independent there, whereas a backlash in Tamworth and Port Macquarie following the decisions of Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott to support Labor against the electorate's wishes, means that the Nationals could win these back).

Further details will come on board once nominations begin. I'll write up a preview for all of the electorates, but only the edgy seats will have anything substantial however.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Well, I'm back posting. Apologies for a lack of updates, but I'm a lazy boy.

Anyway, the Victorian election caused a massive upset. Really massive. Ted Ballieu, who was only thought of as a potential premier a week before the election (and he was the opposition leader for 4 years! Fair dinkum!) won narrowly to knock out Brumby. Why this happened no-one knows. Bad weather causing Labor voters to cbf? The "fuck you" vote? Time for a change? Liberal putting the Greens last on HTV? (and yes, the Greens failed to win any seats, along with Craig Ingram losing to the Nationals, no seats were won by independents or minor parties). What it will mean is that no-one can take anything into account.

I'll post here occasionally about the NSW state election, where something big's likely to happen. Yes, we know that O'Farrell will most likely win. But by how much? If Victoria's anything to go by, it'll be a whitewash that makes 1988 look close. I'll post what seats you should watch later....