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

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