NSW election: highlights of week one

The New South Wales election campaign has begun without me, with the press taking Sunday’s Labor campaign launch as its cue to open festivities with pendulums, key seat summaries and – in The Australian’s case – Malcolm Mackerras’s too-bold-for-his-own-good predictions. Mackerras has tipped that Labor will be returned with a one-seat majority following the loss of Penrith, Port Stephens, Menai, Miranda and Wollondilly (a new notional Labor seat on Sydney’s southern fringes) to the Liberals, Tweed and Monaro to the Nationals, and Newcastle to independent candidate John Tate. He also tips four independent-held seats will fall to the Coalition: Manly and Pittwater to the Liberals, and Dubbo and Tamworth to the Nationals.

For those as keen on a punt as Mackerras, books on the election are being run by SportingBet, Centrebet, Sportsbet and Sports Acumen. They are currently offering short odds on Morris Iemma remaining Premier: $1.16 compared with $4.50 for Peter Debnam for each agency except Sports Acumen, which is offering $1.17 and $4.40. SportingBet is also taking bets on 14 individual seats, with the odds currently on offer converting into the following percentages. Note that this indicates the likelihood of winning the seat, rather than predicted vote share.

Wyong 48.7 47.0 4.3
Port Stephens 61.4 34.1 4.5
Penrith 45.8 49.9 4.3
Sydney 24.7 3.7 2.3 52.2 17.1
Marrickville 58.2 3.2 1.9 36.7
Tweed 48.3 47.4 4.3
Pittwater 12.5 49.9 3.9 33.7
Auburn 80.1 5.1 14.8
Murray-Darling 58.4 37.3 4.3
Epping 24.7 70.6 4.6
Goulburn 24.8 67.0 8.3
Lakemba 71.1 24.3 4.6
Vaucluse 24.3 71.1 4.6
Macquarie Fields 61.4 34.1 4.5

The first batch of Campaign Update entries for the Poll Bludger election guide will read as follows:

Wyong (Labor 12.3%): The Liberal campaign for this winnable Central Coast seat is off to what could kindly be described as an awkward start. Yesterday, Simon Benson of the Daily Telegraph gleefully revealed the party’s candidate, Brenton Pavier, had a profile up on Fairfax’s RSVP dating website. Pavier proved good enough of a sport to accept the paper’s invitation for a "date" yesterday with its reporter Kate Sikora. Unfortunately, it was interrupted by a call to Pavier from Peter Debnam, who told him he was about to be disendorsed. His crime was to have forwarded an SMS message containing a rude joke to his fellow Wyong councillors. The Poll Bludger finds this a little severe, and wonders whether it might underscore concerns that the state party has become unduly doctrinaire and puritanical. Debnam has moved very quickly to replace him with the party’s candidate from 2003, Ben Morton (a "federal government adviser"), who was then 21 and is now 25.

Newcastle (Labor 15.4%): The Newcastle Herald published a poll of 300 voters on Tuesday which indicated Labor was set to lose the seat to an independent, with their candidate Jodi McKay on just 24.0 per cent. The apparent front-runner was Bryce Gaudry, the sitting Labor member who had been dumped for preselection, on 22.7 per cent. The other main independent, Newcastle lord mayor John Tate, was on 20.3 per cent, with the Greens on 11.0 per cent and the Liberals on 8.3 per cent. Damien Murphy of the Sydney Morning Herald reported that the result has "come as a shock to Labor strategists who thought Mr Tate was shaping as Ms McKay’s main rival".

The Entrance (Labor 9.7%): On Wednesday, The Australian’s Imre Salusinszky reported that polling by both parties had Labor member Grant McBride in "a virtually hopeless position", with "one senior local Labor Party figure" declaring the seat to be "gone". It was also reported that Labor’s state general secretary, Mark Arbib, was going to "warn the party to expect double-digit swings against its MPs". Other seats said to be at risk included Penrith, Miranda, Menai, Port Stephens and Murray-Darling (which has become a notional Nationals seat after the redistribution).

Maitland (Labor 10.3%): Peter Blackmore, former Liberal member now running as an independent, accused Labor candidate Frank Terenzini of breaching the Electoral Act after posters were nailed to power poles without the permission of the electricity provider. Yeah, I know, big deal. What actually caught my eye about the report in the Newcastle Herald was Terenzini’s campaign slogan: "Frank Terenzini, criminal prosecutor. Someone you can depend on".

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

34 comments on “NSW election: highlights of week one”

  1. If Malcolm Mackerras is predicting a 1-seat victory to the ALP, we can probably expect the government returned with an increased majority….

    Do my blogging companeros see any significance in the “goat-sex SMS” (as it is being referred to on Ninemsn) scandal? No doubt it will get a bit of run in the central coast newspapers, reinforcing the view that the Libs and Debnam are a bunch of incompetent amateurs.

  2. I read that story this morning before coming to this site.
    I thought it was pretty trivial (and slightly funny).
    If candidates get disendorsed for this type of thing then the WA Labor parliamentary party should be missing quite a few bodies after the CCC is done… fat chance

  3. Those individual seat odds are pretty weird. I don’t think the Greens have much chance of winning Marrikville or Sydney, certainly not as good as those. What is more, Balmain is clearly the best shot we have (although still very outside) so if you actually thought we were doing so well as to justify a 36% chance in Marrickville then surely you’d rate us in Balmain.

    Suggests to me that whatever evidence Andrew Leigh may have for the reliablity of betting companies at predicting polls overall they don’t do well on individual seats.

    I assume the odds of the Libs winning Tweed actually means the Nationals.

  4. It must be early days for the odds in each seat as the Liberal party will definitely get a lot more than 3.7% in Sydney – although there’s every chance the winner will be predicted.

  5. Wow, Mackeras thinks Pringle will keep Hawkesbury? I thought most pundits thought he would lose to the Libs.

    Oh and Londonderry, I have heard along the Grapevine that Labor might be very concerned with it. Correct me if I am wrong.

  6. More on goats and elections

    In Manly, The “Goat Lady” has reared her head as a possible candidate. She is a Seaforth person, rumoured to be funded by one of the major parties and who has achieved a certain degreee of prominence, not least because of the goat issue (read the Manly Daily for edification). Said to be a spoiler for the Independent David Barr, a 1 or 2% vote in her direction could be critical.

  7. The redistribution has cut Labor’s margin in Londonderry (and Riverstone) by adding Liberal-friendly areas around the Hawkesbury. It’s possible that a combination of demographic change and natural correction of the inflated margin could make both seats interesting.

  8. Swing…. what swing?

    The last two years of polls in NSW before the 2003 election showed an upward drift in the ALP TPP which, when projected forward as a linear regression to the election, gave a TPP of 59.6%. This was calculated on the basis of Newspoll+Morgan+Nielsen polls. Over that two years, the ALP TPP grew by about 0.07% per month. The actual election returned an average TPP of 56.2%, an error on prediction of 3.4%. This was due mainly to a “droop” occurring from about December 2002.

    In the two year period 2004-early 2007, the upward drift of the ALP TPP is also about 0.07% per month. Projected to election day, the line points at a TPP of 58.6%. So far (to Jan 2007) there is no sign of a “droop”, indeed the ALP TPP seems to be inching up even faster. But, if we DO get a 2002/2003-type “droop” (3.2%) from the polls done in early 2007, the TPP on election day would be 55.2%, a swing of 1% against the Government and lead to a loss of zero seats, if evenly distributed. Recent Iemma schemozzles might enlarge the droop. It needs to be about 6.3% average before the Govt. will start losing seats. Sounds like a big ask.

    There are no Nielsen numbers in the 2004-2007 data. Nielsen has a long time record of posting lower ALP TPPs than the other 2. A Newspoll is due out “soon”, another regularly scheduled Morgan poll would not normally surface for about 2-3 weeks.

  9. I think Mackerras is off the mark once more, and I think Imre Saluzinsky is just being hopeful (considering that it’s the Australian).

    I’m not seeing this swing to the Coalition, even with the polling going around saying The Entrance might be in trouble. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Coalition won Monaro – second most marginal seat, good National candidate, sensible campaign, sitting member not coming off well, but my guess at this point is that Labor will even hold Tweed. I’d also tip Labor to hold Murray-Darling, despite it being a notional Coalition seat.

    As for the independents, I expect the Liberals to gain Hawkesbury and Manly (the latter due to the incumbent’s low profile and the Liberals having had the good sense to run a decent candidate), but I think people are being far too cynical about Alex McTaggart in Pittwater – I’d expect him to have little trouble holding that seat (high-profile local mayor before taking seat easily in by-election, incumbent independent, running against a former party staffer, even if it is a Brogden one).

    I’d also be surprised if Labor doesn’t win in Newcastle – Gaudry strikes me as having been too low-profile to win as an independent, and Tate can’t have helped his chances by trying to be installed by ALP head office as the Labor candidate and pulling out when that got too controversial.

  10. please see my earlier post about the lack of consistency in Mr Mackerras”
    upper & lower house predections in his Australian article.
    He is predicting approx 5% plus swing against Labor in the Assemby
    and in the upper house an iimputed 54/46 %vote I sugguest he is only
    guessing for both.

  11. Pardon my ignorance, but who is the Manly goat lady? Does she have some connection with goat-sex in Wyong? Why don’t we get good stuff like this in Victorian elections?

  12. From reading all the way through all this election stuff, god Iemma is unconvincing and so is Dennam. I pity the poor New South Wales voters. Just all do donkey votes for me (especially for the Donkey Party or the Silly Party (Monty Pythom reference.)

  13. re: Wyong, I see Brenton Pavier has told the Telegraph that he will be running as an Independent against Morton. The Tele is also suggesting that ‘his popularity has soared’, showing he could be a threat. Story at:
    Also, David Moulds, local butcher and sometimes Independent is the endorsed Liberal for Keira. He ran for Cunningham in 2002 & 2004, and Wollongong in 2003, each time as an Independent, because, I understand, the Libs wouldn’t endorse him. Seems he’s finally got his chance!

  14. “Also, David Moulds, local butcher and sometimes Independent is the endorsed Liberal for Keira. He ran for Cunningham in 2002 & 2004, and Wollongong in 2003, each time as an Independent, because, I understand, the Libs wouldn’t endorse him. Seems he’s finally got his chance!”

    Three mega-safe Labor seats; you wonder why he’d bother

  15. Malcolm Mackerras is an absolute gentlemen and a great Australian. He is one of the nation’s most well-known psephologists, and with some justification, and he has made an invaluable contribution to public awareness of elections. Having said that, why is it that The Australian and so many others in the media still place so much weight on his predictions? Clearly his finger is right off the pulse and it has been for some time. He has been consistently wrong on so many occasions (at state and federal elections), why would anyone take any notice?

    As a Nat sympathiser, I sincerely hope he is on the money with Tamworth, Dubbo, Tweed and Monaro. However, my knowledge of coalition polling combined with what I have read here and read and heard in other places, tells me the Nats do not have a hope in Tweed and Dubbo and are well behind in Monaro. Mad-Macks (apparently) also negates to mention Murray-Darling where Peter Black is looking the goods – something supported by the percentages appearing above.

    As for the predicted Liberal gains, wasn’t Penrith a seat where there was a (comparatively speaking) huge swing against the ALP at the last election? Why Port Stephens? Surely not a seat where public transport and other infrastructure are likely to be key issues.

  16. Three quick points:
    1. Penrith – A few years since I have been involved but swings against Labor have occurred when ” Big Jim” Aitken has been the Liberal candidate. He had an almost unlimited, self-provided budget, a big profile and worried Labor. At the end of the last election, Brogden announced that he would be the “shadow member” for Penrith and would continue to campaign until the next election. For reasons that I don’t know he is not the candidate and the loss of his personal vote will be interesting. It has been suggested that he is either ill or his extreme rightness was too much even for the NSW liberals
    2. C-Woo, what sort of information are you getting in Adelaide that says Iemma is a disaster?
    3. Indigenous vote (from previous thread) I have searched the internet for research on the rural indigenous vote in NSW without success. The only figures I know are that Myall Lakes has about a 3.5% indigenous vote. About 10% of the indigenous voters live at Purfleet, which is 100% indigenous. The booth frequently returns a 50% 2pp for the Nationals. It would be interesting to look at the returns from similar booths in NSW but I think it is wrong to assume that rural Kooris vote overwhelmingly for Labor


    # Adam Says:

    Pardon my ignorance, but who is the Manly goat lady? Does she have some connection with goat-sex in Wyong? Why don’t we get good stuff like this in Victorian elections?

    The Manly Doily had this to say last week:

    Goat Lady chews fat on running

    THE woman known as the “Goat Lady of Seaforth” may join the battle for Manly at the March state election. Penelope Wynne confirmed yesterday that she was considering standing as an independent candidate against sitting MP David Barr. “I’ve been approached by a lot of people. . . but I’ve got four children so it is a big thing do,” she said. “I am still considering it at this stage.”

    With a small margin, Manly is set to be a close and keenly fought battle.
    So far there are five candidates – Mr Barr, Mike Baird (Liberal), Sarah Weate (Greens), Daniel Pearce (ALP) and Wally Vanderpoll (CDP).
    Manly councillor Mark Norek ruled out a run, despite speculation that he would also stand as an independent. “No definitely not,” he said yesterday. Mr Norek ran as an independent for Manly in 2003, but he said he had “bigger priorities” now with his wife Vicki pregnant.

    As for the goats, the matter is sub judice- they are taking action in the Supreme Court. You can always Google on Manly and “Goat Lady” and be bombarded with a plethora of stories from the past couple of years. The matter is complicated by the involvement of long-aspiring, but never pre-selected, Liberal candidate “Rubber Dougie” Price.

  18. Anyone see the story in the Sun Herald yesterday about independents getting the balance of power and demanding Joe Tripodi be sacked?

    Sounds like a plan…

    And also the article in the Sunday Telegraph saying it was all bulls**t.

  19. Rob Oakeshott who is supposed to be one of the conspiring independents has announced locally that it is bulls**t – It is not his job to pck and choose the ministry. Sounds like disinformation – there was a story in the Terror last week that the Liberals claimed their polling showed Costa, Tripodi and Sartor were NSWs most unpopular ministers. Sounds like turning these three into ogres is a strand to the liberal campaign. I wonder if it is a coincidence that all three have a European background.

  20. Of course it is. The Liberals and their friends in the media have been planning all along to run an “underground campaign” on the basis that the Labor government is run by wogs – Iemma, Costa, Della Bosca, Tripodi, Roozendahl, Obeid, Hatzistergos, Orkopolis… To quote Tony Abbott: “Aren’t there any AUSTRALIANS in the Australian Labor Party?” we will hear much more of this.

  21. So Oakeshott describes the Sun – Herald Tripodi story as b****s***t, according to Oakeshootcountry and Torbay has denied any knowledge of it. Alex Mitchell reported the story as told to him bty an unidentified “senior independent”. I have enough faith in the Mitchell ( or for that matter any journalist) to ethically report . It is preposterous to suggest that Alex Mitchell made the story up just to sell a few more papers. Some-one is engaged in “political mischief making”. Obviously Alex Mitchell knows who it is. The question is will he be able reveal who it is – given his ethical obligations of confidentiality which was obviously requested by the “senior independent” when the story was given to Mitchell.

  22. Someone earlier mentioned that John McInerney, Sydney City Councillor might be standing as an Independent candidate in Heffron. I found out today that he is in fact standing as a candidate for the Climate Change Coalition in the Legislative Council. As he appears to be about No 7 on their ticket headed by Patricia Newell he has no prospect of being elected. They might get one candidate elected to the Upper House ( an expert can say what the quota is – but it is somewhere around 4.5%), but I cant foresee their group getting 33% of the vote.

    Alex Turvey.

  23. I’d be very surprised if the “Climate change coalition” wins a single seat. Does anyone else think that this just sounds like a group with a catchy name-of-the-moment-to-win-a-seat type situation, similar to “Better future for our children”?

    The Greens will probably win most of the votes the “climate change coalition” will be hoping for.

  24. Talking of Goats ……

    With reference to Geoff Lambert’s comments to Adam on the “Goat Lady” of Seaforth. The issue is not complicated. The Wynne’s were up against a ridiculous situation with Manly Council. Penny Wynne (a mother of 4) put goats on their land with the statement “these are the only kids that can live here”. I understand the goats have now gone. There is not now nor has there ever been a court case about the goats. There was only an LEC case against Manly Council which the Wynne’s won. There is no Supreme Court case and there is no instance of sub-judice.

    I am amazed Mr Lambert is so confused about this as I understand he is the spouse of Dr Judy Lambert, Manly Councillor (Greens) who is often found on the same side of the Council Chamber as Mayor Macdonald (Independent – although I use the term in its loosest sense!).

    This kind of misinformation and “hint at legal issues so nothing more can be said” tactic is so very typical of Manly Council. Ms Wynne, if elected, plans to do something about the Local Council. Perhaps that explains Councillor Lambert’s husband’s confusion?!

    Party Candidates get elected, Independents rarely do. It follows then, that if you scratch the surface of an Independent you will find underneath a very good reason for their Candidacy. Register as an Independent in a 27% safe, political, Party in power, seat and obviously, unless the Independent is mathmatically illiterate, the Independent knows, before the Elections completes, they are set for an unholy poll thrashing.

    Savour then the sweetest victory of this Independent Candidate, facing such a thrashing , who, 2 hours before the close of business, the day before the Poll takes place, is advised that he had won the reason for his Independent Candidacy.

    Explanation: Aussie-Stone stood in Keira , David Campbell’s seat. Mr Campbell being the Minister for the Department of Regional Development. Rural economies in NSW are experiencing extreme, extreme, hardship due to an unending drought.

    You would believe that any development offering any economic relief would be welcomed. Yet for 3 years the NSW DOSRD has buried a new, globally unique, rural development initiative, offering benfits to Australia, Sydney and many SME in inland NSW.

    This was a industry development initiative, researched extensively over 3 months, prior to a 2 day, DOSRD convened, public meeting in Bourke in September, 2003. At that meeting the 45 delegates representing DOSRD, Tourism NSW, Tourist Associations, Councils, NPWS and Aboriginal Elders or their representatives, unanimously agreed to progress the initiative. From that time, Sepetmber 2003, the DOSRD buried the original proposal and the idea has not been progressed. For 3 years Aussie-Stone has been asking the NSW DOSRD but this has produced no answers.

    Lobbies to all MPs on both sides , David Campbell’s Office and the NSW Premier produced requests to the DOSRD to please answer the questions but have produced no answersd. That is why Aussie-Stone states he was driven to stand in Keira, the Ministers Seat, to find out who runs NSW, the Minister or his Department.

    Sweet victory is the Candidates. 2 hours before the close of business, the day before the Poll, the NSW Premiers Office emailed Aussie-Stone to advise the Premier had directed his questions be put back to the NSW DOSRD, of course, this time, to be answered.

    Aussie-Stone will be defeated as the Independent Candidate for Keira but he has already won the reasons for his Candidacy.

    Anyone seeking the full background story need only do a Google search for “Aboriginal Highway” and click on the National Community Activists Web Site, http://www.pigswillfly.com where you can read the full story.

  26. When you are on the National Community Activists Web Site http://www.pgswillfly.com.au , in order to read material relevant to this Poll Bludger BLOG you need to use their onsite search engine and search for “Aboriginal Highway”. Also on this site is the ABC Radio interview of Aussie-Stone on the reasons for his Keira Independent Candidacy. Thank you.

  27. The results for the Keira Electorate are in.

    In addition to the recent request by NSW Premier, to the DOSRD, close to 700 primary votes were lodged in support of Aussie-Stone’s campaign to have the NSW DOSRD answer the question put to it for the past 3 years

    This question asks why DOSRD Departmental Officers have not supported progressing the original, approved, Aboriginal and Outback Experiences Super Highway.

    This is a concept designed specially to progress, increased overseas visitors to NSW, and SME businesses in Sydney and inland NSW.

  28. Correction to my last post.

    At the close of counting close to 900 primary votes were lodged for Aussie-Stone in support of my Electoral request to have the NSW DOSRD answer the questions put to it for the past 3 years.

    It now remains to be seen whether the NSW DOSRD will constructively answer those questions so that we can all return, as the one team, to progressing the superb concept of creating Australia’s first, and a globally unique, model , “Aboriginal and Outback Experiences Super Highway”.

    A Highway that I am networked to have many of the world’s 1400 leading travel and conservation journalists, freely write about.

    I remain perplexed as to why that is such a difficult thing to do. The NSW DOSRD has a staff of hundreds and budget of millions. Why do they want to continue not to meet their Department’s mission brief to develop regional NSW and to continue to make it impossible for me to assist progress a project that “all” delegates to their DOSRD 2003 Bourke Aboriginal tourism Development Conference “unanimously” voted to have progressed ?

    Talk about ” doing an “osterich”.

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