Seat of the week: Parramatta

With the Poll Bludger’s threadbare federal election guide nearing completion (to be fleshed out further in coming months as much as time permits), the time has come to reactivate the dormant Seat of the Week series. We return with the seat of Parramatta, where Labor member Julie Owens’ 0.8 per cent margin has turned into a notional Liberal margin of 1.1 per cent following the redistribution. The electorate now covers an elongated strip from Carlingford and Dundas west to Kings Langley and Blacktown, with the southern boundary running just south of the Parramatta town centre.

A quarter of this territory consists of an area gained from Greenway to the west, from Grantham and Prospect north through Seven Hills and eastern Blacktown to Kings Langley. The new area follows the rest of the electorate in that the northern part is strongly Liberal (as are Winston Hills and Carlingford to the east), while the remainder leans to Labor (as does Wentworthville and Parramatta itself). Similarly, the North Rocks area gained from northern neighbour Mitchell went 62-38 the Liberals’ way in 2004. Elizabeth Wynhausen of The Australian writes of a “faultline” through the electorate which separates Sydney’s poorer south-west, including Lebanese and Iranian enclaves at Harris Park and North Parramatta, from “stolid Winston Hills in the north”. Much of the former area, including 29,000 voters in Westmead, Harris Park, Rosehill, Rydalmere and Dundas, has now been tranferred to the electorate’s southern neighbour, Reid.

Parramatta was created at federation, shrinking over time from Sydney’s broad north-western outskirts into the immediate area of the town itself. A conservative stronghold until 1929, it was held for the first 20 years by Joseph Cook, who served as Liberal prime minister from June 1913 to September 1914. Labor’s only win prior to 1977 came with the election of Jim Scullin’s government in 1929, when their candidate Albert Rowe picked up a 13.4 per cent swing. This was undone with a vengeance when the Scullin government was defeated in 1931, when the seat swung 19.5 per cent to the newly founded United Australia Party. Subsequent members included Sir Frederick Stewart, who served as External Affairs Minister for one highly eventful year from 1940 to 1941; Sir Garfield Barwick, Menzies government External Affairs Minister and Attorney-General, and later controversial Chief Justice of the High Court; and Philip Ruddock, who began his parliamentary career when he won the seat at a by-election in September 1973, adding 7.0 per cent to what had been an extremely narrow margin in 1972.

The watershed in the seat’s history came with a 1977 redistribution that effectively changed the existing seat’s name to Dundas, of which Philip Ruddock became the inaugural member, while creating a new seat of Parramatta that extended deep into Sydney’s Labor-voting west. The newly safe Labor seat was won by John Brown, the koala-hating Hawke government Tourism Minister who is remembered for inappropriate use of his ministerial desk. Brown resigned as minister in 1987 after misleading parliament and quit politics in 1990, when he was succeeded in Parramatta by Paul Elliott. Redistributions in 1984 and 1993 returned the seat to the marginal column by pulling it back to the east, reducing the margin to 1.0 per cent ahead of the 1993 election. Elliott was able to increase his margin on that occasion, but the 1996 election proved a bridge too far, with Liberal candidate Ross Cameron picking up the seat with a 7.1 per cent swing.

Despite sometimes making the news for the wrong reasons, Cameron held Parramatta against the 1998 GST swing (a relatively mild 1.1 per cent) and a highly unfavourable redistribution in 2001, which added much of the area now being returned to Reid. He was rewarded for the latter success with a parliamentary secretary position, and looked for all the world like a promising up-and-comer. Unfortunately, his career went into meltdown two months out from the 2004 election, when he felt compelled to tell Fairfax’s Good Weekend magazine that he had committed numerous infidelities throughout his married life, including a present affair which was under way while his wife was pregnant. Cameron became one of only three Coalition MPs to lose his seat (the others being Trish Worth in Adelaide and Larry Anthony in Richmond), suffering a small but decisive 1.9 per cent swing.

Labor’s winning candidate was Julie Owens (right), classically trained pianist, chief executive of the Association of Independent Record Labels and owner of an unspecified small business. Owens is associated with the Left faction, having won preselection with support from factional chieftain Laurie Ferguson. When speculation emerged that Ferguson’s neighbouring seat of Reid might be the one for the chop when New South Wales was cut from 50 seats to 49, Ferguson openly mused that he might have to fall back on Parramatta. While that was not to be, Owens was done a poor turn of a different kind by the redistribution, and must now pick up another swing in order to retain her seat. After much speculation that former navy officer Tim Bolitho was the front-runner, the Liberals have preselected another former navy man in Colin Robinson, who now works as an electrician and is a member of the Electrical Trades Union. A certainly lack of urgency surrounding the Liberals’ search for a new candidate was noted, prompting suggestions that the party is not wildly optimistic about its chances.

See Crikey’s marginal seat guide for my precision-tooled electorate maps marking 2004 two-party and swing results in each individual booth.

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.

132 comments on “Seat of the week: Parramatta”

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  1. Hi William,

    What strikes me as odd, is that for the most part the ALP voting booths and Liberal voting booths seem to be separated by a curved line running east west through the middle of the electorate (ALP to the south, Liberal to the north), whereas the swings in 2004, for the most part, were towards the ALP to the east of and to the Liberals west of a line running north south, but west of centre.

    Can you or anyone else knowledgeable about the geography and demographics of the electorate briefly explain this please?

  2. Being from Melbourne, I’m not an expert, but as I recall;

    The pro-ALP swing in most of the electorate is basically consistent with the swings against the PM in most booths in (adjoining) Bennelong.

    Yes, the pro-Liberal swing in this electorate (with its new boundaries) is confined to booths formerly in Greenway where there was a vile campaign against the ALP candidate, based on his Muslim faith.

    While not commenting on the candidates’ respective abilities, the Liberal candidate’s sincerity or her role in this aspect of the campaign, the ALP candidate was rejected by voters and the Hillsong Liberal triumphed

    – altogether a shameful period in the mainly proud and secular political history of the land of the ‘fair go’. Perhaps this is an early stage in the Balkanisation (or Lebanonising) of Australian politics.

  3. Fargo61,

    In answer to the first question we could say that – if it’s not being too glib – this is where North Shore Sydney meets Western Sydney.

    The answer to the second question has to do with the electoral geography of 2004. It’s pretty clear that, for whatever reason, Greenway swung to (and was delivered to) the Libs whilst Parramatta swung to (and was delivered to) the ALP.

    The apparent cause of the Parramatta result in 2004 is discussed above. In Greenway there was a retiring ALP member; and the new Lib candidate seemed to go down better than the new ALP candidate.

  4. We should not discount the amount of hard yakka Julie Owens put in before the last election. My sister who lived in the electorate (she’s now redistributed back to Reid) said JO was everywhere during the campaign. She has also been a high profile, hard working local member. She still seems to be everywhere, despite a none too friendly local press (she gets more coverage at the Blacktown end of the electorate)

  5. Oh yeah and as a semi local I can agree with the North SHore meets the West categorisation. Kings Langley and the areas gained from Mitchell have delusions of Grandeur and see themselves as ‘The Hills’ and nothing less!

  6. Paul,

    I remember Louise Markus copped a fair bit for being a member of Hillsong; the whole “ultra-conservative Christian” thing being just as much as issue for her as the “Muslim” thing was for Ed Husic. You can’t blame the defeat solely on that.

    The main reason Labor lost was demographic change in the electorate, perhaps combined with a feeling Labor was taking the seat for granted with a succession of backbench-warmers. It was always going to be the sort of seat the Liberals could win if they had the momentum in the election overall (which they did), and the better candidate (Markus was at least the more presentable candidate).

    Back on topic, Parramatta is probably safer for Labor than the paper margin suggests. There were big swings to the Liberals in areas like Seven Hills and Kings Langley, from which you would expect a correction this time. I think Labor should win this seat quite comfortably, and if the polls are to be believed, the Libs will be more worried about keeping their own seats than pinching one off Labor.

  7. The Government will not win this seat back and in fact I predict that whatever seats the Government loses will be in South Australia and New South Wales and in particular Western Sydney as most of these “Battlers” are as dumb as dog shit and will believe the empty “Sound Bites” offered by Kevin Dudd and the Dudd Opposition on the nightly news. Unfortunately for Mr Dudd, the more sensible punters in Western Australia and Queensland will swarm back to the Competent Howard Government handing the Government a fifth term. I also predict the Government will pick up 2 seats in WA, Flynn in Qld (New Seat) and Franklin in Tasmania. Bye Bye Mr Dudd, you are nothing but a little Creep trying to impersonate John Winston Howard and it will not work. So Says Snoopy.

  8. Wow Snoopy, rhyming Rudd with Dudd – pure genius. Don’t forget there’s also ‘crud’, ‘Fudd’, ‘cud’ and ‘mud’, if you want to diversify.

    Back on topic (just for novelty): William, I imagine you’ll cover this in your 2007 FE site, but do you know much about Owens’ performance? I’ve not heard much from/about her and am curious to know whether she’s doing all the right work to consolidate a marginal.

  9. I’d be amazed if the Labor Party doesn’t retain Parramatta. From what I’ve heard, Julie Owens is a very hardworking MP, with a high local profile.
    I bet the Libs will be putting more of their resources into Lindsay, Macquarie, Greenway, and obviously Bennelong.

  10. My NSW Liberal sources say that Parramatta is a dead duck for the Liberal Party. It is a shame, as the Party did have a reasonable chance at regaining the seat. It is certainly arguable that the margin of 1.2% Liberal should be higher, as Cameron copped some big swings against him in traditional Liberal voting areas of the seat, probably due to his admissons.

    A massive of candidates names were raised prior to the preselection. Senior Telstra exec Wayne Rhodes, KPMG manager and previous campaign director for Parramatta Rachel Merton, high profile Mayor Adrienne Ryan and as you say Bolitho.

    When all was done there appears to have been no interest in the seat. Seems very strange especially when you consider the massive efforts the Liberal Party would have put into the seat over the last fifteen years.

  11. Marcus – what planet are you from? Markus received nowhere near the focus on her religion as Ed Husic did. Do you live in Greenway or are you making these protestations from afar? Ed copped it from the Paul Sheehan in the SMH as well as local rags. Not to mention the curious mail drop days before the election. You seem to be looking at the world through yellow coloured glasses.

  12. Marcus, how can two members be called ‘a succession’? I don’t know Russ Gorman, but I do know that Frank Mossfield worked very hard in and for the electorate. Many people commented from both sides of the divide what a nice and honourable gent Frank is and it was a shame he was going.
    Anyway, I’ll agree that Labor did take the seat for granted. But you must admit that it’s very hard to make an impression when you’re in opposition. Something the Libs will have to learn federally very soon (I hope).
    PS there will be a split in the Christian vote in Greenway this time. Michael Vassili the ALP candidate has declared that he is a practicing Catholic. Who are the ‘others’ going to vote for?

  13. Soozie,

    On the new boundaries Greenway is pretty safe for the Liberals now, although it would be an interesting fight (with Labor favourites) on the old boundaries.

    Wrt 2004 my impression is that Ed Husic was simply not a good candidate, or perhaps was a good candidate but did not come across as such. Things like being unwilling to be interviewed by the Bulletin (is that the Sheehan article you refer to?). For a new candidate in a marginal seat to not to want exposure in a national magazine is not smart politics. Whether Louise Markus was “better ” than him is debatable, but she presented better than him, which (unfortunately) is often all that counts.

  14. Marcus, no the article I referred to was in the Sydney Morning Herald.
    It contained all sorts of sleights, including hassling him about not using his ‘Muslim name’. I think there was a tactical error made by team Ed in not doing more interviews etc. However, in my opinion, the only reason Markus was perceived as the better candidate was that she had her hoards of ‘Hillsongers’ out pounding the pavements, and going to the opening of an envelope, invited or not. And yes on the new borders it seems that the Libs may have this one sewn up. But LM is not getting the coverage she would like in the Northern end of the electorate. And the Hawkesbury is supposed to be ‘rusted on’ Liberal. So stay tuned for an interesting fight.

  15. Intresting that Parramatta was seen as one of the ‘Labor’ seats that the coalition got by winning the battlers.

    While my understanding is that is quite a wealthy seat overall.

  16. Soozie,
    gotta say I agree on the assessment of Julie Owens in Parramatta – she is a darn hard worker locally. Most fair-minded people in the electorate would agree. Both sides of politics need more people like Owens – she’s not there to grab the headlines, she’s there to work hard for her community and i think she does that very well. Good luck to her.

  17. My thanks to Paul Kavanagh and David Walsh for their replies to my earlier query about this seat.

    My thanks to William (as always) for all of the work he does in this respect.

    So says Fargo61!

  18. On topic, I find the swings that occurred in Parramatta in 2004 interesting … The new seat of Parramatta includes some of the old Greenway territory. Combined, what we really see is a swing away from a man who cheated on his wife and one who refused to renounce his Muslim heritage… perhaps this says a little bit about some of the demographics of the area … Conservative Christians who will buck party loyalties (if indeed, they exist) in favour of a candidate whose personal life best reflects their own?

  19. William, this seat by seat stuff is great.

    For me all the general poll data is great at the moment, but its finding the 16 seats that holds my breath

  20. Back to the matter at hand, it’s hard to believe that Labor won’t re-win Parramatta, despite the redistribution. My sister (and fam) live in this seat, and she assures me that Owens is very highly thought of, a hard-working and diligent local MP. Add that to the fact that the Libs clearly aren’t taking the seat that seriously (no candidate till very recently, for example), and it looks, as other posters have posited, that the Libs aren’t going to make a play for this seat.

    However, the margin is tissue-thin (indeed, you can’t get a thinner margin than a minus), and as such, Owens is vulnerable to local events or national “crises” which might play into the government’s hands. Labor should win this (with a 3-4% swing), but nothing is certain.

    Our much-loved RW contributors are right when they point out that Labor holds a lot of marginals, and that the loss of any of them makes Rudd’s job that much harder. Parramatta is one of those seats, which makes it all the more mystifying that the Libs don’t appear to be aiming at it.

  21. Hugo,
    yeah i wondered about this also. At first, the Libs had a navy bloke all lined up, then they switched him for another navy bloke i think – both low profile and inexperienced. Owens is a strong local campaigner, but you’d think with a margin like this, they’d take a good shot at iAlso, does anyone know who the Lib candidate for Macquarie is – running against Bob Debus?

  22. Here’s a question – everyone has their opinion about seats to watch for various reasons. I wondered if anyone wanted to nominate a seat that they think might buck the expected trend come election day.

  23. All right then, let’s get back to Parramatta. There’s no mystery here. The Liberals simply aren’t going to win this seat, and they know it. So why waste time and resources on it? They will spend their time and resources on the seats that they can and will win. And as a result they will win the election. So says Cerdic Conan.

  24. Kerry Bartlett, Liberal member and candidate for Macquarie.
    I presume the Libs think it’s more worthwhile putting their resources into Lindsay(which I doubt they’ll retain) and Bennelong?

  25. Question: is there an Australian equivalent of Daily Kos: ie. a good leftwing political blog/discussion board?
    Cerdic and others: I wouldn’t be game to make an election prediction, because I’m usually wrong. Let’s just say it’ll be too close to call on the night LOL

  26. Even still, you’d think the Libs’ would make some sort of effort with a seat they notionally hold. However, with the polls the way they are, maybe they are saving all their money to defend Mitchell and Berowra!

  27. The Liberals will win Mitchell, Berowra, Lindsay and Benelong, but will lose Parramatta. They will also win the election, albeit narrowly, but clearly enough for the result to be known on election night.

    So says Cerdic Conan.

  28. This thread, ostensibly on Parramatta, and a post from Phil Robins above actually highlight one I think is one of the great myths of the forthcoming election – that Rudd has a huge job ahead of him as “he has to win 17 seats” [sic – I agree with Dr Carr and others that it is in fact 16 seats].

    Of the 16 that stand between defeat and a fifth term, the Howard Government is dead in the water in at least 6:

    – Parramatta (notionally a Liberal seat)
    – Wakefield
    – Makin
    – Kingston
    – Bonner
    – Moreton

    Is there anyone that disagrees with the proposition that, for various reasons, the Howard Goverment is facing a steep uphill battle in the abovementioned 6?

    Also, does anyone seriously think the ALP is vulnerable anywhere? (Snoopy, no need to respond)

    That leaves 10 more seats. Bribes past present and future notwithstanding, Braddon and Bass are highly vulnerable, so are Lindsay and Eden-Monaro.

    That leaves just 6 more seats. Even if you discount Victoria (which is probably realistic for the ALP to do), there are numerous opportunities for the ALP in Queensland and NSW. There is also Solomon in the NT (or is it Lingiari?) plus a couple in Perth.

    As for the very last point, the Liberals holding their own in WA is another great myth…Newspoll, for instance, last time I looked had it 50-50. That is not a case of the Liberals holding their own. On the contrary, it translates into a 5% 2PP swing.

    In all the circumstances, I just cannot see how it can be said Rudd & Co are up against the odds. Certainly no more than Howard in 1996, Bracks in 1999 and Gallop in 2001. Beazley effort in 1998 should not be forgotten either. So where does this idea that 17 (16) seats is such a huge task come from?

  29. Cerdic, I think the Libs are a long way behind in Lindsay at present. I have always been sceptical about Labor winning Bennelong, but it may be 50/50 at the moment.

    If Towke is the Liberal candidate in Cook, the Libs may well lose it to Labor, despite the 13% margin, and would certainly lose it if a good independent came along. I imagine there will some pressure on Baird to run. He has no love for the NSW Right, but consideration for Mike Baird’s career might make him reluctant.

  30. If Alan Cadman decides to stand as an independent against the new Liberal candidate in Mitchell, that’ll cause Howard some more headaches.
    Berowra is my seat: of course the Liberals will retain it, although I’m expecting another 3-4% swing against Ruddock.
    Bennelong? I suspect Howard will retain it, although narrowly.
    But once he goes, it’ll be a Labor seat.
    Wentworth: Turnball will retain it.
    But, I think Lindsay will go to the ALP.

  31. At the state level Labor has polled a majority of the vote in Cook recently. I was told years ago that the yuppie canal developments made state seat Miranda (western half of Cook) unwinnable for Labor but they have held it for 3 elections. Cadman not much profile for a 30+ year MP no threat. I just spoke to Derryn Hinch about Albert Park and Williamstown, he is on the warpath against the Libs for possibly running candidates, maybe we need a thread on them?

  32. Lindsay really should be added to Chris From Edgecliff’s list of 6 above. Leaving 9 to be picked up elsewhere.

    Talking Mitchell – Alex Hawke is from the right – I would have thought that he was a very good fit for the electorate.

  33. Does anyone have any reliable gossip on Cadman’s intentions?

    It takes real political genius to find a candidate for one of your safest seats who makes an old log like Cadman look like a preferable alternative. But that’s the NSW Libs for you – they may well throw away both Cook and Mitchell. Who knows what they will come up with for Lindsay?

    Speculation on the ABC that Andrew Gaze may run for Labor in Albert Park.

  34. Greenway was always going to be very hard for the ALP last time round given the steady reduction in 2PP margins. Add a dud candidate and the Liberal party spend which was at least 3X that of the ALP (Scott Morrison was Markus’s sponsor and saw to that) the loss was more or less inevitable.

    It has to be said that Markus did work very hard after her nomination turning up at every community event – even Scout Group award presentations where the roll up is very small.

    It was the new booths in Kellyville and Glenwood West that really helped her plus the fact in a lot of other places the ALP vote was down.

    Note however despite the fact that Nelson turned up with Markus at a Metella Road PS P&C function stage managed by the Hillsonger president with TV, press etc. and promised to help find classroom air cond., the Libs still lost that booth on 2PP.

    Most of the old Greenway that has gone to P’matta leans marginally to the ALP and in the last state election the same areas that voted in Toongabbie were pretty solid ALP.

  35. In the NSW state election, the divisions in the electorate of Parramatta seemed to show a decent following for Labor. I wonder if it’ll transfer federally.

  36. Adam sez “Scott Morrison’s reward for his good work was to (be) passed over”

    Nah Adam his reward was a $300k a year McJob running Aust Tourism in which he did such a good job that he was able to leave early…

  37. I suggest there is an outside chance of Labor winning Greenway if there
    is a return to the better votes of the past for that area
    however this is unlikely as the Hawkesbury area added is very
    conservative in its voting pattern
    I do not think labor will defeat Howard or Turnbull although they
    may go close and would either man stay round in opposition?

  38. STROP Says:

    August 1st, 2007 at 7:03 pm

    I never understood why Costello is giving the punters ‘rewards’ for ’sound economic management’ BEFORE the election. It would have been smarter to ‘promise’ them to the electorate conditional upon the Coalition getting voted in again. Will JWH make that error: I doubt it.

    I wonder what he has in store from his x billion dollar surplus to throw at this marginal (Parramatta) seat ? The trip to Tassie to ‘save’ a hospital is the probably the first among many ‘see, the State Govt won’t save you, but I will’ spot trips JWH will make in the coming weeks. Same ole same ole, (and yes in his shoes I would do it too, but with a bit more subtlty).

  39. I stood in Greenway in the last Federal election, as the Green candidate. Ed Husic was a good candidate, but the campaign against him was atrocious. It was based on his Muslim background. I thought he was hampered by Labor’s late release of so much of its policies. There were a lot of community forums, and too frequently he had to state what his thoughts were about issues, and what he considered Labor’s policies might be. He was not able to be definite. Louise Markus was not very policy aware, in my opinion.

    There was also a dirty tricks campaign gainst the Greens in Greenway, and I coped a lot of flack from people who believed the stuff they got in their letterboxes from the Liberals. I dare say it will happen again.

    I’m standing in Parramatta for the Greens this time, so have found the discussion, (when it wasn’t abusive) very interesting. I will be a putting out a press release about standing for next week’s local press, and the Green’s website for candidates should be up and running soon. I’ve copied what it will contain below.

    Astrid O’Neill

    Astrid O’Neill’s background as a young migrant to Australia, unable to speak English, and living in a housing commission estate, sparked a passion for social equity and a fair and compassionate society. She was educated in, and is a keen supporter of, the public education system. She left school early and resumed her education while working and raising two children in Parramatta. Astrid and husband Jeff have lived in Parramatta for 38 years.

    Her working life includes clerical work, TAFE teaching and educational leadership. Astrid has been Deputy Principal of Blacktown TAFE College, College Director of Granville TAFE College, and a member of a NSW Government Tribunal for over 20 years. She has managed an annual budget of $32 million. Astrid holds degrees in Business and Adult Education, and has qualifications and professional experience in law, industrial relations and human resources.

    Astrid is an active unionist, including union organiser, and holds elected positions at state and national level in the NSW Teachers Federation and Australian Education Union. .

    A political activist since her youth, Astrid has been involved in reconciliation, social justice issues, asylum seekers, and the environment. She is a voluntary board member of an environmental organisation.

    The Quote –
    My grandchildren’s future depends on The Greens’ policies. We support public services and infrastructure, and social justice. We’re the only party with sufficient vision to make the decisions necessary to protect our environment and our future.” Astrid said.

    “I urge Parramatta voters to re elect The Greens’ Senator Kerry Nettle. It’s crucial to break the current Government stranglehold on the Senate. It will take both The Greens and the Labor Party in the Senate to tear up the draconian labour laws. However, Labor has joined the Liberals in abandoning the people of Parramatta by selling us out on sustainable energy and climate change. A vote for Kerry Nettle in the Senate is a vote for a balanced and reasonable Senate.”

  40. William (or anyone else familiar with Perth): In Swan there is a booth called Rowethorpe, which the AEC places at Rowethorpe Retirement Village, Jacaranda Ave, BENTLEY WA. I have searched very thoroughly and there is no such street. The only Jacaranda Ave in Perth is in Claremont. I see on your map you have placed the booth at the Rowethorpe shopping centre on the Albany Hwy, but there is no Jacaranda Ave there, and furthermore it is right next to the Bentley booth in John St. Any suggestions?

  41. Astrid (Greens) Says:

    August 1st, 2007 at 8:00 pm
    I stood in Greenway in the last Federal election, as the Green candidate. Ed Husic was a good candidate, but the campaign against him was atrocious.

    I have one question for you Astrid. Have the Greens and Labor stitched up a preference deal for NSW ? Nettle would appreciate it.

  42. Another reason the ALP possibly lost Greenway last election: I recall there was a very high informal vote in that seat, something a little over 10%.
    You can bet a good proportion of those were potential Labor votes.
    And, it didn’t help that Labor were running a Muslim candidate in a Western Sydney seat that year.

  43. A previous person asked about Parramatta – I hear that the PM is most dissatisfied with the ETU candidate who he has never met and yet is running in his ajoining seat. The party has even recently sounded out Rachel Merton, David Elliott and/or Dennis Fitzgerald to run. Merton said no way, Elliott said he would get back to them and Fitzy had the good sense to (once again) say he wasn’t a member of the party. Interesting that any three of these would have been able to fund their own campaign comfortably and could have assumed a solid base from the ruling right wing.

    In Mitchell it is an open secret that Cadman will run as an independent as he is canvassing support amongst the media. If he manages 25 percent and is assured of Labor preferences he may force Hawke to preferences – it will be interesting to see where Christian Democrat preferences go.

    From what I am told by my Sydney contacts Marcus’s campaign is cashed up but I think her constituency is a little soft on her re-election.

    The NSW Liberal Executive will decide on Towke tomorrow and Labor likes their chances in Hughes more than Cook with the prevailing fall-out. I have even heard that the Deputy State Director of the Party in NSW has resigned in disgust?? Is this correct??

    What’s the word up there in NSW on Paterson?

  44. Adam, I was able to locate booths in WA with reference to the WAEC’s polling booth maps from the last election, which you can get if you jump through a few hoops from here. There is a similar thing on the NSW SEO site, though I can’t find a good link – here is the one for Parramatta, and you can see other electorates by amending the URL. Jacaranda Avenue is part of a whole complex of streets in the newish Bentley Park development bounded by Hayman Road, Hill View Terrace and Jarrah Road, which are in my street directory but which Google Maps doesn’t want to know about. I think they’re just laneways of some description – looking at the Google satellite photo, I don’t see anything in this area that I would describe as a road.

  45. Who is the Labor candidate for Hughes? It’s one of those federal electorates made up entirely of ALP seats at a state level. Maybe one to watch on election night if there is a big swing to the Ruddster.

  46. William, thanks. I have been using the one at the SEO, which opens up into a world-wide street map like Google Earth, but it doesn’t have Jacaranda Ave either. Anyway I will leave the booth where you have it.

    Greg Holland is the Labor candidate for Hughes. The seat has been improved for Labor by having a chunk of Liverpool put in it, but it’s still a long shot. Danna Vale is regarded as a total goose in Canberra but they seem to like her in Hobbitland. I wouldn’t put my hard-earned on that one.

    If Cadman runs you’d have to give him some chance. It will in any case divert more head office time and money from other seats. I knew Cadman must be good for something, and now I know what.

  47. This is exactly the kind of seat that Labor needs to retain to have any chance of making any ground on the Howard Government this year. They hold two dozen marginal seats themselves and a lack of concentration in these ridings may result in losses that they might otherwise have assumed were taken for granted.

  48. re Jacaranda Ave: It is not a laneway as such but a road – all the roads in the retirement villages there are fairly narrow (mostly for pedestrian/ambulance access). As William says, Jacaranda is in between Hillview Tce and Hayman Rd – its listed in my old Perth UBD, and I also noted it is listed on whereis. It services the residental care facilities (nursing home & hostel) as well as retirement village. My mother was in an adjacent residential care facility for 5 years so I know the area reaasonably well. interestingly, there is a university, tafe, 2 correctional facilities and 2 retirement villages within a kilometre of each other. You could say that part of town has been thoroughly institutionalised…

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