Seat du jour: Lindsay

Based around Penrith 50 kilometres west of Sydney, Lindsay was created with the expansion of parliament in 1984 to accommodate growth in the city’s outer west. It currently extends into conservative semi-rural territory to the north (Castlereagh and Llandilo) and south (Mulgoa and Orchard Hills), but most of the voters come from an urban concentration around Penrith. This area is stronger for the Liberals in the south and west (Glenmore Park and Emu Plains respectively) and for Labor in the east (Werrington). Before Lindsay was created, Penrith had shifted from Macquarie to Mitchell to Chifley, the general area becoming progressively stronger for Labor as it became more urbanised after the war. Lindsay had a notional Labor margin of 12.3 per cent when it was created, and the area remains a happy hunting ground for the party at state level: the corresponding seats are held by margins of 7.0 per cent (Londonderry), 9.2 per cent (Penrith) and 10.9 per cent (Mulgoa). My 2004 election booth result and swing maps for the electorate can be viewed at Crikey.

Labor’s Ross Free held Lindsay by margins of around 10 per cent throughout the Hawke-Keating years, having previously been member for Macquarie from 1980. He was most unpleasantly surprised to find himself voted out in 1996, following an epochal 11.9 per cent swing to Liberal candidate Jackie Kelly. Free was able to secure a re-match because Kelly, who did not expect to win, had failed to get her affairs in order before nominating (she was still serving as an RAAF officer, an “office for profit under the Crown”). Voters dragged back to the polls on a technicality rewarded Free with a further 6.8 per cent drop in the primary vote, and Kelly picked up another 5.0 per cent on two-party preferred. The combined 16.9 per cent swing to the Liberals meant the electorate’s demographic profile came to be seen as typifying John Howard’s constituency – high numbers of skilled workers on good incomes, low levels of tertiary education and a distinctly less multicultural flavour than suburbs closer to the city. Kelly was able to limit the Labor swing in 1998 to 0.3 per cent, one of a number of decisive marginal seat outcomes that ensured the return of the Howard government from a minority of the two-party vote. This secured Kelly’s status as a prime ministerial favourite, helping her win promotion to the position of Sport and Tourism Minister. Many thought this to be beyond her competence, and she did not return to the ministry after leaving it while pregnant immediately after the 2001 election. She nonetheless continued to perform well electorally, picking up a 2.4 per cent swing in 2001 and almost holding even in 2004.

Two events during the current term have given good cause to think that Lindsay might finally return to Labor at the coming election. The first was the unveiling of new electoral boundaries last July, which added Labor-voting St Marys, Oxley Park and Colyton in the east from Chifley, and transferred Liberal-leaning Glenbrook in the Blue Mountains foothills to Macquarie in the west. These changes cut the Liberal margin from 5.3 per cent to 2.9 per cent. The second came in May when Kelly announced her intention to retire, much to the Prime Minister’s dismay. Kelly immediately named Penrith councillor Mark Davies as her preferred successor, but he evidently found little support from the party. The Prime Minister and the Right faction hoped to enlist Penrith Panthers recruitment manager Peter Mulholland, but their approach was declined. The nomination instead went to Kelly’s electorate officer Karen Chijoff (right), who picked up a 6 per cent swing as candidate for Mulgoa at the March state election.

Labor’s candidate for the third successive election is David Bradbury (left), Blake Dawson Waldron lawyer, Penrith councillor and former mayor, who for all his campaign experience is still only 31. Bradbury was installed as candidate by the national executive using the power the national conference granted it in April to determine preselections in sensitive seats. This displeased the National Union of Workers, said by a number of sources to have been marshalling forces for union official Mark Ptolemy – although Brad Norington of The Australian reported in May that it was in fact backing Ptolemy’s fiancee, 23-year-old school teacher May Hayek. Ptolemy was Labor’s candidate for Macquarie in 2004, and turned his attention to Lindsay when it became clear the Macquarie nomination would go to Bob Debus. Norington reported the conflict in terms of a split in the Right, with Bradbury having “historical links” to the Transport Workers Union.

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.

122 comments on “Seat du jour: Lindsay”

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  1. Antony, sorry, I missed the ‘with the minimum campaign period’ assumption in your first para of post 122. (But does anyone think the PM’ll go for anything but a fairly long campaign?! He has a lot of ground to make up.)

  2. They don’t have to be issued on the same day, but for all the elections to be held on the same day, they all have to be issued at least 33 days before polling day. All I’ve been pointing out is that the election is nornally announced a few days before the writ is issued, and it is the writ that closes the electoral roll, not the election announcement. The State’s could have played silly buggers with the writs to try and keep the rolls open for a week (which might have deferred the election a week), but the government can overcome this by issuing the House writ at once, which would prevent any manipulation of the Senate writs to try and keep the rolls open. So while on past practice the rolls won’t close when the election is announced, it may be the case this time it will if the government issues the writ the same day.

  3. re post 121 and Glen’s post and mine earlier
    The point I was trying to make is yes Mr Hockey will win in
    North Sydney but he cannot take it for granted given it is inner city
    has an unusual profile , has been won by a competent independent
    ie Ted Mack in the past, and Mike Bailey being a good choice for the area
    he needs to spend considerable time in the electorate to be sure
    remember this post is mainly about Lindsay a ” safe” alp seat which has ..swung in excess of the margin of 10% (same as North Sydney’s margin)

  4. Tom, yes, the orthodox understanding is the State Governors can reject the G-G’s (ie PM’s) recommendation as to the dates for a Senate election. Subject to meeting any restrictions from the Constitutional deadlines. That freedom is particularly so for any half Senate election, since the timetable is fairly flexible (the constitutional merely states that such an election has to be held within a year of the vacancies falling due).

    By convention a State Governor only acts on their Premier’s advice – but I suspect they could get together and reject the advice of a rogue Premier, since they have the right to demand reasons and the reserve power to reject advice about calling an election, as Kerr did with Whitlam. But if all the Labor Premiers got together and gave the same advice? Who knows.

    Wasn’t there speculation in 1975 that Sir Joh at least, if not other State Premiers, would have stalled on Whitlam’s preferred option for a half Senate poll to break the deadlock?

  5. Commenters I have some serious late mail. As I was driving through the seat of Greenway earlier today, I noticed that the liberals have started putting up large posters of “Louise Markis vote for liberal” all over the place.

    The election is very very close. I expect it will be called as soon as practicable after APEC.

    I’m still tipping an Oct 27 poll.

  6. Many of you would read Mumble where Peter Brent has rejected the notion that Lindsay represent ‘battlers’.

    In his words the demographics show that all the voters of the electorate are battling it’s for that second four wheel drive.

    More here

  7. Well, it seems there’s already ill-feeling on the ALP for Lindsay campaign trail, most notibly a falling -out twixt the successful Your Rights At Work campaign and Mr Personality, David Bradbury.

    At the Penrith Show, the YR@W folks organised and paid for a stall space – and late in the morning Bradbury and his small team of, well, Teamsters rocked up and took over. The nice YR@W stalwarts didn’t take to kindly to this and got the huff. Remember Bradbury is a latecomer to the YR@W team in Lindsay – their choice of Lindsay candidate was Mark Ptolemy, one of the founding members of both the Lindsay & Macquarie Your Rights At Work Committees and one of the handful of campaigners who made the Lindsay operation the template YR@W campaign. Besides, Bradbury isnt well-known for treating his campaign people happy. He thinks yelling and abuse is a nice motivational tool.

    Speaking of the mean spirited, where is Ptolemy and his NUW buddies? No doubt the Bradbury people and TWU would like to find out. Apparently the NUW is not helping any Labor candidate in NSW. With Ptolemy and his boss Derrick Belan sitting back and not campaigning, this means a very real dent in the ALP campaign pot o cash with no NUW dollars coming in. Word is that Belan & crew are still fuming over the double cross played on them by Mark Arbib over Lindsay. Belan has left Admin Committee and not spoken to Arbib or Karl Bitar since the Lindsay candidate was named by National Executive. The NUW supported NSW state MP Karyn Palluzzano and pumped in the big bucks and their big bus in the state campaign, getting Paluzzano a much bigger margin. The NUW claimed Lindsay but got screwed by Arbib. Ptolemy was to be the man in Lindsay and given his obsessive campaigning mentality and the NUW dollars, he would have a much better choice than the Two-time loser & Tax Lawyer Bradbury.

    Anyway, if Bradbury isn’t careful he may burn off a lot more helpers. Labor shouldn’t take Lindsay for granted like Ross Free did!

  8. Given the recent TCN-9 Sunday program exposes into the TWU’s “secret” Industrial Rights, Education and Training Fund [totally funded by large corporate “sponsors”], are we to expect some pressure on local ALP identities David Bradbury and Diane Beamer? They have extremely close links with the TWU. Karen Chijoff [Liberal, Lindsay] recently ran against Diane Beamer at the state election in March, and is now up against David Bradbury of the ALP for the prized federal seat of Lindsay.

    I’m sure many some disgruntled local ALP rank and file will be more than happy to join the dots. . . ALP Senator Steve Hutchens has an office here in High Street, Penrith [former husband of Diane Beamer, former NSW and Federal General Secretary of the TWU], and close friend and confidant of David Bradbury.

    Perhaps Mr Bradbury should have stuck with the NUW rather than the tainted TWU. Joe Hockey’s investigations couldn’t come at a more timely hour for the local Liberal campaign.

  9. As a Lindsay resident, all I know is everytime I open a local newspaper I see my taxes being wasted by Jackie Kelly. For the past few weeks she’s had her newsletters inserted in the newspapers with photos of the candidate plastered all over them. It’s blatant politicking and it’s done with public money.

    I think it’s a disgrace.

    For three years we hear nothing from her, and then as she’s retiring she’s all of a sudden interested in communicating with the electorate? Hardly. I don’t think my tax dollars should be used as a proxy campaign fund funnelled through a retiring MP’s allowance.

  10. With all the stuff flying around about the TWU – you’d think that David Bradbury would be in a constant cold sweat. With his very close association with Senator Steve Hutchins, former TWU boss, Bradbury has had a lot of assistance from the TWU… all of his campaigns. Bradbury is in debt to the TWU, so now that their flow of cash & help has dried up, I wonder who is going to step up for him.

  11. As a TWU member or should I say EX-TWU member I was sickened to see the Sunday programs expose on the TWU especially that crook Tony Sheldon. Having been in the TWU for nearly 20 years I can add some further information because most of us know about a few of their skeltons.

    The following glitterati of the ALP are closely associated to the TWU – that is, they have benefited either financially or thru their careers:
    Mark Arbib
    Steve Hutchins
    Joe Tripodi
    Prue Guillaume (ALP head office hack)
    David Bradbury
    Pat Sheehy
    Diane Beamer (Steve Hutchins’ ex)
    Michael Lee
    John Della Bosca
    Belinda Neale (Della’s wife)
    and numerous others.

    It is interesting to see Sheldon take the heat whereas he and his family have received nothing in return – politically.

    It would be interesting if the numerous investigations announced by Joe Hockey would incorporate some of the people listed above.

    As a person who has been a unionist all their life I am disgusted that not only a high level of corruption exists but all these pollies and would be pollies have their snouts in the trough. Especially those who have had no connection with workers, say for instance Bradbury – a tax lawyer who worked for Blake Dawson and Waldron – one of the companies hired by the Howard government to draft WORKCHOICES.

    So, what happens if Hockey digs up the dirt? Will Steve Hutchins resign? Will Mark Arbib resign? Will David Bradbury resign (if elected)?
    Will Della Bosca resign? And more importantly, will ALP head office finally get the guts to flush these parasites out of the party, the party that has always represented working people?

    On a different note, what is Belinda Neale doing – the wife of a senior State government Minister and Chief of Staff to another, stating that if Rudd wins, he will ban with the Labor state governments and they will raise the level of the GST! Unfortunately, she is well placed to have this information.

  12. Ah….so some of the Bradbury / Transport Workers Union dirt is starting to seep out…

    What I cannot believe is:
    A) That the ALP preselected Bradbury – well, I suppose the TWU bought the preselection for him.
    B) That St Kevin Rudd isn’t telling the TWU to bugger off. If he had any guts or morals he would
    C) The media isn’t going to town on the Sheldon dirty money scam. I mean, taking money off companies for trade for inferior agreements at their worksites is morally abhorrant. Is the media so dumb and lazy that they cannot dig a little. If they scratched the surface there would have to be a resignation of a ALP candidate in a marginal seat (Bradbury) and quite possibly the resignation of a sitting Senator (Steve Hutchins) and maybe the disgrace of a ALP Senate candidate and former NSW General Secretary (Mark Arbib).

    But what we’ll end up with is another lawyer -turned -politician who got to Canberra using the blood money taken from honest union members. What a joyful thing party politics is! I hope all those ALP party members are happy that their representatives are as rotten as a bucket of prawns left on cement in a heatwave.

  13. I was at Penrith Plaza today and witnessed the entire Howard visit. I can tell you first hand that the media has not given the whole story (as usual). For starters, there was a grand total of 3 people who were not pleased to see Mr Howard – the joker who didn’t shake his hand, the hippy who banged on about kyoto and the classy woman in the your rights at work tshirt who so eloquently called the prime minister of her country scum. A union surely would be the only group that could possibly be proud of that kind of classless behaviour. The rest of the crowd, and there were hundreds of them, were eager to shake his hand and wish him well. The media of course zones in on the three tools that wanted to spoil the moment for the rest of us. Secondly, Mr Howard was very concerned about the lady who fell over – he stayed by her side while she was attended to even though his bodyguards were urging him to move on. After witnessing the event with my own eyes confirms to me that the media will twist everything so that we see things from a perspective that isn’t even close to the real picture. Judging by the reaction in Penrith today I think Labor would be very foolish to assume they have the seat of Lindsay won.

  14. Strange sighting in Lindsay today:

    Here I was driving down Jamison Road. Penrith, when a bus pulled out in front of me, in an obvious hurry. It was a blue and white ex-NSW Transit Authority, emblazoned with Kevin Rudd and Maxine McKew, complete with “Maxine McKew for Bennelong”. I thought the ex-leafy North Shore Mosman girl was a candidate for Bennelong, not Lindsay. Maybe she got lost withut her GPS, a bit like Bob and Blanche Hawke, when they missed the 2 Penrith turnoffs and kept on to Springwood before eventually finding their way back to Bob Carr’s 2003 campaign launch. Ah, there North Shore people, they make you laugh.

    I suspect the bus was put into Lindsay as a stop-gap emergency measure to counter Karen Chijoff’s new huge mobile advertising billboard. Talk about confusing the electorate! 😉

  15. Local ALP scuttlebutt going around says that the Bradbury campaign is falling apart in the home stretch.

    With the campaign director, Health Services Union official Mike Dickson having lots of trouble keeping the candidate focussed on being a candidate – with no help from a demanding candidate’s wife, poor old Mike has now got to deal with volunteers calling it quits with Bradbury because of his petulant attitude.

    Frequent tantrums, dramas at home and a sense that he’s got it in the bag has Bradbury’s campaign director sweating bullets.

    Meanwhile, over at the Your Rights At Work camp, true believers are getting peeved that Bradbury is taking them all for granted despite the promise to give Linda Everingham, local single mum and face of the local YR at W campaign an electorate officer’s possie in the new member’s office.

    Y R at Workers are doing the loins’ share of hard slog, letter boxing etc while the Laborites aint doing much at all.

    Nothing like Labor complacency.

  16. Mea culpa – Bradbury’s campaign boss isn’t Mike Dickson – it’s Mike O’Donnell. Mike Dickson works on the Macquarie campaign for Balmain Bob Debus.

  17. Nice to see fully sik thinks he/she knows whats going on. Would like to know where their devine information is coming from.

    Very funny that fully sik made a mistake with another campaigners name. Just seems like a disgruntled individual who not only seems to know a few people within the labor party, but likes attacking a hardworking and genuine local candidate who has doorknocked a legitimate and significant number of houses in the electorate of Lindsay (i know my friends and I have been doorknocked).

    On another note. By observation and from word of mouth I have noted a significant amount of Chijoff’s (VERY SIGNIFICANT) and Bradbury’s material in the letterboxes of Lindsay, but not a single piece from YRAW. Nice to see that YRAW are hard at work.

  18. I have buckets of anti-Workchoices information in my letterbox. I have been doorknocked TWICE by local union people, ONCE by Karen Chijoff and NEVER by the Labor guy. I have actually gotten a clear idea what the laws do and can do to me and later on my kids. Labor has not really enlightened ame. I feel it is just more “me-too”ism from them.

    The unionists have their own office in Penrith and it has been there for yonks. They have been busy and don’t deserve any criticism from the previous contributor.

  19. I’m not sure where the person above was during the PM’s at Penrith. But I object to ‘the classy woman in the your rights at work tshirt who so eloquently called the prime minister of her country scum’. Yes I am classy (thanks), but I did not call the PM scum. I called him a disgrace (you can see it on 4 corners if you wish!). I was also warmly congratulated afterwards. About 6 people made their way over to me and shook my hand.
    As for the observation ‘The rest of the crowd, and there were hundreds of them, were eager to shake his hand and wish him well’, COW PATTIES!!! I joined the ‘scrum’ outside Target and most of the people around the PM were the media and his minders. Others rushed up to see who the fuss was about saw it was the PM and ran away.

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but it must be acknowledged that the last few posts on this section were so out of whack it’s laughable. And as I was working in Penrith for the YR@W campaign over the last month I wonder what planet these people are from. Even before the Mr Kelly and Mr Chijoff scandal the writing was on the wall.

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