Seat du jour: Wentworth

After a century as one of the nation’s most predictable seats, Wentworth entered the national spotlight in 2004 and again looms as one of the most intriguing contests of the coming election. Created at federation, Wentworth originally covered the entire coast from Port Jackson to Botany Bay, before assuming more familiar dimensions in 1913. It now takes in the mouth of Sydney Harbour and its southern shore from Watsons Bay and Vaucluse west to Potts Point, along with a stretch of coast running south through Bondi to Clovelly, and the northern part of Randwick. The wealth of the harbourside suburbs has made this a classic blue-ribbon seat, which has been held by conservatives of one kind or another since federation. Recent Liberal members have included Robert Ellicott (1974 to 1981), the Shadow Attorney-General who played a crucial tactical role in the Whitlam dismissal; Peter Coleman (1981 to 1987), conservative intellectual and father-in-law of Peter Costello; John Hewson (1987 to 1996), disappointing Liberal Opposition Leader; and Andrew Thomson (1996 to 2001), disappointing member for Wentworth.

Thomson was defeated for preselection ahead of the 2001 election by barrister Peter King, who in turn died by the sword in 2004 when Malcolm Turnbull (right) marshalled his considerable resources against him. Turnbull had been spoken of as a potential prime minister since coming to fame as a young lawyer in the early 1980s, when he succeeded in blocking the British government’s attempts to suppress former MI5 agent Peter Wright’s memoirs in the Spycatcher trial. In the 1990s he emerged as the chairman of the Australian Republican Movement, adding conservative leavening to a favoured project of the then Labor Prime Minister. He meanwhile made his fortune firstly in legal partnership with Gough Whitlam’s son Nicholas and later as a merchant banker, establishing business connections that contributed to his fundraising success as Liberal Party federal treasurer from 2002. Despite lingering resentment over Turnbull’s description of John Howard as “the man who broke the nation’s heart” on the night of the republic referendum, Turnbull’s move against King won at least the tacit support of the Prime Minister, who in normal circumstances could be relied upon to support sitting members. Wayne Errington and Peter van Onselen’s recent biography reports that Howard “believed that a failed preselection bid for Wentworth held the distinct possibility that Turnbull would quit party politics altogether and step down as treasurer, deterring donors from putting their hands in their pockets”. After much “recruitment” to local party branches by both sides, Turnbull won the preselection vote by 88 votes to 70.

Booth-level two-party vote from 2004, with colour coding showing suburban average weekly household income. The electorate-wide average household income figure is $1609, compared with a national average of $1027. The only suburb below the national average is Rushcutters Bay, immediately west of Darling Point.

King subsequently refused to rule out running as an independent, eventually announcing he would do so at a press conference on Bondi Beach in the first week of the campaign. Despite vigorous campaigning attended by intense publicity, King recorded only 18.0 per cent of the vote and finished well behind Labor’s David Patch on 26.3 per cent. While Turnbull’s 41.8 per cent was well down on the 52.1 per cent King recorded as Liberal candidate in 2001, it converted into an unembarrassing 2.3 per cent two-party swing after distribution of King’s preferences. The swing nonetheless contributed to a long-term trend in the seat which made it appear of dubious long-term worth to Turnbull even before the recent redistribution. As noted in an analysis by former Labor staffer Shane Easson, the electorate was going through a relative population decline that had forced it to expand in area at six successive redistributions since 1955 (the most significant change coming in 1993 with the abolition of Phillip, which previously separated Wentworth from Kingsford-Smith). There were only two directions in which it could grow: into safe Labor Kingsford-Smith to the south, or even safer Labor Sydney to the west. Furthermore, the latter would be the more obviously appealing option for the boundaries commissioners, as Kingsford-Smith was shaped by the constraints of the ocean and Botany Bay. When the latest population calculations dictated that New South Wales lose a seat at the coming election, the result was predictable: Wentworth shouldered its share of the burden by absorbing an inner-city area noted for post-materialism and a high gay population. This area, which included the balance of Paddington, the harbour shore around Potts Point and most of Woolloomooloo and Darlinghurst, sliced the Liberal margin from 5.6 per cent to a decidedly uncomfortable 2.6 per cent.

Like no other electorate bar Bennelong, Wentworth has seen national issues assume local significance in recent months. Turnbull won promotion first to parliamentary secretary with responsibility for water in September 2006 and then to Environment and Water Resources Minister four months later, confronting him with issues of great sensitivity in his own seat. The most significant example has been the recent controversy surrounding Gunns Limited’s proposed Tamar Valley pulp mill in northern Tasmania, which was contentiously fast-tracked by Paul Lennon’s state Labor government. A campaign for Turnbull to intervene has won the support of celebrities including Cate Blanchett, Bryan Brown and Rebecca Gibney, along with businessman and prime ministerial confidant Geoffrey Cousins. In mid-September, Cousins embarrassed Turnbull by taking out advertisements in the local Wentworth Courier which asked: “Is Mr Turnbull the Minister For the Environment or the Minister Against the Environment?” Turnbull has said he will reach his verdict this week, and that he will follow the recommendation of the government’s chief scientist.

Turnbull’s other major source of publicity in recent weeks has been his role in the recent burst of leadership speculation. On September 11, Sky News reported that both Turnbull and Alexander Downer believed John Howard should no longer lead the Liberal Party. Amid speculation that Howard might be about to stand aside, Kerry-Anne Walsh of the Sun-Herald wrote of a “wild scenario doing the rounds” in which Turnbull would take the job if Costello proved reluctant to do so within weeks of an election. Subsequent reports spoke of Turnbull persuading a majority of Cabinet members that Howard should go, but of the idea meeting firm resistance from both the party room and the Prime Minister himself. Later in the day, Howard could be seen apparently chastising Turnbull on the floor of parliament. Two weeks later Turnbull was forced to rule out a future challenge to Peter Costello for the Liberal leadership, after earlier refusing to answer questions on the issue.

Booth-level two-party swings from 2004, with colour coding showing suburbs’ percentage of dwellings being purchased. All suburbs are below the national average of 32.2 per cent on the latter count.

While Turnbull will be in real trouble if the anti-government swing is as much as current opinion polls indicate, there is reason to believe he has more padding than the notional margin suggests. In his aforementioned study, Shane Easson calculates an effective Liberal margin of 4.5 per cent after allowing for such influences as the “Peter King effect” and “potential Turnbull personal vote”. Figures from the 2004 election exaggerate the Liberals’ weakness in the newly added areas, due to the party’s lack of effort here at previous elections. In an electorate such as Sydney, the optimal strategy for the Liberals is to “play dead” in the hope that they might finish behind the Greens, who could then potentially defeat Labor with their preferences. This time around, these areas will be facing the full force of Turnbull’s well-oiled campaign machine. Furthermore, as noted by Russell Skelton of The Age, the electorate is not suffering the soft housing prices that are biting in more suburban seats like Bennelong. Some sources have suggested the party has greater fears for Howard’s seat than Turnbull’s, although reports of internal polling have painted a mixed picture. In August, Labor was variously said to have a lead on the primary vote of 47-42 and 44-42. Neither gels with a September report from the Sydney Morning Herald which had sources from both major parties speaking of 20 per cent support for the Greens (who have nominated mental health nurse Susan Jarnason). Conversely, The Australian quoted a “senior Liberal source” in late September saying Turnbull was “not in trouble”, and should thus approve the Tamar Valley pulp mill to shore up the Liberal member in Bass.

Labor’s candidate is George Newhouse (left), human rights lawyer and until recently mayor of Waverley. Newhouse’s legal clients have included Cornelia Rau and Vivian Solon, the victims of high-profile Department of Immigration bungles that respectively saw them deported and detained for nearly a year. He is also a figurehead of the electorate’s prominent Jewish community, which accounts for 14.1 per cent of its population against 0.4 per cent nationally. The community is particularly concentrated in the electorate’s north-east, accounting for 49.4 per cent of residents of Dover Heights. Newhouse was head-hunted by Kevin Rudd and installed as candidate by the party’s national executive, after the April national conference empowered it to avert faction-driven preselection stoushes by directly choosing candidates for 25 sensitive seats.

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.

160 comments on “Seat du jour: Wentworth”

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  1. The conventional wisdom seems to be that Turnbull is high profile (and popular) enough to retain this seat, even in the event of a largish State-wide swing against the Libs. However, I remain unconvinced. I think the seat will fall – unless Labor make a major cock-up during the campaign proper which sees them drop a few percentage points coming into election day, in which case Turnbull might just hold on.

    So in a word (okay, five): I think he’s a goner.

  2. I don’t live in Wentworth but I do live in the greater Sydney area so have been in Wentworth a number of times. From someone who actually lives there though, how visible is the anti pulp mill campaign on the street and in the local media? How effective do you think that they will be? If Turnbull goes, will it be more because he was carried away in a state wide swing or will it be from the pulp mill campaigners and that the Green preferences are likely to go *other* then the Libs as a result?

  3. I think Turnbull will survive. Howard will be gone, but Malcolm will survive. The point about some of those booths being “dead” for the Liberals because they were in Sydney is important, plus, parts of those areas would have a high personal vote for Tanya Plibersek (rather than for Labor itself) which vanishes now they’re not in Sydney anymore, and I think a fair bit of it will march straight to Turnbull.

  4. I strongly doubt whether this seat will fall. The King effect in 2004 was not limited to acting as a clearing house for former Liberal voters who were now going to preference the ALP. An additional effect was the dissent and turmoil within Liberal ranks, which cannot possibly have assisted Turnbull. Both these factors are not present this time.

    The number of conscientious objectors to Turnbull (the “I won’t vote for him because of what he did last time” crowd) probably numbers (at most) in the few hundreds. Even then, disgruntled former Liberals are still probably going to preference Turnbull ahead of the ALP. The key is in the vote that King got in 2001 – 52% on primaries. Even with the redistribution, Turnbull should be getting a first preference vote in the high 40s.

    For anyone who doesn’t live in Sydney, places like Vaucluse, Bellevue Hill, Point Piper and Darling Point are some of the wealthiest places in the country. There’s some smaller booths that go 80% 2PP to the Libs. I don’t know of any other urban booths that do that (although I can’t say I’ve looked very hard!). Even medium-largish booths in these parts were 2PP 66 to 77% to the Libs in 2004. It takes a hell of a lot of voters in North Randwick, Bronte and Paddington splitting ~55-45 2PP in favour of the ALP to make up those sorts of margins.

    There are two other factors I should mention:

    – Turnbull is clearly a high profile member, and hasn’t made any obvious major mistakes that should significantly affect his personal vote (I assume he will not make the pulp mill decision before the election).

    – As places like Bronte and North Randwick get more gentrified (expensive), there is some prospect that they will similarly be more likely to vote Liberal, as the rental properties are increasingly occupied by young professionals, and owner-occupiers are increasingly people who can afford to purchase there (rather than retirees who find themselves sitting on a goldmine). This is related to the factor that Easson points to (high % of new people moving into the electorate, which supposedly means there is decreased personal vote for whoever is the MP – which I think in Turnbull’s particular case is a non-issue) – but in my view it may in fact not harm Turnbull anyway. That is, the loss of personal vote by reason of people moving out of the electorate (or dying) is only a relevant factor if the new voters are less likely to vote coalition than those they replace. This is obviously a longer term trend though, and it is very difficult to identify the electoral consequences in any single election.

    In summary, Wentworth is a seat that the ALP can get close to winning, but really, given the solid core of Liberal voters, it is enormously difficult for the ALP to actually win. In that sense I think it’s a bit like Banks (obviously in the other direction). As I have said before, I think the ALP would have to be winning seats like Greenway and Macarthur before it won Wentworth.

  5. For those big fans of the “2PP Club”, The Greens out polled the ALP in this years State election for the seat of Vucluse.

    Keep looking over your shoulder 2PP Club, and have a look at the senate vote (no Clover factor) for The Greens, in the newly added western part of Wentworth where The Greens won 4 out of 7 of the new booths outright.

  6. Apart from Denison, Wentworth is probably the single most resonant electorate in Australia for green issues- or at least it would be in that part of it that used to be Phillip.

    Phillip was the smallest electorate with the smallest number of booths (so very easy to run a campaign in), had the highest membership of conservation groups, had the most uniformity of marginality (every booth was marginal) and saw full-on, at-the-booths conservation campaigns in the elections of 1983, 1984 (senate-oriented), 1987 and 1990, at which an average of some 2.3% of the vote seems to have swung according to HtVs produced by the conservartion movement. That constituted the critical amount which the ALP’s Jeanette McHugh needed to take the seat from Jack Birney in the 1983 election. McHugh gradually made the seat safer for Labor in each election, but always had at least a 2% cushion built on the back of her conservation credentials.

    The Greens ran a candidate at the Wentworth byelection when Hewson retired, the ALP didn’t. The Greens got about 23.5% of the votes, from memory, at a time when nation-wide they weren’t even listed in the opinion polls, but probably were achieving about 2%.

  7. I’m interested as to whether Newhouse can attract a significant amount of the Jewish vote. Many in Wentworth are rusted on Liberal voters, so I wonder whether Newhouse can be successful in maintaining a flow of the Jewish vote. I once read that a “Jewish person always supports another fellow Jewish person”, so I’d like to know how much support this generalised statement has.

    Also, Wentworth has shifted out with the new redistributions, taking more Labor areas (some with 60%+ booths) near the Paddington area, and has good margins in other booths, such as the Bondi area, so the seat is not exclusively dominated by Liberal heartland Vaucluse.

    It’ll be an interesting seat to watch. If the swing is on, then this seat will be the one to watch! Remember that Turnbull’s popularity is always rivalled by Newhouse’s (though of course, to a lesser extent), with Newhouse also being a prominent Lawyer and Mayor for the Council of Waverley.

  8. I think Turnbull will be returned.
    With the Federal Coalition at the moment being unpopular at a level not seen for a long time (or ever?) Govt members are, however, not tainted equally. Turnbull would be seen by many as the face of a moderate, even-handed, highly competent person who could lead the Libs at some time in the foreseeable future.
    I’m no fan of Turnbull, but I’m sure many would see him as a break from the current diabolical coterie of Liberal, mostly, Cabinet Ministers that surround Howard.
    Even though Turnbull is part of this group, he has managed to be seen as his own man to some degree and not as yet another of the headkicking, mudslinging, invective hurling, dishonest and unctuous types who now front the Federal Government.

  9. More on current conservation “runnability”

    Wentworth still ranks #1 on electorate smallness, #10 in terms of green groups membership and #3 on an average ranking of all scores designed to measure the “runnability” of a conservation-based election campaign (only Melbourne Ports and Chisholm are higher). It is not, however, as unifrom in terms of marginality as Phillip used to be, being split by an east-west divide south of (generally) Edgecliff. Adam Carr has an instructive map.

    What was true of Phillip was also, incidentally, true of its state counterpart Coogee and conservation was such a big issue there that it enabled Ernie Page to hang onto the seat in the Greiner victory of 1988.

  10. I think that Turnbull might want to see parliament enlarged so that less Labor areas are needed in Wentworth. It is not going to happen before next election but it might be useful to him if it happened to him at a 2008 Double Dissolution or just the normal election in 2010.

  11. I can see some major contradictions with trying to determine what is the likely electoral outcome in this seat.

    The AEC counts Wentworth as “marginal” but gives 2004 figures as Lib 55.48% and ALP 44.52%. Commentators give Turnbull a margin of 2.4%.

    I realise that there have been some boundary changes since 2004, and some high Labor voting areas have been added to thee electorate, but I can’t see that reducing the margin to that extent.

    As others have said, the “core” of the electorate is strongly Liberal. The Greens factor is surely in play in a number of booths and this will definitely be affected by the Gunns Pulp Mill decision. Will that be enough with an increased ALP vote to tip the result to Labor?

    The Gunns issue is becoming even more interesting, as it looks like it could be a factor in the Libs retaining their two Tasmanian seats according to this SMH article.

    {A federal government rejection of the Tasmanian pulp mill would help shore up Liberal Party support in a marginal electorate in that state, an opinion poll commissioned by an environmental group says.

    Twenty-seven per cent of respondents in the seat of Bass would be more likely to vote Liberal if Mr Turnbull rejected the mill, the poll found.

    In Braddon, 46 per cent of poll respondents opposed and 41 per cent favoured the mill.
    But only 14 per cent in that seat said they would more likely vote Liberal if Mr Turnbull rejected the facility.}

    What is the opinion of others on potential effect of the Gunns issue in Wentworth.

  12. William, a question for you!

    If a “marginal” electorate is generally accepted as being around 5% or less, then how come the Australian Electoral Commission can list electorates with a 2004 margin over 10% as “marginal”?

    It doesn’t make sense to me.

  13. “For those big fans of the “2PP Club”, The Greens out polled the ALP in this years State election for the seat of Vucluse.”

    That’s nothing special – Vaucluse is blue ribbon Liberal territory. I am sure unhappy Liberal supporters would prefer to lodge a protest vote with the Greens, rather than with the ALP (and the NSW ALP state government attracted a protest vote, unlike what the federal ALP opposition will).

    I think if the current Newspoll swing of 9% in NSW holds up, Wentworth will follow the rest of the state. If the swing moderates, then it’s going to be a good battle. While I agree Turnbull has some voter “charisma”, I tend to think it’s overstated.

  14. I see The Greens candidate for Wentworth, Susan Jarnason has been on a study trip to the pulp mill site in Tasmania.
    Susan will be speaking at a public forum (on IR) tonight at the market place church on Oxford St., Paddington.
    Maby the pulp mill issue will feature there.

  15. William’s introductions says:

    In his aforementioned study, Shane Easson calculates an effective Liberal margin of 4.5 per cent after allowing for such influences as the “Peter King effect” and “potential Turnbull personal vote”.

    So if we go with that 4.5 margin I think that earlier posters have focussed too much on Malcolm Turnbull’s popularity or lack of it. What is being overlooked is Kevin Rudd’s popularity. As things currently stand there will be a swing to Labor of well over 4.5% in NSW, closer to double that. If this does not change (sure it might, but it hasn’t all year) then some of these local factors simply might get Malcolm closer to survivng but cannot withstand a swing of that magnitude.

    Labor to win Wentworth for the first time ever.

  16. KT,
    I tend to agree about Turnbull’s charisma or personal appeal being overstated. You can rely solely on a high profile for only so long before you need to back it up. I think Turnbull actually started from a tough position in being touted as leadership material and a great performer – he hasn’t followed through and established himself as a genuine performer. Time and again he has shown himself as inept and foolishly arrogant. His performances in question time have been lacklustre at best and his interview performances have been all over the shop. I’m not prepared to make a prediction either way on Wentworth, but I won’t be surprised if Turnbull gets knocked.

  17. Adam
    I’m afraid to tell you that Wentworth electors are even richer than you have stated. I think you’ll find that it is WEEKLY average household income of $1609 rather than monthly.

  18. Er…. Did you guys get your income data from the back of a filing cabinet you found in the street? Ruchcutter’s Bay and Potts Point haven’t had below average income levels since the 1970s. Nice. What other rubbish do you have up here?

  19. I don’t think “former Labor staffer” quite describes Easson. “Heavyweight”, “number-cruncher”, “back-room boy” might be more appropriate.

    He still represents the party at redistributions etc I think.

  20. KT@16

    “… if the current Newspoll swing of 9% holds up, Wentworth will follow the rest of the state”.

    In 1996 the swing to the coalition in NSW was 7%. The swing to the Libs in Wentworth was 2.37%.

    in 1998 the swing against the coalition in NSW was 4.61%. The swing against the Libs in Wentworth was 1.5%.

    In 2001, the swing to the coalition in NSW was 3.7%. The swing to the Libs in Wentworth was 0.5%.

    In 2004 (which I discussed above at 5) local factors had a significant influence on the outcome. I agree that Wentworth will follow the rest of the state. It will follow a fair way behind though. NSW could swing 9%. Wentworth won’t swing anything like that.

  21. I am going to predict a Liberal hold on this one, although I must admit the odds are against me.

    Malcolm Turnbull is so high profile I think the undecideds will flow to him strongly enough to just get him over the line.

  22. I would have thought that this would be a seat where many traditional Liberal voters might consider putting their vote elsewhere (I concede that the Greens might be preferable for many) as a protest against the way the Government has, over the past 11 years, dealt with the sort of small ‘l’ liberal issues that concern them. Issues like the treatment of asylum-seekers, attitudes to immigration, gay rights, the environment, climate change, health care and education – areas the Labor Party likes to think it has the edge on – do tend to resonate with these Liberal voters. And because they are traditional Liberal voters, they are unlikely to change their vote straight to Labor.

    HOWEVER, with a combination of a higher than usual Labor vote (bearing in mind that the redistribution has brought in Labor booths anyway), a large anti-Government swing, plus a Green protest vote will, I think, be enough to boot him out.

    Time will tell, ultimately, but I wouldn’t be surprised in the least to see him go.

  23. I a agree with bryce. “Turnbull would be seen by many as the face of a moderate, even-handed, highly competent person who could lead the Libs at some time in the foreseeable future.

    Turnbull with his republicanism etc. is probably the closest thing that the Liberals have to the old fashioned liberal Liberal (a la Holt, Hamer, McPhee etc.) so it should suit that electorate well.

    A bit like Petro Georgiou in Kooyong here in Melbourne which has a similar profile.

  24. Scorpio #15

    Officially “marginal” means up to 6%. That is TPP up to 56%.

    The TPP vote in 2004 in the booths which make up the new Wentworth seat was about 52.5% Lib to 47.5% ALP. So if a nett 2.5% of the voters change votes Lib to ALP in the new Wentworth it will be a gain for ALP.
    Thus it is marginal.

  25. Dr Good Says:

    Yeah, understood, but I am still confused in regard to a discrepancy between the figures you quote ( 2004 figures – 52.5% Lib to 47.5% ALP ) to those quoted on the AEC web site ( 2004 figures – Lib 55.48% and ALP 44.52%. )

    Appreciate if you can clarify!

  26. Josh @ 20: Sorry, I should have made myself clearer. I meant that if the swing is on in NSW, I think Wentworth will go to the ALP, albeit on a smaller swing. I do not think it will swing 9%.

    edwardo @ 4: Interesting theory about Plibersek and Turnbull’s personal vote. Does Plibersek have that big a personal vote though? I like her, but I would think her strong vote is more due to the electorate being an ALP stronghold. And would it transfer to Turnbull? I have a few politically uninterested friends in Potts Point who will vote for the ALP regardless of Turnbull (or the lack of Plibersek). It’s more of an anti-Howard thing than anything else.

  27. Turnbull will probably retain Wentworth unless there’s a huge NSW swing, or unless he’s forced by Howard to accept the pulp mill proposal. The seat’s current margin is an underestimate, due to Peter King.

  28. As a Wentworthian I too believe Turnbull has the profile, and more importantly the cash, to win the seat. But I imagine he’s furious at Howard leaving him high and dry before all us homos now in his seat, by putting the HREOC Same Sex: Same Entitlements report in the too-hard basket before the election. Howard’s ear was ultimately bent by Abbott, not Turnbull, on this issue, which makes me think he doesn’t quite have the clout in the NSW Libs as he and many others assume.

  29. Scorpio @25

    AEC website shows actual results for 2004 boundaries.

    The 2.5% margin is for 2004 results adjusted to 2007 boundaries. (NSW & Qld have had a redistribution since 2004 election).

  30. People keep mentioning how the Wentworth margin is false because of Peter King’s candidacy as an independent in ’04 – it’s a fair point, but i think it also misses the fact that high profile front benchers can suffer as much as anyone when a swing against a Government and, more imporantly, its leader is on. Turnbull’s high profile is not necessarily a plus – all the crap that he spins to win support locally could well backfire on him if he is viewed as impotent within the Government. For instance, Wentworth has a large and politically aware gay community – if was gay and living in Wentworth I would be inclined to tell Turnbull to get stuffed when he says he supports the HREOC recommendations on eliminating legislation that discriminates against gay couples. The reason i would say that is that he has done bugger all to get something done about it – he hasn’t taken the fight to cabinet – he has sat on his hands and fed bullshit to his own community, essentially saying that he believes in a fair go for the gay community, but he won’t fight for it!

  31. re: Peter King factor

    In 2004 Wentworth had a 2.38% 2pp swing to ALP. This has been attributed to the “Peter King factor”.
    Other traditional Liberal seats in Sydney received similar swings to the ALP in 2004. Namely, Bennelong (3.38%), Berowra (3.49%), Bradfield (2.65%), North Sydney (3.19%) & Warringah (2.18%).
    The Bennelong swing could possibly be attributed to the “Andrew Wilkie factor”. How do we explain the other swings on this list?

    AEC summary of NSW 2pp results by division:

  32. No sign of the rodent’s or Cap’n Smirk visage on the front page of Trumbril’s web site. John Anderson makes an appearance tho.

    The guy is pretty shallow. A page trumpets the use of compact fluorescent lights being made more or less mandatory (How’s that for gummint interference in our lives Glum?. No mention of course of the need to provide proper disposal facilities for these (and the standard fluoro tubes for that matter) because of the mercury content.

  33. Is there such a thing as the “jewish” vote or the”gay” vote. Do people in categories change their vote according to their category? We hear a lot about these “blocs” in Wentworth. But do Jewish medicos vote differently from other medicos? what about gay medicos?
    I know that a change in voting patterns among Catholics in Victoria affected federal elections for two decades, but will the courting of “blocs” affect Wentworth? (or the “chinese” bloc in Bennelong)?

  34. Libs to definitely win this seat – may even have a small swing to them in 2PP terms. I just can’t see the good citizens of Vaucluse and Double Bay electing a Labor MP (yet), particularly when they have such a high profile local member.

  35. 32/33

    My local paper (I’m in the south eastern suburbs Melbourne) yesterday had the results of a survey which indicated that 25% of local residents could not name their federal MP (although most could name the party that held the seat they were in, and whether it was marginal or not).

  36. Scorpio @ 25
    The 2004 AEC figures are pre-redistribution figures. They do not account for the inclusion of some left leaning booths now within Wentworth.

    I think Turnbull might just withstand the swing. The coalition will loose government, and Turnbull will at some stage challange Costello for the leadership. Costello will never become PM. If Turnbull is still alive when the Coalition next win Government, he will become PM.

    I suspect the next Liberal PM has not been born yet.

  37. Pedantry Time: William says Wentworth and Kooyong are the only two seats to have been held continuously by the conservatives since federation. It depends of definitions. Kooyong elected an independent liberal (John Latham) in 1922, and Wentworth an independent Nationalist (Walter Marks) in 1929, so strictly speaking both have deviated from the true path once. The same can be said of North Sydney, which elected Billy Hughes as an independent in 1929 but otherwise has been totally loyal. Gippsland has never elected a Labor member, although George Wise, an independent elected in 1910 and 1914, informally supported Labor before joining the Nationalists in 1916. Barker has been held by the conservative parties since it was created in 1903, and I count Barker as a federation seat since SA was not divided into electorates in time for the 1901 election. I also consider Goldstein to be a continuation of the federation seat of Balaclava, and Groom to be a continuation of Darling Downs. These seats also have unbroken conservative records, although Littleton Groom was re-elected as an independent in Darling Downs in 1931. Strictly speaking, Balaclava-Goldstein is the only seat to have been won by the main non-Labor party of the day (Protectionist, Liberal, Nationalist, UAP, Liberal) at every election since 1901.

  38. Yes, and Hughes was elected in 1929 as an Independent and Groom defeated in 1929 and elected as an Independent in 1931 because… they voted against the Bruce government legislation that would have handed all industrial relations laws back to the states. This brought down the Bruce government only one year into its term, and at the election that followed, Bruce became the only Australian Prime Minister to lose his seat at an election. Adam’s right about the seats remaining conservative, but the history why both seats for one term ended up being Independent held is fascinating. And from memory, Bruce was defeated in Flinders by a Unionist that his government had previously gaoled.

  39. The 1948 redistribution made North Sydney a Labor seat on paper hence Hughes’ migration. Labor gave the Nationalist rebels in Wentworth and North Sydney a clear run in 1929. If Labor had run a candidate they might have won Wentworth in 1929 given the swings in other safe Nationalist seats. Present: how could King have reduced Turnbull’s 2PP majority, he preferenced to Turnbull so he would have assisted the Liberals, just as Phil Cleary inflated Labor’s Wills vote in 1996?

  40. Geoff, King’s preferences flowed only 61.2% to Turnbull. I reckon he would have taken more than that as primary vote from Turnbull, though there was possibly some Labor voters who strategically voted for King in the hope of getting him into second place and then winning on Labor preferences. But my guess would be that the weak flow of King preference to Turnbull was a leakage of Liberal votes away from Turnbull.

  41. King didn’t preference Turnbull. He preferenced neither party. Nonetheless, I’ve never been convinced by the assertions that King aberrated the 2004 result. The 2004 election saw similar pro-ALP swings in a number of other traditionally Liberal Sydney electorates.

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