Saturday, June 19
Here is an 2007 booth results map for your enlightenment. Live coverage on this site will begin at 6pm.
Sunday, May 30
Heath Aston of the Sydney Morning Herald reports Labor sources are putting it about that they are heading for a 27 per cent swing. I’m less suspicious of reports of internal polling than most, but this one doesn’t immediately pass the smell test. Nonetheless, the report tells quite a detailed story of a 350-sample UMR Research poll showing the Liberals on 55 per cent of the primary vote and Labor on 27 per cent, with 73 per cent of those intending to switch to the Liberals citing Karyn Paluzzano’s behaviour as a factor (which might be thought a bit convenient from Labor’s point of view). This follows a report by Imre Salusinszky in yesterday’s Australian in which informed Labor sources spoke of polling conducted in Penrith six months ago shownig a 15 per cent swing.
Thursday, May 27
The close of nomations and ballot paper draw has turned up only one candidate who wasn’t known of already: Andrew Green of the Christian Democratic Party. The ballot paper order is John Thain (Labor), Suzie Wright (Greens), Mick Saunders, Stuart Ayres (Liberal), David Leyonhjelm (Outdoor Recreation Party), Jose Sanz (Australian Democrats), Andrew Green (Christian Democratic Party), Noel Selby (Independent).
Tuesday, May 25
Ghost Who Votes notes in comments that the NSW Electoral Commission is recording candidates as the nominate, a practice which as far as I’m aware is peculiar to it. Joining Suzanne Wright and Stuart Ayres are Mick Saunders of the unregistered Australia First Party, Jose Sanz of the Australian Democrats and David Leyonhjelm of the Outdoor Recreation Party. John Thain will want to get his act together, as nominations close at noon on Thursday.
Sunday, May 16
Friday, May 14
Speaker Richard Torbay announced mid-week that the by-election would be held on June 19. Penrith mayor John Thain was preselected by Labor on Tuesday after emerging as the only candidate. The Western Weekender reports the Greens have nominated well-known local environmental and social campaigner Suzie Wright, who also ran at the 2007 election.
Sunday, May 9
The Sydney Morning Herald on potential Labor candidates:
Greg Davies, a Penrith councillor and aide to the MP for Mulgoa, Di Beamer, is likely to be asked to stand for the ALP at the byelection, although Mr Davies said yesterday he had not given it any consideration. Another potential ALP candidate is Linda Everingham, a local union organiser.
Friday, May 7
More disaster for the NSW government: a by-election now looms in the highly loseable seat of Penrith, with Karyn Paluzzano resigning after admitting lying to the Independent Commission Against Corruption about falsifying employee pay forms. Labor’s margin in the seat is 9.2 per cent: reasonably safe in normal terms, but well below half the swing recorded against Labor in by-elections last year. The Liberals have a candidate ready in Stuart Ayres, business development manager at the Australian College of Physical Education, who won preselection last month over Penrith councillor Ben Goldfinch. The following is from the entry I wrote for the seat in my 2007 state election guide. Labor picked up a 2.6 per cent swing at that election, which marked a correction following difficult circumstances in 2003.
The city of Penrith is located 50 kilometres due west of Sydney, with the electorate extending into the surrounding suburbs of Glenbrook, Lapstone and Kingswood. The north-to-south Nepean River marks a sharp divide in the electorate’s voting patterns; Labor’s vote to its east is 10 per cent higher than in the Blue Mountains foothills to its west. The latter area, perhaps being somewhat closer to nature, is also stronger for the Greens. The redistribution has added more than 2000 voters at Kingswood in the east from Mulgoa and removed around 1000 in the far west to Blue Mountains, thereby boosting the Labor margin by 0.5 per cent. The electorate was created in 1973 and has been won by Labor at every election except 1988, when Health Minister Peter Anderson was narrowly defeated by Liberal candidate Guy Matheson (Anderson re-emerged in Liverpool in 1991).
The Labor candidate who recovered the seat in 1991 was Penrith mayor Faye Lo Po’, who survived a small swing in 1995 before consolidating her hold with a 12.4 per cent boost in 1999. Lo Po’ served in the Carr government as Fair Trading Minister until 1997 and Community Services Minister from then until her retirement in 2003. She was then succeeded by Karyn Paluzzano, a Penrith councillor and teacher of children with learning difficulties, who was anointed for preselection by the state party’s hyperactive administrative committee. Labor suffered a sharp 10.6 per cent two-party swing on Paluzzano’s electoral debut, driven by a 7.3 per cent drop in the primary vote.