Penrith by-election: June 19

Saturday, June 19

Here is an 2007 booth results map for your enlightenment. Live coverage on this site will begin at 6pm.

penrith 2007 map

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

Antony Green offers a typically comprehensive by-election overview, as does Ben Raue at The Tally Room. The Penrith Press reports on a local resident, Noel Selby, who will run as an independent.

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.

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.

66 comments on “Penrith by-election: June 19”

  1. More on NSW generally than Penrith; Opposition continue to attempt to get some points on KK

    [The increasingly odd couple

    Stand back. They’re at it again. The Premier, Kristina Keneally, yesterday dodged questions about Joe Tripodi’s influence on her decision-making by renewing her attack on the self-declared ”rurosexual” Adrian Picolli.

    In question time, Picolli, the opposition education spokesman, asked Keneally: ”If you want people to believe you are not a puppet, as described by the former premier, the member for Toongabbie, and that the member for Fairfield is just another backbencher, can you explain why the member for Fairfield was present, consulted and involved in your most recent cabinet reshuffle?”

    Rather than answer him, Keneally read a transcript of a recent radio interview in which Chris Smith of 2GB asked Piccoli if the Premier liked bald men, to which Piccoli replied: ”I think most women probably do secretly harbour something for bald men.” As Keneally continued to bait Piccoli, he got his own back: ”We can just go for a coffee if you like,” he said. ”We know you like Italians.” The Nationals’ Steve Cansdell chimed in: ”Does Joe have to come, too?”

    Keneally didn’t get around to addressing Tripodi’s input into her reshuffle, but she did put on the record that her husband, Ben, ”has a healthy head of hair”. All romantic comedies start this way, of course.]

  2. Front page of the Tele this morning

    [LABOR’S head office machine wants to oust controversial MP Joe Tripodi from Parliament at the next election in an attempt to clean up the image of Kristina Keneally’s Government.
    The push is being led by general secretary Sam Dastyari and left-wing assistant secretary Luke Foley, senior party sources said.

    Labor’s head office wants Ms Keneally to pressure Mr Tripodi to retire from his Fairfield seat at the election but is concerned her loyalty to the powerbroker who has guided her career may stand in the way…

    The Daily Telegraph revealed this week that head office wants a clean-out of MPs, including Mr Obeid, Blacktown MP Paul Gibson, Wollongong MP Noreen Hay and Richard Amery from Mt Druitt.

    A plan to install Transport Minister John Robertson in the Blacktown seat could lead to a race for Opposition leader with Mr Sartor and perhaps Michael Daley if Labor loses.]

  3. So….any predictions?

    Given Labor have been trying to publicly talk up 30%, I think privately they’re expecting something of the order of 20%. I’ll predict a swing roughly similar to what we saw in Ryde (~22-23%).

  4. From Antony Green to see the action.

    [On Saturday night I will be providing full analysis of the Penrith by-election results. Tune in after 6pm on Saturday night at for analysis of the results, including detailed booth by booth analysis.

    I will also be twittering results using the #penrith tag from @AntonyGreenABC, probably being repeated by @ABCNews and @ABCElections.]

  5. MDMC

    Hard to see any positive perceptions for Labor out there at all:
    – local member: self-confessed corrupt
    – state government: incompetent (KK better hope there is no delay on the M4 or western rail line tonight!)
    – federal government: on the nose (interest rates in mortgage belt? cigarette tax?)

    Could be a whopper of a swing…

  6. Today I tried to get excited about the Penrith by-election – but alas I posted to the wrong thread.

    So I will cut and paste the comments here:-

    CentreBet opened its markets on the Penrith by-election in early June 2010 with Liberals at $1.20, Labor at $4.25 and Greens at $11.00.

    The current market is:-
    Liberals – $1.10
    Labor – $6.50
    Greens – $17.00
    Independent – $29.00 (previously $26.00)
    Aust. Dems – $41.00 (previously $43.00)
    Christian Dems – $81.00 ($67)
    LDP – $81.00 ($67)
    Aust First – $81.00 ($67)


    Perhaps NSW Labor will rebadge itself the REGRET Party after the Penrith by-election.

    Labor’s candidate for Penrith, John Thain, now regrets that Labor distributed a smear sheet.
    Penrith Labor candidate regrets party’s pamphlet

    Presumably Thain even regrets being a member of the Labor Party, as his campaign material contains no mention of Labor.
    Politics without a whiff of Labor

    Labor’s Premier Kristina Keneally regretted her inappropriate comments made immediately following David Campbell’s resignation and she also regretted the comments she made about Caroline Pemberton.

    Maybe after the Penrith by election Labor will regret that Karyn Paluzzano used staffers (being paid for by taxpayers) for political campaigning, that Labor contested the Penrith by-election, that Labor appointed Kristina Keneally as its leader and that the Labor Party exists under that name.

  7. #32
    [ So….any predictions?
    Given Labor have been trying to publicly talk up 30%, I think privately they’re expecting something of the order of 20%. I’ll predict a swing roughly similar to what we saw in Ryde (~22-23%).

    I prefer not to make predictions, basically because one is almost guaranteed to be wrong. However, based on current statewide polling and the results of the 2008 by-elections I would expect the range of the swing against Labor to be 15-25%. Anything outside that range would create something to talk about !

  8. However, in an endeavour to create some controversy I am gunna stick my neck out.

    * I predict the Greens will receive 11% of the first preference vote.
    * I predict Andrew Green (CDP) will get 3%.
    * I predict Mick Saunders (Aust First) will get less than 1%.
    * I predict Jose Sanz (Aust Democrats) will get 2%.
    * I predict Noel Selby (Ind) will get 4%.
    * I predict David Leyonhjelm (Outdoor Rec. Party) will get 2%.

  9. Another aspect that will be interesting in the NSW optional preferential system is how many votes of the non-ALP/non-Liberal, exhaust after the first number…

    …could be an interesting indicator of the extent of revulsion of ALP / attraction of Liberals

  10. #39
    [ Another aspect that will be interesting in the NSW optional preferential system is how many votes of the non-ALP/non-Liberal, exhaust after the first number…
    …could be an interesting indicator of the extent of revulsion of ALP / attraction of Liberals ]

    I am predicting the exhaust rate will be unusually high. That’s why I am reluctant to even hazard a guess at the final 2PP vote. Assuming every ballot paper exhausts after 1, the final 2PP percentage may magnify the winners (the candidate with the highest primary vote) margin compared with a compulsory full preferential vote, but on the other hand it may microscope it. Greater care needs to be taken when using OPV 2PP counts as a guide to predicting future behaviour, than with compulsory full preferential voting.

  11. The final media reports:-

    * SMH – One-horse race for Penrith by-election
    Incumbent Labor is forecasting a loss on Saturday while the Liberal contender, Stuart Ayres, has emerged as the bookie’s favourite.

    * SMH – O’Farrell pledges clean campaign for the election
    BARRY O’FARRELL has moved to seize the moral high ground before the Penrith byelection today, promising a campaign free of smear and personal attacks through to next year’s poll after his candidate, Stuart Ayres, was targeted by the Labor Party.
    ”I think the public has had a gutful of the politics of personal denigration, attacks and smears,” Mr O’Farrell said.

    * Daily Telegraph – Liberals race to 20-year victory in ALP heart
    In yet another blow to Kristina Keneally’s dying Government, both sides of politics expects Labor to lose today’s Penrith by-election.
    The only question is the size of the swing against Labor, with estimates ranging between 15 and 27 per cent.

    * The Australian – Mixed signals in the rush to oust Labor
    “The Labor government in NSW is in a unique situation,” Mackerras tells Inquirer.
    “It is the only government in this country that is actually discredited. The by-election will tell us what we already know: that there will be a landslide win by the Coalition in NSW at the state election next year.”

    * The Australian – Voters get ready to nuke Labor
    The real task for Labor today is to improve on its performance at by-elections in Ryde and Cabramatta in 2008, when the Coalition recorded swings of 23 per cent and 22 per cent respectively. If that occurs, cheeky Labor bosses at the party’s Sussex Street headquarters will call it a win and move on.

    * Penrith Star – Lib man closes red-hot $1.05 as Penrith set to leave Labor
    Only three weeks after opening a pronounced $1.20 favourite on Centrebet, Liberal candidate Stuart Ayres has been sensationally backed in to an ‘unbeatable’ $1.05 hot-pot to claim the blue-collar NSW seat of Penrith tomorrow for only the second contested time in Coalition political history.

    * ABC – Labor faces thrashing in Penrith
    However, the ABC’s election analyst Antony Green believes the swing will be in the order of 15 to 20 per cent away from the ALP.
    “This is a by-election that is not of the Government’s choosing and the opinion polls for the Government have been terrible for three years,” he said.
    “It is only a few months until the state election and it is facing a pounding from the electorate.”

  12. CentreBet odds on offer as at 3am 19 June 2010

    Liberals – $1.05 (previously $1.10)
    Labor – $7.50 ($6.50)
    Greens – $21.00 ($17.00)
    Independent – $23.00 ($29.00)
    Aust. Dems – $51.00 ($41.00)
    Christian Dems – $101.00 ($81.00)
    LDP – $101.00 ($81.00)
    Aust First – $101.00 ($81.00)

    Clearly the “dark horse” in the race is the Independent Noel Selby. There clearly has been some money put on him ($26, $29, $23). There have been reports he is a stooge Labor candidate, standing to attract disaffected traditional Labor voters and to deliver preferences back to Labor. Selby has denied such claims.

  13. #37

    Having just read Ben Raue’s The Tally Room comprehensive Penrith By-Election page with comments from people on the ground in Penrith I fear my prediction for Jose Sanz (2%) is in error.

    The moving hand writes, and having writ, moves on… so I am stuck with that prediction, but if I was allowed a 2nd chance, I would change the prediction for Jose Sanz to 7% (others unchanged).

  14. I think Sanz is going to get closer to 2% than 7% and possibly less than 2%. I think he’ll also be outpolled by both Saunders and Green. He’s about to learn what former members of the party know – the name is an impediment on the ballot paper.

  15. The democrats name is good, it’s just that the organisation itself brings nothing to the table if you’re a candidate. Since 2002 the party gets more from its candidates than the candidates get from the organisation. But good luck to Sanz he is a very good candidate indeed.

  16. that was one of the things we tried 2008-09, to start deploying resources (members, copy, money) to actually assist candidates but infighting sank it all again

  17. As Twittering & Tweeting seems to be flavour of the month at the present time – I had a look at what some people are doing today –

    Kristina Keneally – It’s business as usual. She is taking her kids to soccer and in the afternoon heading out to Penrith.
    “@KKeneally: @RobertCandelori hi Robert. Going this afternoon to Penrith to support John Thain, our terrific local candidate. Cheers KK”
    about 3 hours ago via Twitter for iPhone

    Barry O’Farrell – Has been out in Penrith from early morning:-
    Glenbrook P&C’s cake stall doing a great trade with local voters #penrithbyelection
    about 3 hours ago via web

    Jamison high booth was very busy – had a quick word with john thain & lee rhiannon while stuart cast his vote #penrithbyelection
    about 2 hours ago via web

    It seems O’Farrell has abandoned his kids to concentrate on his job as Opposition Leader:-

    an omen? no 1 son scores in his team’s rugby 28-10 win (of course I missed the moment – but he’s thrilled)
    16 minutes ago via web

    Andrew Stoner Is a no-show, opting to attend a National Party Conference in Canberra instead.

    in brrrr Canberra for The Nationals’ Federal Conference – wish i could be in Penrith: best wishes Stuart Ayres!
    about 3 hours ago via mobile web

    Lee Rhiannon Is putting in the hard yards working on a booth in Penrith.

    First for #Penrith. First for #Greens Tamils for Greens on byelection polling booth.
    about 2 hours ago via TweetDeck

    See Pic of Lee, candidate Suzie Wright and Tamil booth workers

  18. The fake Keneally has Twittered:-

    KKKeneally We’ve lowered expectations so far that it’ll be a success when we last a fortnight without losing an MP or a minister
    about 1 hour ago via web


  19. [Lee Rhiannon Is putting in the hard yards working on a booth in Penrith.]
    I wonder if she is a positive or a negative for Greens 👿

  20. My tip for the by election-

    primary vote
    Labor 24%
    Liberal 54.5%
    Greens 10.5%
    Others 11%

    (two party preferred)
    Labor 34%
    Liberal 66%

  21. Might as well take a guess on the final outcome.

    TPP: 58-42 to Libs.
    ALP: 32%
    Libs: 47%
    Greens: 14%
    Others: 7%

    Will be interesting to see how many just voted 1 Greens (like me).

  22. [ I wonder if she is a positive or a negative for Greens ]

    From my own personal experience, I would say a positive. However, I don’t suggest that I am like a “normal” person. Other people may react differently. However, I find her warm, caring and fun.

  23. [Labor identity Graham Richardson has tipped a 25 per cent swing away from the ALP.]

    I wonder how good Richo is at tipping these days. 🙂

  24. PY
    I would put myself at the far end of the normal distribution curve (perhaps off it entirely), but “warm, caring and fun” are not the impressions I have (though I have never met her, so only my impression). Anways, different view 😉

    90 minutes to lift off

  25. William/anyone

    How does one calculate the 2PP swing in an optional preferential system?

    Gross up the 2 finalists to a 100%? Or just based on non-exhausted preferences?

    (very droll ruawake!)

  26. #58

    I think the answer is-

    Convert the remaining vote in the last count to 100%, and then calculate the 2PP vote.

    e.g. If in the last count candidate A = 45% of total vote, B = 35% (20% having exhausted)….then A=45/80=56.25% and B must be 43.75%. Then compare that to last election e,g, A= 35%, B=65% meaning a 21.25% swing to A.

  27. ruawake@57 – my shanahan-style exit polls say a magical unicorn has swept into penrith and caused an upset. It’s like Keating use to always say “unicorns love wet lettuce, especially when self interest is involved, then it’s unrepresentative swill”

  28. Thanks much PY

    As you suggested previously, this does mean that great care is needed in analysing the 2PP…the level of exhaustion will be interesting sto see (10% last time)

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