Seat of the week: Reid

UPDATE (23/7): The weekly Essential Research has Labor recover the point it lost last week to trail 56-44, from primary votes of 33% for Labor (up two), 49% for the Coalition (steady) and 10% for the Greens (steady). Further questions find 53% thinking it “likely” an Abbott government would introduce industrial relations laws similar to WorkChoices against 22% unlikely, and 37% thinking “Australian workers” would be worse off under Abbott against 32% better off. There is also a rather complex question on amendments to surveillance and intelligence-gathering laws.

UPDATE 2: Morgan face-to-face, conducted over the previous two weekends, has two-party preferred steady at 54-46 on previous-election preferences and down from 57.5-42.5 to 57-43 on respondent-allocated. On the primary vote, Labor is up 2% to 31.5% and the Greens down 2.5% to 12%, with the Coalition steady on 43%.

The inner southern Sydney electorate of Reid covers the southern bank of the Parramatta River from Drummoyne west to Silverwater, extending further south to Burwood, Strathfield, and Auburn. The seat has never been in conservative hands since its creation in 1922, but it became winnable for the Liberals after being transformed by the redistribution before the 2010 election. This caused it to assume about 70% of the voters from its abolished eastern neighbour, Lowe, retaining only the area to the west of Homebush Bay Drive and Centenary Drive, from Silverwater south to Rookwood. It was originally proposed that the redrawn electorate bear the new name of McMahon, in honour of Sir William, but objections to the loss of the name Reid (so named after George Reid, titan of the state’s late colonial free trade forces and the nation’s fourth prime minister) led to the name of McMahon instead being accommodated by renaming the outer western Sydney seat of Prospect.

Lowe was created in 1949 from areas covered by the since-abolished Martin and Parkes (the latter bearing no relation to the current rural electorate of that name), and had a very slight notional Labor margin on its creation. Billy McMahon nonetheless gained the seat for the Liberal Party in 1949 and held it until the end of his career in 1983, withstanding particularly strong Labor challenges in 1961 and 1980. Labor’s Michael Maher won the by-election that followed McMahon’s retirement, and the seat thereafter changed hands with some regularity. Bob Woods won it for the Liberals in 1987, but was weakened by redistribution and then tipped out by a swing to Labor’s Mary Easson in 1993. Paul Zammit regained the seat for the Liberals in the 1996 landslide, but quit the party in protest against the Howard government’s airport policy in 1998. John Murphy was able recover it for Labor in 1998, having won preselection over the rather better credentialled Michael Costello, secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs. Murphy held parliamentary secretary positions from December 2001 until he stood down citing family illness in February 2009, but is perhaps better remembered for complaining in parliament about the size of a serving of beef stroganoff his wife had received from the parliamentary cafeteria.

Reid in its original incarnation covered Bankstown, but it shifted northwards when Blaxland was created in 1949. A member of Jack Lang’s breakaway state ALP branch held the seat from 1931 to 1940, and Lang himself was member for one term after a surprise win under the ALP (Non-Communist) banner in 1946. Lang unsuccessfully contested Blaxland in 1949, and Reid was recovered by Charles Morgan, the previous member whom Lang had unseated. Morgan lost preselection at the 1958 election to Tom Uren, a future minister in the Whitlam and Hawke governments, who was in turn succeeded by Left potentate Laurie Ferguson in 1990. When the redistribution was announced in 2009 it was thought a preselection showdown loomed between Murphy and Ferguson, but it soon became apparent Ferguson’s eyes were set on Fowler to the west, and he was eventually accommodated in its southern neighbour Werriwa. Murphy meanwhile retained preselection for Reid unopposed, and went on to have his margin slashed from 10.8% to 2.7% at the 2010 election as part of a backlash against Labor throughout Sydney.

The Liberal candidate at the next election will be Craig Laundy, heir to and general manager of his father’s “$500 million hotel empire”, who won an April 2012 preselection with backing from Tony Abbott. Laundy’s main rival for the preselection was Dai Le, an ABC Radio National producer and two-time state candidate for Cabramatta.

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.

2,533 comments on “Seat of the week: Reid”

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  1. If Pyne does have to leave politics, maybe Cando can offer him a consultancy about reducing staffing and increasing classroom sizes.

  2. [Newspoll

    2PP: 56-44
    Primaries: Coalition 46 ALP 28, GRN 11]
    THE TREND WILL SAVE US ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Boerwar @ 2455


    We discovered, accidentally, that the Greens have, as a policy measure, decided to close down Olympic Dam Mine when they gain government. Poroti that is $1.5 trillion down the gurglur.

    What did you expect from cretins?

    BTW, I used the term ‘loons’ to refer to the Greens when asking a question of our guest speaker tonight (a state MP). He seemed to like it so I am hoping it is carried back to caucus and catches on.

    Thanks Centre for that one. 😉

  4. TLBD,

    [Teachers must be a mass.]

    Nup, teachers must be a mass mess.

    What worthwhile teacher would want to be anywhere near him?

    No, NOOOO, don’t want any information about that…

  5. 28% Primary

    Whether you think Rudd will return or not, you can’t possibly say the PM can survive this sort of polling.

    If it’s not Rudd, Shorten or Smith do have the power to gain the numbers to make things happen

  6. So no movement on Newspoll?

    With any luck Rudd’s destabilising tactics are starting to induce responses of ‘meh!’.

  7. poroti

    $3 billion worth of diesel would trigger another Greens’ policy which is to introduce a low greenhouse gas trigger as a matter of significance under the EPBC Act.

  8. Btw Spur212, I think it’s rather unsavoury of you to have outed James J as GWV.

    Most unecessary, and you should apologise.

  9. BW:

    [Here is a bit of a policy poser for the Greens. Olympic Dam Mine produces lots of copper, gold and uranium.

    It uranium mining is to become illegal, as per Greens policy measures, will the Olympic Dam Mine be closed by the Milne Government?]

    Stipulated: I’m against the current Greens policy on uranium, and for that matter, nuclear power. Subject to the usual feasibility criteria, I’d support nuclear power plants here, the IFR and other 3rd & 4th Gen technologies

    No, it would not. Uranium is only one of the valuable ores, and if uranium were the only ore of value there it probably wouldn’t be worth mining it. AIUI it’s the copper that makes the mine viable, while the uranium is a very nice bonus.

  10. oh ffs, politicians lamenting gratuitous violence in films.

    People have being going to movies to see sex and violence for over 100 years.

  11. Strange!
    Much commentary on twitter about Pyne on Q&A but not one mention of Roxon.
    I’m not watching it! Is Roxon on the panel?

  12. fess
    It is getting rather boring. I suppose there will now be three days of PB ruddstoration and spineless jelly-wobbling.

    Couldn’t we just get one of those prayer-wheel things? Instead of saying the lines, we can just spin the wheel with the writing on it.

  13. Labor’s down 3% on the primary vote.

    Abbott’s approval is down 2 and his disapproval is up 4

    Gillard’s approval up 2 from 27 a couple of weeks ago

  14. Another lousy poll.

    Little movement.

    Looks like a disengaged electorate to me.

    Narurally the usual panic merchants will be off and running with their tales of doom and
    Leadership speculation. Its all so predictable.

    I reckon the electorate won’t wake up and start to really consider the alternatives before them until much closer to the next election. Until then, as I’ve posted before, it will be: Scan the headlines and turn to the sports pages.

  15. fran

    [No, it would not. Uranium is only one of the valuable ores, and if uranium were the only ore of value there it probably wouldn’t be worth mining it. AIUI it’s the copper that makes the mine viable, while the uranium is a very nice bonus.]

    We share a view on the desirability of nuclear power.

    The Greens have a quite specific policy measure that they will ban the exploration, mining and export of uranium. Olympic Dam has done all three and will continue to do two of them: mine and export uranium.

    There is no mention of uranium by value or by quantity in the Greens policy. These are, therefore, irrelevant to the Greens.

    The policy is quite black and white. Incidentally, Roxby has tens of thousands of tonnes of uranium. If a Greens government is consistent with its policies, it will close Olympic Dam.

  16. Puffy @ 2490

    For every kid who dies as a result of lack of vaccination, those dangerous nut jobs in avn should be charged.

    I am philosophically against capital punishment. But in their case my resolve would weaken… 👿

  17. [ spur212
    Posted Monday, July 23, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    28% Primary

    Whether you think Rudd will return or not, you can’t possibly say the PM can survive this sort of polling.

    If it’s not Rudd, Shorten or Smith do have the power to gain the numbers to make things happen]

    A panic attack now simply hands the agenda to Abbott-Credlin. The government is getting things done. It’s economic record is outstanding among developed countries in the world.

    The polls ain’t going to turn around magically overnight. Might have even got off to a reasonable start with nobody going broke from carbon pricing if Fitzgibbon hadn’t set the Ruddstoration hares running in an otherwise good period.

    You can have your panic attack around the end of the year if things haven’t improved.

  18. The non-immunizing may be willing to accept higher risks to their own health. This is an issue of personal privacy. Because there are risks associated with immunization, as with any medical procedure, it is only performed with consent. This is not controversial. But it does not deal with the external issue: the problem created by non-immunizing individuals is not so much the risks they create for themselves, but the increased risks and costs they create for all others, including those who fall ill and their families, as well as third parties – typically those who have to meet the financial costs of treating infectious diseases.

    Perhaps those who choose not to immunize should be subject to a fine. This would discourage non-immunizing and would help meet the costs that free-riders create for non-free-riders. At least this would make it clear to non-immunizing individuals that while they may avoid the (very small) personal direct risks involved in immunization, they will nevertheless contribute to reducing the common health risks and costs of the whole community. This is conceptually like an additional premium payable on an insurance policy, to be levied on those who choose to create extra risk exposure.

    Considering those affected by dangerous infectious diseases may have no choice about whether or not they are exposed to diseases – think of pertussis – then this seems the least that non-immunizing individuals should be required to do.

    Societies do not usually permit free-riding behaviour to catch on because it can lead to system paralysis and eventually to collapse. This is certainly true with tax collections and the discharge of pollution into the environment and even with fare-evasion on buses and trains. There is no good reason why free-riding that leads to the spread of infectious diseases should be exempt.

  19. With Reid the last redistribution changes which took effect for the 2010 election were significant in that it could be argued they affected the outcome of the federal election. Lowe under its pre 2010 boundaries would have being won by the Liberal Party in 2010. Lowe which ran north-south was split between Reid and Watson on an East-West basis. As noted in the last seat of the week Moreton, the boundary changes there also meant the ALP held Moreton in 2010. Collectively boundary changes can be significant. Changed results in both seats would have changed the result of the election.

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