Seat of the week: Page

UPDATE: Essential Research has primary votes unchanged on last week, at 32% for Labor, 49% for the Coalition and 10% for the Greens, although rounding has resulted in an increase in the Coalition’s two-party lead from 56-44 to 57-43. Also featured are questions on power prices, with 37% thinking power companies most responsible against 28% for the federal government and 23% for state governments; price increases under the carbon tax, which 52% (including 68% of Coalition voters) say they have noticed and 36% say they haven’t; and the various aspects of the Houston report recommendations, which find very strong support for limiting the ways boat arrivals can bring their families to Australia, opinion divided on increasing the humanitarian program and strong opposition to the Malaysia solution, but strong approval for implementing them all as per the new government policy.

Page covers the north-eastern corner of New South Wales, outside of the northernmost coastal stretch from Byron Bay to the Queensland border which constitutes Richmond. Its main population centres are Ballina on the coast, Lismore and Casino further inland, and Grafton in the south. Labor’s strongest area is Lismore, with the remainder generally leaning slightly to the Nationals. With a median age of 44, the electorate is second only to Lyne as the oldest in Australia, and it ranks in the bottom ten on all measures of income. There are correspondingly low numbers of mortgage payers and high numbers of unemployed, along with the fifth lowest proportion of residents whose main language is other than English.

Page was created with the enlargement of parliament in 1984, from an area which had historically been divided between Richmond and Cowper. It was won in 1984 by Ian Robinson, who had held Cowper for the National/Country Party since 1963. Like his party leader Charles Blunt in neighbouring Richmond, Robinson was a surprise casualty of the 1990 election, when he was unseated by a 5.2% swing to Labor’s Harry Woods. Woods held on by 193 votes in 1993 before inevitably going out with the tide in 1996. The seat was then held for the Nationals throughout the Howard years by Ian Causley, who had previously been the state member for Clarence – which Harry Woods then proceeded to win at the by-election to fill his vacancy.

Page did not swing greatly on Causley’s watch, but the Nationals benefited from redistributions which added 1.0% to the margin in 2001 and 1.3% in 2007. This did not avail them when Causley retired at the 2007 election, with Labor’s Janelle Saffin picking up a 7.8% swing to defeat Nationals candidate Chris Gulaptis (now the member for Clarence after retaining the seat for the Nationals at a November 2011 by-election). In swing terms, Saffin achieved the best result of any Labor member in New South Wales at the 2010 election by picking up a swing of 2.5%, the only other seats in the state to record pro-Labor swings being Robertson (0.9%), Dobell (1.2%) and Eden-Monaro (1.9%).

Saffin was a Lismore-based member of the state upper house from 1995 until the 2003 state election, when she withdrew from preselection after it became apparent she would not retain a winnable position on the ticket. In the period between her two spells in politics, she resumed work as a human rights lawyer and then took up a position in East Timor in 2006 as adviser to Jose Ramos Horta. Saffin publicly supported Kevin Rudd during his leadership challenge in February 2012. The Nationals have again nominated their candidate from 2010, Clunes businessman and farmer Kevin Hogan, who won preselection ahead of Clarence Valley mayor Richie Williamson.

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.

3,581 comments on “Seat of the week: Page”

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  1. [I hope these vicious mongrels fry in their Hell! Oh, and Pell gets a mention.]

    BK, After the Pussy Riot was given a 2 years prison sentence, the Russia Orthodox Church called for mercy for the girls.

    WTF, the Church was the one who was calling for their blood in the first place. Talk about hypocrisy!!!

  2. Recommendation 15 from the Manufacturing Taskforce Report. This could be interesting.
    [Australian manufacturers are increasingly finding that
    they are competing against products that do not
    conform to regulatory requirements and do not meet
    standards to which domestic businesses adhere.
    The non-government members of the Taskforce
    recommend that the Commonwealth Government:
    1. Develop an approach to conformity marking
    along the lines of Europe’s CE Marking.
    2. Evaluate, in consultation with industry, the effec­
    tiveness of existing regulators with responsibilities
    for product assessment with a view to improving
    effectiveness of conformity assessment.
    3. Enter a dialogue with the ACCC and, through the
    State and Territory Governments, Offices of Fair
    Trading, to increase the priority given to addressing
    misleading claims of conformity with regulation and
    voluntary standards.]

  3. Morning Bludgers.

    A big thank you to those of you who have donated. Two Bludgers so far have the rights to my Avitar.

    the marrickville mauler

  4. Romney being wedged? He can’t seem to shake attention off his tax.

    From an Australian perspective the US Presidential election campaign seem pretty quite so far with only about 100 days to go.

    Obama Campaign Keeping Spotlight on Romney’s Tax Returns

    President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign and its allies sought today to keep alive a debate over Mitt Romney’s tax returns, calling on him to release at least five years of filings and showing a new ad on the issue.

    A response from Romney’s campaign indicated the presumed Republican presidential nominee won’t change his position of disclosing no more than two years of returns.

    A letter to Romney’s campaign by Obama re-election manager Jim Messina said the president’s team would cease its criticism of the former Massachusetts governor on the tax question if the bid for five years of returns was met.

    “This request for the release of five years, covering the complete returns for 2007-2012, is surely not unreasonable,” Messina wrote. “Other presidential candidates have released more, including the governor’s father who provided 12 years of returns.”

  5. So now Aasange supporters, having said the Australian government hasn’t done enough to help him, rely on a representation from our US ambassador requesting advance notice if they intend to arrest him as evidence of further conspiracy.

    No one should ever again say the Right has a mortgage on nutbag conspiracy theorists.

  6. MegaGeorge writes in OPT’s link above –

    The best journalists in the business still cluster in the federal parliament and I will always defend their work

    If they are the BEST, then god help us all. It goes a fair way to explaining why people are no longer prepared to pay for the crap journos dish up. Particularly political journos.

    George is an honourable exception without having to agree with him on everything and there is also a very small group of others in the same category. But not many. Far few too many.

    If the Canberra press gallery ceased to exist overnight, life would go on and their absence would be barely noticed by most Australians.

  7. Ominous words from George Megalogenis:

    [The media is well aware that it let the public down in 2010. Abbott and Gillard should not underestimate that feeling. Another election like the last does not bear reporting.]

    The only thing I’d add is that in the period before the campaign, they seem to have forgotten the last election.

  8. Trouble is. In todays. Soceity A. Lot of people seem to. Have. Such big ideas about their self importance, of themselves in the scheme of. Things
    When actually no ones. Looking

  9. [MegaGeorge writes in OPT’s link above –

    The best journalists in the business still cluster in the federal parliament and I will always defend their work

    If they are the BEST, then god help us all. It goes a fair way to explaining why people are no longer prepared to pay for the crap journos dish up. Particularly political journos.]

    George is a very conservative commentator (lower case “c”).

    He is someone who doesn’t think the system is all that bad, just that it gets off track sometimes. He worries about change, like a true conservative. He defends outdated institutions, like the Press Gallery. His loyalty to his erstwhile colleagues there is part of him, not bravado or journalistic arrogance.

    George is coming along well, learning that he is respected and read in all the right places. He’s gaining in confidence and is learning how to flex his muscles, not in Hulk-type shirt ripping, but in small increments, each time slightly improving his personal best.

    I’m not trying to patronise Megalogenis. I think he’s one of the very best, and his best is yet to come. He has both an accomplished present (far ahead of most of his colleagues), and a marvellous future. He’s considered by temperament, gentle by nature, and he’s really, really smart, with the added bonus of being both a clear thinker and a lucid explainer. What else does he need?

    I do think he needs to get cranky about something. He doesn’t like to rock the boat. That’s his temperament talking. But he needs to. Facts and reason don’t always win the day, in the way George would like them to.

    I don’t mean he should go “shock jock”, but I do feel that there’s a fire waiting in his belly to be lit, and God help whoever’s in the way.

  10. Reporting standards since the 2010 election have gotten even worse.

    The dozzy is the meme that facts, data and proof no longer count.

    Perceptions rule we are told.

  11. Yet more “*MOAR* but on a different topic and of a different type. Who said the Murdoch Disease hadn’t spread to Australia & NewsLtd?

    Vex News on the person whose accusations against the PM that the OO is publishing: BAD TO THE BONER: PM’s accuser is sleazy sex tourist, preying on vulnerable young Thai women

    [The man on whom The Australian relied for a front-page attack on the Prime Minister implying she was an embezzler is a low-life sex-predator who trawls Asia for vulnerable, suspiciously young women. We look at the life and slimes of self-admitted crook and former AWU militant leftist Ralph Blewitt and realise he has plenty of reason to seek immunity from prosecution that doesn’t have anything at all to do with Australian politics.

    The nation’s broadsheet, The Australian, recently splashed with claims made by a former leftist union crook, Ralph Blewitt, implying the PM was some kind of embezzler because she had – twenty years ago – hooked up with another leftist union crook, Bruce Wilson. By his own admission, Blewitt was a fraudster, ripping off AWU members until its current moderate leadership democratically were restored to control of its Victorian branch which has, from those dark days, prospered and grown…

    Photographic evidence obtained by the hard-working and globally connected VEXNEWS Investigations Unit stunningly reveals the PM’s accuser to be a dirty old man sex tourist who jests with his mates about Thai and Malaysian women being potential sex workers (based on their appearance and breast size), frequently attends “massarge (sic) parlor(s)”, poses for photographs with young women believed to involved in the sex trade and engaged in a chilling conversation with mates where he (next to a pic of a suspiciously young woman next to a scooter:]

  12. [No one should ever again say the Right has a mortgage on nutbag conspiracy theorists.]

    That is a bit harsh every Messiah needs fanatics, I mean disciples …

  13. When journalism is. All on. Line and not staring at you in the supermarket

    I. Think most people will for get to read it. ,the older ones without computers
    Will be isolated
    We’ll. Tney have been warned
    but dont believe you when. You tell them ,
    At this point in time I’m not sure if its good or bad.

    But its. Inevitably is loomimg.

    I see people in. Their late 60/70
    Wondering down the road on their morning walk
    Geting the paper wondering back.
    Hopefully those days walking to receive news are numbered
    Of course they will blame the gov. But the courses at libraries are there.

    And from. What iread the junos an d. Those connected at the coal face are still liviing
    In nothings changing mode

  14. Thomas Paine on previous thread. Quoting report.
    [FORMER prime minister Kevin Rudd has defended his decision to abandon the Howard government’s Pacific Solution, saying his government had a mandate in 2007 to cease offshore processing of asylum-seekers.

    Speaking at a function in Melbourne last night, Mr Rudd said he had been carrying out the will of the voters at the federal election in closing asylum-seeker processing centres in the Pacific.]
    I watched Lateline last night (Michael Kruger is a lying, twisted Lib) and there was a report from a woman whose name escapes me – I believe she might have come from producing the morning ABC24.

    Her report on Mr Rudd’s appearance at a forum in Melbourne last night obviosuly cherry-picked all the bits that would do the most for his sympathisers (“everyone hurts when they’re rejected”, etc. Lots of familiar lines about looking in the mirror. All accompanied by enthusiastic clapping.

    Yet the piece quoted by Thomas is actually a defence of the current govt’s policy. Carefully avoided by the reporter.

    Lateline – FAIL.

  15. [The best journalists in the business still cluster in the federal parliament and I will always defend their work, knowing much effort is involved.]

    Latika downloads a press release, or prints off a speech and tweets excerpts of it. How much effort does that involve? Or that silly reporter whose entire QT reporting consists of what MPs are wearing. That must be so hard.

    Unlike other industries, the media seems to have a hard time applying any sort of objective criticism to its own. Glass jaws abound.

  16. [Yet more “*MOAR* but on a different topic and of a different type. Who said the Murdoch Disease hadn’t spread to Australia & NewsLtd?

    Vex News on the person whose accusations against the PM that the OO is publishing:…]

    It’s not MOAR unless there’s a Guardian to print it.

    And there isn’t…

    [The response from this ABC producer was that 7.30 and Lateline had been “eager” to do the stories, but needed to do their “due diligence”. After pressing, we were told that this meant, effectively, that they had been unable to gain sign-off from the ABC “legal department”. Of course, when asked what the actual legal impediment was to publicising primary source material, noting that I have legal training, and given we had published 18 stories without any legal action, the ABC producer seemed somewhat stumped. ]

    Not even the ABC can be relied upon to go against the “If it’s not a mainstream media story, then it’s not a story” meme.

  17. [If the government can’t mount a massive fear campaign out of this for 2013 they are not really trying.]

    Part of me hopes there has been a lot of ‘saving the cards to play later’

    I wonder if they have footage of her ‘no carbon tax’ comments. It would be an interesting start to a campaign if they went deep and hard on Abbott’s lies while going deep and hard on their achievements.

  18. Getting back to topic.
    NSW Coastal seats. As far as I know they are similar demographics: poor, aged, anglophome, a residual of primary industry but the main industry is tourism and aged care. Yet they give different results at elections.

    Page and Richmond – long time solid national but now marginal Labor
    Cowper – National since federation with 1 3 year exception but Labor has recently come to within 1%
    Paterson – swapped between Lib and Labor several times but currently safe Lib
    Lyne – until Oakeshott very safe Nat – the best Labor ever got was 45%

    What is Labor’s problem in Lyne – bad candidates? Poor organization? A lack of care from Sussex st?

  19. morning all

    I have scrolled over some of last night’s comments.

    My say

    As confessions said, dont take notice of what others say about Mary Mac. They have their own opinions. You continue to find inspiration and guidance in your own way.

  20. Good Morning Bludgers,

    The Gold Coast is again sunkissed and it is begging me to wander out!

    Woke this morning and channel 9 news had some rubbish about JG and being involved in some dodgy matters back at Slater and Gordon. JG issued a statement refuting it.

    My reaction was, OK we’re reaching the bottom of the barrel and this is the best they’ve got – JG is looking better and better all the time.

  21. SK

    They have been building to this story for a while. They certainly have reached the bottom of the barrel. What gets me is why are they so damn desperate. The govt is on the ropes as far as support in the electorate, and look like being soundly defeated at the next election. Why in dog’s name are they dregging the bottom of the barrel? Why are they attempting to intimidate her into submission? What are the underlying factors at play?

  22. victoria,

    I suspect, they are aware of the same thing we are aware of – there has been a shift in recent weeks and the govt are improving all the time. Don’t know when it will show in the polls, or whether it actually will, but the public is starting to warm to the ALP however tepid that might be right now.

  23. Just checked out Latika’s twitterstream. She is in Melbourne and went to the Event Rudd hosted in Melbourne. She complained about the weather. I find it hilarious. Last time she came to Melbourne was for the Lib conference and the weather was seriously bad. Guess what, Melbourne is having another shocker this weekend! They seem to coincide with her coming to Melbourne. Of course, last time Abbott was here and this time Rudd. Are the weather gods saying something?!!


  24. SK

    It is very tepid indeed. There is no requirement for this disgraceful dredging of old stuff from 20 years ago. If it was important, they could have brought it up at the last election. It smacks of desperation to me.
    I feel it has more to do with the blowback the Libs are likely to get on their side of the aisle.

  25. [But of course, Possum is in the same category as Dennis Shanahan and Michelle Grattan to some on here these days …]

    What a ridiculous comment. I’ve not seen anyone equate Poss with Shamas or Grattan.

  26. Possum is an independent thinker, whose opinions are based on facts and sound analysis. Now if we could only get him to teach his fine analytical skills and independence of thought to the rest of the press gallery, Australian media would be in fine shape.

  27. In the spirit of giving folks here something more to reflect upon than the things that have dominated the string count at PB over the last week …

    Credit policy towards residential property

    I’ve long held the view that it is far too loose. I wonder what would happen if policy (incrementally — perhaps over a dozen years or so) tightened up?

    Suppose that starting now it was a requirement that every applicant for a loan for residential property had to start with no less than 5% equity in the property. With each passing month new applicants would have to come up with an extra 0.1% equity, so that next month the figure was 5.1% and so forth until 12 and a bit years from now every new applicant had to come up with 20%, where it would be capped.

    In the interim, no person could borrow in such a way as to allow their equity in the property to fall below the prevailing minimum equity requirement — so no borrowing against equity unless you have built up more than is required at the time.

    Nobody could anyone be granted a loan that would impose a repayment requirement in excess of 30% of the disposable income of the borrower after all regular loan commitments had been deducted (e.g a car/other loans, minimum payments on credit card, school fees, etc)

    The onus would be on the lender to ensure that they had done due diligence adequately and in the event that a dispute over repayment arose between the borrower and lender, any failure of due diligence that was not the consequence of fraudulent representation by the borrower that the lender could not have detected by resonable inquiry would constrain the lender from recovering so much of the loan as would have been above the relevant threshholds at the time the loan was made.

    I suspect that these rules would over time, reduce lending for housing, cap asset price inflation and in the end make saving for property a more realistic option. It would probably free up more funds for business investment loans as well.

  28. victoria:

    Bracing Melbourne’s weather is obviously part of the effort Mega referred to that being a press gallery journalist involves.

  29. confessions

    Indeed. Melbourne is turning On the tempest conditions today. Mind you last weekend was really nice and warm. I daresay Latika must think it is bad all the time. Her analytical thinking does not stretch too far!!

  30. spur212

    I dont recall anyone dissing Possum. He has held a view recently supported by statistics and that is well and good. It does not mean his views are not to be challenged

  31. Victoria

    I remember people bagging him on here awhile back for backing Rudd

    No one challenges his views on here with data or logic. Just intuition

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