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. [Yes, the ex-Cuban group in Florida are not quite the same group as other Hispanics – especially Mexicans. However, it is probably the older generation which is more to the right and helps explain Florida’s key role for the Republicans.]
    Surely Marco Rubio would’ve been a better V.P.?

    Does anyone really think Romney can win WITHOUT winning Florida?

  2. TP

    Labor supporters dislike Rudd where he destabilizes the Party.

    If Rudd put the best interests of the Party before his own, he would not be disliked.

  3. Rubio is not a good look when you are spruiking economic management credentials (he is struggling financially).

    They don’t like poor people over in them United States!

  4. Jackol

    I hate mosquitos. When I was little, I couldn’t believe that a God would create such an annoying creature which also killed millions with malaria.

    It was all downhill for me and God from that point on.

  5. BW – To add insult to injury for Dud he wanted to be in the 7th Div with my father and brother. Coming back ‘tomorrow’ led to him ending up in the 9th and being shipped off to Europe!

  6. [BK
    Posted Monday, August 20, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    Doug Cameron, Janet Albrechtson, Simon Bermingham and some nondescript blonde woman.]

    The nondescript blonde is showing more brains than any of others.

  7. [Rubio is not a good look when you are spruiking economic management credentials (he is struggling financially).]
    But Romney is struggling too, that’s why last year he only had to pay 13% tax.

    Paul Ryan is doing much better financially than Romney, hence he paid a 20% tax rate last year.

  8. Somebody upthread (my apologies, I can’t remember who it was) listed several matters that Richo should bear in mind.

    There’s also the small matter of the frolic in the spa, which required the services of a plumber to rescue one of the participants 😉

  9. So Centre $1000 Bilbo can hold the stake in an escrow account , happy to pay his admin costs. Your on right?
    Paul Kelly a Liberal Stooge just ask his ex wife Ros a minister in Hawkies Government yeah sure! Kelly is about as much a Lib supporter as George Megaloginis or David Marr.
    Cannot wait till his Monthly article on Abbott he might have even met him or spent more than ten minutes with the guy.

  10. Wow. Just watched the ABC’s bit on Peter Norman.EVERY medal winner was invited to the Sydney Olympics except for Norman. SHAME SHAME youse scumbag arskoles of the SOC.Yeah I’m looking at you Mr Coates + Gosper.

  11. [BK
    Posted Monday, August 20, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    What a stuck up bit of work is JA.]

    Her answer on the Poms winning was bullshit, once again the non descript blond got it right.

  12. [Jane Caro @JaneCaro 3m
    #qanda As a woman in power the blokes hated Mary Mackillop too. They only think she’s a saint now she’s safely dead.]
    View details ·

  13. Ms Nolan is talking through her arse. Has just said that ‘…some place, Sri Lanka or something, is taking a million refugees.’

    Next, please.

  14. Troy Bramston ‏@TroyBramston

    I’ll be reporting tomorrow’s #Newspoll tonight at 11pm on @SkyNewsAust with full details in tomorrow’s @australian #auspol

  15. Newspoll

     53-47 2PP 
    Primaries: Coalition 45 , ALP 35, Greens 11

    Abbott: satisfied 34 , dissatisfied 54
    Gillard: satisfied 27, dissatisfied 60
    Better PM: Abbott 38, Gillard 38

  16. fredn

    The Greens can’t even knock up a budget. They have population policies. They have sustainability policies. They have asylum seeker policies. In the absence of an integrated approach to these policies (with NUMBERS) in the context of a costed budget, the Greens have no policy integrity. At all.

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