Seat of the week: Fowler

Three years ago, the outer western Sydney seat of Fowler was Labor’s third safest in the country. Now it fears it might lose.

Fowler covers an area of Labor’s western Sydney heartland from Lansvale, Liverpool and Cabramatta in the east, through Hinchinbrook and Cecil Hills to undeveloped territory beyond the Westlink. The electorate has the second highest number of non-English speakers of any electorate in the country, ranking in the top ten for persons of Chinese, Vietnamese, Serbian and Croatian extraction. The redistribution ahead of the 2010 election halved its geographic size by exchanging semi-rural territory around Badgerys Creek for urban areas around Liverpool and Lansvale (largely reversing changes made before the 2004 election), boosting the Labor margin by 4.5% and making it their third safest seat in notional terms. It then proceeded to swing more heavily against Labor than any other seat in the country, slashing the margin 22.6% to 8.8% – the first time Labor’s margin had fallen to single figures since the seat’s creation.

Fowler was created with the expansion of parliament in 1984, and held first by Ted Grace until 1998 and then by Julia Irwin until 2010. Chiefly noted as a critic of Israel, Irwin secured the seat with the backing of the old guard of the NSW Right, including Laurie Brereton and Leo McLeay. Irwin twice needed protection to secure her preselection in the past, and there were mixed reports about her likely job security at the 2010 election had she not not opted to retire. In doing so she resolved a headache for the ALP, which had been absorbed by a game of musical chairs resulting from the effective abolition of Laurie Ferguson’s seat of Reid. Ferguson was at first determined to be accommodated in Fowler, but a deal was in force reserving the seat for a Right faction which was also dominant in local branches. He was instead made to settle for Werriwa, displacing Chris Hayes to highly marginal Macarthur.

However, Irwin’s departure gave Hayes, a fellow member of the Right, an immensely more attractive safety net, and also allowed local favourite Nick Bleasdale to unsuccessfully contest Macarthur for a second time. Hayes was a former official with the Right faction Australian Workers Union official who entered parliament at the February 2005 by-election caused by the resignation of Mark Latham. Earlier this week he attained the position of chief government whip, which Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon vacated in March after backing Kevin Rudd’s abortive leadership push. The Liberal candidate is Andrew Nguyen (a name he shares with the LNP candidate for Oxley in Queensland), a former Fairfield councillor and long-standing figure in Cabramatta’s Vietnamese community.

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.

232 comments on “Seat of the week: Fowler”

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  1. my say

    Why do you insist on being rude to people?

    You are not the moderator here and you are forever telling off one person or another.

  2. can some one answer my question

    how can there be gst on education

    it think it already on books

    but education does he mean the fees
    gov, schools are free

    any thoughts on that

  3. Boerwar… it will be very expensive to fix Labors boatpeople mess.. very expensive indeed.

    But once the boats have stopped the long term savings will be enormous.

    Imagine if this incompetent, useless, weak-as-piss government spent $3 Billion dollars this financial year doing everything in it’s power to stop the boats rather than spending it on processing, how much they would have saved the Aussie taxpayer in the long run.

    Labor reminds me of the episode of the Simpsons where Ned Flanders reminisces about his childhood when he was a bad disobedient child and his peacenik parents said to the psychologist: “We’ve tried nothing man and we’re all out of ideas!!”

    Thats just like Labor… they’ve tried nothing man and their all out of ideas

  4. AA

    ‘Is Abbott`s promise 2,000,00 net jobs of 2,000,000 gross jobs?’

    That is a good policy question. We know that he is going to grow the labor market by 16,000 Green Corps persons. I assume that, for the sake of lying about it, he will count these as ‘jobs’. But since they were not in the labour market to begin with, this aspect of Abbott’s 2,000,000 jobs policy is a zero sum game.

    Secondly, let’s say that Abbott destroying ‘at least’ 12,000 public servants actually means 30,000 jobs destroyed. Does this mean that to break even he has to create 2,030,000 jobs?

    As usual with Abbott, when it comes to policy, it is all a bit of a vague mess.

  5. where have I been rude

    tell me the post number

    most of us are having a little fun tonigh

    so which post

    I know u don’t like me posting here


  6. SeanTisMe

    I suggest that Abbott allocates the missing $400,000,000 to addressing the asylum seeker issue. Whoopsadaisy! Sorry! It has been counted twice by Abbott already. Counting it thrice would be a bit much even for Abbott’s standards or arithmatic.

    Perhaps Abbott reckons money is as weightless as CO2?

  7. If you cannot add up – BOATS
    If you stuff up costings – BOATS
    If you are getting kicked in the goolies over Super – BOATS.

    I smell a distraction. 😆

  8. my say

    Try this for a start:

    [I just braved s morrisons web site

    to see and there is a lot there

    that tisme could of copied and pasted

    so is that what you did tisme\
    I thought it was something u knew off the top of your head\

    look I may be wrong YOU may of]

    You need some self awareness!

  9. SeanTisMe

    When Abbott has finished apologising to Indonesia for treating our cattle cruelly, and when he has finished sucking up to the Indonesian ambassador at national speeches, perhaps he could send Mundine over to persuade the Indonesias to lock up the people smugglers?

    Apparently Mundine understands how to shift positions.

  10. online-aged-90-less-lonely

    found this on mark js1 twitter feed,

    lovely story,

    yes we older people must fight to keep the nbn
    it will keep us in our homes

  11. And then Tony the PM spoke, and he said “boats, stop” and the boats stopped and there were no assylum seekers anywhere.

  12. Just watching SBS News. There is a large SSM protest outside Tony Abbotts office, I guess News Ltd and the ABC missed it.

  13. Julia Gillard is so much better when not trying. Stuck behind a lectern, droning away at some boilerplate speech cranked out by her office gnomes, she is cold and remote, more than a bit prissy. Groping for prime ministerial gravitas, she comes across all head girl on speech day.

    It’s when she drops her guard that she’s magnificent. Humanity, passion and decency shine through. So it was on Wednesday, when she introduced the DisabilityCare bill to Parliament in a tide of emotion, tears welling, voice choking. Between sobs she spoke well and her words deserve to be remembered:

    ”The people

    Read more:–when-she-drops-her-guard-20130517-2jrny.html#ixzz2TdCWwJ

    great story about our wonderful PM

  14. “Get Smart” reruns in Moscow
    Like come TV comedy from the past ,the latest CIA venture in Moscow is too funny for words

    See what a US writer says on this funny case of the US spy with the false hairdo and the bag ff money

    The writer says…in contrast the Russians run their spying like an art form …a bit like Ballet

  15. Roger Miller

    Posted Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    And then Tony the PM spoke, and he said “boats, stop” and the boats stopped and there were no assylum seekers anywhere.

    roger that sounds so biblical

  16. castle (and others)

    It is, I am sure, good fun to call Abbott “one of the boat people”, but it doesn’t feel kind to others who were genuine migrants and who happened to get here on a boat before the air migrations started.

  17. I though I might just repost this with a few additions. It makes a break from SeanTisMe’s duty of distracting people from focussing on Abbott’s policy shortcomings.

    It is important. It is about a right wing ideologue arguing the denialist case on models, specifically climate models.

    The other day I pointed out that 66% of Liberals think that 97% of climate scientists are wrong because it does not fit their economic paradigm: market, capitalism, infinite growth, the environment as infinite source and infinite sump. Here we have an academic turning climate science into some sort of ‘power’ battle between left wing and right wing academics.

    It is important because the validity and reliability of models is important. Melleuish uses the failure of Soviet command-and-control economic modelling to validate his view about climate modelling. The logic is that the horse is broken therefore the cow must be broken.

    In other words, he does what the Liberal 66% denialists do – he confuses disciplinary domains.

    The Murdoch Mouthpiece gives a third of a page to Greg Melleuish. According to Melleuish you can divide the academic world into ‘radical’ enlightenment folk and ‘moderate’ enlightenment folk. The radicals are the bad guys because they use models, are in bed with the Gillard Government, are self-interested, use abstractions and because they use models which they use to tell us about AGW. This, in Melleusih’s view, leads to disjuncts between the ‘concrete’ world and practical reality. He seems to think that this leads them to want to take over the world.

    I suppose by way of contrast, we can infer that Melleuish’s ‘moderates’ do not think abstractly, do not use models, and generally bounce from one accidental scientific learning experience to the next, or not, as the case may be.

    In my experience, all scientists think abstractly. They all use models. They all feed as much data into the models as they can. When reality does not fit the models, they change the models. When new data comes in they feed it into the models. If the basic science on cause-effect relationships changes, the scientists change the cause-effect relationships in the models. If the models fail to predict correctly, the models are changed. If the models fail to retrospectively ‘predict’ what is known historically, they are rejigged.

    All this is standard science. The big corporations use it to develop drugs; arms manufacturers use it to develop next gen weapons; crop scientists use it to develop new GMO plants, long range weather forecasters use it to predict the probable paths and strengths of hurricanes, and on and on it goes.

    But the climate denialists have some sort of bee in their bonnets about climate models, arguing that they are ‘only’ models and in the case of Melleuish, not ‘concrete’ and not reflecting ‘practical reality.’

    Call me old fashion but the seas are rising, the planet is gaining heat, all sorts of nasty weather events are happening and, IMHO, all of them are concrete and all of them have practical implications.

    Naturally Melleuish’ pseudo-intellectual claptrap finds ready space in Murdoch’s Mouthpiece. After all, their boy wonder Abbott reckons that climate science is crap and that CO2 is weightless.

    I wonder where in the the intellectual range between ‘radically’ and ‘moderately’ enlightened academics Melleuish would place that bit of scientific innovation?

  18. And then Tony the PM spoke again, and he said “there will be a technology that comes after that will use twisted pairs of copper wires and will keep the copper from oxidising and from shorting out and will be faster and cheaper than fibre optics, or maybe wireless, like my ipad” and the NBN co heard him and threw all their studies and plans out the window, because it WAS a miracle.

  19. 106

    The Coalition`s superannuation policies lend themselves to being targetted by ALP ads saying “Will you live in poverty in retirement because of Abbott`s super cuts?”.

  20. I should have gone to the end of the blog before posting, William caught me with a new one
    Anyway Boerwar for you

    Posted Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 6:44 pm | PERMALINK
    Posted Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 1:55 pm | PERMALINK
    I assume that the thought of letting the Amateur Hour of Abbott, Robb and Hockey play with the economy is already depressing the value of the dollar and that after September it will be a wild ride indeed.

    If you are still around, on am this morning Peter Ryan Economic editor , said quote it started falling when Wayne Swan started his speech and has continued. I tweeted and asked why it didn’t he also comment that Australia had it rating reaffirmed at aaa by the 3 rating agencies, after the speech.. Have also complained but will be whitewashed of course, after a couple of months delay 😉

  21. I think that Abbott is going to decrease the cost of living for superannuants by making sure they will not have much money to pay for anything.

    Apparently Abbott has developed a new economic theory:

    ‘If you can’t pay for anything, it can’t cost you anything either.’

  22. I wonder if any journo will ask Joe when he knew that the CT compensation would be kept?

    He cannot answer without showing he mislead the media and public. So I guess the Q will never be asked.

  23. Boerwar:

    66% of Liberals thinking the majority of climate scientists are wrong is gobsmacking.

    The poll must’ve been a recent poll taken during the Abbott tenure. I can’t believe the figure would be that high during the MT leadership when action on AGW was bipartisan.

  24. confessions

    It shows the extent to which 66% of Liberals have put their brains out of gear when confronted with the sayings of Dear Leader Abbott.

    It will not last, of course. AGW cometh.

    But Abbott will do a bit of climate damage in the interim.

  25. The ABC Canberra TV news led off with lots of ABC crit of the LNP. Finished up with Pyne in the Nile.

    The only attack left to that mob is “Ooh, they’re playing dirty!”

  26. The Boats will come regardlesas of Abbott
    ..and BTW..the weeks after the election… when he talks of rushing to Jakarta re the Boats …will not see him get much of ahearing as Asean meets there in late Sept and they willhave all the big boys there …Putin/Obama and all the Asaen states…so they will be preoccupied and will find Abbott a nuisance at that time…so he will have a long wait to get a hearing…
    I wonder if he even knows this fact

  27. Mental arithmatic by you know who:

    ‘Let’s see: 5% weightless CO2 emissions reduction by 2020, divided by 2,000,000 jobs, take away $400,000,000 twice, gut superannuants by $20,000 – $127,000 each, add PPL to taste, sack 12,000 to 30,000 public servants, add, say 5% to GST,…’

  28. Boerwar:

    Thanks for that link on the ice sheet.

    What did you make of the latest theory that sea levels around Greenland would decrease as melting increases?

  29. deblonay

    ‘The Boats will come regardlesas of Abbott’

    They will not because Abbott will just pick up a phone and stop the boats.

  30. confessions

    My head hurt a bit. We know that land rises when the ice load above it melts. It is happening all over the northern hemisphere. So, the relative height of land and sea will change as the Greenland sheet melts. But, in my view, the sea will be steady while the land rises… it may depend on whether you are in a kayak or on the rocks.

    As for the gravity pull of that much ice mass lifting the sea near the shelf, I would not be suprised. I don’t know enough about it.

    I agree with the general proposition that sea levels will not rise evenly around the world. Globally, sea levels are already uneven from place to place, and the relative highs and lows are reasonly dynamic. There is no particular reason to think that this will change as sea levels continue to rise globally.

  31. Here is some advice to Hockey for his budgetting.

    Next to the asylum seekers line he needs to make budgetary provision of the cost of a phone call. That’s it. Fixed. Cheap. Effective.

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