Seat of the week: Warringah

There are roughly as many seats in the House of Representatives as there are weeks until the next election. Time to get get cracking then on the 2016 election guide. Taking it from the top …

Tony Abbott’s electorate of Warringah covers Sydney’s affluent northern beaches from Manly north to Dee Why, extending inland to Balgowlah, Mosman, Middle Cove and Forestville. Out of the 150 federal electorates, it ranks fourth highest for median family income after Wentworth, North Sydney and Curtin. Warringah accommodated the entire northern beaches as far as the Hawkesbury River from its establishment in 1922 until 1949, when the creation of Mackellar caused it to be reoriented around Mosman and Seaforth. A relatively static population has since seen it expand back to the north over successive redistributions, recovering Manly in 1969 and being anchored on the north shore of Port Jackson thereafter.

Warringah has been never been held by Labor, and has only once slipped from Liberal control since the party’s foundation in 1944. That occasion was in March 1969 when one-term member and instant loose cannon Edward St John raised concerns in parliament over then Prime Minister John Gorton’s indiscreet behaviour with a female journalist, prompting him to resign from the party pending expulsion. St John contested as an independent at the election the following October, but was only able to poll 20.6% against 50.2% for Liberal candidate Michael Mackellar. Mackellar went on to serve in the Fraser government as minister first for immigration and then for health, resigning from the latter role in 1982 over a failure to declare to customs a television set he brought into the country.

The mid-term retirement of Mackellar in February 1994 initiated a by-election at which the seat safely passed to its present incumbent, Tony Abbott. Abbott had famously studied to become a priest after leaving school, but soon became set on a course for parliament via student politics, a stint as a journalist with The Bulletin, and the position of press secretary to Opposition Leader John Hewson. After securing a safe seat in parliament at the age of 36, Abbott became a parliamentary secretary with the election of the Howard government in 1996, winning promotion to cabinet as Employment Services Minister after the 1998 election and then to workplace relations in 2001 and health and ageing in 2003.

Abbott first publicly declared his leadership ambitions after the Howard government’s defeat in 2007, but he withdrew from the contest when it became clear he would not have the numbers. In late November 2009 he was one of a number of front-benchers who quit as part of a revolt against leader Malcolm Turnbull’s support for the government’s emissions trading scheme, which initiated a leadership spill. Presumed favourite Joe Hockey was unexpectedly defeated in the first round, and Abbott prevailed over Turnbull in the second 42 votes to 41. Abbott’s first year in the leadership saw Kevin Rudd deposed as prime minister in favour of Julia Gillard and Labor lose its majority at the August 2010 election, but he was unable to secure the necessary support of independents in order to form government.

Despite weak personal approval ratings attributed to his abrasive political style, Abbott’s hold on the party leadership was consolidated during Labor’s second term by crushing opinion poll leads on voting intention, which eventually wrought the downfall of a second Labor prime minister on Abbott’s watch in June 2013. Abbott became Australia’s twenty-eighth prime minister after the Coalition easily defeated Labor and its newly returned leader Kevin Rudd at the ensuing election on September 7, gaining a national two-party swing of 3.4% and securing what appears at the time of writing to be an absolute majority of 16 seats.

UPDATE (Essential Research): The new government’s first opinion poll is testament either to the absence of a honeymoon bounce, or the particular pollster’s tendency towards constancy in its results. The poll is from Essential Research and is the normal fortnightly rolling average, which it to say half of it was conducted over the weekend of the election itself. It has the Coalition on 44% (45.6% at the election on current figures), Labor on 36% (33.6%) and the Greens (9%). The published 53-47 two-party preferred (the current election result being 53.4-46.6) is weaker for Labor than the primary vote shifts suggest it should be, which may be because they are still using preference allocations from 2010.

Further questions finding 38% thinking the election of micro-parties to the Senate “good for democracy” against 25% for bad, although I’d like to see more specific questions in relation to this topic. Forty-four per cent believe the lack of a Coalition Senate majority will make for benefit against 30% for worse. Respondents were asked about various aspects they might expect to get better or worse under the new government, including the surprising finding that cost of living and interest rates are expected to be worse. Other questions relate to the country’s economic outlook, all of which you can see here.

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.

2,109 comments on “Seat of the week: Warringah”

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  1. Eejits nearly capsized it and have blown the race. Copped a penalty to rub salt into the wound.
    Seppos seem to have done something to their boat. The leg they have been slaughtered on in all but one race they were matching NZ.

  2. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.
    Let’s sit back and enjoy watching the fur fly.
    Here we go. And a reminder here that the Commission hearings are going to be live streamed (I think thois was announced last week).
    Abott coulkd be responsible for a traffic train wreck here in SA already.
    Cathy Wilcox is on to the invisible Abbott. And so she should be.
    Ron Tandberg has another go at the new Senate composition.

  3. CTar1

    It’s the Grant Dalton jinx. He has been off the boat for two races . The only two they have lost.
    The cause of the damn near capsize was a the jib not coming across. Could be a mechanical prob or panic at the seppos being at least as fast as NZ on a leg they previously owned.

  4. BK

    One to go with your Christie story.

    [One more reason it’s crap to be a waiter in America

    The IRS is cracking down on tips – again. Why go after billionaires when you can squeeze more out of servers?

    America’s waiters and waitresses can’t seem to get a break. Not only do they make a mere $2 to $5 an hour base salary in most places, now the tax man wants to make their lives more miserable.

    Yes, the IRS is worried that people who typically make about $20,000 a year aren’t paying enough in taxes. Why go after millionaires and billionaires when you can squeeze more out of servers?

    In a new rule set to take effect in January, restaurants that charge an “automatic tip” have to treat that amount like a wage, not a tip.]

  5. Had a look on PB last night see the resident trolls have now been reduced to abuse of other PBers as a distraction from the fact their great leader and also Treasurer elect are MIA and the party seems completely lost. The trolls will disappear soon I think :devil:

  6. DisplayName and Davidwh

    My ‘no parties’ platform really is about structure and process.

    I’d use a combination of deliberative sortition for candidate selection and direct democracy for ‘macro’ policy.

    In this system, the parties, shorn of their power to broker careers or determine policy or to protect the harmful, would be reduced to barracking from the sidelines for particular ideas or perhaps coaching those from the pool of randomly selected citizens they thought were the best prospects for their kinds of policy framework.

    Imagine no career politicians. You may say I’m a dreamer.

  7. Morning all. Thanks for the link n the South Road story BK. there is fault on both sids on that one. The SA government has never publicly released the report justifying the Torrens project, and its claims on the economics of it are dubious in my view. In the last Swan budget the Commonwealth money was not slated to appear for two years. The State was trying to commit Canberra in advance of time.

    The joke will soon be on the state. When the duplicated Southern Expressway opens soon, it will make no difference to the queue in South Road.

  8. More on the proboscis monkey …

    [The monkey also goes by the Malay name monyet belanda (“Dutch monkey”), or even orang belanda (“Dutchman”), as Indonesians remarked that the Dutch colonisers often had similarly large bellies and noses.]

  9. BK

    That is the point though, the State was playing political games, not following the agreed rules. Without a friendly govt in Canberra to shield them, they are about to be caught out. And the State election is in March 2014.

    The SA State government is, together with Napthine in Vic, the least transparent on planning decisions of all the States. They do not even have public written policies on some issues relating to development approval.

  10. Fran

    In early colonial days the Dutch used bolsters to keep the bed sheets off their bodies. It was, after all, very hot and sticky. Often the men did not take their wives with them to the NEI, or they were single. Life expectancy in the tropics was a few years. But there was money to be made.

    Anyway, the Indonesians called the bolsters ‘Dutch wives’.

    If there is one thing the powerful cannot do it is to quell the humour of the abused.

    ‘Balanda’ has become a Gupapuyngu borrow word by way of Macassan trepang and beche de mer gatherers to describe whites in Arnhemland

  11. r

    Instead of poncing around wearing police gear Abbott should be on the phone fixing up his Indonesian mess.

    It is time for Abbott’s stunts, Abbott’s wrecking the joint and Abbott’s fart-arsing around with uniforms to stop, and it time for doing what he is paid for.

  12. I think Edward StJohn QC getting 20 per cent compares very favourably in the history of party mps subsequently running as independents. What did Slipper get 1.5 per cent ?

  13. Good Morning

    In the realm of the weird. It turns out that it is amazing that he was only caught by Queensland police speeding in his car.

    He has suffered child abuse as his father shot him to “prove” manhood.

    Amazing Bernard Tomic has turned out to be as mature as he seems to be.

  14. From the Indi thread courtesy of the esteemed Kevin Bonham:
    Kevin Bonham
    “I’m getting an average gap of 240 on the latest figures on the assumption that practically all remaining EVPPs and one quarter of remaining postals arrive. Mirabella has some chance still, maybe five percent or so (assumptions on probability calculations can be argued various ways). The last 500 absents had almost no effect on my projection.”

    I did my own little analysis this morning, based on what we know already from late counting of prepolls, absents and postals. The number I came up with is a final win to McGowan by 256. Perilously close. I think I will stick with Kevin’s calculation that Mirabella still has a 5% probability of winning from here. He’s much better at this stuff than I am! The critical variable relates to the return rate of outstanding postals – there are about 1200 that have not yet been returned. My calculation assumes 100 of these will still come in.

    Fingers crossed that good will prevail.

  15. If, for some reason, the remaining prepolls (3535) ended up splitting 62/38 to Mirabella, as they did in 2010, then she would up winning by around 100…. Scary thought for a Sunday morning!

  16. I think our new PM has an unhealthy fascination with men in uniforms. And where is his ubiquitous family? Where are they supposed to live? Or will he just bring them out for photo ops? I guess work and politics is a man’s world according to Tony.

  17. Clive wants to open new coalmines in Latrobe? Abbott is anticipating a mining-led boom?

    [“Over the last decade, one of the most unassailable assumptions in global energy markets has been the ever-increasing trajectory of Chinese thermal coal demand,” the analysts write.

    “The results of our analysis indicate that the era of wanton Chinese coal demand growth is approaching an end.” And, it warns, coal miners should not count on other markets such as India picking up demand either because of economic issues and a lack of structural reform.

    The implications for the newly elected conservative government in Australia, which had pinned its policies on the future being exactly like the past, are enormous. Its policies are almost entirely geared towards re-igniting a mining boom, particularly in the coal industry. The carbon price, incentives for renewables, and “green tape” are being removed specifically to make that possible.

    The problem is that the financial markets no longer believe this to be true. And as Citi points out, this has “serious ripple effects” for globally graded commodities, and for countries which rely on coal production.]

  18. The AFP stay seems real odd. After all Abbott has had a residence in Canberra.

    Unless security concerns have brought about this measure. We do know about that Facebook Page.

    Its about the only sensible reason I can think of for such a choice.

  19. The Lodge is having 12 months worth of “repairs” so Abbott and family will be housed up in Kirribilli House overlooking Sydney Harbour and the Opera House 🙂

  20. [Instead of poncing around wearing police gear Abbott should be on the phone fixing up his Indonesian mess.]

    What did he unilaterally shut down Australia’s live exports to Indonesia overnight?

    Oh no no… wait wait… that was the incompetent dickheads from the Labor Party

  21. It’s only been a week, but Tony Abbott has already shown calm resolve by methodically fixing the Budget Emergency:

    1. Fired Steve Bracks.
    2. Denied pay rise to Aged Care workers.
    3. Found temporary lodgings with an ace gymnasium.

    Australia, this is what an adult government looks like.

  22. Margie will be staying in Sydney I think. Unless the Abbotts are reliving Student digs days.

    Wait, I didn’t know Margie was gay!? That’s the only possible explanation, right? I’m not saying it, it’s just what all the talkback callers are saying.

  23. So Abbott is going to reside humbly at the AFP recruit boarding house till the lodge is fixed.

    But will he still claim his Canberra o’nite allowance….. With cheap digs that should leave a few bucks over each day for the mortgage.

    And as even FKelly can discern, there are many implications about the PM residing rough.

    What a stuntmeister country member the monkey is.

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