New South Wales election 2015

Blue Mountains

Margin: Liberal 18.5%
Region: Western Sydney Fringe
Federal: Macquarie

Candidates in ballot paper order



Labor (bottom)



Liberal (top)

Christian Democratic Party

No Land Tax




Two-party preferred booth results from 2011 state election showing Liberal majority in blue and Labor in red. New boundaries in thicker blue lines, old ones in thinner red lines. Boundary data courtesy of Ben Raue of The Tally Room.

Blue Mountains has existed as an electorate since 1968, and has gone with the party of government since Labor won it from an independent in 1976. In 2001 it fell to the Liberals upon the retirement of Labor’s Phil Koperberg with a 15.8% swing. The electorate encompasses the Great Western Highway from Blaxland westwards through Springwood and Katoomba to Blackheath, along with large areas of national park to the north and south. The redistribution has added the southern part of Blaxland at the eastern end, formerly in Penrith, adding around 2000 voters and boosting the Liberal margin by 0.7%.

The Blue Mountains area had been accommodated prior to 1968 by the electorate of Hartley, which was held by Labor from 1907 until it fell to independent Harold Coates in 1965 (excluding the interruption of proportional representation between 1920 and 1927). Coates’ eventual defeat by Labor’s Mick Clough in 1976 was a decisive factor in the election of the Wran government, as Coates had been widely regarded as sympathetic to the Liberals, who had not fielded a candidate against him. Clough moved to Bathurst in 1981 and Blue Mountains passed to Bob Debus, who would eventually serve as Attorney-General in the Carr/Iemma government, but only after a seven-year interruption following his loss of the seat in 1988. It was then held for the Liberals for two terms by Barry Morris, who was disendorsed at the 1995 election after a police investigation into bomb and death threats against a Blue Mountains councillor.

Debus then regained his old seat with a 2.5% margin, and retained it until 2007 when he moved to federal parliament for a term as the member for Macquarie. His successor in Blue Mountains was Rural Fire Services commissioner Phil Koperberg, whose drafting defused a complicated factional battle between Naomi Parry, an academic and part-time school teacher, and Adam Searle, a barrister and Blue Mountains councillor. No sooner had Koperberg secured the Blue Mountains preselection than he was forced to go public about an apprehended violence order taken out against him in 1987 by his ex-wife, Kate Koperberg, who had recently concluded a relationship with Blacktown MP Paul Gibson. Koperberg accused Gibson of running a “smear campaign” against him, which Gibson denied.

Koperberg bowed after one term in parliament, including a troubled tenure as Environment Minister for the first year, complaining of “the bitterness of factional fighting within the system”. The seat then fell to Liberal candidate Roza Sage, a local dentist. Sage will again face the Labor candidate from 2011, Trish Doyle, a former staffer to Koperberg associated with the Left faction.

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