Margin: Liberal 25.2%
Region: Lower North Shore
Candidates in ballot paper order
2011 BOOTH RESULTS MAP
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.
The electorate of Ryde covers a short stretch of Sydney Harbour’s north shore at Meadowbank to the west of the city, from which it extends northwards through Denistone to Marsfield and Macquarie Park. Presently held by the Liberals on an imposing margin, it was in Labor hands as recently as October 2008, when the Liberals gained it at a by-election from a 23.1% swing. The margin was further inflated by 12.7% at the state election the following March, producing an astounding swing from the 2007 to 2011 elections of 35.8%. The latest redistribution has chipped 0.5% from the margin by adding around 5000 voters in two areas from its northern neighbour, Epping, and making three small transfers to its eastern neighbour, Lane Cove, accounting for about 2400 voters.
Ryde has existed as an electorate on and off since 1894, having been a highly marginal seat during separate incarnations from 1927 to 1968 and 1981 to 1991. Michael Photios won the seat for the Liberals with the election victory of 1988, then transferred to its successor seat of Ermington in 1991. Ryde was recreated at the 1999 election with the abolition of Ermington and its eastern neighbour Gladesville, which had been gained for Labor at the 1995 election by John Watkins. The new seat had a notional Liberal margin of 4.1%, and there were suggestions Watkins might seek a safe haven in Wentworthville further to the west. However, Watkins held his ground and easily prevailed in Ryde with a 10.7% swing over Photios, who has remained a substantial figure of influence as a lobbyist and moderate faction powerbroker.
Watkins subsequently won promotion to the front bench, and demonstrated his seniority in the Left by securing the factional prize of the deputy leadership after Andrew Refshauge stepped aside in August 2005. He announced his retirement in September 2008 citing family reasons, which set Labor up for its devastating defeat a month later at the hands of Liberal candidate Victor Dominello, a solicitor and former Ryde councillor. Dominello secured a place in the ministry after the 2011 election victory in the citizenship and communities and Aboriginal affairs portfolios, and further gained veterans affairs and the position of Assistant Minister for Education in the reshuffle that followed Barry O’Farrell’s resignation in April 2014. Labor’s candidate is 31-year-old Ryde councillor Jerome Laxale.
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