New South Wales election 2015


Margin: Liberal 23.6%
Region: Central Coast
Federal: Robertson (84%)/Dobell (16%)

Outgoing member: Chris Hartcher (Independent)

Candidates in ballot paper order



Christian Democratic Party

No Land Tax

Liberal (top)

Labor (bottom)





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.

Located on the coast about 90 kilometres north of Sydney, Terrigal will be vacated at the coming election by Liberal-turned-independent member Chris Hartcher, who emerged as a central figure in the Independent Commission Against Corruption’s investigations into illegal donations from Central Coast property developers. The electorate encompasses Terrigal itself and surrounding urban territory on the coast, and extends inland to Green Point and Saratoga on Brisbane Water. The redistribution has added the suburb of Springfield immediately to the north of Green Point, adding around 3000 voters who were formerly in Gosford, which pares back the Liberal margin by 0.5%.

Prior to the 2007 election, the territory presently encompassed by Terrigal was mostly in the electorate of Gosford, which was neighboured to the west by Peats. Redistribution then shifted the Gosford town centre from the coastal to the interior electorate, causing Peats to take on the name of Gosford while the coastal electorate was renamed Terrigal. The Gosford electorate had been created in 1950 and held by the Liberals until the Wran government came to power in 1976, excepting one term in Labor hands after the 1971 election. Brian McGowan won the seat for Labor from 1976 until 1988, when he unsuccessfully contested its newly created northern neighbour, The Entrance.

Gosford meanwhile was won for the Liberals by Chris Hartcher, who would shortly serve as Environment Minister during the Greiner-Fahey government’s second term from 1992 to 1995. He remained a senior front bencher in opposition, and held the position of deputy Liberal leader from John Brogden’s assumption of the leadership in March 2002 to the following year’s election defeat, at which he came within 272 votes of losing Gosford. The electorate’s reconstitution as Terrigal in 2007 left him defending a notional margin of 0.6%, but he secured his hold with consecutive swings of 7.8% in 2007 and 15.7% in 2011. Throughout this time he became renowned as a Liberal “numbers man” in a Right sub-faction that came to be identified with another notable back-room operator, upper house MP David Clarke. He was further noted as a rival of Barry O’Farrell, who assigned him to more junior portfolio responsibilities when he became leader after the 2007 election.

Following the 2011 election victory, Hartcher was allocated the portfolios of resources and energy, Special Minister of State and Minister for the Central Coast. However, his ministerial came to an end in December 2013 after his office was raided by the Independent Commission Against Corruption, as it investigated allegations he had made decisions favourable to Australian Water Holdings after it made payments to a company established by one of his staffers. He subsequently withdrew from the parliamentary Liberal Party after moves were put in train to suspend him. However, he denied any wrongdoing, and unlike some of his colleagues would not rule out seeking preselection again. This was widely reckoned to be a tactical move to help smooth the preselection path for his protégé, Aaron Henry, but he too became tainted by ICAC after giving evidence about dirty tricks engaged in by the Young Liberals.

The preselection instead developed into a contest between Adam Crouch, a publishing executive, and Jim Lloyd, the former federal Roads Minister and member for Robertson from 1996 to 2007. Lloyd had the support of Hartcher, who was said by a source quoted in the Daily Telegraph to be hoping the 60-year-old Lloyd would keep the seat warm for another run by Henry in 2019. However, Crouch went on to win the vote by a margin of 16 to 15.

Corrections, complaints and feedback to William Bowe at pollbludger-at-bigpond-dot-com. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.

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