Photo: Three mayors to stand as independent candidates in the coming state election - Greg Piper (Lake Macquarie), John Tate (Newcastle) and Peter Blackmore (Maitland)
Back in November I did a preliminary analysis of the New England seats in the NSW State Parliament. Following the 2003 election, the New England party distribution was ALP 9, National Party 8, independents 3.
The ALP's hold on the New England seats is looking shakier following the decision by the mayors of Lake Macquarie, Newcastle and Maitland to stand as independents in a regional alliance.
Adding to the Party's woes in Newcastle, the dumped NSW Labor MP Bryce Gaudry who currently holds the seat will stand as an independent candidate against the former television newsreader Jodi McKay who was picked to replace him at the March 24 state election.
NSW Premier Morris Iemma last year persuaded Labor's national executive to replace Mr Gaudry with Ms McKay as part of a push to bring new blood into state parliament. While the ALP presently holds Newcastle with a very substantial margin, its chances of holding the seat are now looking shaky.
In Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Maitland, the Party is also dogged by the the fact that former Aboriginal Affairs minister and Swansea MP Milton Orkopoulos is now facing 30 drug and child sex charges. In Maitland, too, the ALP has a new candidate in Frank Terezini trying to establish a position in the electorate following the retirement of popular local member John Price.
My apologies to those who get two feeds on this. I made a gross error in the first post by misreading a date on some information I was using.