Friday, November 23, 2007

New England - Federal Election Eve 2007: and the next day

Note to readers: I am now uploading final numbers for each seat. This may take a little while, so those with feeds are likely to get multiple feeds. Final results added for:

  • Charlton
  • Cowper
  • Shortland

Australia votes tomorrow. At this stage based on opinion poll averages, the most likely outcome is a Rudd Labor Government with a majority in the range 10-20. However, there is now some confusion in the polls, suggesting that the Howard Government may be clawing back some ground.

I will provide reports on the counting in New England seats. However, because electoral boundaries keep changing I thought that it might be helpful especially for New England expats if I provided a short seat by seat description. The material that follows is drawn from the ABC's Antony Green election guide.

Charlton. Safe Labor - present margin 8.4%

A Hunter Valley based seat covering 578 on the western side of Lake Macquarie. It includes the outer suburbs of Newcastle around Wallsend and Cardiff, as well as Toronto, Wangi Wangi, Morisset and Wyee further south. While the electorate contains some agricultural industries, the district's wealth is created by coal mining, electricity generation and heavy industry.

At the last redistribution, lost areas around Warners Bay to Shortland while gaining Wallsend and Maryland from Newcastle. The Labor margin rose from 7.9% to 8.4% as a consequence.

Adjusting for boundary changes, the 2004 primary votes were:

  • Labor 46.6%
  • Liberal 35.2%
  • Greens 8.8%
  • Family First 3.7%
  • One Nation 2.8%
  • Australian Democrats 1.9%
  • Others 1.0%

After distribution of preferences, Labor won with 58.4% to the Liberals 41.6%.

Since the, sitting Labor MP Kelly Hoare, the daughter of the previous member, lost Labor Party endorsement after representing the seat since 1998. Her place was taken by Trade Union boss Greg Combet. The whole process caused local resentment, but is unlikely to affect the outcome.

Candidates this time are:

  • Ulrich, Stuart Independent
  • Pritchard, Suzanne Green
  • Stow, David Citizens Electoral Council
  • Cook, Terry Socialist Equality Party
  • Combet, Greg Labor
  • Paterson, Lindsay Liberal
  • Barry, Patrick Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group).

Forecast: Labor to retain with increased margin.

Update: as at 8.17 pm:

  • Greg Combet, ALP, 20,998, 54.6%, up 6.6%
  • Lindsay Paterson, LIB, 11,669, 30.4%, down -3.2%
  • Suzanne Pritchard, GRN, 3,131, 8.1% down -0.8%

Final Results

Enrolment 91,129, turnout 95.74%

Results by candidate:

  • Ulrich, Stuart: Independent - 2,008 votes, 2.41%, swing +2.41%
  • Pritchard, Suzanne: Greens - 6,708 votes, 8.06%, swing -o.71%
  • Stow, David: Citizens Electoral Council - 294 votes, 0.35%, swing -0.23%
  • Cook, Terry: Socialist Equality Party - 404 votes, 0.49%, swing +0.49%
  • Combet, Greg: Labor (elected) - 44,156 votes, 53.08%, swing +6.47%
  • Paterson, Lindsay: Liberal - 26,353 votes, 31.68%, swing -3.49%
  • Barry, Patrick: Independent - 1,253 votes, 1.51%, swing +1.51%
  • Kendall, Jim: Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group) - 2,007 votes, 2.41%, swing +2.41%

Two Candidate Preferred Vote:

  • Combet, Greg, Labor, 52,298, 62.87%, swing +4.47%
  • Paterson, Lindsay, Liberal, 30,885, 37.13%, swing -4.47%

Cowper. Notionally safe National - present margin 6.7%

Once a Clarence Valley electorate centered on Grafton and held by Earle Page for 42 years, progressive boundary changes have moved the electorate's focus south. Today the seat covers 7,911 between the Macleay and Clarence Rivers.

In the north, the seat covers a relatively small proportion of the Clarence Valley on the south side of the river including Maclean. Moving south, the first main centres are the coastal resorts of Woolgoolga and then Coffs Harbour, the biggest centre in the electorate with a population of over 60,000.

This is followed by a number of river valleys: the Bellinger (Urunga, Bellingen), the Nambucca (Nambucca Heads, Macksville) and the majority of the Macleay (Kempsey, South West Rocks).

At the Bellinger, the electorate bulges inland to include the Tablelands around Dorrigo, once part of the New England electorate.

Adjusting for boundary changes (loss of Yamba, addition of Kempsey), the 2004 primary votes were:

  • National 50.5%
  • Labor 31.7%
  • Greens 8.9%
  • One Nation 4.2%
  • Lower Excise Party 2.3%
  • Australian Democrats 1.9%
  • Others 0.6%

So the Nats won on the primary vote.

There are slightly fewer candidates this time:

  • Hartsuykey, Luke, sitting member, Nationals
  • Sekfy, Paul, Labor
  • Carty, John, Greens
  • Arapi-Nunez, Flavia, Family First
  • Belgrave, Leon, LDP
  • Lions, Deborah, Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)

On 2004 results, Luke Hartsuykey should hold the seat. However, there were signs that the National position was weaker than appeared.

As a consequence, Labor dumped its originally chosen candidate John Fitzroy in September. The reported reason in newspaper stories was that Labor internal polling indicated that Cowper could fall, and Labor wanted a more experienced and better known candidate in the seat.

This is a seat where the indigenous vote is important. At 5 per cent, Cowper has the twelfth highest indigenous proportion of the population of all Australian electorates. The indigenous proportion is especially high in Kempsey and the Macleay Valley, also areas of limited employment opportunities, especially for the unskilled.

Forecast: Based on the very latest opinion polls - these do not include specific figures for this seat, however - the Nats should hold. I classify it is a possible Nationals loss.

Update as at 8.26pm

  • Luke Hartsuyker, NAT, 22,378, 46.0%, -4.6%
  • Paul Sekfy, ALP, 18,976, 39.0%, +6.%
  • John Carty, GRN, 5,322, 10.9%, +2.5%

Final Results

Enrolment 92,767, turnout 95.15%

Results by candidate:

  • Hartsuykey, Luke: sitting member, Nationals, elected - 39,444 votes, 46.54%, swing -3.92%
  • Sekfy, Paul:Labor - 32,276 votes, 38.08%, swing +6.43%
  • Carty, John: Greens - 9,359 votes, 11.04%, swing +2.15%
  • Arapi-Nunez, Flavia: Family First - 759 votes, 0.9%, swing +0.70%
  • Belgrave, Leon: LDP - 491 votes, 0.58%, swing +0.58%
  • Lions, Deborah: Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group) - 2,428 votes, 2.86%, swing +2.86%

Two Candidate Preferred Vote:

  • Hartsukyer, Luke, Nationals 43,423 votes, 51.23%, swing -5.52%
  • Sefky, Paul, Labor 41,334 votes, 48.77, swing +5%

Hunter. Safe Labor - margin 11.1%

Starting in the Hunter Valley around Cessnock, Maitland and Kurri Kurri, Hunter covers 10,593 sq km and extends west and north up the New England Highway to include Singleton and Muswellbrook. The electorate's economic base is a mix of agriculture and heavy industry, being dominated by coal mining, aluminium smelting and electricity generation, but also possessing some of the country's best vineyards and richest beef cattle grazing areas.

This is Labor heartland country, with Joel Fitzgibbon holding the seat since 1996. On the adjusted boundaries, the 2004 vote was:

  • Greens 6.3%
  • One Nation 3.3%
  • Fox, Independent 3.3%
  • Citizens Electoral Council 2.9%
  • Chrstian Democrats 1.7%
  • Family First 1.3%.

Candidates this time are:

  • Albury, Daniel, Citizens Electoral Council
  • Davis, Jan, Greens
  • Black, Beth, nationals
  • Harvey, John Climate Change Coalition
  • Fitzgibbon, Joel, Labor
  • Neville, Bernie Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group).

Forecast: Labor to win with increased majority.

Update 8.34 pm

  • Joel Fitzgibbon, ALP, 30,043, 59.9%, up 8.8%
  • Beth Black, NAT, 13,490, 26.9%, down 3.5%
  • Jan Davis, GRN, 3,277, 6.5%, up 0.1%

Lyne. Safe National - margin 13.4%

This seat is held by Mark Vaile, Deputy Prime Minister and the Leader of the Nationals.

The seat covers 9,039 on the Mid North Coast and includes Taree and Port Macquarie. Taree in the Manning River valley is a traditional rural service town that has been re-inventing itself since the Pacific Highway by-pass was built, while Port Macquarie has seen huge growth as a retirement haven and holiday resort.

At the last redistribution, Lyne lost Kempsey to Cowper, causing the National Party margin to rise slightly from 13.0% to 13.4%.

Based on the adjusted boundaries, the 2004 vote was:

  • National 56.7%
  • Labor 26.6%
  • Greens 4.8%
  • New Country Party 3.6%
  • One Nation 3.4%
  • Australian Democrats 1.6%
  • Family First 1.4%
  • Others 2.0%

The candidates this time are:

  • Wright, Barry, Independent
  • Russell, Susie, Greens
  • Vaile, Mark, Nationals
  • Langley, James, Labor
  • Scott-Irving, Stewart, Independent
  • Harrison, James, Independent
  • Riach, Rodger, Independent.
  • Muldoon, Graeme, Citizens Electoral Council,
  • Waldron, Robert Christina Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)

Forecast: Nats to retain with a slightly reduced majority.

Update 8.50pm

  • Mark Vaile, NAT, 29,349, 51.9%, swing -4.4%
  • James Langley, ALP, 18,543, 32.8%, swing +5.9%
  • Susie Russell, GRN, 4,009, 7.1%, swing +2.4%

New England. Safe Independent - margin 13.6%

My own home seat, a traditional National Party seat that was held by my grandfather (David Drummond) from 1949 to 1963. Now a safe independent seat held by Tony Windsor.

Covering an area of 58,463 the seat covers much of the New England Tablelands and Western Slopes. Main towns from south to north include Quirindi, Tamworth, Armidale, Glen Innes, Inverell and Tenterfield. At the last redistribution, gained Quirindi, Werris Creek and the Liverpool Plains Council area from the abolished seat of Gwydir.

Based on the redistributed boundaries, the 2004 vote was:

  • Independent 55%
  • National 20.8%
  • Liberal 9.6%
  • Labor 9.2%
  • Greens 3.3%
  • One Nation 1.5%
  • Citizens Electoral Council 0.6%.

The candidates this time are:

  • Detman, Brian, One Nation
  • Windsor, Tony, Independent
  • Witten, Richard Innes, Citizens Electoral Council
  • Betts, Phil, Nationals
  • Brand, Luke, Country Labor
  • Taylor, Bruce, Greens

Forecast: Tony to retain with a very comfortable majority.

Update 9.01 pm

  • Tony Windsor, IND, 40,943, 62.2% swing + 7.%
  • Phil Betts, NAT, 15,201, 23.1% swing +2.3%
  • Bruce Taylor, GRN, 2,122, 3.2% swing -0.1%

Newcastle. Safe labor - margin 9.1%

Newcastle covers 335 and lies at the mouth of the Hunter River, taking in the port district and Newcastle CBD, as well as surrounding suburbs including Merewether, Adamstown, Lambton and Waratah on the southern side of the Hunter Rover, and Stockton and Williamstown on the northern side.

Following the redistribution, the electorate lost areas around Wallsend to Charlton and now extends west towards Maitland, taking in Thornton, Woodberry, Beresfield and Tarro. Even with the closure several years ago of the BHP steel plant, the electorate retains a substantial heavy industry base, including the major coal export facility for the Hunter Valley's mines.

On the adjusted boundaries, the primary votes in 2004 were:

  • Labor 45.6%
  • Liberal 36.3%
  • Greens 11.3%
  • Australian Democrats 2.3%
  • Progressive Labor Party 2.1%
  • Citziens Electoral Council 1.0%
  • Socialist 0.5%
  • Other 1.0%.

The candidates this time are:

  • East, Malcolm, Family First
  • Johnson, Aaron, Democrats
  • Payne, Geoff, Socialist Alliance
  • Buman, Aaron, Independent
  • Grierson, Sharon, Labor
  • Holt, Neil, Socialist Equality Party
  • Eckersley, Charmian, Greens
  • Curry, Joel, Independent
  • Caine, Milton, Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile group)
  • Walker, Krysia, Liberal

Forecast: Labor to retain with increased margin.

Update 9.08 pm

  • Sharon Grierson, ALP, 30,067, 51.6%, swing +4%
  • Krysia Walker, LIB, 14,116, 24.2%, swing -10.1%
  • Charmian Eckersley, GRN, 6,132, 10.5%, swing -1.4%

Page. Moderately safe National - margin 5.5%

Covering 16,091, Page includes Grafton and those parts of the Clarence River valley on the northern side of the river, as well as Casino, Lismore and Ballina in the Richmond River valley. For those who know New England well, this is actually a very strange electorate, for it includes Grafton, one the heart of Cowper, and Lismore, the heart of Richmond. Now both Cowper and Richmond lie elsewhere.

At the last redistribution, Page gained Wollongbar and Alstonville from Richmond in exchange for the loss of Nimbin and rural northern parts of Lismore City Council. Also gained Yamba from Cowper.

On the adjusted boundaries, the 2004 primary votes were:

  • National 49.7%
  • Labor 33.1%
  • Greens 9.6%
  • Liberals for Forests 2.6%
  • Outdoor Recreation Party 1.4%
  • Behn 1.4%
  • Citizens Electoral Council 0.9%
  • Others 1.4%.

The candidates this time are:

  • Behn, Doug, Independent
  • Vega, Mirio, Family First
  • Culverwell, John, Citizens Electoral Council
  • Melland, Julia, Democrats
  • Jongen, Theo, Greens
  • Saffin, Janelle Labor
  • Kane, Tony, Independent
  • Avasalu, Rhonda, Christian Democratic Party (Fred nile Group)
  • Beatty, Ben LDP
  • Gulaptis, Chis, Nationals.

According to the ALP blog, North Coast Voices, this is very much a seat to watch. With the retirement of Ian Causley, the National Party has selected 52 year-old Chris Gulaptis who has lived in the Clarence Valley for the past 27 years. He is a qualified surveyor, has run his own small business, is a former Mayor of Maclean and currently serves as a Clarence Valley Councillor.

His Labor opponent is 52 year-old Janelle Saffin who comes from the opposite end of the elctorate. Janelle was a member of the NSW Legislative Council from 1995 to 2003. She was a lawyer before entering parliament, and has worked actively in the past on human rights issues. She was involved in East Timor's transition to self government, and has worked as an advisor to new President Jose Ramos Horta. She is a long-time resident of Lismore, and contested that seat at the 1991 state election.

So in the two main candidates we have the north and south of it.

Forecast: Chancing my arm, a Labor win.

Update 9.13 pm

  • Janelle Saffin, ALP, 27,691, 42.3%, swing +8.8%
  • Chris Gulapti. NAT, 27,94, 42.7%, swing -7.3%
  • Theo Jonge, GRN, 5,185, 7.9%, swing -1.2%

Parkes. Very safe National - margin 17.5%

Parkes is really the old and now abolished Gwydir. The locals were up in arms about the abolition of Gwydir, and so was I.

Parkes now covers 107,108 along a north-south axis covering the agricultural districts of the north western and central western slopes. From north to south it includes the major centres of Moree, Walgett, Narrabri, Gunnedah, Coonabarabran, Coonamble, Gilgandra, Dubbo, Wellington and Mudgee.

This means that the majority of the seat is in New England, but with a major southern extension.

On the new boundaries, the 2004 vote was:

  • National 61.8%
  • Labor 24.6%
  • Independent 4.8%
  • Greens 4.3%
  • One Nation 3.3%
  • Citizens Electoral Council 1.1%

The candidates this time are:

  • Horan, Tim Independent
  • Keily, Michael, Climate Change Coalition. I suspect that this is the same Michael Keily whose blog is on my regular read list.
  • Haigh, Bruce, Independent
  • Coulton, Mark, Nationals
  • Stringer Richard, Citizens Electoral Council
  • Patriarca, Margaret, Country labor
  • Parmeter, Matt, Greens

Nationals candidate Mark Coulton was raised in Warialda before attending Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School in Tamworth as a boarding student. Coulton has been Mayor of Gwydir Shire Council since 2004 and has been a member of a wide variety of community organisations.

His Labor opponent is Dubbo businesswoman, Margaret Patriarca. After starting her career as a teacher, Patriarca became actively involved in community work and subsequently left teaching and worked for 25 years in social welfare including as Community Social Worker in Local Government; as a child protection caseworker and in disability, adolescent, child and family services. She moved to Dubbo with her two daughters in 1990 and currently works with her husband as Director of a family owned and operated construction company.

Again, in electoral terms, we have the north and south of it.

Forecast: Nationals to retain, but with a reduced majority. I say reduced majority only because I expect the Labor candidate to have stronger pulling power in Dubbo.

Update 9.19 pm

  • Mark Coulton, NAT, 21,828, 46.2%, swing -15.5%
  • Margaret Patriarca, Country Labor, 11,893, 25.2%, swing + 0.4%
  • Tim Horan, IND, 10,338, 21.%
  • Matt Parmeter, GR, 1,353, 2.9%, swing -1.%

Paterson. Apparently safe Liberal - margin 6.3%

Based in the lower Hunter Valley and lower New England North Coast, Paterson covers 9,373, including the Hunter River centres of Raymond Terrace and parts of East Maitland, the resort towns around Port Stephens, agricultural districts between Dungog and Gloucester, and the holiday and retirement havens of Forster and Tuncurry.

In the last redistribution, the seat lost Thornton, Woodberry, Beresfield, Tarro and Williamstown to Newcastle, while gaining Metford, Morpeth and parts of East Maitland from Hunter. Thsi reduced the Liberal majority from 7.0% to 6.3%.

On the new boundaries the 2004 vote was:

  • Liberal 46.5%
  • Labor 36.3%
  • Greens 4.5%
  • National 4.2%
  • One Nation 2.0%
  • Citizens Electoral Council 1.3%
  • Veterans Party 1.0%
  • Family First 0.9%
  • Fishing Party o.8%
  • Australian Democrats 0.6%
  • Others 1.9%

The candidates this time are:

  • Arneman, Jim, Labor
  • Hennelly, Paul, The Fishing Party
  • Donnelly, Judy, The Greens
  • Stokes, Christopher, Family First
  • King, Tony, Citizens Electoral Council
  • Haynes, Heather, Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)
  • Hamberger, John, One Nation
  • Baldwin, Bob, Liberal

Forecast: possible Labor win.

Update 9.29 pm

  • Bob Baldwin, LIB, 27,206, 47.4%, swing 0.5%
  • Jim Arneman, ALP, 24,614, 42.9%, swing + 6.4%
  • Judy Donnelly, GRN, 2,98, 5.2%, swing + 0.7%

Richmond. Marginal Labor - margin 1.4%

Once centerd on Lismore, this is a 2,756 at the north-east tip of New Engaalnd, including Tweed Heads and Murwillumbah in the Tweed Valley, Byron Bay and Byron Shire, some rural parts of Ballina Council north of Ballina itself, as well Nimbin and the rural northern parts of Lismore City Council.

In the redistribution, Richmond lost around 7,000 voters near Wollongbar and Alstonville to Page in exchange for Nimbin and approximately 6,000 voters in the rural northern parts of Lismore City Council. The Labor margin rose from a narrow 0.2% to a slightly more comfortable 1.4%.

On the new boundaries, the 2004 primary vote was:

  • National 44.5%
  • Labor 35.7%
  • Greens 13.6%
  • Gamily First 1.9%
  • Liberals for Forests 1.9%
  • Australian Democrats 1.1%
  • Others 1.4%,

Despite the high National primary vote, the Nationals went down on Green preferences.

This time the candidates are:

  • Farmilo, Daniel LDP
  • Elliot, Justine, Labor
  • Ebono, Giovanni, Greens
  • Page, Sue, Nationals
  • McCallum, Graham Citizens Electoral council
  • Sledge, Scott, Democrats
  • Raymond, Barbara, Christian Democratic Party

Forecast: Labor to hold with increased majority.

Update 10.25 am

  • Justine Elliot, ALP, 27,651. 44.0%, swing + 7.8
  • Sue Page, NAT, 22,744, 36.2%, swing -7.0%
  • Giovanni Ebono, GRN, 9,967, 15.8%, swing + 1.3%

Shortland. Safe Labor - margin 9.2%


Shortland covers 182, squeezed between Lake Macquarie and the Pacific Ocean, stretching from the southern suburbs of Newcastle to the Central Coast, from Redhead to Budgewoi. Main population centres are Charlestown, Belmont, Swansea and Budgewoi.

Based on the new boundaries, the 2004 votes were:

  • ALP 49.3%
  • Liberal 35.8%
  • Greens 8.2%
  • One Nation 2.6%
  • Family First 2.4%
  • Australian Democrats 1.6%
  • Others 0.1%

Forecast: Labour to hold with increased margin

Update 11.12 pm

  • Jill Hall, ALP, 39,723, 57.1%, swing + 7.2%
  • Jon Kealy, LIB, 21,328, 30.7% swing -4.9%
  • Keith Parsons, GRN, 5,799, 8.3%, swing 0.4%

Final Results

Enrolment 93,192, turnout 95.78%

Results by candidate:

  • Parsons, Keith: Greens - 7,097 votes, +0.15% swing
  • Hall, Jill: Labor (elected) - 48,525 votes, +7.40% swing
  • Kealy, Jon: Liberal - 26,620 votes, -4.69% swing
  • Reeves, Mathew: Family First - 1,644 votes, -0.49% swing
  • Wallace, Les: Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group) - 1,655 votes, +1.93% swing

Two candidate preferred vote:

  • Hall, Jill, Labor, 55,379 votes, 64.74%, swing +5.50%
  • Kealy, John, Liberal, 30,162 votes, 35.26%, swing -5.50%


bindieye said...

If Cowper's here, where's Page and Richmond?

Jim Belshaw said...

Hi bindieye. I am still running late in getting things up.

Page: Covering 16,091 on the far north coast of NSW, the electorate of Page includes Grafton and those parts of the Clarence River valley on the northern side of the river, as well as Casino, Lismore and Ballina in the Richmond River valley. At the redistribution, gained Wollongbar and Alstonville from Richmond in exchange for the loss of Nimbin and rural northern parts of Lismore City Council. Plus Yamba from Cowper.

Richmond: 2,756 at the north-east tip of NSW, including Tweed Heads and Murwillumbah in the Tweed Valley, Byron Bay and Byron Shire, some rural parts of Ballina Council north of Ballina itself, as well Nimbin and the rural northern parts of Lismore City Council.At redistribution, lost Wollongbar and Alstonville to Page in exchange for Nimbin and approximately 6,000 voters in the rural northern parts of Lismore City Council.

Hope that this helps.