Monday, October 13, 2008

A closer look at the NSW by-elections: Port Macquarie

Retiring Member
Extremely popular Independent Rob Oakeshott

Area
Stretching from Coopernook to near Telegraph Point, the electorate is dominated by the urban area of Port Macquarie, the electorate also including the built up areas of Lake Cathie and Laurieton to the south. Also included in the district is distant Lord Howe Island.

History
Created in 1988. Has always been a Nationals seat until Oakeshott left the party and won as an independent.

Both Labor and the National's best primary vote was in 1988 in a 2 horse race. Labor received 30.6% while the Nationals received 69.4%. Both also had their worse result the same year, 2003 when Oakeshott won as independent. Labor 8.4%, Nationals 14.6%, Oakeshott 69.8%.

The 2 candidate prefered result in 2007 was Oakeshott 78.2% - Nationals 21.8%. The 2 party prefered result was Nationals 62.9% - Labor 37.1%

Candidates
Note: No Labor candidate
Nationals: Leslie Williams - contested this seat for the Nationals at the 2007 election.
Greens: Susie Russell - this is the fifth time Russell has contested Port Macquarie, having also contested the local Federal seat of Lyne on a number of occassions, including the Lyne by-election in September. She has worked as an adviser to Greens MLC Ian Cohen.
A whole heap of Independetns, the best chance is former Labor party candidate James Langley who left the party over concerns of the electricity privitisation.

Prediction
Nationals gain. This is the most likely outcome, but with a strong independent vote in the area it may come down to if and how people preference. Having said that, my feeling is the nationals may get just enough of the primary vote to not have to worry about preference.
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