Former Mayor of Campbelltown Russell Matheson has defeated sitting Liberal MP Pat Farmer in preselection for the seat of Macarthur. Farmer has become the first federal Liberal MP to be defeated for preselection in five years, since Malcolm Turnbull defeated Peter King for Wentworth before the 2004 election.
Matheson defeated Farmer by a margin of 22-9, which was a surprise to none. Farmer has become increasingly unpopular since the 2007 election, when he suffered a 10% swing against him, barely held on, and then proceeded to attack Macarthur voters and move his family to Mosman.
You’d have to think Matheson will struggle to hold on to the seat. While Farmer’s popularity has taken a hit through his antics and his closeness to the Howard government, Macarthur was one of the only seats in 2007 where the ALP polled higher in the Senate than in the House of Representatives he would still have his own personal vote. Considering that his party has turned on him and turfed him out, you would have to think Matheson will miss that substantial personal vote that can be exploited by the ALP.