Dobell – Australia 2013

ALP 5.1%

Incumbent MP
Craig Thomson (IND), since 2007.

NSW Central Coast. Dobell covers most of Wyong Shire and parts of the City of Gosford. Dobell covers Lake Tuggerah and the suburbs surrounding it, including Wyong, Bateau Bay, The Entrance and Toukley, while those parts of Wyong Shire from Budgewoi Lake north are not part of the electorate. The seat also covers a small part of the City of Gosford, extending as far as Wyoming and the northern parts of Terrigal.

Dobell was created in 1984 when the House of Representatives was expanded. It was first won by Michael Lee (ALP). Lee held the seat by largely safe margins for over a decade, becoming a federal minister from the 1993 election until Paul Keating’s defeat in 1996, when Lee came close to losing Dobell.

Lee served as a senior member of the Labor frontbench from 1996 to 2001, when he was defeated by Ken Ticehurst (LIB). Lee went on to run as the ALP candidate for Lord Mayor of Sydney in 2004 and served on the City of Sydney council from 2004 to 2008 after losing the lord mayoralty to Clover Moore.

Ticehurst won the seat twice before losing in 2007 to Craig Thomson (ALP), then Assistant Secretary of the Health Services Union. Thomson has since faced accusations in 2009 that his union credit cards had been used to bankroll his Dobell campaign and to pay for escort services.


  • Greg Owen (Citizens Electoral Council)
  • Craig Thomson (Independent)
  • Christian Kunde (Bullet Train For Australia)
  • Emma McBride (Labor)
  • Nathan Bracken (Independent)
  • Kate McGill (Palmer United Party)
  • Hadden Ervin (Christian Democratic Party)
  • Karen McNamara (Liberal)
  • Sue Wynn (Greens)

Dobell is a marginal Labor seat. A seat held by a 5.1% margin by Labor would normally be vulnerable in current circumstances. The trail of scandals left behind by Craig Thomson makes it very difficult to see how Labor would be able to retain the seat.

2010 result

Craig ThomsonALP38,26846.27-0.08
John McNamaraLIB33,28740.24-2.05
Scott RickardGRN7,1218.61+3.24
Gavin BrettFF2,0332.46+0.75
Rhonda AvasaluCDP2,0052.42+0.54

2010 two-candidate-preferred result

Craig ThomsonALP45,55155.07+1.14
John McNamaraLIB37,16344.93-1.14
Polling places at Dobell at the 2010 federal election. East in blue, Gosford in yellow, North in green, Toukley in orange, West in purple, Wyong in red. Click to enlarge.
Polling places at Dobell at the 2010 federal election. East in blue, Gosford in yellow, North in green, Toukley in orange, West in purple, Wyong in red. Click to enlarge.

Booth breakdown
Booths have been divided into six areas. Those booths in Gosford local government area have been grouped together. Booths in Wyong have been divided into five areas. Most of these booths are clustered around Lake Tuggerah. These booths have been divided between North, East, Wyong and Toukley. Booths to the west have been grouped together.

The ALP won a majority in five out of six areas, ranging from 50.5% in Gosford to 60.3% in the north. The Liberal Party won a 59.8% majority in the west.

Voter groupGRN %ALP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes8.6453.2819,48423.56
Two-party-preferred votes in Dobell at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Dobell at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in parts of Dobell near The Entrance at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in parts of Dobell near The Entrance at the 2010 federal election.


  1. Tony said he wouldn’t serve as leader, John Howard said back in the 80s his ambition for leader was gone. your word means nothing in politics. Just like when Howard said he would never ever bring in the GST and when Abbott said he would keep the exact same team.

    What don’t you understand about the senate and senators? None have gone for lower house seats with the exception of maybe 2. Paul can choose whenever he wants to enter politics and wherever just like every member of parliament because we all know people like Abetz and Heffernon would never be voted by the public

  2. paul said no 2 or 3 weeks ago before labour got slamed

    so does he become another labour polie that just lies to us

    we should do a survey on who believes what labour politicians say paul howes not even in the job and it would be a lie, also from paul if one job from the carbon tax is lost i will leave the union

    gillard/swann/wong/ and a few others there will be no carbon tax , we will be in surplus over and over again thats just the start i dont have all day as i think some of you guys are public servants without time issues

    labour has a heavy bag to carry they need to clean house

  3. Who cares what he said 2 weeks ago or 2 years ago this is now and nothing has even been said about the senate vacancy. My challenge to you James is to find me one leader of a major party that has never lied.

    The coalition had 6 years to rejuvenate the party, they just say on their hands and did nothing

  4. please as i said you mind is like a parachute only works when its open

    now one can lie like gillard /swann / wong
    there will be no carbon tax under a government i lead

    labour was punished for this if you get 6 yrs for disfunction and bad government your looking at 12 – 15 yrs of libs

  5. given that a few believe that craig thomson is innocent and he didn’t do it

    should he be reinstated by the labour party?

    Evan as a symbolic peace offering a senate seat
    i say yes give thomson another go, give him the senate seat
    lets have quick vote yes vote 1 for thomson in the senate or no dont reinstated him in labour party

  6. people are defending craig thomson everyday on this thread

    let everyone show their true beliefs should labour party reinstated him in

    some protest innocent till proven guilty but Craig Thomson will not dispute specific facts of the allegations that he used union credit cards to pay for escort services

    yes or no in or out of the labour party

  7. James theres a difference between defending his accusation and defending his rights. He is entitled to his presumption of innocence and regardless whether your or I think he did do it he should be entitled to innocence.
    He left the labor party and has made no attempt to rejoin

  8. Observer are you a public servant it just seems that you miss points and dont follow things that well and like all good public servants don’t listen to the other point of view

    So many times today i have told you that in a court in victoria 6 days ago Craig Thomson didnot dispute specific facts of the allegations that he used union credit cards to pay for escort services!

    He cannot have his presumption of innocence when his legal team made a statement to the court of guilt

    also thomson was asked to resign from the labour party or he would be sacked
    just like the public service you don’t get sacked you get asked to resign

  9. James, yes, Thomson probably did a bad thing. Just like Peter Slipper and Geoff Shaw.

    He was kicked out of the party (unlike Slipper & Shaw).

    He is no longer a sitting MP, so his relevance to the public agenda is now nil. You are just trolling with absurdities now to push a partisan line that, frankly, is becoming more and more tenuous with each post. With respect, no one cares that you don’t like the Labor Party. Pushing this barrow with your rants doesn’t add to the discussion and bores us all. Move on.

  10. PJ
    thank you for coming to your senses and admitting labour made a mistake with thomson

    perhaps if a few more labour hard heads could admit the carbon tax was a mistake and the future for labour will not be an array of frequent failures but success, if you listen to the people the people will listen to you

    last you say i don’t like labour WRONG, i don’t like the current labour, before Rudd/Gillard the words honorable member of parliament held value, todays labour honour means very little as the election result shows

  11. For goodness sake, I read this site because it has intelligent political discussion rather than sounding like the comments section of the Daily Tele. James, respectfully, you’re trolling with rubbish again. I won’t responding anymore.

  12. Observer
    Posted September 17, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    No, the Liberal Party did not sit on their hands. Their focus was to win the election and that is what they achieved and it was a very big win. Now they will pursue their policies in the second term which will include I assume some revision on workplace relations, an increase in the GST, and tax reductions for business and possibly higher income earners. I suspect some other policies such as the paid parental leave and direct action will need to be revised downwards.

    Regarding Dobell, it was very good to see that Nathan Bracken’s preferences seem to have propelled the Liberals over the line here.

  13. DB, you reckon they’ll touch the GST and tamper with IR after saying they wouldn’t (the latter being open to minister and interpretation)? It would be crazy-brave if they did, in particular the GST.

    The rest I can believe. I wonder if the Oz will call upper-income tax cuts ‘class warfare’? Somehow I think not.

  14. Mr Observer – I agree with you re Sharman Stone, Fiona Nash, Kelly Dwyer, Nola Marino but Abbotts luxury is he can wait with them in the wings to see how how those he went to the election with perform – some won’t and then those mentioned will get a go. I understand Mr Abbott also regards Lucy Wicks highly. I don’t like much commenting on who should not be there but don’t disagree with your list -perhaps not Dutton and maybe Johnson instead.
    Folks the senate is interesting – Howes says he is not standing so maybe Deb might get the go if Carr actually leaves. Can anyone believe the Sex Party might get up in TAS?
    Since I last wrote Mr Observer you commented and said in response to my comments that libs in all states may not be a good thing for libs – I still think SA and TAS will go that way BUT VIC is not looking good and there are rumblings in WA.
    Really liking the steady as she goes approach by PM Abbott so far.

  15. PJ – second term agenda. We won’t get workchoices mark 2, but we will go back to the sensible centre on IR. Mind you, Howard’s workchoices, whether one likes it or not, is only reflective of worldwide industrial relations trends where competitiveness is becoming tougher in business and labour is becoming an increasing focus as one of the major factors of production.

  16. JJ – think its fairly clear there will be a change of Government in both SA and Tasmania at the next election – the question is whether the election of the Coalition at the Federal level will take the edge of the swing in both cases.

    It’s likely that the first state or territory to start the pendulum back to the ALP will be Victoria – Northern Territory is the wild card – politics up there are so bizarre that it would be a brave person to bet on the outcome of the next election – but given events so far in this term a change to ALP would have to be at least a possibility.

    ACT will not shift – the Libs had their best chance in a long time in the last election – Coalition government at the Federal level is not going to do a lot to boost the local Liberal vote

  17. DB read my comments carefully I said 6 years. They did nothing. They still have Howard’s mob and whether you want to admit it or not, they were tossed out overwhelmingly, they were disliked. They made no attempt to change and will soon suffer because of it. They said they wouldn’t increase GST…Phoney Tony Election Now!? Atleast the ALP is trying to change based on why they lost government. This rank and file ballot removes the notion of faceless men which now only lies with the liberal party. More pressure will be on how they are structured.

    Its pretty poor form from the libs if they can only get across the line because some old rich guy funds independents to preference them. Won’t work next time, Karen will be worried.

    JJ- Abbott doesn’t have time on his hands, as soon as polls go south which they will when he stumbles, the faceless men of the liberal party will knife him like they did to Turnbull and Nelson. If he promoted more women he can atleast rubbish the problem with women suggestion. Dutton has done nothing for health in opposition, not one questin was asked to Plibersek, he will contribute little

  18. Obsever – you are very funny. You get smashed in the election (predictions and all) and still are in partisan attack mode against a Government who started on Wednesday. From my perspective, we now have accomplished businesspersons running the country and I won’t have to worry about losing more of my income due to ‘wealth redistribution’.

    I agree that Dobell will probably only be a one-term hold for the Coalition (as it is a natural Labor seat), but Robertson could be a much different story if the Coalition improve infrastructure on the lower Central Coast. We will just have to wait and see what happens.

    Additionally, I don’t believe Abbott will be a one-term PM unless he loses the next election as the incumbent PM. Liberal PMs don’t get replaced in their first term and after what has happened to Labor, I don’t believe the Coalition would make the same mistake. Abbott should also be able to build enough incumbency noting a 4.1% swing is needed for Labor to win the next election on the current pendulum, which is extremely unlikely. That is a massive margin based on history even though the seat numbers are not exceptional. Might I suggest that you fall into the trap that many do about Abbott – you underestimate him greatly. Sure, he is not a great face-to-face performer on camera, but he is a Rhodes Scholar and you don’t become one of those if you are stupid. Whereas, people like Mr Howes are yet to complete their Year 10 School Certificate.

    The women problem is an issue for the Coalition and something that Abbott should bear some responsibility for and he should be extremely disappointed. There are genuinely good women in the Liberal Parliamentary team who could take on Ministries, and I hope at least 2 or 3 are promoted during this term. Ms Cash is a particular example.

    As for Dobell, the constituents of Dobell should be proud to have such a capable candidate in Karen McNamara who is focussed on local business profitability, increasing employment in local small businesses, and improvement to local infrastructure.

  19. DB, I know this isn’t the place to get into a political discussion and I especially don’t want to get into a policy argument out of respect for Ben, but I can’t leave some of your comments to stand unchallenged. I also know I won’t change your mind.

    You said: “we now have accomplished businesspersons running the country”. I hope you consider a lawyer to be a “businessperson” (I don’t) because most of cabinet are former lawyers.
    Here’s a list of cabinet members and their former professions, I don’t think the vast majority could be considered “businesspeople” (and most of the people I would classify as business people are Nationals).

    Tony Abbott – Journalist
    Warren Truss- Farmer
    Julie Bishop – Lawyer
    Eric Abetz – Lawyer
    George Brandis – Lawyer (this makes sense for the Attorney-General)
    Joe Hockey – Lawyer
    Barnaby Joyce – Accountant (who knew?)
    Christopher Pyne – Lawyer
    Nigel Scullion – Fisherman
    Ian Macfarlane – Farmer
    Kevin Andrews – Lawyer
    Malcolm Turnbull – Lawyer/Banker
    Peter Dutton – Police Officer
    Bruce Billson – Policy Adviser
    Andrew Robb – Economist
    David Johnston – Lawyer
    Greg Hunt – Lawyer
    Scott Morrison – Marketing
    Mathias Cormann – Policy Adviser

    If you said they will make good legislators because they because they were lawyers, that would be fine.

    Also, you mentioned “wealth redistribution”. Could you please watch this TED talk:
    How economic inequality harms societies
    The talk is based on a book titled “The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better” which is obviously much more comprehensive.

    Like I said though, I know I won’t change your mind and I don’t want to get into an argument.

  20. Nigel Scullion was a fisherman?

    Agree otherwise Chris, I’ll watch that later. It’s become a thing of the right to call taxation ‘income/wealth redistribution’, as if it is somehow a seditious thing. Language is a fascinating thing.

  21. It’s not like the previous government increased direct taxation, either – higher income earners (myself included!) just didn’t get as much of a decrease as lower income earners did. I’m not going to the barricades over that.

  22. Lawyers are not business people. They money by encouraging conflict and disagreement.

    If you look at the occupation of the 150 PUP candidates, you would find very few lawyers and mostly business and community services people. Maybe they are not ruthless enough?

  23. At least Thomson had the courage to stand again, probably knowing in his heart of hearts that he’d be beaten here. But the voters sent him packing and how.

  24. Warren Grzic
    How gullible are you??. Courage had nothing whatever to do with it. Thommo stood because he would have missed out on some 40 odd grand if he didn’t !!!. If this low life had any guts he would admit he has been a dog, a thief, & a liar.HE has continued to consume public money, through court time, arguing the indefensible.
    Grow up , & stop defending this prick

  25. You’ve consumed too many bottles (of hard stuff), wine diamond.
    If you’re facing the charges Thomson facing but you’re still adamant you’ve done nothing wrong, you can only act by your impulse – he obviously didn’t care whether people wanted to see the back of him. What happens if in the end Thomson is cleared of everything? He’ll probably sue a few people big-time. What he’s been charged with is sickening, but he’s been convicted of nothing as yet. Kangaroo court judges like you obviously can’t help yourselves, especially if you’re too elephant trunk.

  26. After this election, the state libs on the coast must be getting worried. Based on how people voted:

    Gosford would be too close to call. ALP: 49.5, Lib: 50.5 with a swing of 11.4% to labor
    Terrigal would be marginal for the libs. ALP: 43.99, Lib: 56.01 with a huge swing of 18.09 against the libs.
    The Entrance another close seat. ALP: 49.72, libs 50.28 with a swing of 12.22
    Wyong would be a definate labor gain. ALP: 54.13, libs: 45.87 with a swing of 6.73.

    Its also worth noting that the donation scandal was revealed after the election meaning stronger swings could tip Gosford and The Entrance to labor and see Terrigal too close seeing as its Chris Hartcher’s seat and if he contests it, his not likely to be greatly popular but if he retires, may see a backlash in Terrigal. The libs are more likely to throw their money in their western sydney seats and not likely to throw everything at Dobell and Robertson like at the election. Either way Libs hold on the coast is starting to be undone just as it starts.

  27. Observer
    Straws , grasping……. OPV at state elections. All those easy preferences (at fed level) to labor… Mate until labor have a good look at themselves, just forget it. The way they are going Abbott will INCREASE his majority in 2016, & Bazza will find it easy to stay away from the Mars Bars

  28. Just remember winediamond, the ALP preselected ridiculously late, OPV won’t matter cause the primary vote will increase in the seats overlapping Dobell. What way is labor going on about? We actually have the guts to let members have a say, meanwhile the central coast liberals are a toxic brand, theres infighting among members in the liberals over factions and lobbyists and all this taxpayer weddings, I can understand substanceless attacks winediamond because you must be humiliated and nervouse about the way the liberals are behaving

  29. Doug – agree with all your comments.
    Observor – first polls now out and a further swing to coalition – 56 to 44. Really happy with the steady approach being taken so far. As Chris Bowen said before election that a vote for Abbott was a vote for 2 terms – why – since 1901 every govn bar one has had 2 terms – the one that didn’t had a great depression and a looming world war. Says a lot about how bad Rudd was 2007 to 2010 when labor got rid of him and Gillard almost lost (would have if Oakshott and Windosr had gone the other way). I read on another blog that a prominent ex labor minister worries that Abbott will do well and conservatives could be in for a decade. Yes the state libs will be worried about the coast but elsewhere voting trends are looking very positive for libs. Don’t get me wrong though – I am unimpressed with O’Farrrell – doesn’t seem to be doing much with his large majority unlike Newmann in QLD.

  30. JJ- Other polls have showed consistently 53-47, 52-48 to the Coalition. The one you refer to suggest the result is blown out. The consistency in swing back to labor polls suggest a dangerous no honeymoon for the liberals. When you look at the results of a government facing its first re-election, it only just scrapes over the line (Hawke, Howard, Rudd/Gillard) in recent times so I wouldn’t say it says alot, rather that the labor party didn’t win enough seats that Hawke and Howard did to be assured of a second term. Just remember the Greens and Andrew Wilkie won seats that would have returned labor members. The word ex minister suggests take it with a grain of salt, everyone has made a comment on every possible situation. I don’t know where you think the bright spots are for the state libs. In NSW they took western sydney, central coast, southern sydney and the entire north coast, based on the fed results most of those seats are in big danger. The only state libs that would be thrilled are WA and TAS. Not looking good elsewhere. O’Farrell is taking the Barnett approach, just focus on winning the next election which has started to back fire with the Miranda result. It shows if labor has a good enough leader and strong local candidates, any margin is winnable. Newman will hold most seats outside SEQ, but in Brisbane and Ipswich, Newman will do worse. Although the federal results don’t reflect it so badly for Newman, QLD generally distinguish federal and state politics well. Wouldn’t be suprised if Newman is moved to Mogill, he is hated in Ashgrove.

  31. Observor – hard to disagree with anything you say. I have relatives in QLD who work within the liberal party up there – they tell me that Newmann is doing fine so add QLD to WA and TAS. I think SA will swing on what happens with Holden. Cheers

  32. Observer – Your representation for the state swings is a poor assessment, as you have clearly ignored the effects of OPV, which is currently favouring the LNP to a major degree. Furthermore, the 2011 State Election should be seen as an anomaly in terms of natural performance and that most reasonable people would expect a natural 5-6% 2PP swing back to the ALP at the next election. A lot of the swings achieved are clearly unsustainable.

    Warren – In regards to Craig Thompson, again, it is clear that he has run again to ensure that he gets the political pension to help fund his lawsuit. Whether he is guilty or not is irrelevant. He has clearly play the people of Dobell for fools and had lost the confidence of the people of Dobell a LONG time ago.

    As for Chris Hartcher, I’m actually hearing rumours of him retiring sooner rather than later, with a member of the LC to move to take over in his seat.

  33. Hawkeye, in NSW labor held the seat of Parramatta (Parramatta, Granville), Greenway (Seven Hills), Werriwa (Campbelltown, Macquarie Fields), Kingsford Smith (Coogee, Randwick), Richmond (Tweed), McMahon (Prospect), Newcastle (Newcastle), Shortland (Charlestown, Swansea) and then individual booth results suggest Wyong, Gosford, The Entrance, Mulgoa, Penrith, Londonderry, Heathcote, Balmain and Strathfield will be close. And if you note the candidates contesting, PUP went to the Liberals, on the coast libs got the high profile independent, green support was low and with minor conservative parties picking up, it didn’t matter because in most seats whoever finished first won. So OPV doesn’t really destroy all of labors chances in the seats, it probably makes it harder for libs in western sydney.
    WA under performed for labor so the liberals should be relieved for the time being until Barnett talks retirement.
    In Tas libs did great and is a promising sign but there system won’t mean they take big, probably just limit the Greens seats and be comfortable enough to either form a majority or form minority with Palmer.
    QLD booths didn’t hold great for the LNP in the SE like in the state election. The swings were from seats held prior to 2012 state election and they failed to replicate their result federally with Capricornia being a country seat with a retiring member and Petrie having a tendency to vote liberal in modern times
    OPV will make no difference, if it will then thats where you see the big parties encouraging people to preference which always works. Just remember labor is out in NSW, federally and most local councils, strong protest votes in stall which will favour the labor party in NSW and see signs (although not quite) the same as Miranda.
    Your comment on Chris Hartcher are accurate that he wants out but Terrigal will swing hard to labor although probably not enough to win it and because Mike Gallaghur wants to be a Premier contester when BOF retires, it would be stupid to ruin those chancee in a by-election where there is alot of focus on the individual seat. Look what happened to Bronwyn, the MacKellar by-election stomped her chances. Hartcher will wait till general election where focus won’t be on Terrigal so there wont be a bigger swing

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