Page – Australia 2013

ALP 4.2%

Incumbent MP
Janelle Saffin, since 2007. Previously Member of the NSW Legislative Council 1995-2003.

Geography
North coast of NSW. Page covers the towns of Lismore, Ballina, Kyogle, Casino, Grafton and Yamba.

History
Page was first created for the 1984 election. The first member for Page was Ian Robinson (NAT), who had previously been member for Cowper since 1963. Robinson was defeated in 1990 by Harry Woods (ALP) after 27 years in federal parliament.

Woods was defeated by former state minister Ian Causley (NAT) at the 1996 election. Wood proceeded to win the by-election for Causley’s former state seat of Clarence and went on to serve as a minister in Bob Carr’s second term.

Causley served in federal Parliament for eleven years, retiring in 2007. The ALP preselected former state upper house MP and advisor to Jose Ramos Horta, Janelle Saffin, while the Nationals preselected former Mayor of Maclean Chris Gulaptis. Despite a 5.5% margin for the Nationals, the ALP won Page on a 7.8% swing.

In 2010, Saffin was re-elected with a swing towards Labor of 1.8%, an outlier result in an election where Labor went backwards across the country.

Candidates

Assessment
Page is a marginal Labor seat, and was held by the National Party for the entirety of the Howard government. The seat would certainly be vulnerable if there is a swing against Labor. Despite this, Saffin gained a swing against the trend in 2010 and could potentially go against the trend.

2010 result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Janelle SaffinALP39,04345.73+4.05
Kevin HoganNAT36,26342.47-0.58
Jeff JohnsonGRN7,3258.58+0.47
Doug BehnIND1,2591.47-0.31
Merle SummervilleIND8961.05+1.05
Julia MellandDEM5980.70-0.36

2010 two-candidate-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Janelle SaffinALP46,27354.19+1.83
Kevin HoganNAT39,11145.81-1.83
Polling places in Page at the 2010 federal election. Ballina in green, Lismore in yellow, Kyogle in purple, Richmond Valley in blue, Clarence Valley in red. Click to enlarge.
Polling places in Page at the 2010 federal election. Ballina in green, Lismore in yellow, Kyogle in purple, Richmond Valley in blue, Clarence Valley in red. Click to enlarge.

Booth breakdown
Booths have been divided into five areas, along the lines of local government areas: Ballina, Lismore, Clarence Valley, Richmond Valley and Kyogle.

The ALP won a majority in all five areas, varying from 59.4% in Lismore to 51% in Kyogle.

Voter groupGRN %ALP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Clarence Valley5.8054.0319,55822.91
Lismore11.2759.3815,93218.66
Ballina9.8154.5114,59617.09
Richmond Valley5.5152.8412,35314.47
Kyogle11.6251.044,1734.89
Other votes9.5751.3018,77221.99
Two-party-preferred votes in Page at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Page at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in northern Page at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in northern Page at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Lismore at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Lismore at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Casino at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Casino at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes at the mouth of the Clarence River at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes at the mouth of the Clarence River at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Grafton at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Grafton at the 2010 federal election.

36 COMMENTS

  1. Kevin Hogan running again for the Nationals and it is expected Janelle Saffin is Labor’s candidate again. Saffin has a very high personal vote in Page, however this seat should definitely fall back to the Nationals this time.

  2. Difficult. State figures would suggest no hope but 4% is a reasonable margin & NSW swing will probably be highest in Sydney than rural areas.Issues that are hurting Labor elsewhere less important here though welfare cuts will hurt?

  3. Janelle Saffin has a huge personal vote and even among non-Labor voters is well regarded as having done a lot for the electorate. It’s a hard one to pick, but I rate Saffin’s chances as even money, perhaps a bit better. I wouldn’t be surprised if she held when neighbouring electorates swing more savagely.

  4. Worth also noting that CSG is a big issue here, which Saffin has been prominent in advocating local concerns about. The Nats may lose some farming vote to Saffin over that as they have been very quiet about it. I’m not sure if a Katter candidate is running, but I’d imagine they’d get a solid 5% on a conservative/anti-CSG platform.

  5. Whilst the swing is not as great as the NSW metro seats, polling indicates deep trouble for Saffin. In response to PJ, I don’t think Minister Burke has done anything to help Saffin given he recently approved CSG operations in the nearby seat of Lyne.

    Agree CSG is a big issue, however, I can’t see it will help the Government. As one person in the seat said to me “Saffin is flying a solo flag for anti-CSG in the ALP; we’d be better off with the Nats”.

    At this point I expect a primary swing to the Nats of 6-7% and don’t be surprised if around 35% Green preferences flow to the Nats this time.

    Would be surprised if Labor held this one.

  6. I’ve been polled twice in the past few months, both seemed to be ALP-commissioned judging by the questions. First time was mostly questions about knowledge/opinions of the candidates, last one was all about CSG and testing various arguments for and against, attitudes towards different CSG companies, attitudes towards farmers, environmentalists, small business and mining companies, and opinion of the water trigger legislation.

    The Greens candidate is primary school teacher and (unsurprisingly) anti-CSG activist Desley Banks

  7. I’m sorry, no, I don’t link to Facebook pages. If you have a profile on your own or your party’s website, I will link to that.

  8. I lived in this electorate for a few years (voted here in 2001). I was as surprised as many that it swung to Labor in 2010 – until I picked up a local paper when passing through Grafton just after the last election. There was a prominent article in which all of the local mayors were interviewed. Every one of them gave a glowing endorsement to their local Labor MP. On reading the detail though, it soon became clear that the endorsement had nothing to do with policies or people. It was all (and rather blatantly!) about making a ‘call’ that Labor was going to win the election, and it was therefore vital above all else that Page have an MP who was with the government (ie could tap into government largesse!)

    While it was an Abbott vs Gillard contest, and looking at the polls, I’m sure the same individuals would be giving just as strong an endorsement to the Nationals candidate. With that kind of motivation driving voting intentions, the closer the polls, the harder to pick which way Page will jump. I wonder if there are other swinging electorates where this kind of thinking trumps an ideological commitment to one or other side of politics?

  9. I tend to feel that Page can be won by the Nationals. I’d put this in the too close to call category.

  10. GNav, I would say that Janelle Saffin has one of the highest personal votes in parliament. She is very widely respected in Page.

  11. PJ, true, but it is already built into the vote. There is no sophomore surge here to be had. Saffin achieved a swing to her of 1.8% in 2010 versus a swing in NSW against Labor of just under 5%. That is a sophomore of roughly 6.5% relative to NSW. It may be a bit less given it is a regional seat.

    My view is given the swing to Saffin was achieved against the trend here last time, it is hard to believe that this seat can again outperform the average of NSW and probably it will underperform in this election. If NSW swings to the Coalition (as I expect it will), this could be one to go. The fact that it is close to QLD is a plus for Saffin, however, that (large) sophomore surge is done and whilst her profile is high in the electorate, it is no better than at the 2010 election.

    Saffin can win the seat, but I expect a swing against her. It just depends on how much. I suspect the Nationals effort in this seat will be much better than in 2010. Hence, my view that this is too close to call unless there is to be a comfortable election win by either side.

  12. DB, quite possible. My qualifier on this seat is that Saffin has been very involved in activities that have been primarily relevent in the past three years, in particular the large growth of the anti-CSG movement in Page and Richmond (whose participants include a lot of traditional Nat voters). So while her “good local member” surge may have been used up, I think that external and geographically specific circumstances may help Saffin this time around.

    I usually go with demographics and numbers more than superstition (the Page Labor swing from 2004-present has far ourperformed the national or state average, for example), but I still think that Saffin will hold with a slight correction. It will definitely be close either way though.

  13. Don’t forget that Saffin has always been a vocal backer of Kevin Rudd, so that might have been another factor helping her.

  14. She is very popular, and very effective. She’s secured lots of money for the pacific highway duplication in her electorate (Ballina bypass, Glenugie, Titenbar, etc), and has been a vocal anti-CSG advocate. Thoroughly nice person too.

    Even the coalition advertising reflects her popularity – before the leadership challenge the Nats were actually running big billboard ads saying “vote Saffin, get Gillard”. Exhibit A:

    https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/p480x480/1003650_542687889102369_793894569_n.jpg

  15. The Nats are very confident in picking up this seat with internal polling showing a close race but a certain swing against the Government.

  16. This will satay with labor. Janelle has been an excellent local member and the nats supporting CSG will hav a huge effect on them at the poll

  17. Interesting Rudd was campaigning here yesterday, looks like a shift from gaining seats to holding onto seats.

  18. QO – you do realise that they were going to campaign in all of the marginal seats anyway, right? It’s not about where they campaign, it’s about where they campaign most. And yes, this is a “too close to call” kind of electorate at this election, so of course Labor will campaign there.

  19. I do realize that, but I found it interesting that he is there at this stage of the campaign. I thought he would be trying to build momentum in Queensland (which he is today)

  20. QO – I agree, Rudd has made the dramatic shift to campaigning in ALP held seats. In the last few days these have been Greenway, Page, Wakefield, and Moreton this morning. That cannot be good news for the ALP one would logically conclude.

  21. Two calls from ReachTel in two days. That makes five calls I’ve had from pollsters this year, plus two direct calls from people on behalf of Janelle Saffin’s campaign. Getting a bit excessive.

  22. Well, let me just take a moment of fleeting pleasure to say, “I told you so.” As I pointed out in my comment on July 11, having lived in this seat, I know the voters – they are utterly unsentimental and fixated on one thing – having a government MP who can squeeze out the maximum largesse to the local area. Loyalty to parties or MPs has nothing to do with it. Janelle Saffin could be Mother Theresa (and have lots of supporters on this site) but once it was obvious we were getting an Abbott government, she was doomed. Likewise, Kevin Hogan will be enthusiastically re-elected until some future point when it looks like Labor will return, in which case he will get the boot as well.

  23. GNav
    Good on you mate !!!. Sorry i missed your post in July. However you are just so spot on, about the lure of the filfthy lucre !!!. Good on the thinking voters, & local govt pollies (of Page)for having the judgement, & common sense to make the pragmatic call. They will be a lot better off than the dummies in Richmond!!!.

  24. Yeh winediamond beacause the junior partner of a coalition always has a large say… The nats will take this seat for granted and won’t deliver much

  25. Observer
    The reason BLIND is usually the adjective applied with cynicism, is because to be cynical is blind. Your’e obdurate determination to refuse the acceptance of any positive outcome, is a shining example to all of us. Good on yer.

  26. The ditch of turnbull was decided only by LIBERAL MPs. Not one member of the nationals cast a vote. Thats the rule of leadership ballots in the Coalition.

    Look at some of the safest seats in regional Australia. Before this election, seats like New England and Kennedy had the safest margins, not for the nationals but for independents. Seats like Murray held by Sharmon Stone on a very safe margin use to be nationals heartland returning national members on a margin of 27%. Same goes for Farrer. This is because people in those seats realise that the nationals can’t achieve much as a junior partner in a coaltion and that they are better off voting liberal. In WA where the nationals actually have some muscle, they don’t hold a single seat in the House of Reps or the senate. They only reason they held O’Connor was because Wilson Tuckey was the liberal candidate.

    The nats did very well in Page, to win it with a swing on nearly 7%, but they would have to be kicking themselves that they couldn’t manage a similar swing in the former national heartland of Richmond, a seat won by labor when the momentum was with the coalition. Next election where the momentum probably won’t be with the coalition could see seats like Page go as the nats won’t be able to achieve as much as say the liberal member in Eden Monaro, because the nats are the junior partner, the real muscle in the coalition is and always will be the liberals. The only exception is in WA where the nats can hold the balance at a state level

  27. That’s a very simplistic analysis, Observer. The Liberals also rolled Nelson because he advocated not implementing an ETS until the Kyoto targets were met by the rest of the world.

    The reason why the Liberals rolled Turnbull and ditched the ETS was because Barnaby Joyce got the Nats to spend the preceding six months attacking the ETS and publicly stating that the entire party would vote against it. Liberal voters shifted to the Nats in droves, and it was reflected in membership recruitment activity. The Libs saw the traction the Nats were getting and Turnbull’s leadership was basically paralysed because Barnaby wouldn’t join the frontbench under Turnbull and support an ETS. He then got Shadow Finance as the carrot in addition to the policy change once Turnbull was removed.

    It was exactly the same as McEwen vetoing McMahon as PM. The Nats basically vetoed Turnbull’s leadership.

  28. AC the liberal leadership was to do with the factional infighting withy he hard right and the moderates. The nats bang on about issues all the time but it never has an affect especially on who the leader is. Evn if ur claim is right, liberal voters in Bradfield wouldn’t be voting nationals. There wouldn’t be a seat that the nats could win off the liberals anyway. It only works if there is a retirement

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