Bennelong – Election 2010

ALP 1.4%

Incumbent MP
Maxine McKew, since 2007.

Bennelong straddles the north shore and western suburbs of Sydney. The seat covers the entirety of Ryde local government area, as well as Epping, Carlingford and Ermington, from Hornsby and Parramatta council areas. Main suburbs in the seat are Ryde, Epping, Ermington, Eastwood and Gladesville.

The recent NSW redistribution saw no changes to the boundaries of Bennelong.

Bennelong was created in 1949, and was held by only two MPs between then and the 2007 federal election. Bennelong originally covered Ryde, Hunters Hill and Lane Cove, but not areas such as Eastwood and Epping that are now contained within the seat.

Bennelong was first won by John Cramer (LIB) in 1949. Cramer served as Minister for the Army under Robert Menzies from 1956 to 1963. During his time holding Bennelong the seat was never a very safe seat, and in 1961 Cramer only held on by 1832 votes. His largest margin was 15.4% in 1966.

Cramer retired at the 1974 election and was succeeded by John Howard (LIB). Howard went on to serve as a minister under Malcolm Fraser, including as Treasurer from 1977 to 1983. He then served in a variety of roles on the opposition frontbench after 1983, including as two stints as Opposition Leader (1985-1989, 1995-1996). He was elected as Prime Minister in 1996 and served until 2007.

The seat of Bennelong had gradually shifted to the north-west over the decades, taking in Epping. The 1992 redistribution saw the last parts of Lane Cove removed from the seat, and Howard’s margin was cut in 1993. After recovering in 1996 to a margin over 10% it gradually declined to a 4.3% margin in 2004, when the Greens ran high-profile former intelligence officer Andrew Wilkie against Howard.

The 2006 redistribution saw Howard’s margin cut slightly and the ALP decided to target the seat, running former journalist Maxine McKew. McKew won the seat with 51.4% of the two-party vote.


  • Victor Waterson (One Nation)
  • Julie Worsley (Christian Democratic Party)
  • Sue Raye (Sex Party)
  • Mary Louise Mockler (Carers Alliance)
  • Stephen Chavura (Family First)
  • Bill Pounder (Climate Sceptics)
  • Lindsay Peters (Greens)
  • Maxine McKew (Labor) – Member for Bennelong since 2007.
  • Martin Levine (Building Australia)
  • John Alexander (Liberal)
  • Terje Petersen (Liberal Democrats)

Politicial situation
This seat lies on a precarious margin and is a high priority for the Liberal Party, both because of its position on the pendulum and its historical significance for the party. While considering the very slim margin, it’s worth bearing in mind that McKew managed to win the seat against the sitting Prime Minister, who had held the seat for 33 years. While Howard’s reputation had suffered damage by 2007, you would still have to think a political novice like John Alexander would struggle to perform better than Howard, suggesting McKew may have an easier time of winning reelection.

2007 result

John HowardLIB39,55145.49-4.14
Maxine McKewALP39,40845.33+16.18
Lindsay PetersGRN4,8115.53-10.08
Robyn PeeblesCDP1,1191.29-1.06
Peter GoldfinchDEM6100.70-0.56
Lorraine MarkwellFF2890.33+0.24
Margherita TracanelliCCC2690.31+0.31
Victor WatersonON2610.30+0.23
Graeme CordinerIND2390.27+0.27
David L AllenIND1230.14+0.14
Yusuf TahirIND970.11+0.11
David LeyonhjelmLDP890.10+0.10
Gavin SpencerCEC700.08+0.08

2007 two-candidate-preferred result

Maxine McKewALP44,68551.40+5.53
John HowardLIB42,25148.60-5.53

Booth breakdown
I’ve divided booths between five of the main suburbs in the electorate, being Epping, Eastwood, Ryde, West Ryde and Gladesville.

The ALP won solid majorities across Ermington and West Ryde in the south-west of the seat. The ALP also won a majority of booths in Epping and Eastwood. The Liberals won most booths in Gladesville and a majority of booths in the centre of Ryde.

Polling booths in Bennelong. Epping in orange, Eastwood in blue, West Ryde in purple, Ryde in green, Gladesville in yellow.
Voter groupGRN %ALP 2CP %Total votes% of votes
West Ryde5.0356.4512,41914.29
Other votes6.1850.1216,17918.61
Polling booths in Bennelong, showing the results of the 2007 election.


  1. This is an area which has been weak for the Liberals at state level over recent electoral cycles, with the state seat of Ryde having been comfortably held by the former deputy premier John Watkins until his retirement last year, so McKew’s re-election chances would have to be good, though it will definitely be a key contest to watch.

    Howard’s primary vote was down 3% in 2004, suggesting that Wilkie took votes off him. Howard also faced a high profile challenge in 1983 from environmentalist Milo Dunphy, who got 12.7%, not to mention that in 1998 he saw off the challenge from the Abolish Child Support Party’s candidate Prime Minister John Piss the Family Court and Legal Aid, who received 183 votes.

  2. Bennelong’s an interesting one, because the boundaries have changed substantially over the years. It’s creeping west. It’s also a very diverse electorate in terms of SES and ethnic background.

    In the 2007 election, I was scrutineering at the W Ryde Public School booth (the second-largest in the electorate) and it was clear by the time they’d sorted about half the votes that Maxine had won it outright. When I heard from a friend that it was looking the same way at Eastwood I started to have some hope. The clincher for me was North Epping – I’d thought all along that if Howard went below about 51% of primaries there he was gone, and that’s what happened (his primary vote was 50.95).

    The interesting thing about Bennelong is that because of its diversity the different areas vote on different issues. I could go on about this all day but I won’t here – except to say that wealthy areas around the river (from H Pt up to Ryde Bridge) just LOVED John Howard, and WorkChoices. The wealthy areas of Epping, Eastwood and Denistone love the Libs but not necessarily JH – they were particularly concerned in 04 with his stance on the war and refugees (the Epping bible belt especially didn’t like the treatment of refugees) and the Greens did well in those booths in 04. That was important, because it loosened the rust for the “we’ll always vote Liberal” crowd – once they’ve changed once, they’ll do it again. A lot of them didn’t like Workchoices either because they saw it affecting their kids and grandchildren.

    West Ryde and Ermington traditionally lean towards the ALP and the addition of the Ermington booths really got Maxine over the line. They’re unlikely to swing back to the Libs, although some new housing along the river might have an impact (I bet JH was pissed off that they weren’t completed before the 07 election! There are some pretty steep price tags on those places now that they’ve cleaned up the river and Rhodes doesn’t actually stink any more, even if the bottom of the river and a good deal of the land around it is as toxic as ever!!!)

    Marsfield’s interesting – most people assume that around Mac Uni will be ALP voting but of course the bulk of the students who live in that area are international students and don’t vote at all (well, not in our elections anyway).

    There’s a streak of weak booths for the Greens running north to south through the middle of Bennelong, from Eastwood/Marsfield down to West Ryde and Putney. I have some ideas about why, but I need to reflect on the pattern of booth results a little more – I haven’t had time to do that yet!

    There might be some shifts in the central Ryde booths next time, because they were affected by the redevelopment of the shopping centre at Top Ryde – lots of voters who normally vote at Top Ryde would have gone elsewhere but by the time the next election comes around will probably return to Top Ryde so if you’re looking to do some predictive modelling from booth returns it might be worth looking back to 04 and 01.

    I look forward to seeing more discussion here about Bennelong in the leadup to the next election. My tip is that Maxine will hold it – she’s been doing the hard yards around the electorate, despite some sneering comments about her borring Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak. People around here did well out of the stimulus payments although they’re worried about debt. But real estate is still being bought and sold and the buses going into the city are still full of workers commuting so they’ve not been too badly bashed about by the GFC. They’re not going to vote for a tennis hero just because they know his name. Maxine will still have to work at it though, and The Greens should do better than last time. Maybe substantially better now that climate change is front and centre, and that the party has a reasonable profile in the electorate after many years of campaigning.

  3. It’s worth noting re the Greens vote that the Senate vote (9.39%) was significantly higher than the Reps vote. Perhaps people who may otherwise have voted Green preferred to simply vote for McKew to get rid of Howard, so I’d agree with Cathy that there should be room for some solid improvement, although since the seat will be hotly contested by both major parties again, it may still squeeze the Greens out.

    In fact, looking at the comparisons of Reps and Senate votes by division in NSW, Bennelong was one of only 5 seats where the Greens Senate vote was more than 150% of the Reps vote. Two others were Calare and New England, where high-polling independents and a very low vote to begin with obviously have a significant impact. The other two however were Eden-Monaro and North Sydney. Bennelong, Eden-Monaro and North Sydney all had something in common at the 2007 election, who can remember?

  4. Bennelong is an interesting one, as it has demographic change that is working both ways.

    Obviously, there’s the increase in the number of Asian migrants around Eastwood, which favours Labor.

    But we also see a new development of the more run-down areas around Ermington and West Ryde, with new apartment blocks and housing developments occuring, which might favour the Liberals.

    I don’t think the state results for Ryde prove much, since the Liberals were unelectable in marginal seats from 1999-2007.

  5. McKew should hold easily. Even after the shift west Howard got a certain number of votes from people who saw prestige in having the Prime Minister as their local member – and the Liberal campaign capitalised on this with t-shirts bearing slogans such as “Supporting our Prime Minister”. With this effect lost for the Liberals many of these votes will be lost.

    The fact that the Liberals have chosen John Alexander will also be beneficial to the ALP – a candidate who didn’t live in the electorate at preselection isn’t an issue (McKew moved to Epping after securing the nomination, while Howard’s house fell out of the electorate over consecutive elections) however the fact that Alexander sought preselection for Bennelong only after failing to do likewise in Bradfield opens him to a lot of “second-best” and “wants to be a politican, not represent the people of Bennelong” attacks, which McKew has already started.

  6. “Bennelong, Eden-Monaro and North Sydney all had something in common at the 2007 election, who can remember?”

    Ooh, ooh, celebrity Labor candidates!?

    Also, Eden-Monaro had a very Green independent in Acacia Rose take a few percent and I imagine her voters would vote Green in the senate.

  7. Yes, but also GetUp! actively campaigned in those three seats.

    Yeah, Acacia Rose’s votes would probably have voted Green in the Senate.

    Coverage here about Lindsay Peters standing again for the Greens.

  8. I would politely disagree with Susan – I actually think that Bennelong could be the big surprise of this election, back to the Liberals. John Alexander has been getting a good reception in his campaigning and is giving it a very good crack for someone who hasn’t really been involved at this level before. While I agree with a lot of the comments here that there are pockets of green out there amongst the rusted on workers and wealthier people to the North, I think people in general are a lot more fluid than they were even three elections ago now. Whoever wins the battle on the ground could carry the day. You could see a lot of the people who changed their vote last time switch back – glad the Libs are actually taking it seriously for once and not for granted

  9. Benelong will fall back into coalition hands.
    Mckew has not done well. Behaved badly after the win and really has little or no chance of retaining this one.

    I’m with you Hamish on this one.

  10. I think McKew will hold on and probably increase her margin.

    And I’ve never seen any evidence of McKew acting poorly after her win, just gossip on right-wing websites by Liberal Party supporters.

  11. I want this seat to go back to the libs, mckew has not performed and needs replacing with better alternative like john alexander and the slaughter of kr just shows the labour machine for what they are and I think the electorate are a bit better aware of this

  12. Nonsense. McKew is widely considered a good local member, has been a solid minister and is a popular face in the wider public. Plus she is one of just four factionally unaligned Labor MPs. The Libs seem to think that Bennelong is somehow spiritually theres, which explains the en masse online smears of McKew by Tory zealots. Alexander is not a particularly strong candidate. He will be hurt by choosing Bennelong as a second choice to Bradfield and that he has, well, no apparent political or policy experience. I mean, he’s a tennis player and sports commentator who had a midlife crisis and joined the Liberal Party.

  13. Hamish Says: . I mean, he’s a tennis player and sports commentator who had a midlife crisis and joined the Liberal Party.

    Well what the difference to Maxine ? she was a journalist with a mid life crisis and jumped onboard the ALP when redistribution favoured an ALP’s outcome.

  14. Maxine had a career in politics, political media and policy analysis. If you can’t tell the difference in qualifications between a political journalist who spent 30 years discussing politics and a tennis commentator who spent 30 years discussing serve volleys, well, who I am to point them out.

  15. Hamish is right. There is a big difference between a political journalist and a tennis commentator. Maxine’s office is far more involved with the electorate than JWH’s was. I think she’ll increase her margin, I don’t think a celebrity LPA candidate is going to hold much sway here, especially since I’m willing to bet that a lot of people who voted LPA in 2007 did so because they liked and/or were used to Howard, and a no-name (politically speaking, anyway) LPA candidate is not going to help the Libs’ chances on this one.

  16. Another big field lines up in Bennelong.

    The ballot order is:

    1. Victor Waterson (One Nation)

    2. Julie Worsley, Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)

    3. Sue Raye (Australian Sex Party)

    4. Mary Louise Mockler (Carers Alliance)

    5. Stephen Chavura (Family First)

    6. Bill Pounder (Climate Sceptics)

    7. Lindsay Peters (The Greens)

    8. Maxine McKew (Labor)

    9. Martin Levine (Building Australia)

    10. John Alexander (Liberal)

    11. Terje Petersen (Liberal Democrats).

  17. I met Liberal candidate John Alexander last night – he was a bore.
    His campaign dodger said that he’d fight to build Sydney’s north-west railway and complete the Parramatta-Chatswood railway, but when I put him on the spot over those things, he was really evasive and only spoke of the cost of retro-fitting infrastructure.
    He won’t get my vote, but I’m not impressed with Maxine McKew either.
    I don’t relish having to choose between the drunken sailor (the ALP) and Ebenezer Scrooge (the Coalition). Nobody believes in responsible infrastructure spending now, even though the short-term cost brings long-term benefits to the economy and the environment and people’s livelihoods. ;(

  18. My view is that McKew has been a definite step up from Howard. I sent emails and snail mails to John Howard regarding the invasion of Iraq only to eventually receive a stock standard response from the Department of Defence. In addition, it was a formula reply – one that I thought had been sent to hundreds, if not thousands, of people writing. McKew has replied through her staff to my emails and also, at one point, took the time to call me. She has never written to me though which I find perhaps a little cautious on her end. With regards to the Prime Minister holding a seat, I think it is disadvantageous. The Constitution never mentions the words Prime Minister anywhere within it. Not once. As I see representative democracy, it works best when all elected members act on behalf of the constituencies which elected them. Besides that, I believe that backbenchers in any political party, even minor, have a party line which they must toe. 2007 had three independents standing for election in Bennelong. 2010 sees zero. Perhaps due to the fact that the independents, with no hope of gaining sufficient publicity, gathered a combined 0.52% of the vote (459 votes out of 86,936) in 2007.

    John Alexander? I do not like his approach to tennis commentating. That, as distant as it is from political policy, is the best gauge I have for assessing his candidacy. Tony Abbott is John Howard the second. Read below for my views there.

    I will vote in accordance with how the candidates on the ballot paper respond to my enquiries and what my views are on political party policies. Having democracy operate on one day every three years is not my definition of a healthy political system.

    —The next section continues my thoughts on having John Howard as member for Bennelong. I confess that it is a little preachy. I include it to express my thoughts in a politically based forum specific to Bennelong and for anyone who is interested. Feel free to stop here if you are not interested.—

    John Howard, for me, ripped the guts away from the people. You had no chance of talking to him as Prime Minister and you had no chance of talking to him as the member for Bennelong. He, and he only, decided to go to war against Iraq. If he hadn’t, we wouldn’t have and I consider war to be astronomically greater in importance than anything else. The people were against it. I, as one of his constituents, was against it. You may want to note that I have voted for him but have also voted for others. How can we call ourselves a democracy when such a thing as *war* can not be averted by popular outcry?

    I had alternatives which I hadn’t heard any other public figure or person I knew personally espouse. When I explained it to them, they thought it worth a try – even if it didn’t succeed, it was better than killing, permanently dismembering and geographically, historically and culturally uprooting a people. I’m sure that if a foreign aggressor came in to Australia, with 95% of the UN General Assembly against it, we wouldn’t think they were doing a good or necessary thing – no matter how much the aggressor thought so.

    I was disappointed to see Howard win 2004. That was an election which carried the potential to change world history. He won it because he scared too many on interest rates and ironically, losing their homes. Using trust as his central election theme?

    Financial concerns can be measured in dollars. Trust does not come in metres, decibels, horse-power, grams or even popularity ratings. He damaged it for short term personal gain. The losers were the Australian people, the Iraqi people, the international community and the loss could extend for decades – even if the world media ‘moves on’.

    Can we start considering that positive political leaders are those who see Australia as a land mass connected to the rest of the world (via water, air, clouds, insects, trade, immigration, refugees, online knowledge transfer etc.) rather than those who “champion this country” and, in doing so, isolate it? The latter is ultimately destructive to our future.

    Thanks and regards,

  19. Will NSW like Victoria in 1990 be the state that almost loses it for Labor? Will Bennelong like Melbourne Ports in 1990 defy the statewide swing? Yes…I think, having Rudd on baord would be good for Bennelong Asian-Australian voters would be pleased, now if the Libs had an Asian-Australian candidate rather than JA

  20. My prediction: I was pretty convinced McKew would retain this until I had a chat with a very astute friend of mine who thinks Alexander will win it by virtue of not being John Howard. I don’t know, I think I’ll stick with Labor retain, but maybe only just.

  21. I would like to respond to Tom’s Post (Tom – Bennelong resident in Eastwood August 6, 2010 at 3:20 PM)

    Tom you stated:

    “He (John Howard), and he only, decided to go to war against Iraq. If he hadn’t, we wouldn’t have and I consider war to be astronomically greater in importance than anything else. The people were against it. I, as one of his constituents, was against it. You may want to note that I have voted for him…I’m sure that if a foreign aggressor came in to Australia, with 95% of the UN General Assembly against it, we wouldn’t think they were doing a good or necessary thing – no matter how much the aggressor thought so”.

    I am also disturbed that you state or imply that Australia acted as a foreign aggressor to the people of Iraq. You refer to John Howard’s decision as elected Prime Minister and the Government of Australia to commit Australian forces to the War in Iraq – Let’s be clear who was the “foreign aggressor”.

    Saddam Hussein’s forces were behind both a “deadly attack” on northern Iraq in 1988 and, two years later, the invasion of Kuwait to the south. I point out that Kuwait gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1961, where-as, Iraq became independent in 1932. This makes Kuwait a sovereign state recognised by the United Nations and Kuwait was invaded by a “foreign aggressor”. Saddam Hussein’s primary justification for invasion included a charge that Kuwaiti territory was in fact an Iraqi province. I would like to point out here another “foreign aggressor” Hitler who was also under the impression that Austria was part of the “Third Reich” and in 1938 annexed Austria into the Nazi regime.

    Firstly the “deadly attack” on 16 March 1988. Saddam Hussein’s forces attacked with a mix of mustard gas and nerve agents killing 5,000 civilians and 10,000 more were maimed and disfigured. For comparison during WWI 4,086 British/Imperial soldiers were killed and 16,526 more injured by mustard gas (called “Yellow Cross” by the Germans). It is important to highlight the banning of chemical weapons… In mid-1969, the UK and the Warsaw Pact, separately, introduced proposals to the UN to ban biological weapons, which would lead to a treaty in 1972. The U.S. cancelled its offensive biological weapons program in November 1969 (microorganisms) and February 1970 (toxins) and ordered the destruction of all offensive biological weapons, which occurred between May 1971 and February 1973. The U.S. ratified the Geneva Protocol on January 22, 1975. So Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, as a UN member (in 1945) ignored the UN treaty.

    Secondly the invasion of Kuwait. To understand this we have to go back a little. Following the Iran-Iraq war the bloody eight-year war ended in a stalemate. There were hundreds of thousands of casualties with estimates of up to one million dead. The southern, oil rich and prosperous Khuzestan and Basra area (the main focus of the war, and the primary source of their economies) were almost completely destroyed and were left at the pre 1979 border, while Iran managed to make some small gains on its borders in the Northern Kurdish area. Both economies, previously healthy and expanding, were left in ruins. Saddam urged the Kuwaitis to forgive the Iraqi debt accumulated in the war, some $30 billion, but they refuse. To recover, Saddam pushed oil-exporting countries to raise oil prices by cutting back production; Kuwait refused… In addition to refusing the request, Kuwait spearheaded the opposition in OPEC to the cuts that Saddam had requested. Kuwait was pumping large amounts of oil, and thus keeping prices low, when Iraq needed to sell high-priced oil from its wells to pay off a huge debt. The oil reserves of Kuwait (with a population of 2 million next to Iraq’s 25) were roughly equal to those of Iraq. Taken together, Iraq and Kuwait sat on top of some 20 percent of the world’s known oil reserves; for comparison, Saudi Arabia holds 25 percent. As Iraq-Kuwait relations rapidly deteriorated, Saddam was receiving conflicting information about how the U.S. would respond to the prospects of an invasion. For one, Washington had been taking measures to cultivate a constructive relationship with Iraq for roughly a decade. The Reagan Administration gave Saddam roughly $40 billion in aid in the 1980s – Saddam’s Iraq became the third-largest recipient of US assistance!!! The Iraqis assumed that the United States had invested too much in building relations with Iraq over the 1980s to sacrifice them for Kuwait, so, on 2 August 1990 Saddam invaded and annexed Kuwait, thus sparking an international crisis. Co-operation between the United States and the Soviet Union made possible the passage of resolutions in the UN’s Security Council giving Iraq a deadline to leave Kuwait and approving the use of force if Saddam did not comply with the timetable. THIS IS WHERE THE PHRASE ‘WAR FOR OIL’ REALLY COMES FROM – but used incorrectly by anti-war protestors.

    Well the ‘foreign aggressor’ Saddam repeatedly violated sixteen United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) designed to ensure that Iraq did not pose a threat to international peace and security. In addition to the repeated violations, he had tried, over a decade between 1990 and 2004 (14 years!!!), to circumvent UN economic sanctions against Iraq, which are reflected in a number of other resolutions. As noted in the resolutions, Saddam was required to fulfill many obligations beyond the withdrawal of Iraqi forces from Kuwait. Specifically, Saddam Hussein was required to, among other things: allow international weapons inspectors to oversee the destruction of his weapons of mass destruction; not develop new weapons of mass destruction; destroy all of his ballistic missiles with a range greater than 150 kilometers; stop support for terrorism and prevent terrorist organizations from operating within Iraq; help account for missing Kuwaitis and other individuals; return stolen Kuwaiti property and bear financial liability for damage from the Gulf War; and he was required to end his repression of the Iraqi people. Saddam Hussein has repeatedly violated each of the following resolutions: UNSCR 678 – November 29, 1990; UNSCR 686 – March 2, 1991; UNSCR 687 – April 3, 1991; UNSCR 688 – April 5, 1991; UNSCR 707 – August 15, 1991; UNSCR 715 – October 11, 1991; UNSCR 949 – October 15, 1994; UNSCR 1051 – March 27, 1996; UNSCR 1060 – June 12, 1996; UNSCR 1115 – June 21, 1997; UNSCR 1134 – October 23, 1997; UNSCR 1137 – November 12, 1997; UNSCR 1154 – March 2, 1998; UNSCR 1194 – September 9, 1998; UNSCR 1205 – November 5, 1998; UNSCR 1284 – December 17, 1999

    AND…in March 2003 the US and its allies (including the majority elected Howard’s Government) invaded Iraq captured on 13 December 2003.

    I have worked with a lady who her and her family had fled Iraq and I cannot begin to tell you how Saddam has affected her life. I have friends who have served in East Timor, Iraq, and now Afghanistan and I think you should be ashamed to state or imply that Australia was a “foreign aggressor”. Do your homework before putting posts that only show ignorance and lack of research to say the least.

    By the way I was only doing my own research and came across the tallyroom website on the seat of Dobell because Sportsbet are offering good odds and I think as a Liberal voter that McKew is safe not because she deserves it just I wouldn’t pick a tennis commentator over McKew’s background, as arrogant as she is – I think at 1.90 that would be a ‘good bet’. And finally I believe Howard lost his seat because of the change in voting patterns and the “electorate” since the explosion of the internet and web media (and control of media and the-like) and simply because Australia suffers from a toll poppy syndrome, like the Roman arenas, we (not me) are all enthralled to see successful people fall! Also from a political perspective there is no such thing as ‘loyalty’ anymore. PS John Howard was the best political leader this country has seen and will see for a very very long time.

    This post is extracts from various sources

  22. I think the public reaction to the railway will be a deciding factor here.

    Angry cynicism after years of broken state Labor promises, or just happy at the prospect that the damn thing might actually get built?

  23. I suspect you’re right MDM.

    I don’t think JA is much of an asset to be honest. Polls seem to be showing that Bennelong is still generally Liberal leaning, but JA hasn’t really been a lightning rod for the local Tories. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bennelong went back to the Libs in 2013 if they find a good candidate, but, despite recent polls, I still reckon Maxine will hold on.

  24. Hamish – I don’t agree. History suggests this seat has always been a Liberal seat, notwithstanding the boundary changes. I was at a BBQ on Sunday in Epping with about 30 voters in Bennelong and nearly all of them suggested the Howard factor at the last election caused them to vote for Rudd. They have been disappointed that McKew did not get a better gig in Government. These are generally conservative voters who mainly voted Kevin07 – Labor for the first time. I think you will find a bit of this in this seat and the Liberals will take it back. Funilly enough, all of them saw the hypocrisy of the Epping to Parramatta railway link, which none of them will use anyway. That again will cost the ALP votes in this seat.

    I’d suggest you will see about a 3-4% swing against the government in this seat.

  25. I’ll also suggest that Labor would be a much better chance in a seat like Hughes (where I was brought up) or even Macquarie than Bennelong (which is close to where I live now). If you look at demographics, I think it is a bit ill-informed to suggest that the ALP are likely to hold onto this seat where the average house price is about $900k, there are large mortgages, it has relative affluence or belief towards its relative affluence, and generally large incomes. Considering all of the 2007 factors, this is a seat that Labor can win, but not too often I would have thought and only in extreme circumstances (i.e. strong general swing against co-alition in NSW suburban). And the swing against the ALP in suburban Sydney is likely to be about 2-3%, and probably more in this seat given the make-up of the constituents.

    I would go so much as to say that if Labor hold on to a seat like Bennelong they will increase their majority on the 88 they presently have, because they will probably win all of the other marginal Sydney or outer-Sydney / central coast seats (i.e. Macarthur, Macquarie, Lindsay, Greenway, Hughes, Robertson, Dobell). And only a die-hard ALP man could believe that.

    But we will see on Saturday. McKew’s husband particularly is a good campaigner and I am largely discounting that influence given it is an inner north-west suburban seat.

  26. I think one big factor people overlooked in Bennelong is both Maxine and Julia are representing the female vote, a lot mums and younger women in particular draws to that it is the only chance they would get a female PM running this country , big plus to Labor

    Other factors, railway link is going be huge, a lot people these days will need public transport to get around, plus to Labor

    Asian community,areas around Epping and Eastwood are dominated by them, most Asians don’t have a clue who JA is so how are they going to switch over, plus to Labor

    Enough said

  27. KEVIN 07 was the bigest factor in the last election in the seat and Maxine’s profile!

    KEVIN was axed by Julia and here team because KEVIN didnot consult the caucus on policy.
    Maxine hasnt really delivered.

    I feel Bennelong will go to Liberals but only just !

    I vote in this electorate !

  28. Kevin – “Other factors, railway link is going be huge, a lot people these days will need public transport to get around, plus to Labor “.

    Do you live in NSW? Surely, you couldn’t? Hardly anyone heads west anyway on the train. And just about everyone thinks it is an empty promise that has backfired on the Government.

    You could be right with the female vote though, but I doubt it. I wouldn’t think these north shore girls would be too big on Julia given the way she presents. They are conservatives that went away for one election. They are people who were brought up in other Liberal seats like Warringah and North Sydney that couldn’t afford a house there and had to move further out. They are young and looking to start a family as it is a family area. They are more likely to prefer Abbott’s maternity leave policy as most of them work and earn over $100k.

    And on the Asian community, Howard has spent a long time in the seat hosting forums with JA present in the last month. McKew doesn’t have any affiliation with the Chinese community so it is no plus to her.

    There are plenty of marginal seats in Sydney that Labor should win before this one – Hughes, Macarthur, Macquarie, Lindsay (in which a Labor mate of mine says Labor won’t win) and Greenway. Anyway, we’ll see. We need to put into perspective that this is not Liverpool or Blacktown. If the ALP do win it, the absolute best they could hope for is a 2% 2PP margin, where as the Liberals could win this seat on a 7-8% margin (but not at this election).

    Labor won it last time, but it is a traditional Liberal party seat at the end of the day. When there is a state swing on against Labor, as there will be, it will be very hard to hold for Labor.

  29. And from SMH on-line today:
    “Internal polling by the Liberals reflects a similar swing (i.e. 4%), suggesting McKew is suffering collateral damage from the degraded ALP brand in Sydney.”

    I didn’t want to say anything until it was public. And yes, it is only a fairly robust sample where I would estimate MoE to be at the most 3%.

  30. It’s interesting to note that the diehard labor commentators here were victims of their own blindsight. Sure, we all have the benefit of hindsight now, but the various comments made just show how out of touch you folks were with the vibe of the constituents. I see Maxine McKew is blaming the political assassination of Kevin Rudd on her failure to retain this seat. Typical, it couldn’t possibly be her fault right (sic)? She did get a reasonably high portfolio for a 1st termer. Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure and Local Government, yet despite this, in an electorate crippled with lack of infrastructure and plagued by over development by State governments riding roughshod over Local Government, she did nothing. There are many small reasons why she lost votes, but that was her achillies heal. There’s no escape from 3 years of inaction, you simply can’t turn back time and spin your way out of that. I do agree that the announcement the State and Federal Labor were going to pork barrell the Parra to Epping link was another factor, but small one. This was arrogant and insulting to the electorate and reinforced Labors incapacity to effectively deliver on major projects. (But if Maxine had runs on the board for tackling infrastructure issues she may have escaped this). But no, the word on the street was scathingly cynical, Asian or not. So she can only blame herself, otherwise she would have bucked the statewide trend, such as what occurred in Robertson.

  31. I certainly told you – almost to the %. He was always a good bet, but the Libs were pretty confident they were going to win this on Friday.

  32. I promise I won’t gloat over any others – I only predicted 142/150, making a howler in Cowper tipping Sefky and writing off Roy in Youngman. But May 12 2010 postings of Tony and I 🙂

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