Macquarie – Election 2010

ALP 0.3%

Incumbent MP
Bob Debus, since 2007. Previously Member for the state seat of Blue Mountains 1981-1988, 1995-2007.

Geography
Macquarie covers the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury local government areas.

Redistribution
Macquarie covered the same territory at the 2004 election that it will in 2010: namely the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury regions. At the 2007 election, the seat was radically redrawn, with Hawkesbury being added to Greenway and Macquarie spilling over into Central West NSW. The 2010 election has seen those changes reversed.

History
Macquarie is a federation seat, and has always sat to the west of Sydney and covered the Blue Mountains, although its boundaries have shifted. It has tended to be a marginal seat, although in recent decades it has not always swung with the national trend.

The seat was first won by the Free Trade party in 1901, and they held it for two terms before Ernest Carr won it in 1906 for Labor. Carr held the seat until 1917, when he was defeated for reelection after leaving the ALP in late 1916 to join the Nationalist Party. The ALP held the seat again from 1917 until 1922, when the Nationalist Party won back the seat. Arthur Manning was reelected in 1925 against future Prime Minister Ben Chifley, who defeated Manning on a second attempt in 1928.

Chifley held the seat for two terms before losing to John Lawson of the United Australia Party in 1931. Lawson was reelected in 1934 and 1937 before Chifley defeated him in 1940. Chifley went on to serve as a senior Minister under John Curtin and became Prime Minister in 1945. He lost the Prime Ministership in 1949, then led his party in Opposition. He was reelected in Macquarie at the 1951 double dissolution before dying a few weeks later.

The seat was won in 1951 by Anthony Luchetti, a longstanding Labor activist in Macquarie. Luchetti had been Chifley’s campaign manager during his first stint in Macquarie in the 1920s, but stood as a Lang Labor candidate at the 1931 election. The split Labor vote saw the UAP win the seat in a slim margin. Luchetti held the seat from 1951 until his retirement in 1975.

The Liberal Party won the seat in 1975 in the person of Reg Gillard, who was defeated by the ALP’s Ross Free in 1980. The 1984 redistribution saw Free move to the new seat of Lindsay, and the Liberal Party’s Alasdair Webster won Macquarie.

Webster lost the seat in 1993 to Maggie Deahm of the ALP, who lost the seat herself in 1996 to Kerry Bartlett. Bartlett made the seat fairly safe over the next decade before the 2007 redistribution saw Bartlett defeated by the long-serving state MP and Minister Bob Debus. Debus went straight into Kevin Rudd’s ministry as Minister for Home Affairs. Debus resigned from the ministry in June 2009 in anticipation of his retirement from politics at the next election.

Candidates

  • Peter Whelan (Liberal Democrats)
  • Amy Bell (Independent)
  • Carmel McCallum (Greens)
  • Terry Tremethick (Carers Alliance)
  • Susan Templeman (Labor)
  • John Bates (Australia First)
  • Luke Portelli (Christian Democratic Party)
  • Jason Cornelius (Family First)
  • Louise Markus (Liberal) – Member for Greenway since 2004.

Political situation
Macquarie no longer represents the seat won by Debus in 2007, and more resembles the seat won safely by Kerry Bartlett earlier in the 2000s. When you consider the slim Labor margin in the seat and the fact that the only incumbent MP in the race will be a Liberal, you’d have to say the Liberals will have a chance to win the seat.

2007 result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Bob DebusALP38,67244.08+17.13
Kerry BartlettLIB33,19737.84+4.93
Carmel McCallumGRN9,09210.36+1.94
Tim WilliamsIND4,1454.72+3.49
Robert GiffordCDP1,7021.94+0.35
Charles LiptakFF4650.53-0.60
Kirk FletcherLDP3550.40+0.40
Michael SegedinCEC990.11-0.30
DEM00.00-0.76
NAT00.00-4.15
ON00.00-0.09
OTH00.00-22.37

2007 two-candidate-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Bob DebusALP50,03757.04+6.57
Kerry BartlettLIB37,69042.96-6.57

Results do not take into consideration effects of the redistribution.

Booth breakdown
I divided the booths between those in the Blue Mountains, which were in Macquarie in 2007 and those in Hawkesbury which were in Greenway in 2007. I have also included the ‘other votes’ from both Macquarie and Greenway in 2007 due to the fact that the new Macquarie takes very large parts of both seats.

Voter groupGRN %ALP 2CP %Total votes% of ordinary votes
Blue Mountains14.5457.8640,12556.34
Hawkesbury7.5640.1131,09143.66
Other votes (Macquarie)10.6354.9318,638
Other votes (Greenway)6.3244.6314,149
Polling booths in Macquarie
Polling booths in Macquarie
Booths in the Blue Mountains
Polling booths in the Blue Mountains
Polling booths in the lower Mountains, including Blaxland and Springwood.
Polling booths in the lower Mountains, including Blaxland and Springwood.
Polling booths in southern parts of Hawkesbury, including Richmond and Windsor.
Polling booths in southern parts of Hawkesbury, including Richmond and Windsor.

40 COMMENTS

  1. Wonder if there’s much chance of Searle standing as an independent, particularly if he’s the popular choice locally and is factionally opposed to Debus/Templeman…..

    Along with Robertson, Macquarie is probably the best chance the Liberals have to win a seat on current polling.

  2. I’m not sure Searle is all that popular in the wider community. At the last council election he only got 22% of the vote in his ward and won the third of the three seats – the Greens topped the poll in the ward and the Liberals were second.

  3. My stomping grounds (Hawkesbury side). For a while there I was thinking it would be a Labor shoe-in despite the perceived margin. Now I am not so sure with Louise Markus running and Debus not running.

    The Greens will be preselecting very soon.

  4. I seriously doubt whether this seat is as marginal as it appears. The state seat of Blue Mountains is a safe Labor seat, with the double whammy (from a Liberal perspective) of a high Green vote. If as Ben says and 56% of the electorate’s voters are in the Blue Mountains, then on the face of it, Labor should retain the seat. I also suspect that the Labor vote was depressed at the last election in Macqaurie, particularly in Springwood (the area voting Liberal at the centre-bottom of the first picture), and barring a stuff-up by Labor, I suspect that there will be some sort of swing to Labor there.

  5. I forgot to add – Markus might be an appealing candidate in the Hawkesbury area, but I don’t think she’ll have as broad an appeal in the Blue Mountain “latte-sipping” areas.

  6. I have a one-track mind and a dim memory, sorry – MDM, the Labor Party doesn’t look kindly on its party-faithful pulling that kind of stunt. If Searle attempts to run as an independent, he can kiss any kind of future career as a Labor politician good-bye.

  7. JimmyD, the state seat of Blue Mountains may look ‘safe’ on paper, but it is a bellwether seat which changes hands when the govt changes. Also, don’t forget that the high Liberal vote in the Hawkesbury cancels out most of the Labor margin in the Mountains.

  8. True Nick, but that is in relation to the NSW government… nuff said. At the federal level, I imagine that the “natural” Labor vote (if such a thing exists) in the Blue Mountains area will carry Macquarie over the line.

    Its true that there are a large number of Liberal booths in the Hawkesbury, but I suspect that these will be swinging Labor rather than Liberal in 2010. I think that Windsor South (the only pink booth in the last picture) could be predictive of what might happen at next election (seeing as it swung 14%). Also, those Springwood booths should swing as well.

  9. JimmyD, you would think its a shoe-in for Labor. However, the Mountains are not as devoted to the ALP as you would think. This particularly true the further down the mountain you get. In 2004, the last time these boundaries were in effect, Kerry Bartlett (lib) won the electorate quite comfortably. The hawkesbury was strongly in favour of Bartlett. The Mountains was also won by Bartlett. I think, if I remember correctly, the ALP won only 2 or 3 booths. Nick C is more on the money, the Mountains tends to sway with the political wind. While, on the other hand, the Hawkesbury is more firmly conservative.

    For the ALP to win, they will need a strong candidate. With Debus they wouldve had one, but with the 2 that have been rumoured to be angling for the seat it is not so clear. Additionally, there may be a risk that an ALP candidate from the Mountains might ignore the importance of the Hawkesbury.

    Markus on the other hand has profile in the Hawkesbury and could possibly lock in 55+ 2pp for the Libs. Thats hard to claw back in the mountains for the ALp.

  10. I note the story that the government is planning to use the RAAF base at Richmond as their “temporary” second Sydney airport.

    I can’t imagine Macquarie voters will be too happy with Labor over that one…

  11. I’ve just posted a substantial update to the ‘candidates’ section:

    Candidates

    Bob Debus will not be running for re-election. According to reports, Debus and the “hard Left” support Susan Templeman, principal of Templeman Consulting, while Blue Mountains Mayor Adam Searle is also campaigning for preselection. Debus is strongly opposed to Searle. While Poll Bludger and Vexnews have reported that Searle has the support of local branches, local sources have indicated to me that Debus’ candidate has local support and Searle is aiming to be imposed by the National Executive.

    Sources have also indicated that Templeman may be a stalking horse for Stuart McGill, CEO of Work Partners. McGill has previously been accused of branch stacking when large numbers of new members joined the local branch in anticipation of preselections for both the state seat of Blue Mountains and the federal seat of Macquarie.

    The Liberal Party has preselected Louise Markus, the incumbent Member for Greenway.

  12. From what I’ve gathered the numbers on the ground seem to be in Searle’s favour. Searle will probably has the support of the more long term lefties in the area, and also the local right faction members. Searle had no problems getting on to the council ticket, and securing the support of his fellow Labor councillors for the Blue Mountains mayoralty.

    It was Templeman’s camp that initially was perparing for imposition by the national executive, and at the time it looked as though she would be the candidate.

  13. There is no truth in the story that Templeman wanted imposition – she’s always been prepared to slug it out for a rank and file. Neither is there any truth in the story reported here that McGill is a stalking horse for Templeman. In reality, he’s been playing his own game, wanted preselection himself but has realised he has no chance and is now throwing what little weight he has behind Searle. At this minute. McGill’s recruits (whose numbers are exaggerated and most of whom won’t get a vote in any preselection) were perseuaded to join because they are decent people who believe in democracy, so they are not likely to want to be told how to vote.

    The people spreading those stories are in the Searle camp, I think. Either that or they are simply nuts.

    Genuine locals really want a rank and file as it will sort it out for once and for all. There are four good candidates, so we’re hoping we will all get our say. If a proper ballot is conducted, then the candidate will win broad support, which is what you need up here to win teh election.

  14. So the ALP has decided to try internal democracy here after all. This report also names the two other preselection candidates – Donna Ritchie and Shane Smithers.

  15. I’m not sure I’d share that view of Blue Mountains being a ‘safe’ seat for Searle though. I wouldn’t bet on Labor retaining it.

  16. Agreed, not too safe, but perhaps a popular and new local candidate would perform better than an established member this time around. I’d expect Searle to win by a couple of percent, so there’s not much room for mistakes there.

  17. But how popular is he? He only got 22% in his council ward and finished third behind the Greens and Libs.

  18. A morgan poll on pollbludger shows a 10% swing…. to Labor! Cant help but feel super skeptical about it, though theres porbably no doubt the leadership change will go down well in Macquarie

  19. with the resdistribution and the ALP only sitting on 0.3% this will be the first seat to fall to the Liberals.

  20. I know I said that Markus will lock in a strong vote in the Hawkesbury but jeez she lacks some skills that a politician needs.

  21. When the boundaries are drawn like this Blue Mountains plus Hawkesbury……. the seat of Macquarie is very marginal and only won in very good elections for Labor….. I suspect it may swing back unless there is a general swing to ALP in NSW

  22. Nine candidates nominated. In order on ballot (apologies if any spelling errors):

    Peter Whalan (Liberal Democrats)
    Amy Bell (Independent)
    Carmell McCallum (Greens)
    Terry Trenethick (Carers Alliance)
    Susan Templeman (ALP)
    John Bates (Australia First)
    Luke Portelli (Christian Democrats)
    Jason Cornelius (Family First)
    Louise markus (Liberals)

  23. wow i wonder how many people will get the liberal democrats mixed up with the Liberals? Last spot on the ballot is tough.

  24. It’s probably less than you would imagine, I’d guess less than 1% (which, yes, may be a gamechanger with a margin like Macquarie). The major parties tend not to suffer too badly from party name recognition, especially because most people take a ticket from the volunteers with the HTV cards out front.

  25. My prediction: One I’d been thinking Labor might hold on to, but now I’m going for a Liberal gain, again probably a 2-3% swing.

    Interested in any thoughts from the locals here.

  26. Sigh, perhaps one of the most unskilled politicians is re-elected. Strong swing to the Greens, particularly in the Blue Mountains. Bring on the State election.

  27. Remarkable how the toxic cliamte for Labor stopped exactly at the Sydney boundaries, Macquarie, Robertson and Dobell were all clasic Howard seats in 2004 but now 2/3 are Labor.

  28. Geoff, I think a lot of the poor performance of the Libs in these three seats was due to the on the ground campaigning of the ALP. Templeman covered the electorate in Louise seat shopping and multiple Louise and Tony voted for work choices flyers. I saw three in a letterbox in Winmalee last Thursday. Next election, the ALP will find it harder to campaign against Louise on those issues, unless Soffle can rise three times

    With regards to the caost, I asked one of Jameson’s senior campaign people a week out what they were being outspent and he said “6 to 1”. They bought two buses, one each for Dobell and Robertson that were painted in the Labor colours, massive faces of O’Neill/Gillard (Robertson) and Thompson/Gillard on the side, “moving forward” as the destination on the front – driving around the electorate 24 hours a day. Not to mention the Work Choices ad truck also dring around the coast 24/7. An unprecedented number of direct mailouts. To quote, Labor did “whatever it takes”, and in an election where Robertson made the difference, they got the result. (Well, honestly, the Libs lost it due to selecting Greenway and Lindsay too late, but that is another story)

  29. Kerry Bartlett developed a huge personal following. If it had not been for the reistribution of boundries he would again have won in 2007.
    Politics ignored he was one of the best reps macquarie had had since Luchetti

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