Robertson – Election 2010

ALP 0.1%

Incumbent MP
Belinda Neal, since 2007. Previously Senator for New South Wales 1994-1998.

Geography
Robertson covers the southern half of the Central Coast. It covers most of Gosford LGA, with the exception of a few suburbs on the border with Wyong LGA including Wamberal, Matcham, Holgate and Mt Elliot. Major centres in the electorate include Gosford, Erina, Terrigal, Woy Woy and Umina.

Redistribution
Robertson has mostly remained the same under the redistribution. The only change took place at the northern end of the electorate, where a sparsely populated northern arm of Gosford LGA was transferred from Dobell to Robertson.

History
Robertson was first created in 1900 for the first federal election in 1901. The seat originally was an inland seat particularly covering Dubbo and Wellington and the Upper Hunter. It quickly moved towards the Central Coast, which it first covered in 1913. The seat continued to shift and at one point also covered the coast to the north of Newcastle, before firmly settling on the Central Coast in 1974. The 1984 redistribution saw the seat take its current shape covering the southern half of the Central Coast.

For most of its history the seat was dominated by conservative MPs before mostly supporting the ALP over the last forty years. The seat was held by Henry Willis who won it for the Free Trade Party and maintained his hold until he lost it in 1910 to William Johnson of the ALP. Johnson only managed to hold the seat for one term, and was the only Labor member for the seat before the Second World War. He was succeeded by William Fleming of the Liberals, who proceeded to represent the Nationalists and joined the newly-formed Country Party in 1921. He ran for the seat as a Country Party candidate in 1922 and came third, with Sydney Gardner of the Nationalist Party holding the seat. Gardner maintained the seat until 1940, joining the United Australia Party in 1931.

At the 1940 election Gardner was one of two UAP candidates to run in Robertson, and came third on primary votes, and the other UAP candidate, Eric Spooner, won the seat on Gardner’s preferences in a close race with the ALP. Thomas Williams of the ALP won the seat in 1943 and held it until 1949, when he was defeated by the Liberal Party’s Roger Dean. Dean held the seat until he resigned in 1964 to become Administrator of the Northern Territory. His successor, William Bridges-Maxwell, won a by-election and was reelected in 1966 before being defeated by the ALP’s Barry Cohen in 1969.

Cohen held the seat for 21 years, serving as a minister from 1983 to 1987 in the Hawke government before retiring in 1990. He was succeeded by Frank Walker, who had been a minister in the state government before losing his seat in the 1988 state election. Walker served as a minister in the second Keating government from 1993 to 1996 before losing his seat to Jim Lloyd of the Liberal Party.

Lloyd held the seat for the entire length of the Howard government. He saw off Belinda Neal in 1998, when she resigned from the Senate to run for the seat. Lloyd was a minister from July 2004 until he lost his seat to Neal at the 2007 election. The seat was the ALP’s most marginal victory at the 2007 election, with Neal winning by 184 votes.

Candidates

  • Melissa Batten (Independent)
  • Graham Freemantle (Christian Democratic Party)
  • Peter Freewater (Greens)
  • Deborah O’Neill (Labor)
  • Darren Jameson (Liberal)
  • Jake Cassar (Independent)
  • Don Parkes (One Nation)
  • Michelle Meares (Independent)
  • Michael Jakob (Family First)
  • Nicole Beiger (Liberal Democrats)

Political situation
The ALP’s chances have definitely been improved by the removal of unpopular sitting member Belinda Neal. Having said that, the ongoing controversies surrounding the ALP’s campaign for the seat could well have fatally wounded Deb O’Neill’s campaign, and you would have to consider Jameson to be the favourite.

2007 result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Jim LloydLIB39,79245.63-7.83
Belinda NealALP37,43742.93+8.29
Mira WroblewskiGRN6,2797.20-0.65
George GrantCDP1,9292.21+2.21
Helen RyanON9241.06-0.66
Daniel LeFF7080.81-0.91
Nicholas TomlinCEC1410.16-0.11
DEM00.00-0.24
OTH00.00-0.11

2007 two-candidate-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Belinda NealALP43,69750.11+6.98
Jim LloydLIB43,51349.89-6.98

Booth breakdown
I have broken the suburbs of Robertson into four areas: those booths in the sparsely populated western parts of the seat, as well as those booths closest to the centres of Gosford, Erina and Woy Woy.

Voter groupGRN %ALP 2CP %Total votes% of votes
Erina7.4946.3324,84028.48
Woy Woy7.3056.3722,16425.41
Gosford6.6751.3418,82821.59
West9.0238.531,9182.20
Other votes7.0547.7319,46022.31
Polling booths in Robertson
Polling booths in Robertson
Polling booths in the most populous part of Robertson.
Polling booths in the most populous part of Robertson.

19 COMMENTS

  1. Although it doesn’t immediately appear to be a strong area for the Greens, I was looking at the Senate vote for individual booths the other day, and there are a number of booths where the Greens polled quite strongly. There were three booths, Hardys Bay (Killcare), Macmasters Beach and Pearl Beach, where we got over 20% (they are relatively small booths though).

  2. Candidates update:

    Belinda Neal is being challenged for ALP preselection by Deborah O’Neill, lecturer at the University of Newcastle and defeated state candidate at the 2003 election.

    The Liberal Party have preselected police sergeant Darren Jameson.

  3. Does anybody know when the election is going to be held? The only reason I ask is my partner and I are planning our first ever trip overseas and we were just about to book the tickets when we heard there was going to be a federal election. Now that has put a damper on things as with my line of work I am not able to have holidays whilst the election is on.

  4. It could be any time this year but I am hearing that it will be in late August. Normally October-November would be the range but the Victorian state election in late November will muck that up. September is football season, and any time before August forces Rudd to call a double dissolution.

  5. And the latest nominee for the award for most utterly ridiculous news story of the year is this one. How does anyone possibly believe that there is polling to suggest that the Greens would outpoll Labor – not to mention the rest of the story?

  6. The one part of that story they got right Nick is that the libs are praying for Belinda to be re-endorsed!

  7. I think it’s fair to say that if Neal stands the Libs will win and if O’Neill stands the Libs are probably a bit better than 50/50. If Neal stands I reckon the Greens would get double figures though.

  8. There’s several media reports confirming Peter Freewater as the Greens candidate, though I’m not sure if he’s quite got the hang of how to use Twitter yet.

    And how would people rate Melissa Batten’s likely impact? Negligible I would expect.

  9. Peter, in 2003 there were predictions the Greens would do well in the state seat of Parramatta due to fallout over the Labor preselection. Such predictions proved totally unfounded. As Hamish says, the Liberals will benefit if Neal runs again, and the Greens will probably get into double figures, but there won’t be some spectacular jump in the Greens vote.

  10. She’ll probably pull 1%. I mean, what is she, a lady who worked in an electorate office for 3 weeks before selling the story to Today Tonight/ACA. She’s just being an attention seeker.

  11. I’d doubt it. My info is that the ALP are asking helpers in Robertson to now help out in Dobell. My take on that is that they probably think Robertson is gone and Dobell could be lost too. I reckon there will be a 5% swing to the Libs in this seat given the Belinda Neal factor. ALP polling is not positive here.

Comments are closed.