Detailed Breakdown Of The NSW State Redistribution

FOR THOSE who are interested in things psephological, this short post is purely to share some information from the ABC’s election genius, Antony Green, who has published quite a detailed analysis of the draft boundaries published by the NSW Electoral Districts Commission for the 2015 election.

You can access a link to Antony’s page here.

Just as few observations on key points, as I see them:

The number of lower house seats is unchanged at 93, although seven seats on the old boundaries have been abolished and replaced.

Rural NSW loses a seat overall, which reappears in suburban Sydney.

Former Premier Nathan Rees’ seat of Toongabbie has been abolished, and replaced with a safe-ish Liberal electorate (on paper) of Seven Hills.

A new inner-city seat of Newtown appears to give the Greens an excellent prospect to pick up a second seat at the next election.

The effect of these draft boundary changes is to notionally alter the state of the parties, thus: Liberal Party 53 seats (+2); National Party 18* (unch); ALP 18 (-2); Greens 2 (+1); “Others” 2 (-1).

The result of this redraw of the boundaries is that the Coalition now controls, on paper, a notional 71 of the 93 lower house seats; my comment is that such a tally would seem more in line with the 65% two-party preferred result it scored at the 2011 election than the 69 seats it won on the night.

And interestingly, this redistribution sees the National Party draw level with the ALP in terms of numbers of seats; if this is replicated at the 2015 election — and assuming the Liberals and Nationals remain in coalition, which would seem a foregone conclusion — Labor would face the absurd situation of being outnumbered by the junior Coalition partner on the floor of the Legislative Assembly.

Anyhow, for those who like to crunch the numbers and pore over the minutiae — enjoy!

The Commission will gazette finalised boundaries toward the end of 2013.

*Includes the National Party’s by-election win in Northern Tablelands, which it won back following the disgraced resignation of Independent MP Richard Torbay.

The National Party Of Australia: Times Of Renewal?

A small sub-plot in what’s going on in federal politics at the moment involves the National Party; for decades now an entity in decline, an opportunity presents for this once-proud party to grasp a generational opportunity for renewal.

Three of its traditional federal seats — Kennedy, Lyne and New England — are all held by Independents; with the anti-Labor mood sweeping the country (and the anti-Independent mood sweeping along with that), the Nationals stand a good chance of bolstering their historically low level of representation in the House of Representatives.

It has been long-known that the leader of the Nationals in the Senate, Barnaby Joyce, seeks to transfer to a lower house seat at the next election.

Joyce had preferred the sprawling Queensland seat of Maranoa, held by former Howard government minister Bruce Scott; Scott has refused to retire, however, and so Barnaby has been forced to look further afield…

…as far as the NSW electorate of New England, currently held by Independent Tony Windsor. New England is where Joyce grew up and still has family; he and the electorate are a perfect fit.

With the added bonus, of course, that Scott can stay in Maranoa (which will always be a safe conservative electorate) and Barnaby can add a seat to the Nationals’ pile in the lower house.

The Fairfax press today has published a story claiming NSW deputy Premier (and state Nationals leader) Andrew Stoner is likely to contest the NSW electorate of Lyne, currently held by another National-turned-Independent, Rob Oakeshott.

Fairfax’ story is presented through the paradigm of Stoner going to Canberra to place a bar on the eventual ambition of Barnaby Joyce to assume the federal leadership of the National Party.

The candidature of both Joyce and Stoner, in the respectively-listed seats, carry obvious benefits to the Nationals: both are highly likely to knock off the Independent incumbents, and reclaim seats for the National Party that should probably have never been at risk of falling in the first place.

Yet there is also an opportunity for the Nationals here on a wider basis.

Both Stoner and Joyce are relatively young but considerably accomplished men; both now possess some years’ parliamentary experience, and each is formidable in terms of what he can offer his Party — or to an employer away from the public sector.

The point here is that for the first time in a very long time, there’s “competition for spots” in the National Party; and the fact that it may potentially be fought by two young-ish and relatively talented blokes will likely send a signal back into the heartland of the party.

It’s very possible that out of a storm cloud, a silver lining emerges.

The storm cloud for the Nationals isn’t the Gillard government (although Labor in the past 20 years has begun to poach traditional National seats).

Rather, it is the historical decline of their party; whether through seat losses to the Liberals, population change that has delivered seats like Richmond and Page in NSW to Labor; or even the fact Independents like Oakeshott and Windsor can take seats off them at all.

The federal election which is at most 23 months away is likely to see a huge influx of new conservative members in the subsequent Parliament.

I just wonder whether, headed by Joyce and Stoner, the time is ripe for the Nationals to reinvigorate themselves, attract new supporters, and look to restore their falling levels of representation over the past couple of decades.

I’m posting more on my thoughts alone tonight, rather than on any predictions.

What do people think?