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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Redistribution Latest

The latest rumour doing the rounds in regards the Federal redistribution is that the Liberal Party will seek to have the Western Sydney seat of Reid, currently held by Laurie Ferguson on a relatively safe 12%, abolished. It's redundant to say that Ferguson is an often controversial figure within the ALP (as the boys from The Chaser once said, there's actually three factions within the ALP - the Left, the Right, and the Fergusons). His stint as Shadow Immigration Minister was a rocky one, which is particularly ironic, given that his electorate takes in the largest proportion of Muslims of any in NSW. While I could say that Ferguson would not go quietly, it's intriguing to observe a process which, ultimately, will oblige someone to do so.

Should Reid be abolished, it would be a shame for the Labor Party, as it's a seat with a rich history. For many years, it was held by Labor stalwart Tom Uren, and has been a Labor seat since its creation in 1922, except for the period when one Jack Lang - the notorious former NSW Premier - was the local member, for Lang Labor. It is tempting to see a plan to abolish Reid, if it is genuine, as an attempt by the Liberal Party to continue its encroachment into Labor's traditional territory of the Western suburbs. Yet how genuine is this encroachment? There are six seats bordering Reid. To the north is Parramatta, where Labor's Julie Owens won back some of this territory from Liberal Ross Cameron and is, by all accounts, doing very well. To the west is Prospect, safely held by Labor's Chris Bowen, though there was a swing to Liberal in the 2004 election. South is Fowler (one of the safest Labor seats in NSW, held by Julia Irwin on 21%) and Paul Keating's former seat of Blaxland (safe Labor, held by Michael Hatton), while to the east is Lowe (marginal Labor, held by John Murphy).

In fact, only one electorate neighbouring Reid (to the northeast) is held by a Liberal. It's a marginal - and it's a little place called Bennelong.

Submissions for the Queensland side of the redistribution have now closed and are publically available on the AEC website here. Comments and suggestions on these submissions are about to close, and are likely to be available soon. Meanwhile, submissions on the NSW redistribution close next Friday, on March 24 (information here).

7 Comments:

At 2:12 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To be fair to both parties it would be better to remove a marginal seat. That way no one is really disadvantaged. Greenway to the west of Reid would be ideal, it is over quota, 3% margin and does not have much electoral history as it has only been around for half a dozen or so elections. Normally they take an independant country seat but i believe they should take a metro sydney seat and it should be a Liberal seat as they have seats to spare, without losing the balance of power. Also greenway would easily spread its numbers north, west, south and east.

 
At 11:07 am, Anonymous liam said...

Getting rid of the electorate of Reid would be fantastic; there'd be no losers. Well, except maybe the Liberal Party.
The ALP would get rid of the squashed frog, a seat like Parramatta, Greenway or Lowe would get some more Labor voters.
One Ferguson less is easily worth the price of redistributing a safe labor seat away.

 
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