Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Now a local campaign to wallow in

Former Deputy PM, Mark Vaile, has finally decided the game isn’t worth the candle so we are facing a by-election here in Lyne. Just to remind regulars, this electorate is on the mid-north coast of New South Wales.

I will probably limit blogging on this campaign as I’ve thrown my support behind independent, Rob Oakeshott. As a state MP I’ve supported Rob for many years, and see his move to the federal sphere as natural and valuable. But being involved in a campaign presents certain restraints.

So just a bit of a background on this match, know and possible candidates:


Rob Oakeshott:

Currently the Independent State MP for Port Macquarie, a major population centre in Lyne electorate. Rob originally won the seat at a by-election, standing for the National Party. After his by-election victory in Port Macquarie, Rob Oakeshott was re-elected in 1999, but in March 2002 resigned to sit as an Independent. He was re-elected with massive majorities at both 2003 and 2007 NSW elections. Rob is very much a consensus operator, looking for the best outcomes for his area of responsibility.


Rob Drew:

This seat has been held by the National/Country Party since it’s inception 1949. The loss of Lyne would be a death nell for the Nationals who are already staggering. Rob Drew is distinguished as being the recently sacked mayor of Port Macquarie, previously an unofficial nationals holding.

Logically the Nationals should be unassailable here, but form incumbent Vaile didn’t leave a lasting impression and it is being suggested the party will spend up to $1 mill to try and hang on to this semi rural seat.


Susie Russell:

The idea of the Greens winning this relatively conservative seat is almost laughable, but she has built a strong base. It’s easy to get the impression that Susie could easily support Oakeshott, who has listened to the Green lobby in the area and supported some key campaigns.

Susie Russell, Greens candidate for Lyne


No candidate

The growth of Port Macquarie means the Lyne is not as rural as it used to be. The huge retiree population means the seat has one of the country's oldest age profile. Many of these retirees have migrated from the cities where they would have voted Liberal, not National. Local Liberal Party branches will be keen to run, but the NSW state branch, and the Federal Executive will probably opt to keep Coalition relationships smooth by not running in the seat, even if past results reveal a latent Liberal vote.


No candidate

The candidate in last years federal election, James Langley, is not happy about Labor’s decision not to contest the seat. The fact is Rudd is in that part of the electoral cycle where he must concentrate on the unpopular policy facing his government. Why would he want to test what he knows is going to be bad news?


enigma4ever said...

oh this will be fun to watch...so the Greens have no support ? really...sad...we have that problem here too...looks interesting...

Cart said...

Enigma, the Greens have support in other parts of the country, and at least they have the ear of a solid candidate here.
I would like to see Susie Russell seriously contest the state by-election here. It's about optics, but with the right approach she could win it.

Kvatch said...

Wait...wait! Robin is *NOT* running? Did I miss a memo?

D.K. Raed said...

The Independent looks like a winner to me! I don't understand why no Liberal would run, even given your explanation of coalition relationships. Apparently your system has some sense of honor between contesting parties? We could sure use some of that (assuming the other party was worthy of any honor).

Cart said...

"I don't understand why no Liberal would run"
DK, it is not out of honour or honesty, just expediency. The Libs are looking to do a takeover of the Nationals. If the Nats die in Lyne then they are pretty much history.
In fact the Libs out polled the Nats in Port Mac in the last two they contested, so it shows they have other motives.
Now if I could beat the Nats in the Port Mac state poll that would really put the icing on the coffin.

D.K. Raed said...

aaaah, so the campaign slogan would be, "brush off the gnats"???

Cart said...

HaHa DK. When I was a young bloke I was a member of the Young Liberals or more commonly, Young Libs. The National Party was know as the Country Party back then, and their youth wing - well I'm not going there.

Owen Jones said...

How is this for a scenario based on the flow of preferences?

Let say it a close fight. Drew doesn’t get enough votes to get in outright. Oakeshott doesn’t get enough to get in outright. Susie Russell of the Greens doesn’t get enough to get in outright, which is no surprise, but I would expect those on the greener side of the ALP being disappointed by Rudd and the ALP treatment of this electorate, to lean towards Susie. Lets face the Greens really are the third party in the picture here climate change or not.

Oakeshott’s prefs don’t go anywhere because he’s “Independant”. Drew has put Susie before Oakeshott. Susie has put Oakeshott before Drew. The Fishing, DLP, CDP send all their prefs to Drew.

What happens if it gets to the point where the Nationals prefs flow into Susies basket????

All the conservatives could end up electing a Green for Lyne because they hate Oakeshott. The only way you can prevent that scenario would be to vote for Oakeshott.

:-) Priceless!

Cart said...

Owen, I don't have a problem with that scenario. Robbie or Suzie would suit me equally. They are both way ahead of the alternatives.
Suzie's problem is belief in her own (or party's) ability to break through. That is not reflected in her real ability to serve.