Electorate analysis: The electorate of Fairfield extends from Fairfield itself north to Woodpark and east to Chester Hill, with Orphan School Creek and Hume Highway as the southern boundaries. The member since 1995 has been Joe Tripodi, who has had an interesting career both on and off the field. Tripodi received his political blooding in Young Labor, where he spearheaded a Right takeover in the early 1990s in concert with Reba Meagher, his one-time fiancee and a future member for Cabramatta. In time he became associated with the “Terrigals” sub-faction of the Right together with upper house MP Eddie Obeid, and together the two came to be associated in the public mind with much of what ails the contemporary NSW Labor Party.
Tripodi secured the prize seat of Fairfield at the age of 27 after launching a preselection challenge against Geoff Irwin, a former front-bencher who had held the seat since 1984. Despite being beset by numerous controversies over the years, Tripodi won promotion to a parliamentary secretary position after the 2003 election and to the ministry in February 2005. In November 2009 Nathan Rees, then entering the last month of his premiership, used powers granted him by the party’s state conference to choose the make-up of his front bench to dump Tripodi on the grounds that he had been plotting to have Rees replaced by Health Minister John Della Bosca. Tripodi succumbed to pressure from head office to relinquish his seat, to general relief – although he had a defender in Imre Salusinszky of The Australian, who rated him “the best treasurer (NSW) never had” and “more sinned against than sinning”.
With little fuss, Labor chose as Tripodi’s successor Guy Zangari, pastoral care co-ordinator at Freeman Catholic College in Bonnyrigg. Press reports were keen to note that Zangari was the brother of a former adviser to Tripodi. The Liberal candidate is Charbel Saliba, chief executive of the Assyrian Sports and Cultural Club.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Please direct corrections or comments to pollbludger-AT-crikey.com.au. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.