Electorate analysis: Located in Sydney’s outer northern suburbs, the electorate of Hornsby extends from Hornsby itself north along the Sydney-Newcastle Freeway through Mt Ku-ring-gai and Berowra. Hornsby has been in conservative hands since its creation in 1927, the most recent personnel change coming when Judy Hopwood succeeded former Shadow Treasurer Stephen O’Doherty in 2002. Hopwood came to be associated with the party’s moderate faction, and it was reported in the lead-up to the 2007 election that she could fall victim to the purge against faction members conducted by the ascendant Right. As factional players marshalled their forces, two candidates emerged as potential challengers: Hornsby mayor Nick Berman and councillor Steve Russell. These events appeared to provoke a sharp response in the local community, and both were persuaded to withdraw. When Hopwood announced she would not seek another term in mid-2010, Berman and Russell again emerged as candidates, respectively enjoying the support of the rival David Clarke and Alex Hawke factions of the Right. However, the moderates instead succeeded in keeping the seat in the factional camp by securing preselection for Matthew Kean, chartered accountant, Young Liberals vice-president and factional moderate. Berman made a late withdrawal from the race and announced he would run as an independent, complaining of “faction fighting”, and Kean comfortably prevailed over Russell in the ensuing vote.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Please direct corrections or comments to pollbludger-AT-crikey.com.au. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.