Electorate analysis: Keira covers a short stretch of the Illawarra coast from Woonona south to Towradgi, extending inland south-westwards to Figtree and west through thinly populated territory to Lake Cordeaux. It was created in 1988 in place of abolished Corrimal, which had been held for Labor since its creation in 1968. Keira has had two members, both from the ALP: Col Markham from 1988 until 1999, when he switched to Wollongong after a factional deal gave Keira to the Right, and David Campbell thereafter. Campbell had earlier recovered the Wollongong lord mayoralty for Labor in 1991 from Frank Arkell, the former independent Wollongong MP who was charged with child sex offences and brutally murdered in 1998. On contesting Keira in 1999 he faced down a strong independent challenge from Wollongong councillor Dave Martin, who polled 27.0 per cent to take second place but finished 7.9 per cent short after preferences. The Greens took second place in 2003, polling 19.3 per cent to the Liberal candidate’s 17.1 per cent, but failed to repeat the feat in 2007.
Campbell served on the front bench from 2003, reaching the position of Transport Minister after Nathan Rees became Premier in September 2008. His ministerial career came to an end in May 2010 when Seven News set new standards in Australian journalism by broadcasting footage of him leaving a gay sex club, prompting his resignation. While insisting he still had enough support within the party to retain preselection, he also announced he would not seek re-election. Local polling conducted by IRIS for the Illawarra Mercury suggested the incident had little impact on his local support, with his two-party lead staying between three and five points. His successor as Labor candidate is Ryan Park, deputy chief of the NSW Transport Department, who won preselection unopposed. The Liberal candidate is John Dorahy, the inaugural captain of local NSWRL club the Illawarra Steelers in the 1980s, who won preselection without opposition.
The Illawarra Mercury has published two polls of 400 respondents in Keira during the campaign, with margins of error of about 4 per cent. The first had John Dorahy narrowly in front, by 44 per cent to 37 per cent on the primary vote and 52-48 on two-party preferred. The second, published a week before polling day, had Dorahy and Park locked together on 50-50 two-party preferred.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Please direct corrections or comments to pollbludger-AT-crikey.com.au. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.