Electorate analysis: Liverpool is an elongated western suburbs electorate that runs from Warwick Farm through Liverpool, Green Valley and Cecil Hills to Kemps Creek, bounded to the south by Fifteenth Avenue and Hoxton Park Road. Labor has held it since its creation in 1950, the inaugural member being Premier James McGirr. George Paciullo’s retirement as member a year after the March 1988 election defeat unleashed a preselection brawl that would be raked over 14 years later when one of its two principals, Mark Latham, became the federal Opposition Leader. The other was the Left-backed Paul Lynch, who eventually became member in 1995. The initial vote produced a 48-all tie, with 29 disputed votes left in envelopes. These became the subject of a dispute which famously involved a late-night car chase across the metropolitan area. The party’s review tribunal ruled that Latham had won by two votes, prompting the Left to launch legal action. This led the party’s national executive to intervene by installing Peter Anderson, the former Health Minister who lost his seat of Penrith in 1988.
Anderson had only one term as member for Liverpool before being toppled for preselection at the 1991 election by the current member, Paul Lynch. Bob Carr, then Opposition Leader, pointedly declined to intervene on Anderson’s behalf, as he reportedly feared him as a leadership rival. Lynch was reported to have been assisted by Lebanese community identity Sam Bargshoon, who in 1996 signed a statutory declaration claiming the pair had visited branch members’ homes to elicit false statements about attendance at meetings so they could vote in the preselection (claims Lynch described as “crap”). Lynch’s feud with Latham flared again when the redistribution before the 2001 election saw Werriwa assume territory from Fowler, where the branches were dominated by Lynch. As Latham told it, his Right faction rivals colluded with Lynch’s own faction, the “Ferguson Left” (Laurie Ferguson being Lynch’s brother-in-law), to make Werriwa available to Lynch by accommodating Latham in Macarthur, a Liberal-held seat which the redistribution had made a notionally Labor. In the event an alternative deal was struck involving Right powerbrokers John Della Bosca and Leo McLeay (at that time respectively the state party general secretary and federal member for Watson) and “hard Left” chieftain Anthony Albanese, which froze out Lynch and kept Latham in Werriwa.
Lynch’s parliamentary record has been rather less eventful – it took until after the 2007 election to win substantial promotion, to Aboriginal Affairs and Local Government Minister. When Nathan Rees replaced Morris Iemma as Premier in September 2008 he traded local government for ageing and disability services, and he relinquished Aboriginal affairs when Kristina Keneally became Premier in December 2009. His Liberal opponent at the election is Mazhar Hadid, a Liverpool councillor.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Please direct corrections or comments to pollbludger-AT-crikey.com.au. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.