Electorate analysis: Bounded to the north by the Georges River, Menai covers two distinct parts of Sydney’s outer south separated by Holsworthy military reserve: the Labor-voting area of Chipping Norton, Moorebank and Wattle Grove in the Liverpool municipality the north-west, and the Liberal-leaning Sutherland Shire suburbs of Alfords Point, Illawong, Bangor and Menai in the south-east. The electorate was created in 1999 with the abolition of Moorebank in the west and Sutherland in the east. These seats were respectively safe for Labor and Liberal, resulting in a new seat with a notional Liberal margin of 0.3 per cent. Moorebank MP Craig Knowles and Sutherland MP Lorna Stone were accommodated by their respective parties in Macquarie Fields and Heathcote (unsuccessfully in the latter case), while Labor newcomer Alison Megarrity gained the new seat for Labor on the back of a 6.1 per cent swing.
Megarrity consolidated with a further 5.3 per cent swing in 2003, before suffering a 6.3 per cent reversal in 2007. In September last year, Megarrity announced she would be joining the Labor exodus at the coming election, citing her husband’s ill health. The new Labor candidate is Peter Scaysbrook, an engineer who owns a local manufacturing business supplying components to the mining and mechatronics industries. His more fancied Liberal opponent is Sutherland councillor Melanie Gibbons, who defeated council colleague Steve Simpson in a preselection ballot 44 votes to 31. The two were also rivals for the 2007 preselection, when the vote was tied for three rounds before the abstention of a Gibbons supporter gave it to Simpson in the fourth.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Please direct corrections or comments to pollbludger-AT-crikey.com.au. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.