Margin: Nationals 16.1%
Region: Riverina District
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Electorate analysis: Murrumbidgee covers 35,727 square kilometres in central southern New South Wales. The dominant population area is the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area, home to Griffith and Leeton. Though a safe Nationals seat in modern times, it has historically been marginal and was held by Labor as recently as 1984. The Labor member from 1965 to 1969 was Al Grassby, who won the federal seat of Riverina in 1969 with the largest two-party swing ever recorded in the post-war era, and went on to serve as Immigration Minister in the Whitlam government before losing his seat in 1974. Alan Gordon retained Murrumbidgee for Labor upon Grassby’s departure, but it fell to Adrian Cruickshank of the National Party when he retired in 1984. When Cruickshank retired in 1999 he was succeeded by 28-year-old Adrian Piccoli, a solicitor from a family of Italian immigrants and onion producers. Piccoli made the front bench in April 2003, and unsuccessfully sought the party’s deputy leadership after the 2007 election. He eventually secured the position when Andrew Fraser’s parliamentary antics compelled him to resign in December 2008, and also holds the shadow portfolios of education, skills and youth affairs.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Please direct corrections or comments to pollbludger-AT-crikey.com.au. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.