Electorate analysis: Oxley covers 100 kilometres of coast north of Port Macquarie and south of Coffs Harbour, from Nambucca Heads to Crescent Head. Further inland, it extends from Dorrigo in the north through Wauchope south to the Manning River. The electorate was created as a three-member district when proportional representation was introduced in 1920, the name being retained when single-member electorates were reintroduced in 1927. It has never been held by Labor since the latter event, and last changed hands in 1965 when the Country Party recovered it upon the death of Liberal member Leslie Jordan, who had switched parties in 1959. The electorate included Port Macquarie until its temporary abolition with the short-lived expansion in parliamentary numbers between 1988 and 1991, when its territory was divided between the new seats of Port Macquarie and Manning. In that period Port Macquarie was held by the erstwhile member for Oxley, Bruce Jeffery, while Manning went to National Party colleague Wendy Machin, previously member for abolished Gloucester. When Manning was abolished in 1991, Machin was accommodated in Port Macquarie and Jeffery moved back to the re-created Oxley.
Jeffery retired in 1999 and was succeeded by employment agency manager Andrew Stoner, who was quickly promoted to the front bench after Rob Oakeshott quit the party in March 2002, taking on the emergency services and sport and recreation portfolios. Stoner stood successfully for the Nationals leadership when George Souris stepped down after the 2003 election, defeating Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser seven votes to five. He also holds the shadow portfolios of roads and ports, and state and regional development.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Please direct corrections or comments to pollbludger-AT-crikey.com.au. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.