Electorate analysis: Terrigal is located on the coast about 90 kilometres north of Sydney, and was created at the 2007 election mostly out of territory from the existing seat of Gosford. The town of Gosford was moved into what had formerly been called Peats, creating a very different new seat with the name of Gosford. The Liberal member for Gosford, senior front-bencher Chris Hartcher, accordingly ran in Terrigal, where he succeeded in adding a two-party swing of 7.9 per cent to a notional margin of 0.5 per cent. Gosford began life as an electorate in 1950 and prior to the advent of the Wran government was won by the Liberals at every election except 1971. Brian McGowan gained it for Labor when Wran came to power in 1976, eventually moving on to unsuccessfully contest the new seat of The Entrance in 1988. Hartcher meanwhile gained Gosford for the Liberals.
Chris Hartcher was appointed Environment Minister in 1992 and has been a senior front-bencher throughout the long period of opposition. He is currently Shadow Attorney-General and holds the portfolios of industrial relations and planning. Hartcher is renowned as a “numbers man” and head of a Right sub-faction that has recently been in alliance with David Clarke. There was talk that he might challenge Kerry Chikarovski for the leadership in the wake of the 1999 election, but he ended up joining John Brogden as the junior member of the leadership team that deposed Chikarovski and her deputy, Hartcher’s bitter rival Barry O’Farrell. The latter demoted Hartcher from Attorney-General to the local government, housing and water utilities portfolios when he assumed the leadership after the 2007 election, but his fortunes recovered with his assumption of the new inter-governmental relations portfolio in December 2008.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Please direct corrections or comments to pollbludger-AT-crikey.com.au. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.