Electorate analysis: Located 90 kilometres north of Sydney, the coastal electorate of Wyong is dominated by the Tuggerah Lakes, combining the western bank from Wyong north to Blue Haven with the thin strip of land (including Budgewoi, Noraville and Norah Head) between the lake and the ocean. The seat has been held by Labor since its creation in 1962 (its name changed to Munmorah in 1973, to Tuggerah in 1981 and back to Wyong in 1988), previous member Paul Crittenden serving from 1981 to 2007. Crittenden announced he would retire in April 2006, telling the Newcastle Herald he had timed it to ensure his successor was chosen by a rank-and-file ballot. The preselection nonetheless ended up being determined by the party’s national executive, which installed Kariong Public School principal David Harris. This caused predictable umbrage among local branch members, many of whom backed Wyong councillor Warren Welham, which possibly explains the 12.6 per cent drop in the Labor primary vote to 42.5 per cent – although this translated into a relatively modest 5.4 per cent swing on two-party preferred.
David Harris has been chiefly notable during the term for refusing to express public support for Morris Iemma in the months before he was ousted as Premier, and for parting company with the Right (specifically the Eddie Obeid/Joe Tripodi sub-faction) in the wake of Nathan Rees’s demise at the hands of Kristina Keneally in December 2009. In between he was promoted to parliamentary secretary in September 2009. His Liberal opponent is Darren Webber, who owns a business installing home threatre systems and has long been active in the local surf live saving club.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Please direct corrections or comments to pollbludger-AT-crikey.com.au. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.