Electorate analysis: The electorate of Stretton extends south-westwards from Underwood on the inland edge of the South East Freeway, about 15 kilometres south of the city, to Stretton and Drewvale. It was created at the 2001 election in place of abolished Sunnybank, which was recreated at the redistribution before the 2009 election as Stretton’s northern neighbour. Stephen Robertson held Sunnybank from its creation in 1992 until he transferred to the new seat in 2001. Robertson’s closest shave came in 1995 when a below-average 4.1 per cent anti-Labor swing cut his margin to 1.4 per cent. He increased his margin by 6.8 per cent in 1998, 4.8 per cent in 2001 and 2.3 per cent in 2004, before suffering corrections of 0.8 per cent in 2006 and 5.0 per cent in 2009.
A member of the Left faction, Robertson was made a parliamentary secretary when the Beattie government came to power in June 1998 and has been in cabinet since December 1999. He announced his decision to retire early last year and will be succeeded as Labor candidate by Duncan Pegg, a National Union of Workers organiser aligned with the Labor Forum/AWU faction. According to local newspaper the Southern Star, it had earlier been expected the endorsement would go to David Forde, Roberton’s former electorate officer, campaign manager and Left faction colleague, but he is instead running as an independent. Forde reportedly had a falling-out with the party, which occurred shortly after the Sunday Mail aired accusations of a heated confrontation with a fellow electorate officer (who happened to be the daughter of Bob Hawke’s Deputy Prime Minister, Brian Howe). Forde said this related to an incident which occurred many years earlier, and complained of a politically motivated smear campaign.
The LNP candidate is Logan Chamber of Commerce vice-president Freya Ostapovitch, who ran in Waterford in 2009.
Steven Wardill of the Courier-Mail reported in mid-February that retiring Labor MPs Stephen Robertson and Judy Spence (in Sunnybank) failed to attend the opening of their successor candidates’ electorate office. Robertson had reportedly fallen out with branch members after the party preselected unionist Duncan Pegg over his preferred candidate, David Forde (who is running an energetic campaign as an independent), and courted controversy late last year by attending a fundraising function for Mr Forde.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Please direct corrections or comments to pollbludger-AT-crikey.com.au. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.