Back in last year’s federal
election, Greenway, a seat in Sydney’s Hills distract, was one of the
most wonk-watched electorates. Frank Mossfield, a ho-hum Labor MP was
retiring. His would be successor, Ed Husic, came from a Bosnian Muslim
background. And the Liberal, Louise Markus, was a member of the booming
Hillsong fundamentalist church, a major power in the area.

Greenway
had been held by Labor since it was created 20 years before, but Markus
won. Since then there’s been a major debate about whether the ALP can
ever take it back, if changing demographics and the growing influence
of Hillsong will keep it in the conservative camp. ABC election gnome
Antony Green has this profile of the seat on his site.

The
bruvvers on Macquarie Street want Greenway back. They feel robbed –
that Husic was the victim of a religious and cultural wedge. There’s
been some talk from Labor that state Speaker and former minister John
Aquilina, whose seat of Riverstone takes in Greenway’s northern end,
might have a go. Green isn’t sure he will succeed. The bruvvers are
unimpressed.

Macquarie Street hands say there’s plenty of talk
that Aquilina will have a go at Greenway in 2007, that he is bored with
the state house and afraid of a Carr crash at the next New South Wales
election. Labor heavies are thinking out loud that only a “name”
candidate can win Greenway back for Labor. They like Husic, but think
he might as well target the Labor seat of Chifley. One bruvver says its
MP, Roger Price, “is deader than the Pope”.

However, squaring up
voters in an electorate is different from squaring up the numbers at a
preselection. Sussex Street standover tactics might work in internal
ballots, but they don’t translate well when they’re tried on ordinary
voters. Does Labor know this? It doesn’t look that way. Why else is the
party performing so poorly in New South Wales?

Peter Fray

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