wentworth byelection
Independent candidate for Wentworth Kerryn Phelps. Image credit: Dean Lewins/AAP

Crikey readers had plenty of time over the weekend to interrogate the finer details of last week’s stories. Firstly, Senator David Leyonhjelm dropped in to argue a fair point in response to Ben Pobjie’s satire of his “it’s OK to be white” op-ed. Meanwhile, readers responded in force to the question of which seats they think may go the way of Wentworth in the next election.  

On David Leyonhjelm’s “it’s OK to be white” defence

Senator David Leyonhjelm writes: Thank you Ben Pobjie for your amusing satire, a welcome Friday afternoon diversion after a gruelling week of Senate Estimates. I must object, however, to the suggestion that I hold a negative opinion of sex workers and immigrants, an opinion typical of conservative politicians.  The Liberal Democrats are libertarians, not conservatives, and as such support sex workers and immigrants of all races and ethnicities as valued members of our community.

On the seats vulnerable to independent revolt

Judith Pearce writes: Warringah is ready for an independent candidate. Tony Abbot continues to ignore the younger more progressive members of his electorate. His head in the sand approach to climate change is concerning many in the electorate which is bound by some of the most iconic beaches in Sydney. Add to that his misogynistic tendencies in an electorate were women are now a major part of the workforce  and you have a recipe for disaster. He is incapable of true change and his hard right policies are pandering to an increasingly smaller section of older voters who hold the same “values”.

Scott Grant writes: I reckon Craig Laundy will hang onto Reid if he contests it. The factor this analysis leaves out is shifting boundaries. I used to live in the seat of Reid. Without moving house I have moved from Reid to Blaxland and then to McMahon. Reid lost some of the traditional Labor areas to the west and south and gained more Liberal voting areas to the east and north. The electorate as a whole has shifted a long way to the east and north since the days Tom Uren held it.

It now includes suburbs like Strathfield, Burwood, Newington, Canada Bay, Cabarita, Five Dock, Drummoyne and so on and so forth. These are not working class suburbs and many are waterfront. So it was no surprise to me that Craig won the seat for the Liberals. But I think, since winning office, he has proved himself to be almost an anti-politician, in the good sense. I reckon his popularity would have soared over his principled stand in recent months. I could probably never bring myself to vote Liberal, but with Craig I would be tempted.

Peter Kington writes: It needs to be mentioned that Ryan has within its boundaries the state seat of Maiwar. Maiwar was contested by former LNP frontbencher Scott Emerson in 2017, who actually ran third behind the Greens and Labor. The Greens emerged victorious by just a handful of votes.

It should also be noted that Labor held the old seat of Indooroopilly for a couple of terms (previously an LNP stronghold) back in the early-mid-naughties and lost it to the Greens when the MP defected (who then lost it to Emerson). In your article you spoke about the seat of Brisbane and within that, the suburbs of Clayfield and Ascot. I can’t see Trevor Evans losing that seat — he’s young and progressive and conservative and a good fit for the demographic. It’s very much a Westworth-type of seat, where Ryan is a mix on rural (horse studs) and progressive urban. Ryan also houses the University of QLD and the suburbs around that like St Lucia and Toowong and Taringa are young, educated and progressive.

So, I’d think Ryan is definitely a possible shift away from the LNP either to a Green or Labor or indie. Brisbane used to be Labor but boundary changes probably make it harder for them to win that these days — but when QLD swings, it really swings.

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