Margin: Labor 24.8%
Location: Inner Western Sydney, New South Wales
In a nutshell: Recent elections have seen the Greens emerge as a threat to Labor in an inner-city seat they could once take for granted. The endangered member is senior minister and Left faction chieftain Anthony Albanese.
Electorate analysis: Grayndler covers Sydney’s inner south-west from Leichhardt and Newtown out to Ashfield, Dulwich Hill (of Howard family service station fame), Marrickville and Sydenham. The redistribution has made one very minor change, adding 650 voters in a small part of northern Croydon from Lowe (now called Reid). Currently held by Left powerbroker Anthony Albanese, past members include Right faction figure Leo McLeay (1979 to 1993, when he moved to Watson) and Gough Whitlam’s son Tony (1975 to 1977, when his forgettable political career ended with a spectacularly unsuccessful run for Watson, then called St George). Grayndler has been exceptionally strong for Labor since its creation in 1949, the smallest margin of 9.7 per cent resulting from a backlash against Labor in the party’s heartland in 1987. However, as in other inner-city seats in Sydney and Melbourne, the Greens have emerged as a threat over the past decade. They polled 21.1 per cent in 2004 and 18.7 per cent in 2007, respectively falling 1.9 per cent and 2.0 per cent short of overhauling the Liberal candidate into second place. Labor would not have been troubled even if the gap had been closed, as Albanese’s primary votes was 51.2 per cent and 55.5 per cent.
Albanese rose through the party while working as a staffer first to Hawke government minister Tom Uren and then to NSW Premier Bob Carr, and has become synonymous with a sub-faction of the Left (distinct from the grouping associated with Julia Gillard). He rose to the shadow ministry in 1998, and in government has served as Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government. Albanese was one of the few significant factional figures who remained loyal to Kevin Rudd the night before the June 24 leadership change, volunteering for the forlorn task of counting Rudd’s numbers. The Greens candidate is Sam Byrne, the mayor of Marrickville.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Read Bowe’s blog, The Poll Bludger.