Margin: Labor 13.8%
Location: Outer Western Sydney, New South Wales
Replaces existing electorate of Prospect
In a nutshell: The “new” electorate of McMahon is essentially a rebadged version of the existing western Sydney seat of Prospect. It will be contested by Prospect MP Chris Bowen, who has held his seat on secure margins since 2004.
Electorate analysis: Known before now as Prospect, McMahon covers Sydney’s western suburbs from Greystanes, Smithfield and Fairfield out through Wetherill Park and Horsley Park to St Clair and Kemps Creek. It was originally proposed in the draft redistribution that the inner west seat of Lowe take the new name, in honour of our most recently deceased prime minister Billy McMahon, but there were objections that the abolition of Reid had put out of commission a seat bearing the name of Australia’s second prime minister, George Reid. It was instead decided to rename Lowe as Reid, and change the name of Prospect. More substantially, the electorate has gained 10,800 voters at Cecil Park from Fowler in the south, which is counterbalanced by the loss of 5400 voters at South Wentworthville to Parramatta in the east and 3500 voters in a strip north of the Western Motorway to Chifley. The changes have added 0.3 per cent to the Labor margin.
Prospect was originally created in 1969 at which time it covered Liverpool, but it was thereafter drawn progressively closer to the city. The seat was held by Richard Klugman until 1990, Janice Crosio from 1990 to 2004, and Chris Bowen thereafter. Bowen served his political apprenticeship as chief-of-staff to former state government minister Carl Scully, and had his way into Prospect eased by the Right faction. He was promoted to the front bench in 2006, and on the election of the Rudd government became Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs. In June 2009 he filled the cabinet vacancy created by the resignation of Joel Fitzgibbon as Defence Minister, assuming the human services, financial services, superannuation and corporate law portfolios. A 5.8 per cent swing to the Liberals on his electoral debut in 2004 reduced his margin to 7.1 per cent, but this exactly doubled with the swing to Labor in 2007.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Read Bowe’s blog, The Poll Bludger.