Margin: Labor 15.9%
Location: Hunter Region, New South Wales
In a nutshell: The seats of the Hunter region form a collective stronghold for Labor, no more so than Newcastle which holds the unique distinction of having been held by the party since federation. Sharon Grierson has gone untroubled since succeeding Allan Morris in 2001.
Electorate analysis: Newcastle is the only House of Representatives seat to have been held by Labor at all times since federation. It includes the entire Newcastle municipality excluding the outer suburb of Wallsend, along with undeveloped areas to the north in the Maitland and Port Stephens local government areas. The redistribution has detached two areas – Lambton south of Newcastle Road and west of Croudace Street, sending 1200 voters to Charlton, and a small area around Duckenfield in the north, sending 120 voters to Paterson – with no impact on the margin. Labor’s smallest ever margin was 7.0 per cent at the 2001 election, when Sharon Grierson became member on the retirement of 18-year veteran Allan Morris. A former school teacher and Left faction member who has remained on the back-bench, Grierson has returned Labor’s margin well into double figures with swings of 3.0 per cent in 2004 and 6.8 per cent in 2007.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Read Bowe’s blog, The Poll Bludger.