Margin: Labor 19.3%
Location: Central Sydney, New South Wales
In a nutshell: Following a broader inner-city trend, Sydney is a traditionally rock solid Labor seat that has lately come on the Greens’ radar. So far they have been unable to finish ahead of the Liberals, and Labor member Tanya Plibersek’s primary vote has remained a bit too high in any case.
Electorate analysis: The electorate of Sydney covers the southern shore of Sydney Harbour from Balmain and Rozelle through the CBD to the Botanic Gardens, extending south through Surry Hills, Redfern, Erskineville and Rosebery. The redistribution has added 3200 voters in the area around Rosebery from Kingsford Smith. It was created in 1969 by a merger of the federation seats of West Sydney and East Sydney. West Sydney had been won by Labor at every election since federation, if Lang Labor member Jack Beasley’s wins in the 1930s and 1940s are included. Billy Hughes held the seat for the first 17 years of its existence, and felt compelled to find a new seat in Bendigo when he parted company with Labor. East Sydney had been held by Labor since Lang Labor member Eddie Ward returned to the party in 1936.
Sydney was at all times been rock solid for Labor until the Greens emerged as a threat over the past decade. Current member Tanya Plibersek taking over in 1998 on the retirement of Peter Baldwin, doomed to be remembered for the savage beating he suffered amid a round of factional warfare at the turn of the 1980s. A member of the “Ferguson Left”, Plibersek rose to the shadow ministry after the 2004 election, and in government has served as Minister for Housing and the Status of Women. She has been given vague cause for electoral concern in recent years due the rise of the Greens, who polled 21.2 per cent in 2004 and 20.7 per cent in 2007, respectively falling 5.6 per cent and 5.5 per cent short of overtaking the Liberals with Plibersek’s own vote slighly below 50 per cent. Their candidate is Tony Hickey, gay rights campaigner and state party secretary.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Read Bowe’s blog, The Poll Bludger.