Electorate: Coffs Harbour
Margin: Nationals 17.6%
Region: North Coast
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Electorate analysis: The north coast electorate of Coffs Harbour includes the town itself and 20 kilometres of coastline in either direction, taking in Sawtell and Woolgoolga. It was created in 1981 in place of the abolished Raleigh; taken together, the two have been in National/Country Party hands since proportional representation was abolished in 1927. Andrew Fraser became member at a by-election held in November 1990 after the retirement of Matt Singleton, at which he survived a 16 per cent swing and a 29.9 per cent slump in the Nationals primary vote by a margin of 5.4 per cent. He was promoted to the front bench in 1998 and has remained there since, and to the deputy leadership after he unseated Don Page in a party room vote after the 2007 election. However, he was forced to abandon both the deputy leadership and his road safety, rural affairs and primary industries portfolios in December 2008 after an incident in parliament where he abused Labor MP John Aquilina and shoved party colleague Katrina Hodgkinson when she tried to intervene. This echoed an earlier incident in October 2005 when he charged across the parliamentary chamber and attacked Roads Minister Joe Tripodi, who had been goading him about his failure to attend an announcement of new safety measures for the Pacific Highway, scene of numerous fatal accidents. By most accounts the episode did him no harm at all in the eyes of his constituents.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Please direct corrections or comments to pollbludger-AT-crikey.com.au. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.