NSW State Election 2011: Hawkesbury
Margin: Liberal 6.0% versus Independent
Region: North-Western Sydney
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Electorate analysis: Hawkesbury includes the north-western Sydney outskirts centres of Berowra Waters, Rouse Hill and Kurrajong Heights, also extending north into the Wollemi and Yengo national parks. The seat has existed in one form or another since 1859, barring the interruption of proportional representation from 1920 to 1927, and has been won by the Liberals at each election since 1950. Hawkesbury has been the scene of preselection coups at successive elections in 2003 and 2007. The earlier occasion saw Steven Pringle oust Kevin Rozzoli with support from what Simon Benson of the Daily Telegraph described as “right-wing extremists as well as the left”. After a single term he was dumped in favour of Right-backed Ray Williams, a Baulkham Hills councillor and bus maintenance worker. It was reported that Pringle lost control after an influx of Lebanese Maronite Christians swelled membership of the Beaumont Hills branch from 17 members to 500. Brad Norington of The Australian reported Pringle had made “a number of enemies who dislike his style and past opposition to some building developments in the area”. Pringle reacted to his defeat by quitting the party and reiterating the popular theme that it had become “controlled by an exclusive sect, an extremist right-wing group”, of which the “Godfather” was upper house MP David Clarke. This prompted a rebuke from the Prime Minister, who described him as a “hypocrite” and a “sore loser”. Pringle contested the election as an independent and polled 27.1 per cent to Williams’ 45.6 per cent, Williams prevailing by 6.6 per cent after preferences.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Please direct corrections or comments to pollbludger-AT-crikey.com.au. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.