NSW State Election 2011: Mulgoa
Margin: Labor 11.1%
Region: Outer Western Sydney
Outgoing member: Diane Beamer (Labor)
Click here for NSW Electoral Commission map
Electorate analysis: Mulgoa covers the rapidly growing outer western suburbs of Sydney to the south of Penrith, from Glenmore Park and Orchard Hills south through Mulgoa itself to Greendale and Badgerys Creek. The electorate first existed for one term after the 1988 election, before it and neighbouring Minchinbury were replaced by Badgerys Creek and St Marys in 1991. The member after 1988 was Tony Aquilina, who then moved to St Marys, while Minchinbury MP Anne Cohen won Badgerys Creek for the Liberals ahead of Labor’s Diane Beamer, a Penrith councillor and former electorate officer to Hawke government Sport and Tourism Minister John Brown. Beamer became mayor in 1993 and was reportedly poised to win preselection for St Marys the following year, when Aquilina was compelled to resign over his management of the Henry Lawson Club and the fate of a cheque a constituent gave him to pass on to the Immigration Department. However, party hard-heads insisted Beamer run again in Badgerys Creek, believing her personal vote would help win a seat they considered crucial to their chances of winning election. The astuteness of this judgement was demonstrated when Beamer defeated Cohen by 107 votes, thereby securing Labor its one-seat majority.
The 1999 redistribution did Beamer a good turn by recreating Mulgoa, which included the northern part of her existing electorate along with safe Labor territory which had previously been in St Marys. Beamer won promotion to Fair Trading, Juvenile Justice and Western Sydney Minister and Assistant Planning Minister, but her wings were clipped in 2005 after a controversy surrounding a planning decision which led to the closure of a rival shopping centre to generous political donors Westfield. Beamer is bowing out at the coming election, and will be succeeded as Labor candidate by Penrith councillor Prue Guillaume. Another Penrith councillor, Tanya Davies, won Liberal endorsement ahead of former Western Weekender editor Bernard Bratusa. Their candidate in 2007 was Karen Chijoff, who won fame later in the year as federal candidate for Lindsay after her husband was caught red-handed distributing fake leaflets purporting to be from an extremist Muslim organisation expressing support for Labor.
Two weeks out from polling day, the Daily Telegraph reported Labor internal polling had it bracing for defeat in Mulgoa.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Please direct corrections or comments to pollbludger-AT-crikey.com.au. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.