NSW State Election 2011: The Entrance
Electorate: The Entrance
Margin: Labor 4.9%
Region: Central Coast
Outgoing member: Grant McBride (Labor)
Click here for NSW Electoral Commission map
Electorate analysis: The Entrance takes its name from the short channel linking the ocean and Tuggerah Lake, the latter of which forms part of the its northern boundary. It includes the coastal towns of Blue Bay, Long Jetty and Bateau Bay, and extends inland to Fountaindale, Glenning Valley and Ourimbah. It was created with the enlargement of parliament in 1988, when it was contested for Labor by Gosford MP Brian McGowan. Labor lost both Gosford and The Entrance, the latter being won by Liberal candidate Bob Graham. Graham initially won re-election in 1991 by 116 votes, but the result was overturned by the Court of Disputed Returns on the grounds that confusion over new boundaries caused many absent voters to be given ballots for Gosford. Grant McBride, an engineer and former electorate secretary to Gough Whitlam, won the ensuing by-election for Labor by 4.7 per cent, so that Nick Greiner’s minority government needed the support of all three independents to stay in office. McBride became a parliamentary secretary when the Carr government was elected in 1995 and finally made the ministry in 2003 as a nominee of the Right, before moving to Speaker after the 2007 election. In November 2010 he announced he would not be seeking another term.
The resulting Labor preselection was won by David Mehan, a manager with a not-for-profit superannuation fund with a background in the union movement. Mehan unsuccessfully contested the federal seat of Dobell in 2004, and challenged the preselection of its current member Craig Thomson before the 2010 election. Mehan won a preselection ballot ahead of Peter McCabe, chief-of-staff to Water Minister Phil Costa, and Sue Kealy, an organiser for the Community and Public Service Union. The NSW Liberals have eyebrow-raisingly preselected Chris Spence, a former One Nation candidate (for the federal seat of Fraser in 1998 and the state seat of Barwon in 2003), state party secretary and national president of its youth wing and staffer to its state upper house MP David Oldfield. He has more recently worked on the staff of Terrigal MP MP Chris Hartcher. Spence also took statutory declarations in his capacity as a justice of the peace from Iguanas staff who complained about John Della Bosca and Belinda Neal. He now describes his extensive past involvement with One Nation as “a mistake”.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Please direct corrections or comments to pollbludger-AT-crikey.com.au. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.