Margin: Liberal 17.3%
Region: Sydney Northern Beaches
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Electorate analysis: Wakehurst extends from the northern beaches suburbs of Collaroy and Dee Why inland through Frenchs Forest and Brockvale to Forestville and Killarney Heights. Formerly a partner in a Manly legal firm, current member Brad Hazzard came to the seat in 1991 after a coup against sitting member John Booth, whom he defeated in a preselection vote 28 to 22. Hazzard spent his first term embroiled in controversy over his relationship with Terry Metherell, the Davidson MP whose appointment to a public service sinecure ultimately led to Nick Greiner’s resignation as Premier. The proceedings at the Independent Commission Against Corruption led Hazzard to launch legal action against his own party’s Attorney-General, Peter Collins, who rejected his bid for legal assistance due to what Hazzard claimed were the political sensitivities of the issue. He ultimately dropped the claim against Collins, and had to sell three properties to cover his legal expenses. The ICAC report exonerated him, but declared him a distinctly unsatisfactory witness.
Hazzard nonetheless maintained his reputation as a rising star, taking on the front-bench portfolios of corrective and emergency services when the Coalition lost office in 1995, and moving to environment the following year. In December 1997 he was demoted to sport and recreation along with Kerry Chikarovski, an early sign of the unsettled atmosphere in the party ahead of the latter’s successful leadership challenge. Hazzard resumed corrective services and gained housing when Chikarovksi became leader, before moving to community services, disability services and ageing in 2000. He supported Chikarovski throughout her tenure as leader and voted against John Brogden’s successful leadership bid in March 2002 ; that he maintained his portfolios afterwards was seen as a vote of confidence in his performance. It was even suggested he might be a candidate for the leadership when Brogden resigned in August 2005. Since the 2007 election he has held the shadow portfolios of infrastructure and planning.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Please direct corrections or comments to pollbludger-AT-crikey.com.au. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.