Margin: Labor 15.8%
Region: Western Newcastle
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Electorate analysis: Wallsend covers the north-western suburbs of Newcastle, from Waratah West and New Lambton Heights west to Wallsend and Glendale. The seat has an impressive record as a Labor stronghold, having been held by the party at all times since its creation in 1894, although it was abolished during the proportional representation years from 1920 and 1927 and replaced by 1930 to 1968 by Kurri Kurri, also a safe Labor seat. John Mills held the seat from 1988 until his retirement in 2007, when he was replaced by Newcastle councillor Sonia Hornery. Upon entering parliament Hornery was immediately awarded the position of parliamentary secretary to the Transport Minister, before shifting to the roads portfolio when Nathan Rees replaced Morris Iemma as Premier in September 2008. However, she was dumped in December 2009 for publicly opposing the privatisation of an aged care facility in her electorate, having also campaigned within the party against Rees’s leadership.
The Liberals have endorsed Christopher Dolan, a paediatric nurse at John Hunter Hospital’s neo-natal intensive care unit. A Newcastle councillor, Shayne Connell, is running as an independent, and is rated a serious prospect. However, his run has been complicated by the entry of another councillor, Michael Jackson, who quit the Labor Party in order to run. The Liberals are directing preferences to Connell, while the Greens are directing theirs to Jackson.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Please direct corrections or comments to pollbludger-AT-crikey.com.au. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.