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Seat of the week: Warringah

There are roughly as many seats in the House of Representatives as there are weeks until the next election. Time to get get cracking then on the 2016 election guide. Taking it from the top …

Tony Abbott’s electorate of Warringah covers Sydney’s affluent northern beaches from Manly north to Dee Why, extending inland to Balgowlah, Mosman, Middle Cove and Forestville. Out of the 150 federal electorates, it ranks fourth highest for median family income after Wentworth, North Sydney and Curtin. Warringah accommodated the entire northern beaches as far as the Hawkesbury River from its establishment in 1922 until 1949, when the creation of Mackellar caused it to be reoriented around Mosman and Seaforth. A relatively static population has since seen it expand back to the north over successive redistributions, recovering Manly in 1969 and being anchored on the north shore of Port Jackson thereafter.

Warringah has been never been held by Labor, and has only once slipped from Liberal control since the party’s foundation in 1944. That occasion was in March 1969 when one-term member and instant loose cannon Edward St John raised concerns in parliament over then Prime Minister John Gorton’s indiscreet behaviour with a female journalist, prompting him to resign from the party pending expulsion. St John contested as an independent at the election the following October, but was only able to poll 20.6% against 50.2% for Liberal candidate Michael Mackellar. Mackellar went on to serve in the Fraser government as minister first for immigration and then for health, resigning from the latter role in 1982 over a failure to declare to customs a television set he brought into the country.

The mid-term retirement of Mackellar in February 1994 initiated a by-election at which the seat safely passed to its present incumbent, Tony Abbott. Abbott had famously studied to become a priest after leaving school, but soon became set on a course for parliament via student politics, a stint as a journalist with The Bulletin, and the position of press secretary to Opposition Leader John Hewson. After securing a safe seat in parliament at the age of 36, Abbott became a parliamentary secretary with the election of the Howard government in 1996, winning promotion to cabinet as Employment Services Minister after the 1998 election and then to workplace relations in 2001 and health and ageing in 2003.

Abbott first publicly declared his leadership ambitions after the Howard government’s defeat in 2007, but he withdrew from the contest when it became clear he would not have the numbers. In late November 2009 he was one of a number of front-benchers who quit as part of a revolt against leader Malcolm Turnbull’s support for the government’s emissions trading scheme, which initiated a leadership spill. Presumed favourite Joe Hockey was unexpectedly defeated in the first round, and Abbott prevailed over Turnbull in the second 42 votes to 41. Abbott’s first year in the leadership saw Kevin Rudd deposed as prime minister in favour of Julia Gillard and Labor lose its majority at the August 2010 election, but he was unable to secure the necessary support of independents in order to form government.

Despite weak personal approval ratings attributed to his abrasive political style, Abbott’s hold on the party leadership was consolidated during Labor’s second term by crushing opinion poll leads on voting intention, which eventually wrought the downfall of a second Labor prime minister on Abbott’s watch in June 2013. Abbott became Australia’s twenty-eighth prime minister after the Coalition easily defeated Labor and its newly returned leader Kevin Rudd at the ensuing election on September 7, gaining a national two-party swing of 3.4% and securing what appears at the time of writing to be an absolute majority of 16 seats.

UPDATE (Essential Research): The new government’s first opinion poll is testament either to the absence of a honeymoon bounce, or the particular pollster’s tendency towards constancy in its results. The poll is from Essential Research and is the normal fortnightly rolling average, which it to say half of it was conducted over the weekend of the election itself. It has the Coalition on 44% (45.6% at the election on current figures), Labor on 36% (33.6%) and the Greens (9%). The published 53-47 two-party preferred (the current election result being 53.4-46.6) is weaker for Labor than the primary vote shifts suggest it should be, which may be because they are still using preference allocations from 2010.

Further questions finding 38% thinking the election of micro-parties to the Senate “good for democracy” against 25% for bad, although I’d like to see more specific questions in relation to this topic. Forty-four per cent believe the lack of a Coalition Senate majority will make for benefit against 30% for worse. Respondents were asked about various aspects they might expect to get better or worse under the new government, including the surprising finding that cost of living and interest rates are expected to be worse. Other questions relate to the country’s economic outlook, all of which you can see here.

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  • 51
    alias
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Clearly this is meant to be “clever” in PR terms. Saving the poor taxpayer bucketloads of money, but it really just looks strange. As Fran Kelly just said on Insiders, it’s not befitting the PM of the country.

  • 52
    Outsider
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    I will be a minority here and express admiration for Abbott’s decision to stay at the AFP training centre, judging from the photos, it looks like a pretty standard, basic, motel room. Of the kind I’ve stayed at many times in the past, and continue to do so when appropriate. It avoids all the security issues that other alternatives would present. For the first time, gulp, I will say “good call Tony” (though I also admire Abbott’s commitment to the Sydney Uni rugby club over many years – the glorious blue and gold had a thumping GF win yesterday. Go the students!)

  • 53
    victoria
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    It solves the problem of having to continue the sham of happy family

  • 54
    victoria
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Outsider

    Me thinks you are being a tad naive

  • 55
    confessions
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Morning all.

    Surprise, surprise! Joel Fitzgibbon pops up to give the country his views on Labor’s leadership.

  • 56
    guytaur
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Wow Fitzgibbon started of talking sensibly. Media will be disappointed

  • 57
    Sean Tisme
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    What a stuntmeister country member the monkey is.

    Poor Labor Darlings…. you’d be whinging if he was in the $2000 a night accommodation… but here you are whinging because he is in $110 a night accommodation.

    Bloody Abbott not rorting the taxpayer… the bloody CHEEK of it all! :)

    You guys are going to be in opposition for a long long time..

  • 58
    confessions
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    As Fran Kelly just said on Insiders, it’s not befitting the PM of the country.

    Abbott did more than anyone to trash the office of PM so it’s fitting that he does nothing to restore it.

  • 59
    alias
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Yes Victoria. It just raises so many questions as to what’s inside Abbott’s head. Questions that already troubled millions of voters.

    Still, it’s quite exhilerating how the L-NP is making a mess of virtually everything they touch. Already. The vindictive sacking of Bracks; the “budget emergency” that merits a 0.4 per cent variation of Labor’s budget arrangements; Tony Abbott’s utterly pecular living arrangements; the breathtakingly dumb retreat from their already grossly inadequate climate change policy as climate records tumble worldwide and extreme weather events smash the planet.

  • 60
    lizzie
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    victoria

    Someone remarked on Twitter that having made the best us of his family for the election, TA can now concentrate on his political life, as he prefers.

  • 61
    Sean Tisme
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    As Fran Kelly just said on Insiders, it’s not befitting the PM of the country.

    Ohhh Ohhhhh!!!! Meee meee!!!

    Is the Rooty Hill RSL befitting of the PM when Kirribili house is a 20 minute drive away??

  • 62
    Outsider
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    I think we will see more of this stuff. It’s both pragmatic and politically smart. I’ve no doubt it will greatly inconvenience the AFP recruits. But it’s on a par with JB’s request to stay in a standard hotel room when traveling. It’s a politically based decision, to demonstrate commitment to the “stop the waste” slogan. And let’s face it, he will probably only be spending 3 or 4 nights of the week there, maybe less. He will also have the comforts of Kirribilli House to return to when he chooses. It’s actually not that much of a hardship for him, and it sends a very smart political message. Is that naive?

  • 63
    my say
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    35m
    All unemployed for 12 months onto work-for-the-dole, and income management for all. Ideology over evidence. Sigh…http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/coalition-to-revive-work-for-dole-program/story-fni0cx12-1226719224162

    Retweeted by Cranky Pants Noely
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    Debbie Kilroy ‏@DebKilroy
    ================================================================

  • 64
    confessions
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    victoria:

    We won’t see Margie and the girls until next election, I feel.

  • 65
    alias
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Sean Tisme:

    Julia Gillard stayed at Rooty Hill for 3 days. Abbott is planning to play with policemen for 12 months.

  • 66
    guytaur
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    ST

    You are on a loser when Fran Kelly is saying it’s the wrong thing to do.

    Before you know it Michelle Grattan and Alan Jones will agree with her.

  • 67
    victoria
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    lizzie

    It would be more benefitting of Abbott if he were honest about his relationship with Margie. Frankly it should not matter whether a couple is “together” or not. But to come up with stunts such as this latest one, is offensive

  • 68
    my say
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Expand

    Paul Keating Ex-PM ‏@PmPaulKeating 8 Sep
    Watch for promises dropped behind the smoke, like PPL. NBN, anything environmental, and use social media – other media handcuffed #auspol

    Retweeted by Chris Ogilvie
    Collapse Reply
    Retweeted

  • 69
    confessions
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Outsider @ 62:

    Spot on. The JBishop bootstrapping article about the travel arrangements was exactly the same.

  • 70
    guytaur
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    outsider

    You mean more image over substance. That claim of Bishop’s was fact checked. Found to be false.

    No first class for decades.

  • 71
    my say
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    twitter is very large but we need to double

    do posts and twitter

    if u are alp member or supporter consider both

    MAQUIRE BOB TWITTER WOULD GREAT 4

  • 72
    victoria
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    confessions

    Pretty obvious that Margie and the girls have been props for his election campaign.

  • 73
    confessions
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Typical Fitzgibbon: he thinks he’s waaaaay smarter than he actually is. Doesn’t take much for Cassidy to have him tripping over his words.

  • 74
    Outsider
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    My understanding is that PM Howard rarely stayed at the Lodge. The return shuttle in the VIP plane from Sydney to Canberra was a very frequent occurrence. The principal PM private office will be Sydney based, as it was in Howard’s time. That may change once the Lodge renovations are completed. As it should.

  • 75
    Henry
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Fitzgibbon is such a dud, being exposed as the lying snake he is on Insiders.

  • 76
    victoria
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Outsider

    My understanding is that Hyacinth did not let Howard out of her sight. Margie with Abbott. Meh…

  • 77
    psyclaw
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Intro clips to Insiders shows Abbott’s speech to his mob of clowns. It was a jerky, influent, hesitant and indicated that when Credlin isn’t behind him as ventriloquist, he’s pathetic.

    Two other observations …….. The pained look on Turnbull’s face as he joined in the “we love you monkey” clapping (he can control and hide his attitude in choosing his words but at the deep emotional level he can never control his non-verbals) ……. And Abbott nearly yanked Bishop’s arm out of it’s socket as he pulled her to him for a photo kiss…. Clearly a sensitive guy.

  • 78
    liyana
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Mysay- the article about work for the dole also mentions income management- It’s difficult to enforce payment of rent and bills through income management when there’s not enough to do either..

  • 79
    Sean Tisme
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Julia Gillard stayed at Rooty Hill for 3 days. Abbott is planning to play with policemen for 12 months.

    Kirribilli House is a 20 minute drive from Rooty Hill.

    The Lodge is unliveable because of repairs.

    You Labor guys are going to be in opposition for a long long long time if the best argument you have that Tony Abbott isn’t spending enough taxpayer money on accommodation.

  • 80
    guytaur
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    I have to pay that one Mr Fitzgibbon.

    Are they News Limited journalists?

  • 81
    my say
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Tucker ‏@btckr 21m
    The AFP building flat the Abbott will occupy costs $120 a night. AFP recruits pay $120 a night! What??!

    ====================================================================

    so are the 4 of them in this tiny flat at our expense

    where is the tv and pic opportunities if this was KEV imagine

    so why stay there at afp ,,,,,? stay in own home JG did with sec vans out side, not good enough for abbott then \
    this we are all his ATM

  • 82
    lizzie
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Fitzgibbon defending Rudd as one would expect. Cassidy cynical.

  • 83
    confessions
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Joel Fitzgibbon admits that Rudd was destabilising the party. Only fools think otherwise.

  • 84
    Outsider
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Part of Bishop’s claim was correct, part of it false. She has asked to stay in a standard room. Like most business people do when traveling. A standard room at a 5* hotel in a major world city is hardly slumming it. It’s about imagery. Yes, a stunt maybe. But the PM already has an absolutely magnificent alternative official residence in Sydney. Margie and the girls will keep on living there! Even after the Lodge renos are done!!

  • 85
    Rosemour or Less
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    ‘As Fran Kelly just said on Insiders, it’s not befitting the PM of the country.’

    Maybe, but it is befitting Monkey PM.
    In fact give him a tree and a bag of bananas.

  • 86
    alias
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Joel Fitzgibbon makes a very sound bipartisan point about the way the Australian parliament loses enormously valuable experience and talent through the very odd practice here of ejecting leaders who may have reached a low ebb. He cited Costello, Downer, Mark Vaile, Keating.

    In the United States, as we know from Hillary Clinton’s likely candidacy in 2016, the likes of Kevin Rudd are just getting warmed up, in terms of their years.

  • 87
    Outsider
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Victoria. Lets not get into the Howard living arrangements. There are many rumors….. Laws of defamation apply here as much as anywhere else.

  • 88
    psyclaw
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Outsider

    When do you think Abbott will stop the waste vis a vis his o’nite allowance claims on his “charity” frolics.

    Do you think he’ll reject the allowance when networking with young AFP recruits. Separation of powers LOL

  • 89
    alias
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Sean Tisme

    I assume you’re probably mocking yourself with an argument that doesn’t begin to hold water. Good on you for self-deprecation.

    Of course, your implication that playing with policemen is the only option given that the Lodge is being done up doesn’t bear a moment’s examination.

  • 90
    confessions
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    alias:

    Fitzgibbon’s point may be sound, but the person it’s applied to makes it redundant; I’d imagine people would be happy to have Rudd hang around, if he did not have a demonstrable history of undermining the leadership and whiteanting the party.

  • 91
    victoria
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Outsider

    Agreed

  • 92
    Outsider
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    I’m no fan of Tony Abbott. Until,now, the only thing I’ve respected for him was his role for many years as Sydney Uni’s scrum doctor. The guy who gets called in when no one else can work out what’s going wrong! The Wallabies need someone like Tony Abbott desperately! He would do a good job. Maybe that’s another stunt we might see in coming weeks?

  • 93
    alias
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Confessions:

    One thing I’ve never understood about this Rudd argument: Let’s suppose for a moment that Rudd is guilty of white-anting. How is this different from what Keating did over an extended period to topple Hawke?

  • 94
    psyclaw
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Fitzgibbon, my shameful local member is a liar, fool, schemer…… A thorough prick all up.

    Good to see him looking stressed on Insiders …….. Jerk!

  • 95
    confessions
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    victoria:

    I should add that I’m more than happy not to see Margie and the daughters every day. Once every 3 years sounds good to me. :)

  • 96
    liyana
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Dare I say, Canberra will be wiped off the map?

    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/cut-jobs-now-and-be-done-abbott-told-20130914-2trwk.html

  • 97
    lizzie
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    How can anyone think that Fitzgibbon would be an appropriate leader of Opposition Business in the HOR?

  • 98
    guytaur
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    lizzie

    Easy. They have seen Pyne at work

  • 99
    confessions
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    alias:

    We are long past assumptions about what Rudd did to his own party. The evidence is there.

    I have no recollections of Keating even remotely behaving as Rudd has done.

  • 100
    Outsider
    Posted Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    I’ve no idea what the PM’s traveling allowance entitlements might be. I expect it has now ceased, and that instead his actual costs are met at public expense. This would be part of the AFP decision. You know, look at me, and how I’m stopping all that dreadful Labor waste. The cost of the PM’s private shuttle plane will far outweigh the cost savings, of course. fertile ground, I would have thought, for some probing Estimates Committee hearing questions in the future.

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