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Seat of the week: Kingsford Smith

Peter Garrett's Maroubra-area seat has been held by Labor since it was created in 1949, but a creeping demographic tide together with Labor's electoral woes in NSW has encouraged the Liberals to give the seat a closer look.


Kingsford Smith was created with the enlargement of parliament in 1949 around Clovelly, Coogee and Randwick in Sydney’s inner south-east. Originally held by Labor with narrow margins, their positioned was strengthened when the Maroubra area at the northern entrance to Botany Bay was first added in 1955. The only time their hold has been threatened since was with the 1966 landslide, when the margin was reduced to 1.5%, but there appears to have been a steady trend towards the Liberals in evidence over the past two decades. The seat was held by Hawke government deputy prime minister Lionel Bowen from 1969 to 1990, and then by senior Wran-Unsworth state government minister Laurie Brereton, who served on the front bench from 1993 until his surprise retirement announcement shortly before the 2004 election. The then leader Mark Latham took the opportunity to secure the endorsement for Peter Garrett, nationally famous since the 1980s as the lead singer for Midnight Oil and more recently the president of the Australian Conservation Foundation.

Garrett was promoted to the front bench as Shadow Environment Minister when Kevin Rudd came to the leadership in December 2006, and he maintained the portfolio in his government. However, his status was been diminished on two occasions during the first term. After the election win Rudd created a separate climate change portfolio, which was entrusted to Penny Wong. This followed a difficult election campaign in which Garrett was pilloried over a “jocular” comment in a casual conversation with talk radio host Steve Price to the effect that Labor would change all its policies when in government. The second occasion resulted from the problematic insulation batts program, for which Greg Combet assumed responsibility in February 2010 through his new position of Minister Assisting the Climate Change Minister.

In common with other Labor members throughout Sydney, the 2010 election took a large bite out of Garrett’s electoral margin, which was reduced from 13.3% to 5.2%. After the election he was reassigned to the school education, early childhood and youth portfolio, defying expectations he would be dropped from cabinet. The portfolio had originally been entitled simply schools, early childhood and youth, but this was changed when it was pointed out the word “education” had not appeared on the cabinet list, its responsibilities having been divided between Garrett and Chris Evans as Jobs, Skills and Workplace Relations Minister. A report that the Prime Minister intended to drop Garrett in the reshuffle conducted in December 2011, but was dissuaded by a threat from Garrett to quit parliament and bring on a by-election in his eminently loseable seat, was firmly denied by all concerned. Having been similarly unable to relegate Robert McClelland due to resistance from the New South Wales Right, the size of cabinet was contentiously increased two places to 22 so the Prime Minister could accommodate her desired promotions.

Early in 2012 the Liberals preselected Michael Feneley, cardiology professor and director of the heart lung program at St Vincent’s Hospital. Feneley was also the candidate in 2010, and ran for Maroubra at the March 2011 state election. There were earlier suggestions that former Parramatta MP Ross Cameron might be interested in seeking a comeback in the seat. In July this year, the ALP determined to pursue a fast-track preselection process that would secure endorsement for Garrett, among others. There had been speculation that local resident Bob Carr might like to use the seat which encompasses his old state electorate of Maroubra to transfer from Senate to House, and there have also been suggestions the seat is of interest to Ben Keneally, husband of the former Premier and mayor of Botany as of the local government elections of September 2012.


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3,069 thoughts on “Seat of the week: Kingsford Smith

  1. BK

    Good morning Dawn Patrollers.
    This is a good outline of the police effort to catch the murderer of Jill Maegher.
    How low can they go?
    So it’s now in the denial stage.
    Geoff Cousins is a passionate man. Here he writes of the downfall of Gunns.
    Alan Moir has Popeye Abbott and his wrecking ball in good perspective!
    David Pope with a beauty on the AFL final with Julia as the Swan and Abbott as the Hawk.
    Ron Tandberg captures Tanner well.

  2. Meguire Bob

    How can Ashby prove that Roxon claims are false,

    Ashby would have to reveal all his contacts wiht the lnp , Pyne, mal brough

    and who is paying his legal fees

  3. Meguire Bob

    I cant see Ashby would risk trying to prove roxon wrong

  4. guytaur

    Good Morning

    The perils of live television.
    @BBCWorld: US network @FoxNews apologises for broadcasting man apparently shooting himself in the head live on TV http://t.co/glR9xZO2

  5. guytaur


    We will see. The Coalition can talk all it likes. However if Ashby does nothing they have nothing to talk about. If Ashby goes ahead you can bet they will be wondering what did not make it to the shredders.

  6. Meguire Bob


    spot on

  7. zoomster

    An interesting case –

    [A Victorian electricity retailer and the marketing company enlisted to sell its services have been fined $1 million for illegal door-to-door selling practices.]

    [The Federal Court yesterday ordered Neighbourhood Energy and Australian Green Credits to pay the hefty penalties for ignoring “do not knock” stickers, failing to leave the premises at the request of home occupiers and engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct]

    [“The effect of the Court’s order is that every time a salesperson ignores a visible “do not knock” sign on a consumer’s door, the company they represent is exposed to a maximum penalty of $50,000,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.]

    Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/companies-fined-for-do-not-knock-breach-20120928-26q8m.html#ixzz27njsweBc

  8. CTar1

    Has anything happened?

    Last time I looked here Puff and Fran were doing cricket and TLBD was contemplating a ‘fridge run.

  9. CTar1

    Ashby, I think, will become invisible.

  10. guytaur


    Good to hear. The case is being covered on News 24 as well. Lots of vulnerable people will be protected by this.
    Government doing its work well. 🙂

  11. C@tmomma

    Good Morning Bludgers! 🙂

    The Ashby taunt of further legal action is just an attempt to keep the pot boiling by a political grouping, the Queensland LNP/Coalition, who are all gutter tactics, no substance. No ethics either, and with the morals of an alley cat.

    There, I think that covers everything you need to know about them. 😀

  12. CTar1

    BK – Moir’s Bananaby on a chain is good.

  13. C@tmomma

    Same goes for you, laddie. Last time I looked(as in, when I got up this morning), you were the other leg of the 3-legged stool keeping the meter ticking over early in the morning on PB. Do you ever sleep? 😀

  14. BK

    CTar1 and others.
    This is the Alan Moir cartoon link I should have posted at No 1. It IS a good ‘un!

  15. guytaur

    @PoliticalTicker: Analysis: Polling criticism unfounded – http://t.co/m9o9T2K8

  16. guytaur

    An American follow up to the Sydney Morning Herald

    @wikileaks: Pentagon again accuses WikiLeaks of breaking the law, demands we stop publlshing, dealing with whistleblowers | ABC http://t.co/tiEfzjS3

  17. C@tmomma

    It was the Jill Meagher story which you didn’t provide a link for. Thanks. 🙂

  18. C@tmomma

    Put that in your pipe, Tony ‘Popeye’ Abbott, and smoke it:

    Unlike previous addresses by Australian prime ministers and foreign ministers, the assembly was well attended and Ms Gillard was applauded afterwards.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/lukewarm-libs-may-hurt-un-bid-20120927-26o1l.html#ixzz27nquedNg


  19. fairerfields

    If Tinkler was a union leader we would have a chorus of LNP type & editorials demanding tougher regulation: http://bit.ly/QwYYIm

  20. guytaur

    “@_MissMarmalade: This is typical Melbourne. Bright and sunny, blue skies, with rain, hail, thunder, strong squalls and snow all forecast”

  21. mari

    good morning everyone, local ABC news mid north coast,locals in blackspots welcome NBN roll out announcement,good

  22. fairerfields

    David Pope is a national treasure – that cartoon linked earlier by BK is hysterical. Alas the public service is a football – just like teachers, asylum seekers & unions.

  23. CTar1


    [as in, when I got up this morning]

    Hey! I’ve slept, done bacon and eggs, and am ready for a new day.

  24. guytaur


    Results like that make me wonder. Do you with local knowledge think the Nationals are losing votes over Coalition destroy the NBN policy?

  25. frednk

    Ashby’s a fool. Roxon and his PR people made competing statements. Ashdy has made Roxon’s look important by threatening legal action.

  26. zoomster

    Gee, just as well this isn’t happening in Australia, hey?

    Talking about the media in the US:

    [Each side has its own set of facts, and each side is becoming increasingly baffled and frustrated that its opponent will not accept it.]

    [….after World War II, the US media market settled into a detente, where two or three newspapers and the three networks led national coverage. All strove to divorce opinion from news.]

    I wonder whose fault is could possibly be that that’s no longer the case?

    [The detente collapsed with the rise of talk radio, then cable and internet news. The three networks have lost 50 per cent of their audience since 1980.]

    Right. So competition meant that the ‘mainstream media’ lost its ability to report the news factually?

    You’d think the article would explore why this was so. But, alas, no.

    [America’s media has become so polarised it is possible for followers of both camps to live entirely inside their own news echo chambers]

    Now, the article begins by demonstrating this with examples of different coverage by TV news of the Presidential campaign. So you’d think it would be looking at why the nature of TV news (and mainstream reporting in general) has changed..but, no..

    [He says reporters striving for objectivity are becoming so hectored by partisan media accusing them of bias that many news outlets have created ”fact-checking” teams to insulate them.]

    OK – but surely that would lead to less partisanship, not more? I mean, if reporters are being urged to check their facts, then we’d be getting more objective reporting?

    [This year, Twitter has allowed people to create their own news feeds by choosing to follow reporters and commentators whose views reflect their own, increasing the volume in their personalised echo chamber.

    Meanwhile, stories, true and false, are being fed into the machine by an endless loop of wild claims spread via email chains.]

    Aha! Now we get to the source of the problem!

    It has nothing to do with the mainstream media, folks.

    The increasingly partisan reporting of politics by the mainstream media is due to people’s ability to create their own little worlds via twitter and emails.

    (Somehow that doesn’t look like a logical conclusion to draw. But what would I know? I’m a user of social media, not a journalist).

    And – just to prove that it’s all the fault of social media – the writer immediately quotes a blog to support his hypothesis. (Seems like a logical disconnect to me, but see disclaimer in previous brackets).

    [Fox’s coverage of the news cannot be properly understood in isolation, but only in conjunction with the rest of that system – and especially the chain emails that do so much to shape the worldview of Fox viewers.”]

    Right. The plot thickens.

    Mainstream media is increasingly partisan because its readers use social media to force it to be.

    I’m still waiting for an explanation of why this is so – surely a free and fearless press wouldn’t change the facts simply to avoid a barrage of snarky emails?

    [The impact can also be witnessed in the broader polarisation of American society. It turns out Romney was right – both candidates have achieved their expected 46 per cent or 47 per cent support, but neither has so far been able to convince enough independent voters to join their camp, and neither side has made any real effort to attract voters to swap camps.]

    Well, firstly, this is twee ly ignoring what the author has already used as an example of misreporting earlier in his article (Obama’s lead in the polls). It’s also failing to point out that the candidates being neck and neck coming up to an election isn’t at all a modern phenomena, and thus cannot be blamed on the media.

    [Nor can it be a coincidence that a survey last week found mistrust of the media at the highest in history, at 60 per cent.]

    That’s so unfair! I mean, it’s not their fault! It’s the fault of all those emails and tweets they’re getting, which are forcing them to check their facts and then ignore them so that they can write partisan rubbish! (I hope I’ve followed the writer’s logic correctly there).

    [It is affecting even the most basic social building blocks. One recent study found 30 per cent of Democrats wouldn’t want their child marrying a Republican, compared with 50 per cent of Republicans who don’t want their child to marry a Democrat. Overall, 40 per cent of Americans objected to mixed political marriages, up from 5 per cent in 1960.]

    Forget gays; this is the real threat to the sanctity of marriage. Would you want your child to marry a Democrat? No, sirree.

    […research by Diane Muntz that shows that, though people tend to be more tolerant when they mix with people with whom they disagree, few people actually encounter opposing positions and those who do become less likely to act politically]

    So, faced with this kind of evidence, a responsible media would make sure they presented information objectively and covered a wide range of viewpoints, surely?

    But that would ignore the real villain —

    [This is a quandary that could be exacerbated by the influence of Twitter during this campaign.]

    Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/world/polarised-america-choose-your-own-truth-20120928-26qqr.html#ixzz27ns7CrNc

    So, folks, once again we have an article from the msm, bravely looking at the objective facts about modern mainstream reporting, and concluding that it’s all the fault of social media.

    Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/world/polarised-america-choose-your-own-truth-20120928-26qqr.html#ixzz27nrn6fQX

    On a related note, I’m mildly amused by how much coverage Tom Meagher’s comments on social media are getting in the newspapers – who then go on to indulge in exactly the kind of behaviour he’s talking about.

    Missing the point, guys.

    Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/world/polarised-america-choose-your-own-truth-20120928-26qqr.html#ixzz27nnwjaV8

  27. Jaeger

    Thanks again, BK!

    If you remove the “-600×400” part of the URL, you can usually get a larger, better quality version of the cartoon.

  28. zoomster

    Sorry for the three links to the same article – I did think I’d eliminated all but one.

  29. C@tmomma

    Hey! I’ve slept, done bacon and eggs, and am ready for a new day.

    But did you send the PM a Birthday Greeting? 😀

    Oh, and I’m just about to have home-made Strawberry Jam on Multigrain Toast. 🙂

  30. C@tmomma

    Thanks for that, BK! 🙂

  31. Boerwar


    If you are about: there was a claim by someone in Friday’s Fin that a bull or bear market was the single most reliable indicator of whether a government would be re-elected.

    Have you had a look at that variable?

  32. C@tmomma

    Into the Norty Corner with you! 😀

  33. C@tmomma

    If you are about: there was a claim by someone in Friday’s Fin that a bull or bear market was the single most reliable indicator of whether a government would be re-elected.

    Alan Kohler had a graph the other night on the ABC News which showed House Prices picking up nicely again. So Bullish?

  34. Boerwar

    37 mm here, and boy did the country need it.


  35. guytaur

    @guardiannews: In case you missed it: UK recession is over, economists claim http://t.co/zFgVWwwT

  36. zoomster


    Ah – theories like that were being trotted out to show that Howard couldn’t possibly lose the 2007 election.

    (Which he didn’t, of course).

  37. CTar1


    [home-made Strawberry Jam on Multigrain Toast]

    Sounds good but is real butter involved?

    (30 something in my rain gauge)

  38. Jaeger

    The “Typhoid Tim” rumour is a bit rich; face-saving by the US, or more media mischief?

  39. poroti


    [@guardiannews: In case you missed it: UK recession is over, economists claim http://t.co/zFgVWwwT ]
    I don’t think anyone will notice considering these prospects.
    [UK budget deficit ‘to surpass Greece’s as worst in EU’]

    [Inflation could near double digits says Jupiter’s Chatfeild-Roberts
    Higher inflation is “inevitable” for UK, says leading fund manager.]

  40. CTar1


    I think this part of Gwardians story is right:

    [But they warn that the economy is likely to continue its stumbling path in the runup to Christmas and into the new year]

    Despite the build-up for the Olympics London wasn’t great last time I was there and when I go again in a few weeks I still expect people going on about depressed real estate prices.

  41. The Finnigans

    @JuliaGillard Dear PM, Happy Birthday. As the young Mr. Grace would say: “You are doing very well” #HappyBirthdayJG

  42. Space Kidette

    Good Morning Bludgers!

    Swanny’s for the win today! Fireworks at #Riverbank and a great big Happy Birthday to Julia Gillard!

  43. Boerwar


    That Julia! Talk about wymyn recking the joynt. The Dogs have gone to the dogs so she’s barracking for the bloody Swannees!

    Let’s hope it is just the mozz factor we need.

    Carn the Hawks!

  44. Boerwar

    Um. Sorry. It was the Saturday Fin not the Friday Fin.

  45. zoomster

    Toast with homemade orange marmalade, made from my own oranges (which, due to the cold climate, had enough tartness to make an excellent marmalade…)

  46. guytaur

    “@watermelon_man: Labour up in UK polls and by-elections; Obama well ahead in polls; Labor caught up to Opposition in polls. Pattern?”


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