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NSW Politics

May 24, 2013

Northern Tablelands by-election preview

Voters in the Armidale region of northern New South Wales go to the polls tomorrow to choose a successor to independent state MP Richard Torbay.

Live coverage

8.51pm. With all booths counted, plus about 1000 postals and 5000 pre-polls, the Nationals are on a handsome 62.3% of the primary vote, with Jim Maher in second place on 13.2% and Labor in third on 10.0%.

7.21pm. The Nationals scored 64.0% at a large Inverell booth, their total vote now at 65.4%. Fourteen booths still outstanding.

7.10pm. Two Armidale booths have reported, and the Nationals vote there is at around 50%. That’s been enough to pare the Nationals vote back to 63.9%, with 26 booths reporting all told.

6.54pm. No booths in yet from Armidale or Inverell, but a booth from Glen Innes is only slightly less favourable for the Nationals than the rural booths (62.0%).

6.51pm. Now up to 21 booths out of 48, although these are of course the smallest and most rural booths. The Nationals vote is at 71.6%, while both Jim Maher (8.7%) and Labor (7.2%) have edged up slightly.

6.49pm. For what it’s worth, Antony Green’s booth matching suggests a 4.0% primary vote swing to Labor off a 2011 base of 3.4%.

6.46pm. Another seven booths have reported and the Nationals vote is little changed at 73.6% (and the NSWEC results are now ahead of the ABC’s).

6.42pm. Jim Maher is on a paltry 6.8% (75 votes), but he’ll presumably do better when the Armidale booths are in. That’s still enough to put him in second place ahead of Labor’s Harman Beyersdorf on 61 votes and independent Katherine Nicholson on 57.

6.41pm. The NSWEC has caught up with the ABC, so it may be that I’d opened the ABC’s page just as the update come through to each.

6.40pm. The ABC’s results are well ahead of those of the NSWEC, which inexplicably publishes them as PDF files. Ten booths have reported, all of them very small, and maintain a picture of the Nationals having a lock on the rural vote: Adam Marshall is on 833 votes out of 1095.

6.35pm. A belated kick-off for live coverage. One tiny booth (“Chandler Public”) has reported, and it seems to bode rather well for the Nationals in giving their candidate 63 votes out of 84.

Overview

A by-election will be held tomorrow in the northern New South Wales seat of Northern Tablelands following the resignation of independent member Richard Torbay, whose political career came to a sudden in March amid events culminating in an ICAC raid on his home and electorate office. It offers the Nationals an opportunity to snare a nineteenth seat in the state lower house, but their candidate Adam Marshall must first overcome a challenge from Jim Maher, who hopes to emulate Torbay at least to the extent of transferring from local mayor to independent state MP.

Northern Tablelands covers 44,674 square kilometres including a 150 kilometre stretch of the Queensland border, extending south through Tenterfield, Inverell, Glen Innes and Armidale. The electorate was created when Armidale was abolished with the introduction of one-vote one-value at the 1981 election. Armidale had usually been in Country Party hands, although it fell to Labor for one term in 1953, and with Bill McCarthy’s tenure as member from the “Wranslide” of 1978 until his death in 1987. His widow Thelma McCarthy ran as Labor’s candidate at the ensuing by-election, but National Party candidate Ray Chappell won the seat by 2.6% following a 4.2% swing.

The seat was won by independent candidate and Armidale mayor Richard Torbay at the 1999 election, at which he outpolled Chappell by 44.2% to 34.1% on the primary vote. Torbay then emerged as the most electorally successful of the parliament’s shifting array of independent members, his primary vote progressing to 71.3% in 2003 and 72.7% in 2007 before falling back to 63.4% in 2011. His informal seniority among the independents was indicated when the then Premier Morris Iemma backed him for the speakership, having boldly commenced his new parliamentary term by aggreeing to support an independent. Labor state secretary Sam Dastyari claimed in mid-2012 that Torbay had proposed joining the party and replacing the floundering Nathan Rees as premier. Torbay said this was a “lie”, saying an approach had instead come to him from the party’s state secretary John Della Bosca.

Dastyari’s claim came followed Torbay’s announcement that he would join the Nationals with a view to securing federal preselection to run against Tony Windsor in New England, the party having promised him “freedom to speak with an independent voice on local issues”. This clashed with Barnaby Joyce’s aspirations for the seat as a fallback option in view of Bruce Scott’s determination to continue serving in the rural Queensland seat of Maranoa. However, the Torbay option would firm after party polling showed he offered the clearest path to victory over Windsor.

Torbay’s federal ambitions became rapidly unstuck in March 2013 when the Financial Review reported he had received assistance from embattled Labor operative Eddie Obeid ahead of his run for state parliament in 1999. Over the next two days Torbay withdrew as candidate and resigned as member for Northern Tablelands, with Nationals state chairman saying the party had received unspecified information “of which we were not previously aware”. This information was referred to ICAC, which raided Torbay’s home and electorate office the following week.

The Nationals preselection for the by-election was won by Adam Marshall, who was elected to Gunnedah council in 2004 at the age of 19 and became mayor four years later. Marshall emerged a surprise winner over Nationals Farmers Federation president Alexander “Jock” Laurie, who entered the contest after first being spoken of as a possible competitor for Barnaby Joyce in the re-run of the New England preselection. Also in the field was Claire Coulton, whose father Mark Coulton is the federal member for Parkes. Marshall is joined on the ballot paper by seven other candidates, including both the mayor and deputy mayor of Armidale-Dumaresq. The former is Jim Maher, running as an independent, and the latter is Herman Beyersdorf, the Labor candidate. Other independents are local grazier Bill Bush and TAFE teacher Katherine Nicholson. Silvana Nero, the Sydney-based fiancee of the Reverend Fred Nile, is running for the Christian Democratic Party. The Greens candidate is retired English teacher Dora Koops.

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57 comments

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Meguire Bob
Guest

Sean Tisme
Posted Sunday, May 26, 2013 at 11:10 am | PERMALINK
MB,

Stop making stupid predictions, you look stupid

——————–
Looks who is talking

Sean Tisme
Guest

MB,

Stop making stupid predictions, you look stupid

Meguire Bob
Guest

lol compact crank

Compact Crank
Guest

Measuring the reality gap between Meguire Bob’s predictions and results.

Meguire Bob
Guest

People who voted for the nationals deserve the pain they get from not getting a fair go now

The ofarrell government wont give extra support to the electorate

Meguire Bob
Guest

blackburnpseph

Go ahead, i will accept the flak from it

blackburnpseph
Guest
MB I will remember with great glee your prediction of Labor victory in this seat. And will remind you of it regularly. This result is another nail in the coffin of the indies – the richard torbay shenanigans didn’t help their cause. When a voter votes for the ALP, Libs, Nats or Greens they have a damned good idea of what they will get – the last few years have shown that with the indies they do not. The only saving grace for Windsor is that he has been around long enough for the voters to know what they will… Read more »
Meguire Bob
Guest

any way morpheus

i guess you are saying Abbott must have his head further up his you know what

because he expected to be pm by the end of 2011

Meguire Bob
Guest

morpheus
Posted Saturday, May 25, 2013 at 9:51 pm | PERMALINK

Is there a quantitative way to measure how big a douche you and your predictions are ? It good to keep the faith but part of time head must come out of anus to actually look around .

———————–

not at all , where i was the vide was for labor and independent

yes i made a prediction

GhostWhoVotes
Guest

The iVotes have been reported. The final results for tonight are NAT 62.6 IND Jim Maher 13.9 ALP 9.7 GRN 4.4.

shellbell
Guest

[42
mexicanbeemer
Posted Saturday, May 25, 2013 at 9:14 pm | PERMALINK
Okay the Nats won what they should have and by its usual margin.

In a way the Nationals have done well in recent times for there was a time when they were considered dead.

I don’t see any federal implications.]

Nats now hold 19 seats in the lower house versus 20 for ALP.

I think in one of the Wranslides the Nats won same number of seats as Libs – 14 each.

morpheus
Guest

Meguire Bob @3

“Labor or independent likely to win … i still stand by my prediction 51-53 to labor”

Is there a quantitative way to measure how big a douche you and your predictions are ? It good to keep the faith but part of time head must come out of anus to actually look around .

Meguire Bob
Guest

davidwh

fair enough

davidwh
Guest

MB all the votes haven’t been counted yet so I’m working on % changes.

Meguire Bob
Guest

what ever the margin between labor and the nats in this election , will be irrelevant in the federal election

mexicanbeemer
Guest

Okay the Nats won what they should have and by its usual margin.

In a way the Nationals have done well in recent times for there was a time when they were considered dead.

I don’t see any federal implications.

Meguire Bob
Guest

davidwh

in 2011 nats

13,756

looking at the figures they are 21,300+

davidwh
Guest

MB it was around 12k extra for the Nats and 2k for Labor.

Meguire Bob
Guest

at least 50% of the nationals and labor extra votes could go to windsor in the federal election

Meguire Bob
Guest

In the federal election

that will not be enough against windsor

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