The Poll Bludger
Margin: Liberal 15.5%
Region: Sydney North Shore, New South Wales
In a nutshell: Tony Abbott is sticking it out in his blue-ribbon Sydney seat after the bruising experience of losing the prime ministership.
Candidates in ballot paper order
CLARA WILLIAMS ROLDAN
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. It ranks third highest out of the 150 federal electorates for median income, after Wentworth and North Sydney. 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 caused it to expand back to the north over successive redistributions, recovering Manly in 1969 and being anchored on the north shore of Port Jackson thereafter. The latest redistribution has left it undisturbed.
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 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 first as Immigration Minister and then as Health Minister, before resigning from the latter role in 1982 over a failure to declare to customs a television set he brought into the country. Mackellar’s mid-term retirement in February 1994 initiated a by-election at which the seat safely passed to its present incumbent, Tony Abbott.
Following his defeat by Malcolm Turnbull in the Liberal leadership vote of September 2013, Abbott distanced himself from the example set by Kevin Rudd after 2010 by promising there would be “no wrecking, no undermining and no sniping”. That promise has been called into question on a number of occasions since, and he is at least following Rudd’s example to the extent that he will again be contesting his seat.
Analysis by William Bowe. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.