New South Wales election 2015

Ballina

Margin: Nationals 24.6%
Region: North Coast
Federal: Richmond (57%)/Page (43%)

Outgoing member: Don Page (Nationals)

Candidates in ballot paper order

ballina-nat

ballina-alp

MATTHEW HARTLEY
Independent

JEFF JOHNSON
Independent

KRIS BEAVIS
Nationals (top)

GREG ZYLBER
No Land Tax

TAMARA SMITH
Greens

VYVYAN STOTT
Christian Democratic Party

PAUL SPOONER
Labor (bottom)

2011 BOOTH RESULTS MAP

PAST RESULTS

DEMOGRAPHICS

Two-party preferred booth results from 2011 state election showing Nationals majority in green and Labor in red. New boundaries in thicker blue lines, old ones in thinner red lines. Boundary data courtesy of Ben Raue of The Tally Room.

Ballina encompasses the north coast of New South Wales from Ballina itself north through Byron Bay to Mullumbimby and Ocean Shores, with its northern neighbour Tweed separating it from the Queensland border. This area includes farmland and rural communities that keep the seat secure for the Nationals, together with counter-cultural elements that push the Greens vote to near 20%. The redistribution has added around 1500 voters in a thinly populated area around Federal at the interior end of the electorate.

Ballina will be vacated at the coming election by the retirement of Don Page, who has held the seat for the Nationals since it was created with the enlargement of parliament at the 1988 election, and served as the party’s deputy leader from 2003 to 2007. Page is the grandson of Earle Page, a founding father of the Country Party who briefly served as Prime Minister in April 1939. His successor as Nationals candidate is Kris Beavis, chief executive of the northern region Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service, who won a preselection ballot ahead of Ballina councillor Sharon Cadwallader by 42 votes to 33. Cadwallader threatened to run as an independent, complaining she had faced “comments that I was too old and that it was a man’s job”, but did not end up doing so.

Despite the margin and the seat’s record historically, the retirement of Page and fierce local controversy over coal seam gas exploration has Labor hopeful of pulling off an upset. Its candidate was chosen through a test run of its “community preselection” process, in which half the vote was determined by a ballot of local party members and the other half by a “community” vote open to anyone enrolled in the electorate who was willing to sign on as a party supporter. This attracted 2300 participants and resulted in the selection of Paul Spooner, a Byron Shire councillor, over Keith Williams, a Ballina councillor. The election also presents auspicious circumstances with the Greens, who have a large base of support in Byron Bay. Their candidate is Tamara Smith, a solicitor and high school teacher. Also in the field as an independent is Ballina Shire councillor Jeff Johnson, who was elected to a council as a Green and quit the party to run at the election.

Corrections, complaints and feedback to William Bowe at pollbludger-at-bigpond-dot-com. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.

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