New South Wales election 2015

Castle Hill

Margin: Liberal 34.7%
Region: Western Sydney
Federal: Mitchell (84%)/Berowra (16%)

Outgoing member: Dominic Perrottet (Liberal)

Candidates in ballot paper order

castlehill-lib

castlehill-alp

ANNA STEVIS
No Land Tax

RAY WILLIAMS
Liberal (top)

MICHAEL BELLSTEDT
Greens

MURIEL SULTANA
Christian Democratic Party

MATT RITCHIE
Labor (bottom)

2011 BOOTH RESULTS MAP

PAST RESULTS
(CASTLE HILL/THE HILLS)

DEMOGRAPHICS

Two-party preferred booth results from 2011 state election showing Liberal majority in blue 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.

Encompassing Liberal-voting areas at the north-western edge of the metropolitan area, Castle Hill has been substantially redrawn with the redistribution, to the extent that most of its voters are in fact drawn from the electorate of Hawkesbury. This involves the loss of territory nearer the city and the acquisition of semi-rural areas at the northern end, which adds 3.9% to the already overwhelming Liberal margin. Among the consequences of the change is a swap of seats between Liberal members Ray Williams, who has held Hawkesbury and will now contest Castle Hill, and Dominic Perrottet, who goes the other way.

Castle Hill itself accounts for most of the territory carrying over from the old electorate to the new, an area encompassing around 22,000 voters. To this is added the urban areas of Kellyville, Beaumont Hills and eastern Rouse Hill together with semi-rural Annangrove and Box Hill, providing the remaining 30,000 voters. In the south, nearly 10,000 voters in eastern Castle Hill and western Cherrybrook go to Epping, 18,000 in West Pennant Hills, northern Carlingford and eastern North Rocks go to Baulkham Hills, and nearly 5000 in in central Carlingford go to Parramatta.

Castle Hill was created at the 2007 in succession to the abolished seat of The Hills, which was consistently in Liberal hands in a history going back to 1962. Its inaugural member was Max Ruddock, father of Philip Ruddock, who held the seat until 1976. Michael Richardson held the seat from 1993 until his retirement at the 2011 election, surviving repeated preselection challenges in the later part of his career as local branches came to be consumed in the turf wars between the David Clarke and Alex Hawke sub-factions of the Right.

Richardson’s retirement announcement in 2010 initiated jockeying between Dominic Perrottet, a commercial lawyer and factional operative in the Clarke camp, and Ashley Pittard, a fund manager for Frank Lowy who had the backing of Hawke. The Hawke faction was reportedly concerned at the prospect of a Clarke man working turf covered by Alex Hawke’s federal seat of Mitchell, and sought support from the moderates in exchange for their backing for moderate candidate Matthew Kean in Hornsby. However, Perrottet prevailed and Pittard quit the party, which reportedly came as a blow in light of his fundraising record.

Despite establishing a reputation as a rising star, Perrottet’s parliamentary career was endangered when the redistribution brought the Rouse Hill area and its party branches to his electorate, as this was the power base of Hawkesbury MP Ray Williams. Williams accordingly declared himself set on moving to Castle Hill, forcing Perrottet to try his hand for preselection in Hawkesbury. Facing off in a local party ballot against Bart Bassett, who was seeking a stronger berth after the redistribution weakened his existing seat of Londonderry, Perrottet managed to secure a narrow win of 62 votes to 54.

Ray Williams is a former Baulkham Hills councillor and bus maintenance worker who won preselection for Hawkesbury at the 2007 election at the expense of one-term incumbent Steven Pringle. In this he was assisted by Right faction powerbroker David Clarke, together with an influx of Lebanese Maronite Christians who reportedly swelled membership of the Beaumont Hills branch from 17 members to 500. Pringle went on to run against Williams as an independent and polled 27.1% to Williams’ 45.6%, with Williams prevailing by 6.6% after preferences. Williams has served as a parliamentary secretary since the 2011 election victory, in the western Sydney portfolio until October 2013 and transport and roads thereafter.

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

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