New South Wales election 2015

Epping

Margin: Liberal 27.5%
Region: Northern Sydney
Federal: Berowra (47%)/Bennelong (46%)/Mitchell (6%)

Outgoing member: Greg Smith (Liberal)

Candidates in ballot paper order

epping-lib

epping-alp

DAMIEN TUDEHOPE
Liberal (top)

KERRY FOX
Independent

DAVID HAVYATT
Labor (bottom)

EMMA HEYDE
Greens

DARRYL ALLEN
Christian Democratic Party

SOPHIA KONG
No Land Tax

2011 BOOTH RESULTS MAP

PAST RESULTS
(EPPING/EASTWOOD)

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.

To be vacated at the coming election by the retirement of Attorney-General Greg Smith, the Liberal stronghold of Epping is centred about 20 kilometres to the north-west of central Sydney, extending northwards from Epping itself through Beecroft to Cherrybrook. The redistribution has added territory in and around Cherrybrook to the north-west of the electorate, accounting for nearly 1000 voters from Castle Hill and around 8750 from Hornsby. This is counterbalanced by the loss of most of Pennant Hills and southern Thornleigh further to the east, sending 8500 voters to Hornsby and a smaller number to Ku-ring-gai, along with two transfers to Ryde at the southern end of the electorate, accounting for 5000 voters in parts of Masfield and Eastwood. The changes add a further 2.3% to the ample Liberal margin.

Epping was created in the redistribution that gave effect to the cut in parliamentary numbers in 1999, and was initially held by Andrew Tink, who had hitherto held the seat of Eastwood since 1988. Tink’s retirement at the 2007 election initiated a preselection stoush in which Greg Smith, hitherto the deputy director of public prosecutions, prevailed over Pru Goward, who has since become Planning Minister and member for Goulburn. Support between the two had largely divided between factional moderates and the Right, in which the former mostly backed the pro-choice Goward while the latter favoured Smith, who had been president of the state’s Right to Life Association.

Smith ultimately won a comfortable victory in the local party ballot, amid grumbling about branch stacking involving members of the Lebanese Maronite community. He was immediately elevated to the positions of Shadow Attorney-General and Justice Minister, and maintained the portfolios in government. Despite his conservative credentials, Smith emerged as a whipping boy of the tabloid media due to his role in bail law reform and opposition to mandatory sentencing, and he was dumped in the reshuffle held after Mike Baird became Premier.

Smith’s announcement that he would not seek another term, which had been anticipated in any case, initiated another complex preselection contest. It had already been reported that Smith was manoeuvring to be succeeded by his son, Nathaniel Smith, a lobbyist and Kogarah councillor. However, Smith was heavily defeated in the local ballot by Damien Tudehope, a former chief-of-staff to Greg Smith and spokesman for the Australian Family Association, for which he ran as an upper house candidate in 1999. Tudehope had earlier been a preselection aspirant in Baulkham Hills and Ryde, and also for Epping in 2007. A late withdrawal from the race was Noel McCoy, who threw his support behind Tudehope. It was reported that McCoy had been stymied by the opposition of moderates and Jai Rowell, Wollondilly MP and Right faction powerbroker.

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

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