New South Wales election 2015

Londonderry

Margin: Liberal 5.3%
Region: Western Sydney
Federal: Lindsay (73%)/Chifley (27%)

Outgoing member: Bart Bassett (Liberal)

Candidates in ballot paper order

londonderry-lib

londonderry-alp

MAURICE GIROTTO
Christian Democratic Party

PRUE CAR
Labor (bottom)

SHANE GORMAN
Greens

BERNARD BRATUSA
Liberal (top)

JOE ARDUCA
No Land Tax

2011 BOOTH RESULTS MAP

PAST RESULTS

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.

Combining strong territory for Labor near Mount Druitt with more marginal suburbs nearer Penrith and conservative-voting semi-rural territory to the north, the seat of Londonderry in Sydney’s outer west was among those won by the Liberals for the first time at the 2011 election. It is now to be vacated by its one-term Liberal member Bart Bassett, who first sought a different seat after his position was weakened by the redistribution, and then fell victim to the Independent Commission Against Corruption’s investigations into unlawful donations from property developers.

Bassett emerged from his 2011 election victory with a margin of 12.3%, but a reorientation southwards in the latest redistribution has pared this back to 5.3%. At the southern end, 18,500 voters in traditionally Labor-voting suburbs around St Marys to the east of Penrith have been added from Mulgoa, while in the north 16,500 voters in conservative-voting areas around Richmond have been moved to Hawkesbury. Further adjustments add 3000 voters around Willmot from Mount Druitt in the east, and shift over 5000 in Cambridge Gardens to Penrith in the west.

Londonderry was created with the enlargement of parliament in 1988 and held until 1999 by former Manly rugby league player Paul Gibson. Ahead of the 1999 election, ICAC investigated claims Gibson had accepted cash and goods from Kings Cross strip club owner Louis Bayeh, causing powerbrokers to hope that his vacancy in Londonderry might help resolve the various preselection wars resulting from the cut in parliamentary numbers from 99 to 93. They were to be disappointed, as Gibson was exonerated and returned to claim the safe seat he had reportedly been promised. He was at first set on taking Mount Druitt, held by Richard Amery of the arch-rival “Troglodytes” Right sub-faction, but the deal ultimately reached allocated him to Blacktown.

Gibson’s vacancy in Londonderry was then filled for a term by Jim Anderson, whose existing seat of St Marys had been abolished. Anderson’s death on the morning of the 2003 election required that the election for Londonderry be postponed by two months, at which time it passed to Blacktown councillor Allan Shearan. Shearan’s 15.3% margin in 2003 was then pared back by 4.4% when redistribution added semi-rural territory north of the Hawkesbury River, followed by a 4.0% swing to the Liberals at the 2007 election. The 6.9% that remained of his margin proved woefully inadequate in the face of a 19.2% swing in 2011.

Bassett had established himself locally prior to entering parliament as mayor of Hawkesbury, and had first contested Londonderry in 2007. With the redistribution removing the Londonderry electorate entirely from the Hawkesbury local government area, there was some logic behind Bassett’s endeavour to move to the seat of Hawkesbury, as well as considerable self-interest. However, Bassett went down to a 62-54 defeat in the local preselection vote at the hands of Castle Hill MP Dominic Perrottet, in a result that gave effect to a seat swap between Perrottet and Hawkesbury MP Ray Williams.

Bassett then sought an alternative berth by challenging incumbent Kevin Conolly in Riverstone, but was compelled to quit the Liberal Party in August 2014 when ICAC heard his 2011 election campaign may have received an $18,000 donation from a company owned by former mining magnate Nathan Tinkler. As mayor of Hawkesbury, Bassett had earlier voted for a residential land strategy in North Richmond that favoured Tinkler’s company. The new Liberal candidate is Bernard Bratusa, Penrith councillor and former editor of the Western Weekender newspaper. Facing him as Labor candidate is another Penrith councillor, Prue Car, who unsuccessfully ran in Mulgoa in 2011.

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

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