New South Wales election 2015

Murray

Margin: Nationals 30.9%
Region: Regional Western
Federal: Riverina (51%)/Riverina (49%)

New electorate created in place of Murray-Darling
Outgoing member: John Williams (Nationals)

Candidates in ballot paper order

murray-nat

murray-alp

BRIAN MILLS
Independent

MAX BULJUBASIC
Labor (bottom)

GARRY CODEMO
No Land Tax

JORDANNA GLASSMAN
Greens

ADRIAN PICCOLI
Nationals (top)

HELEN DALTON
Independent

DAVID ELDER
Christian Democratic Party

ATUL MISRA
Independent

2011 BOOTH RESULTS MAP

PAST RESULTS
(MURRAY-DARLING/MURRAY)

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.

Covering the state’s thinly populated south-western corner, the newly created seat of Murray draws its territory from two abolished electorates, Murray-Darling providing 28,500 voters and Murrumbidgee the remaining 25,500. Most of the voters carried over from Murray-Darling to Murray are in Deniliquin and towns along the Murray River, the largest being Moama, while Murrumbidgee provides an area at the eastern end of the electorate dominated by the town of Griffith. The dropping of Darling from the name reflects the loss of Broken Hill and remote interior territories to Barwon, collectively accounting for approximately 15,000 voters. It will be contested for the Nationals by Adrian Piccoli, the member for Murrumbidgee, rather than John Williams, the member for Murray-Darling, who has effectively been squeezed out in the Nationals’ post-redistribution game of musical chairs, his consolation prize being an all-but-unwinnable position on the Coalition’s upper house ticket.

Murray existed as an electorate in various forms from 1859 to 1999, and was mostly held from 1932 onwards by the National/Country Party, outside a period of first independent and then Liberal Party control from 1968 to 1980. It was abolished together with the seat of Broken Hill in 1999, with the area of the two electorates largely merged into Murray-Darling. Given that Broken Hill had long been secure for Labor, the effect was to create a marginal seat with a Nationals margin of 3.5%. Broken Hill mayor Peter Black subsequently won the seat for Labor off a 7.7% swing, which he followed up with a further 2.5% swing in 2003. However, the area’s ongoing population decline required that conservative rural territory be added in the redistribution before the 2007 election, creating a notional Nationals margin of 1.4%.

The seat was then easily won for the Nationals by John Williams, who is described by the party’s website as having “more than 20 years of experience as a small business operator in the Murray-Darling region”. Williams picked up an 8.8% swing in defeating Black in 2007, and followed it up with a further 17.1% swing in the 2011 landslide. The effective merger of his seat with Murrumbidgee, held by a more senior figure in Adrian Piccoli, left Williams looking for an alternative berth in the upper house, but he was only able to secure his party’s fourth position on the Coalition ticket, placing him in the essentially unwinnable eleventh place. Favoured ahead of him were the party’s state director, Ben Franklin, Cooma-Monaro Shire deputy mayor Bronnie Taylor, and incumbent Trevor Khan. His cause may have been harmed by an attack he made on Environment Minister Robyn Paker at a party preselection meeting, in which he said he would “tear her a new orifice”, and that she had “never had a real man”.

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

Back to Crikey’s New South Wales election guide