New South Wales election 2015

Penrith

Margin: Liberal 16.1%
Region: Western Sydney
Federal: Lindsay (92%)/Macquarie (8%)

Candidates in ballot paper order

penrith-lib

penrith-alp

ANGELO PEZZANO
No Land Tax

MARK O’SULLIVAN
Greens

JACKIE KELLY
Independent

CAROLYN KENNETT
Independent

MAY SPENCER
Christian Democratic Party

STUART AYRES
Liberal (top)

EMMA HUSAR
Labor (bottom)

VICTOR WATERSON
Independent

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.

Located 50 kilometres due west of central Sydney, Penrith provided an early harbinger of Labor’s 2011 election disaster at a by-election held the previous June, when a 9.2% Labor margin was swept away by a hitherto unheard of Liberal swing of 25.7%. The electorate extends from Penrith itself to the neighbouring suburbs of Cranebrook to the north, Kingswood to the west and Jamisontown to the south, along with Emu Heights and surrounding areas in the Blue Mountains foothills on the western side of the Nepean River. The river marks a sharp divide in the electorate’s voting patterns, with Labor’s vote to the west of it about 10% lower than elsewhere. The redistribution has added over 5000 new voters in Cranebrook and the suburb of Cambridge Gardens in the east, formerly in Londonderry, while transferring 2000 voters in Blaxland to Blue Mountains, with little impact on the margin.

The Liberals’ by-election win in Penrith was only its second since the seat was created in 1973, the first being Guy Matheson’s win at the expense of Unsworth government Health Minister Peter Anderson in 1988. Penrith mayor Faye Lo Po’ recovered the seat for Labor in 1991 and survived a small swing against her in 1995, before consolidating her hold with a 12.4% swing in 1999. After serving as a minister in the Carr government, Lo Po’ retired in 2003 and was succeeded by Penrith councillor Karyn Paluzzano. In May 2010 Paluzzano was compelled to resign from parliament after admitting she had lied to the Independent Commission Against Corruption about falsified employee pay forms. The successful Liberal candidate at the by-election was Penrith councillor Stuart Ayres, who was re-elected on a similar margin at the election in March 2011. The defeated Labor candidate on both occasions was John Thain, the mayor of Penrith.

Ayres was promoted to fill the place created by Chris Hartcher’s resignation in December 2013, taking on the fair trading portfolio, and further gained sport and recreation when Mike Baird become Premier the following April. Another promotion followed just a fortnight later when he exchanged fair trading for police and emergency services, which had been vacated by the resignation of Mike Gallacher. His Labor opponent at the coming election will be Emma Husar, who is identified as local advocate for disability services. Also in the field as an independent is Jackie Kelly, the high-profile Liberal member for the federal seat of Lindsay from 1996 to 2007, who is running principally in opposition to an airport being built at Badgerys Creek.

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

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