Possums Pollytics

Politics, elections and piffle plinking

All you need to know about the Lyne by-election

Posted by Possum Comitatus on August 6, 2008

With acknowledgement to the Pollbludger of the same name

The yellow is the Federal electorate of Lyne, with the State electorates overlaid.

The soon to be independent member for Lyne, Rob Oakeshott, currently holds the State seat of Port Macquarie. Now by the word “hold” I don’t mean he scrapes in, I mean he HOLDS it, not only getting 67% of the primary vote, but winning every single booth on the primary vote as well – Rob Oakeshott doesnt know what a preference looks like.

So the Port Macquarie area of the seat, making up approximately half of the population of Lyne, is his -no ifs, no buts.

Yet it doesn’t stop there; Wauchope, once in the Port Macquarie electorate, has strongly supported Oakeshott before an earlier electoral redistribution at the State level and will again now at the Federal level, especially since the good denizens of Wauchope are rather pissed that the Mayor of the Port Macquarie Hastings City Council Rob Drew – now ironically the Nationals candidate for Lyne (oh dear) – proceeded to piss around $70 million of ratepayers hard earned up the wall on the Glasshouse development fiasco in Port, a piece of negligence for which the Council was subsequently sacked for incompetence much to the cheer of many Wauchopians. Mr Drew wont find much in the way of electoral solace in Timbertown.

One of the funny things about Lyne, and something I know about personally having grown up there and retaining large chunks of family in the electorate, is that there are large community ties between the Hastings Valley which makes up most of the Port Macquarie electorate by population, and the Manning Valley which provides the other large population centre of Lyne – Taree. The communities of Taree and Port Macquarie are politically similar, as are the smaller local satellite communities of Wingham and Wauchope.

With Port Macquarie and Wauchope supporting Oakeshott, Taree and Wingham will follow. We can already see how this will play out in Taree by looking at some of the booth results at the last State election. The coastal hamlet of Harrington, which is close to Taree and filled with people that work in Taree (yet has strangely been placed in the Port Macquarie electorate), gave Oakeshott 75% of the primary vote in the Harrington booth. I would be surprised if the Taree booths gave a result that strong, but with the ALP not running, a good chunk of their 30% and a bit vote they usually receive will flow to Oakeshott, and most Liberal oriented voters in the town (of which there are plenty – Vaile only beat a Liberal candidate in the 1993 election by a couple of hundred votes) will vote for Oakeshott – probably giving him around the 55% of the primary vote mark in the Taree booths, maybe a tad higher. Not as high as the 70%+ he will receive in some of the Hastings Valley booths with the ALP not running, but high enough to thump the seven shades of shit out of the Nats.

That’s three out of four of the largest population centres, leaving us Wingham – the place from where I actually originate. The burghers of Wingham are usually Nats voters, but went 25% for One Nation in 1998. I can’t see Wingham doing anything other than following their swamp donkey cousins in Taree and voting for Oakeshott as well, especially considering the 1998 predisposition to vote for a conservative that isn’t Lib/Nat.

The only real question over Lyne is the size of Oakeshott’s win. He wont go to preferences, but my money is on a primary vote of around 63%.

However, here’s a hot tip – the Nats will still poll well in the Comboyne booth, perhaps even coming close to Oakeshott on primaries. Considering the thumping they’re going to receive, 100 votes is nothing to scoff at :mrgreen:


33 Responses to “All you need to know about the Lyne by-election”

  1. Don’t forget the legacy of Vaile – the Nats are going to pwn the Dubai booth.

  2. Bushfire Bill said

    Harrington a “hamlet”? Have you seen it lately?

    Kellyville on the Manning.

  3. Possum Comitatus said

    Ey BB, it’s charm has been – well, let’s be blunt, completely and utterly fucked.

    They’ve got this Oirish Pub there – if by pub you mean a large building filled with drunks that has beer taps – but it was done in the architecture of the surrounding Legoland development. Oirish McMansion Pub!

    I have never seen such an assault on the eyeballs!

    It’s so bad you have to laugh.

  4. JP said

    Bushfire Bill: sad, but true.

    Poss you forgot one thing that endears Oakshott to Nats voters – he used to be a Nat until he grew sick of all the amoral property developing spivs in the Port Macquarie branch. So Nat voters think is heart is in the right place twice over – a Nat by nature, but not grubby the way the small-town politicians can be. That’s going to play really well in the wake of the Glasshouse fiasco.

    Meanwhile, Labor voters appreciate that he had the moral fibre to give the Nats the finger. With Labor not running, I think your punt on 63% may be about 5% too low, Comboyne notwithstanding 😉

    The Nats, however, will piss it in in the State by-election unless the Libs run (which would be a close thing), or Oakshott endorses an independent.

  5. Possum Comitatus said

    JP – there’s just such a delicious irony there. Rob “no white shoes” Oakeshott ends up running against uber spiv Rob Drew.

    The Nats couldnt have chose a worse candidate if they tried harder than they usually do.

    The reason I’m thinking about 63 is because of the ALP vote – all of that wont flow across to RO on primaries, a little bit will leak to the Greens. I’m sort of working backwards in that there’s about 20% of the population that will vote Nat because, well, that’s what they do, that’s what their daddy did (these guys are ostensibly male) and their daddy’s daddy did before them. It’s genetic.

    So that leaves 80% of which the Greens can probably expect to get around 10-12%. Add a few percent for the rag tag bunch of Australia First, One Nation and a handful of local independents and I reckon 63% will be be pretty close on primaries, blowing out to 75-77% TPP.

  6. JP said

    Poss, with the yuppifying of the Manning (never thought you’d read that phrase, did you?.. but it’s starting) you’re probably right on the Greens primary.

    And I know more than few rusted on female Nats, too (I’m next door in Cowper). On the night Rudd was elected one said to me: “You’re celebrating now, but what will you do when the money’s all spent??”. When I pointed out that I’d rather the money got spent (on hospitals, infrastructure, and what have you) rather than just stockpiled into a massive surplus, or handed back as sandwich and a milkshake tax cuts, she agreed with me on every point… and then told me again that I’d be sorry for voting in Rudd. What can you do?

  7. Possum Comitatus said

    JP – when I was a kid in Wingham, the closest thing to yuppification we got was seeing some farmers wife drive around in a second hand, 5 year old merc!

    Things are changing a fair bit though – more in the northern end of the electorate than the south, but still – unless you were a local or really really trying hard to look for it, you’d probably miss it!

    I spent a few years in the back blocks of Bellingen when I was doing some Uni by distance ed – lived on an old mill actually – I could never understand why the locals let the Nats screw their economic development. Cowper has growth opportunities only rivalling that of North Queensland, I just dont get the denizens of Cowper. They have literally everything, and they dont do *anything* with it.

    The lady you mentioned – exactly! What can you do!

    It drove me nuts – so I moved to Brisbane (which is funny in itself when you think about it)

  8. JP said

    Careful what you say about farmer’s wives in 5-year-old Mercs – that could have been my Mum 😉

    And that old mill back of Bellingen – where exactly, if I may ask – that’s very much my neck of the woods!

    PS: we Bellingenites don’t WANT to develop our area – it’s mighty fine the way it is! But they can build as much as they want in Coffs 🙂

  9. Sir Ian Upton said

    You’ve given Mr Oakeshott such a boost that I want to relocate from the Parramatta area just so that I may vote for him. Am I too late?

  10. Possum Comitatus said

    JP – Apologies to your mum. Not that I have anything against second hand cow cocky merc drivers! :mrgreen:

    I lived out at Wills Mill, about 6-7 clicks (from memory – let’s say that has a margin of error of 9km!) out from town toward Kalang, first left turn after the old art stall shed (which I’ve noticed with Google Street view is now just a derelict shed)

    First driveway on the left before the Wills Creek bridge.

    The key to good development in Cowper isnt building stuff, or more stuff – but good stuff – in a beautiful place like Bellingen particularly (you cant live off George Negus for ever you know!).

    Ever since the taxation audit pitfalls associated with the BAS/GST implentation regime T-boned the Bellingen drug money laundering program (lets be brutally honest here) – the town has never quite recovered. Where’s the niche market bio-development programs? Where’s the Engineering consultancies? Where’s the local development of the upstairs economy by marketing the area as a good place to raise the kids for self made people in their late 40’s from Sydney and Melbourne?

    That niche market development program was working well back in the 90’s, but everyone associated with it left the area and now the place (no offence) resembles a sort of slum version of Maleny in Qld.

    Bellingen was such a vibrant place 10-15 year ago (and deserves to be today ) – but it just hasnt got it’s stuff together. Even the the old verbal treaty between the cow cockies and the greenies on catchment management seems to have fallen apart – it’s a real pity, cause the place could be even more brilliant than it’s facade of magnificant geography and sense of community currently provides.

  11. Possum Comitatus said

    Sir Ian – it’s never too late!

  12. JP said

    Poss, you’re too harsh on Bellingen by far.

    The green engineering consultancies abound, the cattle cockies and greenies still co-operate on catchment management, and even the drug-money laundering is still going strong 😉

    Ten years ago it was hard to get a good feed, and now there are 25 places to get a good coffee in a town of 3000. And Maleny has a big Woolies, and is going to shit, while Bellingen has interesting shops and not one of them a franchise except an IGA and a Shell garage. I like Maleny, but I wouldn’t want to live there. It’ll be Noosa before you know it.

    (Spoken as a self-made ex-Sydney person in my 40s who is bringing up my kids here and who hasn’t left and doesn’t know many who have, and who drives past Wills Mill every time I go to town :). And as it happens it’s not derelict at all – it now hosts a niche foodie operation – a trout smokehouse – and a joinery operated by my neighbour!)

  13. Spam Inbox said

    Hey poss, I bet when you go back there, everything will look smaller to… 😉

    It just happens… I remember Stradbroke Island as this wonderfull place to grow up (30 years ago)

    Recently went back

    damn, what a shithole

  14. Labor Outsider said


    This is unrelated sorry (I’ve only ever stopped in Lyne once – at the Taree McDonalds – on the way to Brisvegas) – but I’d love to see a post on the political opportunities / dangers from the tax review that the government has launched. The paper released yesterday was very interesting but draws attention to aspects of the Tax system that Labor has shown little interest in addressing. The obvious problem with the review (implicitly acknowledged in yesterday’s paper) is that changes to the GST are off the agenda – even though there is more scope to raise more revenue (if reform is to be revenue neutural) through that tax than other taxes. Still, it is great the government at least commissioned the review – I just wonder whether they will have the stomach to implement many of its eventual recommendations – especially when it is unlikely to recommend further giveaways to Labor’s “working families”! I see this as just as big a test for the government as the ETS.

  15. Aspirational Aspirationalist said

    Thanks for the post Possum.

  16. Albert Ross said

    Harrings isn’t like Kellyville – more like Glenwood really

  17. Albert Ross said

    I meant Harrington and there’s a link here to Google Maps

  18. Bushfire Bill said

    Ah, the Taree McDonalds!

    Highly unpleasant memories… but won’t go into details, except to say it wasn’t the food or the service. It was the company.

    A couple of years back I went to Harrington to do some network troubleshooting at the Harrington Hotel (not the one in the new development, but the old wooden, established one).

    Driving down the potholed, rutted road off the highway I said to my wife (she came along for the ride): “Look at that! An old-fashioned “PRAWNS/BAIT” sign, written as if with a thumbnail dipped in tar.”

    “Hark! Over there, some contented Freisan cows. Look at that old boat up on stilts! Now THIS is country life near the sea!”

    Then we came around the bend and saw Harrington Keys (or whatever it’s called). A gated compound with cubby houses built, amazingly and inexplicably, shoulder to shoulder. Curvy streets with names like “Oyster Rd.” and “Mullet Drive” and “Manning Drive”. Flat, unenchanting cleared land with piles of long lifeless stumps bulldozed into easily pickupable heaps. Dead or dying tea-tree forests. And, of course, a mini mall.

    After a k or so of this the urban landscape again returned to yer classic “sleepy coastal hamlet” until we got to the pub which had “gone ahead”, but – considering the competition up the road – reasonably tastefully, I have to say. But all the real action was back at the new subdivision. The local grocery store owner was decidedly depressed looking, in my opinion. The mini mall had snaffled most of his customers. That or the cerematorium.

    The beach across the channel from the pub looked beautifully windswept and lonely. The only way you can get to it is by 4WD track, from miles away. The pelicans were, as usual, gorgeous (our black and white two-toners are so much more beautiful than the American brown-feathered editions). But I felt their time was limited. Which is a tragedy for a timeless creature.

    It was a rainy day and the job stretched out from the “just a couple of hours, then we can go for a swim darl, I promise” I had confidently predicted to my wife, to 10 hours of hell and trying to trace unidentified cables (why are sparkies such shits at labelling?) well into the night.

    By the time we got back to our rain-sodden caravan park at Pacific Palms I’d had enought of Harrington to last a lifetime. I can see how it was once a wonderland, but now it’s just, as I said above, Kellyville on the Manning.

    Such a shame. Kind of a metaphor, I reckon, but for what I’m not sure.

  19. caf said

    Sounds like the one of the Burbclaves in Snow Crash.

  20. Paul Taylor said

    I always go on holidays to Lake Cathie, what’s the booth results there been like?

  21. Aspirational Aspirationalist said

    Liberals avoid Lyne by-election

    So we probably won’t hear the same commentary about the “electorate sending kevin rudd a message” then.

  22. David Richards said

    the electorate has been sending the Libs a message – nick off.

  23. Sir Ian Upton said

    And the Territorians go and mess up this little-understood science of trying to read the polls. Writing in Crikey, Tuesday, 22nd July 2008, Charles Richardson suggested that in the upcoming NT election the CLP would be hard pressed to take seats away from the ALP, which held 19 seats to the CLPs 4. Antony Green played with his pendulum and, taking into account redistributions, predicted that at best the CLP might claim nine seats. He predicted that the CLP will have a swing in its favour this time, but because the margins in most of the ALP-held seats are so wide, there may be little change to the balance of power.

    Telegenic gardener and retiring former NT Chief Minister Claire Martin said that the buoyant NT economy would shield the ALP from voter discontent. She also said: “I am struggling to see what seats that Labor will lose.” Perhaps it’s some of those Aboriginal refugees in the NT that voted against her party.

    It would be unwise to think that the NT result would migrate too far afield but it does ask the question about polling accuracy. If the polls say the sky is blue I’d advise people to look up first.

  24. Possum Comitatus said

    Paul at 20, Oakeshott got 55.7% of the primary vote at the Lake Cathie booth last State election vs Mark Vaile getting 46.58% of the primary vote at that booth in the last Federal election.

  25. Possum Comitatus said

    Sir Ian – the problem with the NT election campaign was the complete absence of major pollster surveys. Everyone was operating in a vacuum

  26. Owen said

    Hey, Dont forget the sea/tree change element and the Climate Change factor. The local Greens candidate Susie Russell won a swing towards her in the 2007 election is the third party in this race and represents the third strongest party in the country at the moment. With no ALP and Rob Oakeshott and Rob Drew caught up in the “Glasshouse” controversy, she probably has a good chance of pulling more of the vote as the only alternative option in this race. Don’t get Rob’d, go for Susie!


  27. THIS is absolutely amazing and the fawning admiration for Rob Oakeshott just proves how little Australians actually think about politics. An old saying – You are who you are today because of where you came from. Applying that test to Oakeshott you see what what an enignma he really is and wonder how he he has been able to con the vast majority of the population. Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, the son of a medical specialist, and attending a priviledged school oakeshott was then able to have a university degree conferred apon him, but because of lack of merit had to settle for employment with a National Party member – rather than a Liberal or a Labor Party MP – in other words a second rater.Then with all the priviledges thrust his way he obtained the seat of a party he told the parliament he was “passionate” about – only to leave that party a few years later because he couldn’t handle the criticism of the conservative party he deliberately chose to join and was “passionate ” about over his sexual relationship with a woman he actually married many years later.
    NOW years later when NSW has the most incompetent and corrupt government ever- instead of hanging around to clean up the mess, he quits and seeks to move to a parliament where generally speaking it can be said the governance has been honest and relatively competent.

    It would be understandable if people where to conclude that Oakeshott was a “Good Time Johnny” – fed on priviledge and only wanting to engage in the “good times” but not prepared to do the hard yards.

    RUNNING out of NSW at a time when it needs real leadership to clean up the atrocious mess caused by a culture of corruption in government simply suggests Oakeshott is a career politician – interested mainly in himself rather than the people he claims to “serve”.

  28. AND another thing – don’t be fooled by oakeshott’s “spin”. he has spet the last few years as a part time MP – while using his MP salary to fund himself through a university course to obtain a law degree which he now says he does not intend to use. IN other words he has selfishly denied another person ( maybe someone from an an underpriviledged background who would have put such training to good use by helping those in need) a place to study law. Which ever way you slice it or dice it – Oakeshott’s actions demonstrate an attitude of pure self interest.

  29. Odge said

    Alex, had he been studying when Turnbull or Costello went to Uni, it would have been free (thanks to Whitlam). Rob and I first met in Newcastle when we both had abortive starts to our tertiary education. We played in the same rugby team for a while and probably drank to much beer, not too different from many 18yo at the time. As a graduate of the Australian Tertiary system I’m glad that Rob has finally graduated. A law degree will come in very handy as a politician. He will be better able to serve his electorate as an outcome, not like some developers lackey. I don’t know about you but I would rather a pollie with a degree any day.

    That said. Don’t get Rob’d, vote for Susie!

  30. ODGE – I think you miss my point.
    Irrespective of whether university courses are free (taxpayer funded) or paid for by the student- there are a limited number of university places and each filled place means there is a student who is denied entry into the course. A law degree is particularly vocationally based. To study it for pure interest is a bit selfish when someone who was denied a place may have put it to good use by actually helping those in need (e.g. working for one of the Aboriginal legal services).

    IF Mr Oakeshott needed a university degree to properly represent the community wasn’t the B.A. (Hons in Govt.) he obtained from Sydney University in 1992 sufficient ?

  31. Jason said

    Alex, posts 27 and 28 are a remarkable bit of spin on your part, but they don’t have much underlying truth. They remind me of Rob Drew’s campaign.

    If Oakeshott is ‘wanting to engage in the “good times” but not prepared to do the hard yards’, it must have been a moment of madness that caused him to resign a safe state seat and take a punt on being elected in a seat that’s notoriously loyal to the Nationals. (Unlike Possum, I don’t think an Oakeshott victory is certain — but perhaps I’ve spent too long surrounded by the Taree mindset.)

    If NSW “needs real leadership to clean up the atrocious mess caused by a culture of corruption in government”, how’s that going to be provided by one independent member? Nice try.

    As for attacking him on his uni degree, you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel with that one.

  32. Aspirational Aspirationalist said


    At Poll Bludger you had questions about some of the booths turnouts.

    I have it on good authority that some of the roads/bridges were disrupted with the heavy rains around the Wingham area.

    After the result i dont think enough people could be mustered to say “I couldnt vote, and I’d have voted for the other guy”.

  33. Possum Comitatus said

    My relo’s were telling me much the same thing AA. Ironically, it’s probably made Oakeshott’s win a little smaller than it ordinarily would have been.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: