The fight for the seat of Campbelltown at next year’s state election is shaping up as a fascinating political battle between Bryan Doyle, who won the seat at the 2011 poll, and Labor’s Greg Warren.
Doyle, a former police officer, romped in last time on the back of massive swings against Labor almost four years ago, and he’s one smart operator.
And while he wouldn’t admit it, Doyle is in for a tough fight in March 2015.
That’s not so much a reflection, one way or another, of the calibre of the challenger, but of political reality.
Campbelltown had been a very safe Labor seat for many years, sending to Macquarie Street such party legends as Olympics minister Michael Knight, who was followed by his staffer, Graham West.
Two things happened which made it possible for the Liberal Party to score an incredible win in Campbelltown at the last election.
First, West, still relatively young, gave the game away when Labor, heading towards 16 years in power, lurched from one crisis to another.
The second was that the Liberals, in a very smart move, preselected Doyle, a very popular local copper, knowing that it would give them a very good chance of plucking the seat from Labor’s grasp.
Labor preselected Nick Bleasdale, a local businessman who was not as well known as Doyle, and in politics that’s half the battle.
It was actually Nick’s third go at getting elected at either state or federal level, and I imagine he’s had enough and we won’t be seeing him around again. But that’s something else altogether, so back to Doyle versus Warren, a Camden councillor, something the current MP is keen to point out as often as possible.
He’s right of course; locals don’t like outsiders coming in wanting to represent them in parliament.
The best example of that was in the seat of Camden a few years back, when Geoff Corrigan should have been preselected – and would have won – against the sitting member, the one and only Liz Kernohan, who has since passed away – but the geniuses at the Labor Party picked a Liverpool fellow, Alex Sanchez.
And, as I predicted at the time, Labor got smashed by the Libs and Kernohan, who eventually fell to Corrigan at the next election. Without a shadow of a doubt, the major factor was bringing in an outsider as the candidate and Labor paid the price.
Whether Warren is in the same category as Sanchez is open to debate, but working in his favour, and Labor’s, is the well known fact that seats like Campbelltown will usually experience a swing back to Labor after it kicked it on the backside four years ago. A correction, if you like, and it has occurred many times over the years.
How much of a swing will be the crucial factor in who wins next March, but in the meantime strap yourselves in, it’s going to be a bit of a bumpy ride between now and election day.
There will be promises galore from both sides, so the winner should be the local area, which is the dividend when you end up with a swinging seat instead of a very safe one.
Something the people of Liverpool should weigh up when they head to the polls on the same day.
It seems now that it will be the deputy mayor of Liverpool, Mazhar Hadid, who will be standing for the Liberal party against the Labor veteran Paul Lynch, who’s been there since 1994.
Maybe the Libs are saving up their young mayor, Ned Mannoun, for the federal election, in Werriwa.
If that’s the case, and it’s pure speculation on my part, we could end up with a battle between two current Liverpool councillors, Mannoun and Labor’s Anne Stanley, who has been mooted as the candidate for the seat being vacated at the next election by Laurie Ferguson.
Time will tell.