Tomorrow I am voting in my ninth NSW general election, beginning in 1978 when I backed Harry Jensen in Munmorah. In 2007, I'm doing my third election in Marrickville, including the 2005 by-election. Historically safe Labor, Marrickville has witnessed some intense campaigning by both the ALP and Greens candidates over the past few weeks.
It's one of the few electorates in tomorrow's election with nine candidates. Here is my form guide, in order down the ballot paper:
Ramzy Mansour (Liberal Party): The Liberal Party must hold their inner south-west Sydney meetings around the Mansour dinner table, as the family is representing the party in three electorates. Ramzy, the director of the Egyptian Office of Trade, is running in Marrickville for the second time. His brother Morris is running in Premier Iemma's Lakemba (hoping, no doubt, to split the Morris vote). Morris' son, Phillip, is running in Canterbury. None have any serious chance of success.
Ramzy scored 12.8% of the primary vote in 2003, a distant third to Andrew Refshauge and Colin Hesse. The Libs, wisely, didn't field a candidate in the 2005 by-election.
He won't be getting any preferences from the Christian Democrat candidate this time around. To quote from the CDP press release:
"...the CDP agreed as requested by the Liberal Party, to give the Liberal and National Candidates our CDP second preferences in sixty-four Lower House Seats. In other seats, CDP could then give them to the ALP to prevent the Greens or Muslims winning seats in the Legislative Assembly (Lower House) such as Lakemba and Marrickville."
The Mansour family are Coptic Christians.
My assessment: Donkey vote will help him stay in double figures.
Carmel Tebbutt (Australian Labor Party): One of the Iemma government's more popular members of cabinet, even if she is carrying the can for Education. She's a member of the Labor Left, and she's married to Anthony Albanese. She's no Flo Bjelke-Petersen or Elaine Nile, however, as the two were Labor Party animals before getting together. Seen as a possible future premier, if Maison de Labor at Sussex Street deigns to permit a leftie to climb to the top of the heap.
Her downside, of course, is the party she belongs to, and that she has to keep denying rumours of motorways through, or even under, the local suburbs. Scored 49.79% of the primary vote in 2005 after Andrew Refshauge departed in the as-yet unexplained fallout from Bob Carr's retirement. She can rely on the rusted-on Labor vote in the south-west half of the electorate: Marrickville itself, Dulwich Hill and Lewisham.
Her magic moment as Minister for Education came in a phone interview on Nova969 last November. The Daily Telegraph takes up the story.
carmeltebbutt.org is her campaign website, but why do all her policy PDF's point to clemengerproximity.com.au ?
My assessment: Likely winner, but I'd be surprised if the Greens don't take her to preferences yet again.
Martine Eve-Macleod (Australian Democrats): Running for a political party a hair's breadth away from extinction. Second preferencing the Greens in both houses. I can't understand why the two parties haven't merged yet.
My assessment: Blip.
Pip Hinman (Socialist Alliance): As sure as night follows day, the Socialist Alliance will field a candidate in any election that encompasses King Street, Newtown. And just as sure as night following day, the Socialist Alliance will register a tad over 1% of the primary vote. Unlike past state elections however, the Socialist Alliance is campaigning on state issues, some of which almost seem to have been thought through. Pip is an assistant editor of the thinking commuter's MX, the Green Left Weekly.
My assessment: As usual, a tad over one per cent of the primary vote.
Grace Chen (Unity Party): The Unity Party was formed in 1998 as a reaction to the Madcap Redhead's anti-Asian bigotry. Its candidates are mostly of Chinese heritage, and their platform generally socially progressive without being overtly left-wing. Their geographical centre of gravity is in the central-west of Sydney. Grace Chen is one of two candidates who doesn't live in the electorate. The Unity Party scored 2.16% in Marrickville in 2003.
The Unity Party home page features a photo of a supporter holding up a sign saying "More Parking Not Signs".
My assessment: To break the three per cent barrier.
My assessment: Might score two or three hundred votes if he's lucky.
Fiona Byrne (The Greens): Not the party's original choice for this election, but a quality candidate nonetheless. Colin Hesse, the Greens candidate for Marrickville in 2003, was the only nominee when pre-selection took place in early 2006. He withdrew for personal reasons around the same time that he copped, as a member of Marrickville Council, a Code of Conduct charge for verbal abuse of a female ALP councillor.
Fiona Byrne (no relation - or more to the point, her husband is no relation - to Sam Byrne, the Greens candidate in the 2005 by-election) is, in my opinion, the outstanding campaigner of the nine candidates running for Marrickville. I've featured some of her Youtube campaign videos on this blog, and I've previously stated that she has my endorsement for this election. But can she win over the good folk of Dulwich Hill?
My assessment: She deserves to win, but will probably finish a close second to Carmel Tebbutt.
Joseph Tuiletufuga (Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)): Rev.Tuiletufuga is the pastor of the Central Leichhardt Samoan Assembly of God church at Lewisham. In his profile in last week's "The Glebe", Rev. Tuiletufuga said that he wanted "to make Leichhardt a safe place to live".
Leichhardt is in the electorate of Balmain.
Directing his second preferences to Carmel Tebbutt. (See the item above of Ramzy Mansour for the issues relating to CDP preferences in Marrickville.)
My analysis: Likely to score more votes from Samoan Pentecostals than Egyptian Coptics.
Angus Wood (Independent): Even after reading this article in the Sydney Morning Herald, I have no idea why this guy is running.
My assessment: Least likely to get a hundred votes.
My HTV for Marrickville: 6 Mansour; 5 Tebbutt; 2 Eve-Macleod; 3 Hinman; 4 Chen; 7 O'Connor; 1 Byrne; 8 Tuiletufuga; 9 Wood.