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Byron Shire
February 28, 2021

Can Labor win back Tweed?

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It seems like ancient history now but a seat often referred to as National Party heartland was held by Labor in the early years of this century.

Neville Newell’s two terms culminated in the seat returning to the Nationals’ fold in 2007, with the ascendency of current incumbent Geoff Provest.

In 2011, Mr Provest was returned with a thumping 71 per cent of the two-party preferred vote.

Changing electorate

But times have changed – and so has the electorate, with Murwillumbah and rural areas north and west being moved into the seat of Lismore, while population growth along the coast has consisted largely of pensioners and retirees.

Labor candidate Craig Elliot’s wife Justine has successfully held on to the overlapping federal seat of Richmond since 2004, despite a swing to the Coalition elsewhere in the region.

In 2015, Mr Provest’s first-preference votes dropped massively to 47 per cent, while Labor’s jumped to almost 36 per cent, leaving Provest with just a 3.2 per cent margin in two-party preferred terms.

The normally circumspect ABC pollster Antony Green says the seat ‘will be very difficult for National MP Geoff Provest to defend’.

He adds that the choice of site for the Tweed Valley Hospital, on state-significant farmland at Cudgen, has not gone down well with the Nationals’ traditional support base.

Top of paper

Mr Elliot has also benefited from the ballot paper draw, which sees him on top and garnering the donkey vote.

Mr Provest’s name is in the middle of the paper, while Bill Fenelon, for the Greens, sits at the bottom.

Unlike the situation in the neighbouring seats of Ballina and Lismore, the Greens in Tweed ran a distant third in 2015 (13 per cent), marginally lower than their 2011 result (15 per cent).

Mopping up the remaining votes will be the interestingly named Susie Hearder for the Animal Justice Party and Ronald McDonald for Sustainable Australia – neither of whom have run significant campaigns.

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  1. My prediction for the three key seats in our district.
    Greens to hold Ballina on Labor preferences.
    Greens to win Lismore on Labor preferences.
    Labor to lose Tweed on fragmented Green preferences.
    I write about why later.

    T. Sharples
    Tweed Heads

  2. Labor will only win in Tweed with Green preferences. However their primary vote might be less than before due to their support for the Hospital to be built at Kings Forest near Kingscliff. There are many people living on the Coast that do not want to see any highrise at all. That includes a 9 storey Hospital either on State Significant Farmland at Cudgen or Kings Forest. These people are of the opinion that as soon as you get one highrise others would follow. The thought of ‘Gold Coast on Tweed’ is their worst nightmare. Therefore these voters only have one choice and that is to vote Green. This might be difficult for some of the ‘rusted on’ National and Labor voters but when decisions having a massive impact on their lifestyle are made they would have to make a difficult choice. If enough anti highrise, save the Tweed Coast believers vote Green the seat could become very close. If Greens could pick up enough old Labor and National voters and sneak into second place an upset could be on the cards. One thing is for certain that if Mr Elliot does succeed it will not have been because of the popularity of his wife. Her first preferences have fallen nearly 13% in the last. four elections. Her election as well will be very interesting. The Greens definately stand a chance there.

  3. It amazes me with peoples shallow thinking a 9 story hospital is great for future generations as the tweed grows rapidly i left and now live on the northern beaches sydney all areas have to advance through grow your not here for a long time think of the generations behind you

  4. The two major, err sorry two and a half major parties have a lot to answer for. Both in the pockets of the big end of town be it state or federal. Neither will say a word on money in politics. That is their deathnell for me.

  5. How can people vote for the Nat’s?
    The appalling Mindenee fish kills, the water theft?
    The appalling waste of billions for the unwanted stadiums.
    The belligerent behaviour of Berejelkian.
    The belligerent behaviour of the Nationals-Developer “Great Cudgen land scam”.
    The questionable behaviour of multiple LNP ministers and members.
    Public health and schools funding.
    Privatisation and sell offs of “everything”.
    “Anyone but the Nat’s” and don’t preference them, Period!

  6. It seems odd to me that, if the Coalition has all this money to spend on the Tweed & Northern Rivers & the rest of the State, why haven’t that done it all before now? That would have encouraged voters to keep them in power. Have they just hung back until now so that they will enjoy another term?

  7. Judge the Nationals by what they have done and what they failed to do. They’ve had 8 years Don’t believe what they say they will do. Its too late. 8 years too late


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