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.
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.