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Byron Shire
September 16, 2021

Lismore set to be a three-cornered contest

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Ballot paper for the 2019 NSW state election. Image NSW Electoral Commission

The state seat of Lismore looks increasingly like a three-way tussle with National Party support in the district plummeting, according to poll results announced today.

In 2015, sitting National Party member Thomas George held onto the seat with 42.5 per cent of the first-preference vote.

But after preferences were allocated, it was a narrow victory over the Greens’ Adam Guise with a little over 2,000 votes between them.

ABC pollster Antony Green had predicted that with CSG declining as a local issue, the Nationals might benefit in Lismore. But that seems not to be the case, according to the YouGov Galaxy poll.

The poll puts first-time National Party candidate Austin Curtin on just 35 per cent of the primary vote, a drop of seven per cent from 2015.

And it predicts that with the Greens holding 28 per cent of first preferences, and Labor on 27, a small change in numbers could see either party secure the seat.

Some 588 Lismore voters were contacted for the poll.

High profile opposition

Both Labor and the Greens have chosen high profile candidates.

Janelle Saffin held the corresponding federal seat of Page for Labor for two terms after coming to office during the Kevin ’07 landslide.

Greens candidate Sue Higginson is a local farmer and former CEO of the Environmental Defenders Office.

By comparison, Mr Curtin is a fresh face, who lacks the benefit of incumbency. The Nationals will still have strong memories of how that went down for Kris Beavis in Ballina in 2015.


To make matters worse for Mr Curtin, two ‘alternative’ conservative candidates are standing in the seat this time, potentially eroding those much-needed first preferences.

They are Paul Collits, representing Cory Bernadi’s Australian Conservatives, and popular Lismore Councillor Greg Bennett, who is standing as an independent.

Alison Waters of the Animal Justice Party is likely to direct her preferences to Ms Higginson.

David Taylor rounds out the how-to-vote card, standing on behalf of the Sustainable Australia Party. Whether he will direct preferences at all is unclear: the party’s website says, ‘we prefer that YOU decide where to direct your own preferences’.

So, all in all, it looks set to go down to the wire in Lismore.

One thing Mr Curtin can rely on is the donkey vote: he has drawn the top of the ballot paper.


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  1. Just put the Nationals last.

    They commissioned an enquiry into water mining that was a whitewash.

    So unless you want the Northern Rivers to be the plastic bottled water capital of Australia vote ABN.

    Anyone But Nationals.

    Oh the Tory bloke might be a bit of a closet plastic water bottle supporter too….

  2. The Nats have been totally absent on the most pressing issue of our time – the climate emergency. They’re married to big coal and gas and seem to want to throw fuel on the fire ! We can’t allow them another 4 years of that and Labor have been gutless, esp over Adani. Vote for Sue if, like me, you don’t want your children’s lives reduced to a battle for survival.

  3. Put the Nationals last. Kick them out. Vote for those who can’t vote. Vote for your kids, vote climate change.

  4. Dr Whoo’s got it! Sue & Janelle – then fill in all the other boxes & add
    the National’s Curtin Austin last at no. 7. It’s a sort of Melbourne Cup
    I reckon – with a 2-way bet, naturally.


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