The federal seat that I live in - Throsby - is by all accounts a very safe Labor seat. Since it was created in 1984 it has been held by Labor. The current encumbent, former union secretary Stephen Jones retained the seat at the last election with 62% of the vote after preferrences were distributed. If the expected votergeddon happens in September Throsby will be on of the few seats that Labor retains.
Which of course means that it is a treasure to be made safe against the on coming tide of voter dissent.
Or it means that it's a valuable prize in the ongoing battle between the Labor Left and Right factions.
Which do you think has happened?
Let me give you a clue. It's just on four months until polling day and the Liberal Party, National Party and the Greens have each selected their candidates for the seat. The Liberals have Larissa Mallinson, the Greens have Shellharbour Councillor Peter Moran and the Nationals have decided to field Gary "Angry" Anderson. (note no links to the others because I can't actually find any pages for them)
The Labor party?
They've only just decided whether they're going to have a rank and file vote or not.
Last friday Labor announced that the Throsby candidate would be decided by a vote between the incumbent (and left faction warrior) Stephen Jones and nurse (and right faction battler) John Rumble. No word as to when this vote is meant to occure but it had better happen soon, because frankly, if they leave it any later, they're gong to miss the election.
The infighting in Throsby has been going on for years. with member for Wollongong Noreen Hay leading the charge from the right. As with all family arguments things started nasty and have only gotten worse. Any article published by the local paper is immediately flooded with angry comments from both sides, with the occasional liberal or greens supporter deseperately trying to get a word in edge wise.
So where does that leave us, the voters in Throsby? Well, I've spoken to a number of people and frankly they are jack of the infighting. Watching the local Labor party tear itself apart isn't exactly confidence building, especially considering how Federal Labor is viewed in general.
Who ever wins the pre-selection, they're gong to have a hell of a battle, not just against the other candidates, but the fall out from the internecine warfare that's consumed the local branches for the past few years.