Seat Watch - Parramatta

Most Liberals love Ross Cameron. It's not just because of his strong conservative streak or steely glare, but the fact that he's a Liberal member in what should be Labor heartland - and has been since 1996. When the swing against Keating was on in that year, no Labor seat, no matter how safe, was under threat. What is unusual about Parramatta, and credit must surely go to Cameron, is that it stayed that way through 98, 01, and now, seemingly 2004. Or maybe not.

Parramatta is a slice of working class suburbia that abandoned the big-picture middle class small-l liberal elite vision of Keating and Beazley and were instead sucking on the bosom of Howard's white-picket-fence conservative Anglo wet dream. These were Howard's version of Menzies' 'Forgotten people' and Howard couldn't do a lot more to sure he remembered them, short of tattooing Parramatta across his bushy brow.

But these are also Latham's people. For the first time in a long time, the working class voters of Parramatta have one of their own guys leading the Labor party. Sure, there is the geographic connection that Latham has with the area, but more tellingly there is the values connection, and the world-view connection. Like the denizens of Parramatta, Latham doesn't mind a bit of biffo, believes in talking straight and cares more about publicans than republicans (except of the US variety). Yep, it's a cliche, and probably a slightly patronising one, but there's a ring of truth to it.

The margin in Parramatta is 1.2%, and the Labor challenger is Julie Owens, who has an interesting family background. Whilst Cameron's personal vote will certainly help his cause, it seems that the ALP will give this seat every last effort. It's a matter of pride.

Makes you proud to be Australian Enough already, Ross, we get it.

The tip - a gain to the ALP.


Dana said…
Ah so this is the famous Parramatta! I encountered some personal experiences with them this week. Interesting area....

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