Following the resignation of Malcolm Turnbull, a by-election has been called in Wentworth to be held on October 20. We will do a three survey study on this by-election, the same as we did for the Super Saturday by-elections. Registered Wentworth voters can sign up here to take part.
Wentworth is a fascinating seat, and as it was my seat for the last 6 years one I know very well. (Disclosure: I also know Tim Murray through my volunteering at Tamarama Surf Life Saving Club, of which he is the president.) I am very much hoping to get a significant sample so I can delve in to all the little nuances and local quirks I am familiar with, but will have my work checked for any bias. There are extra questions for those who identify as religious Jews (Shanah Tovah to the tribe!), as well as a couple of extra questions about local features.
As I have already commented on Twitter, there are really quite different local communities in Wentworth. The beachside suburbs, including the Bondi Bubble, have quite an interconnected community and things like compassion and social justice are high on the agenda; the harbourside and peninsula suburbs are more wealthy, community engagement is more structured (P&Cs rather than, say, just showing up for a clean up the beach walk), and the parochialism more protective than the sharing love of harbourside. The Paddington end of the electorate is a bit of a mixed bag, a lot more society than community (more geschellschaft than gemeinschaft for the Tonnies fans) but of course has a vibrant LGBTIQ+ community generally appreciated and respected by the cafe-loving inner-city dwellers who chose Paddo for the short commute rather than anything else.
The Jewish community is the wildcard. If for no other reason than it is more diverse than it seems. You have the extremes of the hassidic Chabad community, dressed in the black and white/long sleeves and skirts, through to the reform community around Emmanuel Synagogue with their commitment to LGBTIQ+ and supporting refugees, and the non-religious (or indeed other religion) cultural/ethnic Jews who are not captured in the 12.5% of the electorate who identified as Jewish in the last census.
The Wentworth Jewish community are not all white, and not all wealthy, or any other stereotype you may envision when considering this minority. It is an extremely diverse minority. They do not think with one mind or have one opinion. Ever.
But there are a range of issues (particularly anti-Semitism and Israel, but a range of others – e.g. do not underestimate the complex emotional reactions to refugees being held in camps) which they will react to differently than the Wentworth goyim.
Like Mayo, Wentworth will make up its own mind, and typical party hack campaigning is unlikely to sway them. The Wentworth Liberals have already demonstrated that by rejecting the party hack preferred candidate of Scott Morrison, Katherine O’Regan, in favour of the former Ambassador to Israel (who as far as I know is not Jewish although has a clear love of yiddishkeit, of Indian descent and was born in Canada – s44 questions are inevitable!) Dave Sharma.
The full list of declared candidates at the time of writing is:
- Dave Sharma, Liberal Party
- Tim Murray, Australian Labor Party
- Dominic Wy Kanak, The Greens
- Andrea Leong, Science Party
- Shayne Higson, Voluntary Euthanasia Party
- Ben Forsyth, Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party
- Licia Heath, Independent
- Angela Vithoulkas, Independent
- David Barrow, Independent
Prominent doctor and Sydney City Councillor Kerryn Phelps had not confirmed herself as a candidate, despite the chatter, at the time of posting and first survey launch. Nominations close on the 27th of September.
And if you need to update your enrolment (either in or out of Wentworth) you have until Monday September 24 to do so. Check your enrolment at https://check.aec.gov.au/ or change your address quickly and easily here https://www.aec.gov.au/enrol/change-address.htm – don’t forget to updat your electorate with us too! Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay tuned… this one will be fun.