Division of Macarthur
Australian House of Representatives Division
Division of Macarthur (green) in New South Wales
|Namesake||John Macarthur and Elizabeth Macarthur|
|Area||798 km2 (308.1 sq mi)|
The Division of Macarthur is an Australian electoral division in the state of New South Wales. The division is named after John Macarthur and his wife Elizabeth, who were both pioneers of Australia's wool industry. The main products and work in the electorate are in the fruit and vegetable production, lucerne and fodder crops, wine, dairy cattle and horse-breeding.
Located in outer south-west Sydney and covering 537 square kilometres (207 sq mi), the present boundaries of the division cover the southern suburbs of Campbelltown, all of the local government area of Camden and small parts of Wollondilly. The division covers areas east of the Nepean River between Liverpool and Penrith and south to Camden. It encompasses the suburbs of Airds, Ambarvale, Appin, Badgerys Creek, Bickley Vale, Bradbury, Camden, Camden South, Campbelltown, Cawdor, Cobbitty, Ellis Lane, Gilead, Glen Alpine, Grasmere, Greendale, Harrington Park, Kentlyn, Mount Annan, Narellan, Oran Park, Rosemeadow, Rossmore, St Helens Park, Wedderburn and Woodbine and parts of Bringelly, Catherine Field, Douglas Park, Leumeah, Razorback and Rossmore.
Macarthur has changed hands regularly over the years as redistributions have favoured different parties. Macarthur was a bellwether seat from the time of its establishment in 1949 until the 2007 election - during that 58-year period it was always held by a member of the governing party or coalition. Successive redistributions have shrunk the geographical size of the seat due to the rapid growth of the Campbelltown area. In the redistribution prior to the 2001 federal election, Southern Highlands towns such as Bowral and Moss Vale were removed, shrinking the area to one eighth of its original size and making it an entirely Sydney-based seat. This made the seat notionally Labor by 1.3%, from the previous 5.6% of the Liberals, prompting Liberal minister and former New South Wales premier John Fahey to retire. However, his replacement as Liberal candidate, Pat Farmer, achieved an 8.3% swing to retain the seat for the Liberals, and increased the margin from 7 to 9.5% at the 2004 election.
Macarthur was made even safer for the Liberals ahead of the 2007 election, when a redistribution increased the Liberal majority to 11.1%. However, he was nearly defeated in the election, suffering a swing of 10.4%. The swing was spread evenly across the electorate, reflecting its solid mortgage belt character. The swing was particularly large in the heavily mortgaged suburbs of Narellan, Camden and the more Liberal-voting areas of Campbelltown. Farmer's margin was reduced to an extremely marginal 0.7%. Farmer retired in 2010 after a further redistribution made it notionally a Labor seat. However, Russell Matheson was able to retain the seat for the Liberals. Matheson gained a large swing in 2013, increasing the Liberal margin to 11.1 percent.
While the electorate is predominantly outer-suburban, its contains some semi-rural areas such as Bringelly and Leppington. The population of the electorate is likely[according to whom?] to expand significantly over coming years due to the release of new land surrounding Sydney for residential development.
It is a mortgage belt area, with a high percentage of young families, leading to the proportion of residents under 18 being 35%, compared to the national average of 27.2%, with a low proportion of senior citizens (5.9% compared to 12.1%). This is further highlighted in the fact that 23.3% of the population is attending school, compared to the national average of 18.1%. The income is above average, with 19.7% of the families in the electorate earning less than A$500 per week, compared to 24.3% for the national average. The birth demographics of the electorate are similar to the rest of Australia, with the proportion of people born overseas and in non-English speaking countries within one percentage point of the national average.
|Australian federal election, 2013: Macarthur|
|Palmer United||Rob Grosche||4,916||5.78||+5.78|
|Christian Democrats||Sarah Ramsay||2,189||2.58||+0.82|
|Katter's Australian||Mick Williams||1,751||2.06||+2.06|
|Total formal votes||85,009||92.17||+0.28|