CHARLTON:  Seat profile & history 

FEDERAL ELECTION: The seat of Charlton
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CHARLTON: Meet the candidates

Former minister Greg Combet, ALP,

Margin:12.7 per cent

CANDIDATES

1. Pat Conroy, ALP

2. Kevin Baker, Liberal (quit but still on ballot)

3. Steve Camilleri, Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)

4. Dessie Kocher, The Greens

5. Brian Burston, One Nation

6. Bronwyn Reid, Palmer United Party

7. Trevor Anthoney, Bullet Train for Australia

PROFILE: The electorate covers about 688 square-kilometres from Rankin Park, Cardiff Heights, Cardiff South and Garden Suburb in the east, encompassing all of Lake Macquarie, then extending south to Wyee, including Mandalong and Martinsville to the west and Seahampton, West Wallsend and Maryland in the north.

Main suburbs include, Elermore Vale, Fletcher, Minmi and most of Wallsend in the Newcastle area, Boolaroo, Cardiff, Cooranbong, Edgeworth, Morisset, Speers Point, Toronto, part of Warners Bay, and Wangi Wangi in the Lake Macquarie area.

Economic activity includes coal mining, electricity generation at Eraring power station, some tourism, retail, light engineering.

HISTORY: The seat is named after Matthew Charlton (1866–1948), a member of the NSW Legislative Assembly from 1903 to 1910, a member of the House of Representatives 1910 to 1928 and leader of the ALP from 1922 to 1928.

It was created in 1984 and has been held by the ALP, first by Bob Brown. His daughter Kelly Hoare replaced him in 1998.

Ms Hoare was re-elected in 2001 and 2004 but was challenged for preselection in 2007 by ACTU secretary Greg Combet, who was installed by the ALP’s national executive.

VOX POP:

1. Peter Fawcett, Cardiff North

‘‘The economy. I’m voting Labor because I’m quite happy with how it’s going. I want them to look after pensioners.’’

2. Tracie Lavelle, Macquarie Hills

‘‘The selling off of public assets. I would like to think we’ll have something left to hand on to our grandchildren. I’m still deciding how I’ll vote.’’

3. Larrie Chapman, Cardiff South

‘‘The economy is pretty important. I don’t like [Coalition leader Tony] Abbott.’’

4. Ron Keevers, Cardiff

‘‘I’m a self-funded retiree so I’m concerned about interest rates. I think the government has done a reasonable job with what they’ve had to put up with. They got us through the global financial crisis.’’

5. Helen Waugh, Cardiff South.

‘‘Health – general investment in the system. The waiting times are too long for our hospitals.’’

6. Victor Chumak, Cardiff

‘‘The economy is the main issue. They waste so much money on things, you take small business, they’re struggling like hell, but they give money to people who want to come here illegally’’.