New South Wales election 2015


Margin: Labor 5.2%*
Region: Eastern Sydney
Federal: Kingsford-Smith (52%)/Sydney (37%)/Grayndler (9%)/Wentworth (3%)
* Labor 20.0% versus Greens at by-election on 25/8/2012

Candidates in ballot paper order



No Land Tax

Labor (top)

Christian Democratic Party

Liberal (bottom)





Two-party preferred booth results from 2011 state election showing Labor majority in red and Liberal in blue. New boundaries in thicker blue lines, old ones in thinner red lines. Boundary data courtesy of Ben Raue of The Tally Room.

Encompassing Sydney Airport and suburbs to the north and north-east, Heffron was held prior to the 2011 election by Kristina Keneally, who at least managed to retain her own seat while leading Labor to an electoral decimation that reduced it to 20 seats. She nonetheless suffered a 16.6% swing, which reduced her margin to 7.1%. After lingering for a year on the back bench, Keneally resigned from parliament in June 2012 and was succeeded at a by-election the following August by Ron Hoenig, a barrister of Jewish extraction who had been mayor of Botany Bay for no fewer than 31 consecutive years.

Heffron encompasses the suburbs of Tempe, Sydenham and St Peters immediately north of the airport, Kensington, Kingsford, Rosebery, Eastlakes and the residential areas of Mascot to its east, and Waterloo and Alexandria nearer the city. The latter area hitherto extended north to Redfern, but it and its 9500 voters have been transferred to the new seat of Newtown, which replaces abolished Marrickville. It is compensated with the areas around Randwick Racecourse and Centennial Park, respectively adding 3600 voters from Coogee and 1800 from Sydney. The changes have cut the Labor margin as calculated from the 2011 election result from 7.1% to 5.2%.

The electorate of Heffron was created in 1973 in place of abolished Randwick, which had been a bellwether electorate that changed hands along with government in 1930, 1932 and 1941. Subsequent redistributions strengthened the seat for Labor by orienting it further to the west, but the Liberals nonetheless achieved their best result in the seat’s history in 2011. The seat has only had four members since its inception, being held by Laurie Brereton from 1973 to 1990; Brereton’s sister, Deirdre Grusovin, from the time of Brereton’s move to federal politics until 2003; Kristina Keneally until 2012; and Ron Hoenig thereafter.

The transfer from Grusovin to Keneally followed a complicated power struggle between Brereton, who by one account was seeking to secure the succession for his son Anthony, and then state party secretary Eric Roozendaal, who argued Grusovin should make way for a younger candidate. The preselection following Keneally’s departure was less eventful, with Hoenig emerging uncontested after an early front-runner, former government staffer Michael Comninos, decided not to contest. Hoenig had last been a prospective Labor candidate in 1990, when Laurie Brereton defeated him in the federal preselection for Kingsford-Smith.

Hoenig won promotion to shadow cabinet in October 2012 in the ports and energy portfolios, part of a reshuffle that contentiously elevated four members of the Right to the front bench. Energy was exchanged for emergency services in the reshuffle held after Macquarie Fields MP Andrew McDonald stood aside in September 2014, and ports was swapped for heritage when Luke Foley became leader in January 2015.

Corrections, complaints and feedback to William Bowe at pollbludger-at-bigpond-dot-com. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.

Back to Crikey’s New South Wales election guide

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