New South Wales election 2015


Margin: Labor 7.3%
Region: South-Western Sydney
Federal: Watson (84%)/Banks (16%)

Outgoing member: Robert Furolo (Labor)

Candidates in ballot paper order



Labor (top)


Liberal (bottom)

Christian Democratic Party

No Land Tax




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.

Centred upon a noted Lebanese enclave 10 kilometres south-west of central Sydney, Lakemba delivered Labor one of its very worst results at the 2011 election in terms of the swing, but such was its hold on the seat that it emerged with a 7.0% margin intact. It has been substantially altered by the redistribution, which expands it northwards while cutting territory in the east and south. In the east, nearly 20,000 voters in and around Belmore and northern Kingsgrove have been transferred to Canterbury. In the south, the boundary with Oatley has been amended to add 2000 voters in parts of Narwee and Beverly Hills, while removing 6000 in southern Riverwood and northern Peakhurst further to the west. The northern expansion moves the electorate into Greenacre and areas immediately to its south, adding 17,300 voters from Bankstown and another 5500 from Auburn further to the north. The changes have little effect on the Labor margin, which increases by 0.3%.

Lakemba will be vacated at the election by Rob Furolo, who came to the seat at the by-election held in October 2008 to replace Morris Iemma when he retired after being dumped as Premier. Iemma had in turn come to the seat when the cut in parliamentary numbers at the 1999 election abolished his seat of Hurstville, as part of an arrangement in which Tony Stewart moved from Lakemba to replace the retiring Doug Shedden in Bankstown. Furolo had been mayor of Canterbury for four years before entering parliament, and won Labor preselection without serious opposition. The 13.5% swing he suffered at the by-election was imposing by normal standards, but modest compared with 21.8% and 23.1% swings Labor suffered on the same day in Cabramatta and Ryde as part of a post-Iemma exodus, with the latter being lost to the Liberals. However, Furolo did quite a bit less well at the general election in 2011, the 27.0% swing (compared with the 2007 election result) being the fifth highest of the election.

Furolo announced his decision to retire in August last year, in a statement which complained that “the manner in which politics is undertaken is less noble than it should be”. He had resigned from shadow cabinet in 2012 shortly after receiving unflattering media coverage for going to Greece on honeymoon during budget estimates hearings, for which he blamed party colleagues who had leaked his Facebook postings to journalists. The main contenders to succeed him were Jihad Dib, principal of Punchbowl Boys High School, and Khal Asfour, the mayor of Bankstown. Dib prevailed when John Robertson invited the national executive to intervene on his behalf, prompting Morris Iemma, who had backed Asfour, to complain that the move “flies in the face of everything that’s being said nationally and at the state level about making the party more democratic”. The Australian later published the letter from Robertson requesting the intervention, in which he said the party could “no longer fill parliaments with conveyor-belt Labor MPs”.

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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