New South Wales election 2015


Margin: Liberal 32.4%
Region: Northern Sydney
Federal: Warringah

Candidates in ballot paper order



Liberal (top)


Labor (bottom)

No Land Tax

Christian Democratic Party




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

Premier Mike Baird’s seat of Manly covers the northern harbour foreshore from Middle Harbour to the coast, including Seaforth, Balgowlah and Clontarf at the former end and Manly and Curl Curl at the latter, and has been essentially unchanged by the redistribution. The entire area is strongly conservative, particularly the harbourside booths at Seaforth and Balgowlah Heights. The electorate was created with the abolition of proportional representation in 1927 and held from then until 1945 by Major Alfred Reid, who represented the seat both as an independent and under various conservative banners (including even the Country Party) before the modern Liberal Party was established in 1944. His successor Douglas Darby held the seat for the Liberals from 1945 to 1978, barring a period from 1962 to 1965 when he sat as an independent. With Darby’s retirement in 1978, Manly set the high-water mark for the “Wranslides” of 1978 and 1981 in being won for Labor by Alan Stewart.

David Hay recovered the seat for the Liberals amid their better performance at the 1984 election, but its penchant for quirky behaviour returned in 1991 when independent Manly councillor Peter MacDonald overcame a 45.7% to 34.9% deficit on the primary vote to defeat Hay by 0.7% after preferences. The narrowly unsuccessful Liberal candidate in 1995 was David Oldfield, later to emerge as a key adviser to Pauline Hanson, an upper house One Nation MP and more recently a talk radio presenter. MacDonald retired at the 1999 election and ran unsuccessfully against Tony Abbott in Warringah in 2001, polling 27.8%. The Liberals were naturally hopeful that the seat would return to the fold in MacDonald’s absence, but they were thwarted when Manly deputy mayor David Barr won the seat as an independent with MacDonald’s support, securing a 1.3% margin over Liberal candidate and Warringah councillor Darren Jones. Barr was re-elected by a 1.3% margin in 2003, making Liberal candidate Jean Hay, the popularly elected Manly mayor and wife of former member David Hay, the fourth successive Liberal candidate to lose by less than 2%.

The seat definitively returned to the Liberal fold in 2007 after the Liberals preselected Mike Baird, head of corporate banking with HSBC and the son of Bruce Baird, former Greiner/Fahey government minister and later federal member for Cook. Baird had been favoured by the moderate faction ahead of Michael Darby, son of long-serving former member Douglas Darby and an arch right-winger, prevailing in the preselection by 75 votes to 63 after lobbying on his behalf from Peter Debnam, Alan Jones and John Howard. He went on to win election with a decisive 4.5% swing, before enjoying a 25.1% increase in his primary vote in the absence of independent competition in 2011.

Baird was already being tipped as a future leader before entering parliament, and won immediate elevation to the shadow ministry after the 2007 election, followed by promotion to Shadow Treasurer in December 2008. With Barry O’Farrell’s unanticipated departure in April 2014, Baird emerged as leader unopposed as part of a ticket that included Gladys Berejiklian as deputy. It was reported that O’Farrell had manoeuvred to have the vote delayed to give Berejiklian time to marshall her forces, but she chose not to contest as she feared being undermined as Premier by the various forces of the Right. Baird on the other hand was deemed acceptable due to his socially conservative views and enthusiasm for privatisation.

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

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