New South Wales election 2015


Margin: Greens 4.4% versus Labor
Region: Inner Western Sydney
Federal: Sydney (58%)/Grayndler (42%)

New seat created in place of Marrickville

Candidates in ballot paper order



Greens (top)

Australian Cyclists Party

Animal Justice Party


No Land Tax

Christian Democratic Party

Labor (bottom)




Two-party preferred booth results from 2011 state election show Labor-versus-Greens results in Marrickville and Labor-versus-Liberal results in Heffron. Labor majority shown in red, Greens in green 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.

Newtown is a new inner-city seat created in place of abolished Marrickville, which it succeeds as the second most promising prospect for the Greens after the one seat the party currently holds, its northern neighbour Balmain. The electorate encompasses southern Surry Hills and Redfern at the city end, extending west through Newtown itself to Stanmore and Petersham. The suburb of Marrickville is located to the south of the latter area, and now forms the eastern end of the new seat of Summer Hill. Southern Surry Hills and Redfern have respectively been gained from Sydney, which provides 8500 voters, and Heffron, providing 9500, with the remaining 33,000 coming from Marrickville. Whereas Labor retained Marrickville over the Greens by a margin of 0.9% at the 2011 election, Antony Green calculates that Newtown has a notional Greens margin of 4.4%. The seat will be an open contest due to the retirement of Carmel Tebbutt, the Labor member for Marrickville since 2005 and the wife of Anthony Albanese, who holds the corresponding federal seat of Grayndler.

The abolition of Marrickville brings an end to an electorate that had existed since 1894, barring the interruption of proportional representation between 1920 and 1927. Labor had held the seat since 1910, the most recent members being Andrew Refshauge from 1983 to 2005, a Left faction heavyweight who served as Deputy Premier and Treasurer under Bob Carr, and Carmel Tebbutt thereafter. Refshauge resigned from parliament concurrently with Carr, and the seat was used to provide an entree to the lower house for Tebbutt, who had been in the Legislative Council since 1998. The preselection of a candidate with the strong Left credentials of Tebbutt bespoke Labor’s concern at the threat posed by the Greens, who surpassed the Liberals for the first time at the 2003 election and finished with 39.3% after preferences. This increased only slightly at the by-election, to 42.8%, which was followed by an essentially status quo result at the 2007 election. Their biggest opportunity came with an 8.5% slump in the Labor primary vote amid the disaster of 2011, but Tebbutt nonetheless prevailed at the final count by a margin of 0.9%.

Labor’s candidate for the new seat is Penny Sharpe, a senior figure in the Opposition as Shadow Transport Minister who has served in the Legislative Council since 2005. The electorate was the scene of the highest-profile of Labor’s “community preselections”, in which half the vote was determined by a ballot of local party members and the other half by a “community” vote open to anyone enrolled in the electorate willing to sign on as a party supporter. Sharpe won 64% of the branch vote and 57% of the community vote, easily prevailing over Natalie Gould, who has continued to run Newtown’s iconic Gould’s Book Arcade since the death of her father Bob Gould in 2011, and Sean Macken, a town planner. The Greens’ preselection was won by Jenny Leong, a former human rights campaigner with Amnesty International, over Fiona Byrne, former Marrickville mayor and the party’s candidate for Marrickville at the 2007 and 2011 state elections.

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

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