New South Wales election 2015


Margin: Liberal 12.5%
Region: Western Sydney
Federal: Parramatta (88%)/Bennelong (11%)/Mitchell (1%)

Candidates in ballot paper order




No Land Tax

Liberal (top)

Christian Democratic Party


Labor (bottom)





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

Parramatta delivered Labor one of its most bruising defeats of the 2011 election, with a devastating 25.8% swing delivering it to the Liberals for only the second time since 1953. On the new post-redistribution boundaries, Parramatta itself is located in the south-west of the electorate, from which it extends eastwards through Rosehill to Ermington, and north-eastwards through Dundas to southern Carlingford. Newly gained territory includes the Carlingford area and neighbouring North Rocks to the west, respectively adding 4750 voters from Castle Hill and 2200 from Baulkham Hills, while in the south 4500 voters are gained from Granville through a transfer encompassing parts of Parramatta, Granville and Harris Park. Making way for the new additions are the loss of Westmead and surrounding areas at the electorate’s western end, sending around 5750 voters to Seven Hills at the northern end and 6750 to Granville in the south. The changes have had only a slight impact on the Liberal margin, which increases from 12.1% to 12.5%.

The electorate of Parramatta has existed without interruption since the establishment of the New South Wales parliament in 1856, and provided Jack Lang with a home when it was a five-member district during the proportional representation years from 1920 to 1927. It was otherwise a conservative electorate until 1953, having only been won by Labor as a single-member district in 1930. After the turning point of 1953, Labor would not lose the seat until the defeat of the Unsworth government in 1988, when Liberal candidate John Books secured a 0.5% win against Labor incumbent Barry Wilde. That margin was reversed at the redistribution that took effect at the 1991 election, and a subsequent 2.1% delivered the seat to Labor candidate Andrew Ziolkowski.

Ziolkowski died of cancer in April 1994 at the age of just 30, and was succeeded at the ensuing by-election by his widow, Gabrielle Harrison. Harrison picked up a 9.5% swing, partly assisted by Liberal candidate Wendy Jones’s assertion that she should have been looking after her grieving family. Harrison was appointed Sports and Recreation Minister when the Carr government came to power, but her political fortunes declined thereafter and she was dumped from the ministry in 1999. Amid talk that the Right was gearing to have her replaced, Harrison bowed out at the 2003 election. Bob Carr wished to see her succeeded by Parramatta Lord Mayor David Borger, an unsuccessful candidate for the federal seat of Parramatta in 2001, but he reportedly queered the deal by refusing to join the Right. The Right instead used an N40 ballot to install Tanya Gadiel, policy adviser to factional chieftain Michael Costa.

These conflicts re-emerged before the 2007 election when local Left chieftain Laurie Ferguson plotted to have Gadiel make way for Borger by moving to Toongabbie. However, Morris Iemma scotched the plan by having the party’s national executive intervene to confirm Gadiel in Parramatta, draft Borger to replace the retiring Kim Yeadon in Granville, and have Toongabbie go to one of his staffers, Nathan Rees. Gadiel was one of five MPs Morris Iemma sought to bring into cabinet in the September 2008 reshuffle, provoking the Right faction rebellion that cost him his job. Her announcement in December 2010 that she would not contest the looming election came as a surprise, given she had fought a move by Ferguson and Eddie Obeid’s sub-faction of the Right to replace her with local councillor Pierre Esber. Esber duly won preselection in her place, but went on to be heavily defeated by Liberal candidate Geoffrey Lee, an associate dean at the University of Western Sydney.

Labor’s new candidate for the seat is James Shaw, a 37-year-old lawyer and Parramatta councillor. Shaw is the son of the late Jeff Shaw, a former state Attorney-General and Supreme Court judge.

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