New South Wales election 2015


Margin: Independent 0.3% versus Liberal*
Region: Eastern Sydney
Federal: Sydney (52%)/Wentworth (52%)
* Independent 13.7% versus Liberal at by-election on 27/10/2012

Candidates in ballot paper order




Labor (bottom)


Independent (top)

No Land Tax

Liberal (centre)


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.

Created at the 2007 election in place of abolished Bligh, the electorate of Sydney covers the harbour from Pyrmont west through the city centre to Rushcutters Bay, extending south to Paddington and the northern parts of Haymarket and Surry Hills. Bligh and Sydney between them have been in independent hands since 1988, current member Alex Greenwich having succeeded Clover Moore at a by-election in October 2012. Inner-city population growth has required the electorate to shed around 8500 voters in Chippendale and southern Surry Hills to the new seat of Newtown in the south, together with 2600 in Ultimo to Balmain in the west.

The change in name from Bligh to Sydney in 2007 resulted from the electorate’s absorption of the central business district and harbour shore as far west as Pyrmont from the seat of Port Jackson, which was renamed Balmain. The city centre had been in a series of Labor-held electorates since the end of proportional representation in 1927, all since abolished: King until 1973, Phillip until 1981, Elizabeth until 1988, McKell until 1991, and Port Jackson thereafter. Bligh was created in 1962 in place of abolished Woollahra, which since 1927 had filled the gap between the city-based electorate and Vaucluse on the coast. Labor’s only wins in Woollahra and Bligh were in 1927, 1962 and 1981, but Bligh became more volatile as cuts in parliamentary numbers forced it to expand westwards into the inner city. Michael Yabsley recovered it for the Liberals as part of the party’s improved performance in 1984, but he was unable to enjoy Nick Greiner’s election win in 1988, when independent candidate Clover Moore finished ahead of Labor with 26.7% of the vote and defeated Yabsley on preferences. Yabsley returned to parliament later in the year as the member for Vaucluse, where he was elected unopposed after the death of sitting member Ray Aston.

Clover Moore was a Sydney councillor who had been the favourite to be the next Lord Mayor when the Unsworth Labor government sacked the council and replaced it with commissioners in 1987. She was elected member for Bligh in 1991, making her one of the three independents whose support the Liberals needed to remain in power over the subsequent term (another being Tony Windsor, then the member for Tamworth). She was subsequently re-elected six times, her primary vote ranging from 36.3% in 1995 and 2011 to 43.7% in 1991. The Liberal surge in 2011 resulted in her narrowest margin to date, the Liberals outpolling Labor for the first time since 1995 (the boundaries at the 1999 and 2003 elections had been more favourable for Labor due to the inclusion of Redfern), and finishing 3.1% short after preferences. Her earlier winning margins were between 6.1% and 5.5% over Liberal in 1991 and 1995, and 9.8%, 14.7% and 16.6% over Labor in 1999, 2003 and 2007.

The lord mayoralty of Sydney was added to Bligh’s list of responsibilities in 2004 when she ran in protest against the government’s sacking of the existing council and amalgamation of Sydney and South Sydney councils, which was widely seen as an effort to bring the strong Labor vote in South Sydney to bear in electing Keating government minister Michael Lee. She was elected with 35.0% of the vote in 2004, and re-elected with 46.9% in 2008. Her tenure in state politics was brought to an end in 2011 when the O’Farrell government passed legislation requiring that state members relinquish local government responsibilities. A further 27 affected MPs chose to bow out of council politics when the local government elections were held in September, but Moore opted to run again for Lord Mayor at the election of September 2012, at which she again increased her vote to 51.1%.

Moore threw her support in the by-election to replace her in Sydney behind Alex Greenwich, the national spokesperson for Australian Marriage Equality. With no Labor candidate in the field, Greenwich won an easy victory over Liberal candidate Shayne Mallard with 47.3% of the primary vote, prevailing by 13.7% after preferences. Labor has made a bold choice for candidate at the election in Edwina Lloyd, a criminal lawyer who about 10 years ago was arrested for dealing a small quantity of cocaine. The Liberal candidate is Patrice Pandeleos, who ran against Kristina Keneally in Heffron in 2011.

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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