New South Wales election 2015


Margin: Liberal 30.4%
Region: Lower North Shore
Federal: North Sydney (84%)/Warringah (10%)/Bradfield (6%)

Candidates in ballot paper order



Labor (bottom)

Australian Cyclists Party


Liberal (top)

Christian Democratic Party

No Land Tax




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.

Held by Transport Minister and deputy Liberal leader Gladys Berejiklian, the Liberal stronghold of Willoughby covers the western bank of Middle Harbour from Cremorne north to Castle Cove, from which it extends westwards through Willoughby to Chatswood West. The redistribution has added around 3000 voters in an area around Crows Nest from its southern neighbour North Shore, redrawn its western boundary with Lane Cove to add 2750 voters around Chatswood West and remove 3600 in Lane Cove North further to the south, and sent around 2000 voters in the suburb of Castle Cove to its northern neighbour, Davidson.

An electorate of Willoughby was first created in 1894, and the only interruptions to its existence since have been the period of multi-member districts from 1920 to 1927, and its renaming as Middle Harbour from 1988 to 1991. Labor has won the seat on just two occasions, in 1913 and 1978. The unsuccessful Liberal candidate on the latter occasion was future Premier Nick Greiner, who had contentiously won Liberal preselection at the expense of the incumbent, Larry McGinty. McGinty ran as an independent, and his preferences helped deliver a 424-vote victory to Labor’s Eddie Britt. Peter Collins recovered the seat for the Liberals in 1981, and went on to serve as Opposition Leader from the 1995 election defeat until December 1998, when he was deposed without having contested an election. Collins held the seat throughout a parliamentary career that ended in 2003, including during its period as Middle Harbour from 1988 to 1991.

Collins was succeeded at the 2003 election by Gladys Berejiklian, a Commonwealth Bank executive who won preselection over a field that also included Jonathan O’Dea, then a North Sydney Council alderman and now the member for Davidson. Berejiklian then had to survive a determined challenge from Willoughby mayor and independent candidate Pat Reilly, who reportedly spent $166,896 on his campaign. Reilly led the count at the close of election night, but Berejiklian ultimately prevailed by 144 votes after preferences. The seat returned to its traditional ways when Berejiklian won a majority of the primary vote in 2007, and her margin over Labor reached 30.8% in the 2011 landslide.

Berejiklian enjoyed a rapid rise after entering parliament, winning promotion to the shadow ministry in February 2005 and attaining the politically significant transport portfolio from November 2006, which she retained in government after the 2011 election victory. By the time of Barry O’Farrell’s resignation in April 2014, Berejiklian had emerged as the favoured candidate of the moderate faction as his successor, and also of O’Farrell himself, who reportedly sought to have the leadership vote delayed two weeks to give her time to organise the numbers. According to Anna Patty of the Sydney Morning Herald, her decision to accept second position on a ticket with Mike Baird resulted from concern that her leadership would be undermined by the three rival Right sub-factions marshalling their forces against her.

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

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