Today I’m focusing on a block of 29 seats in the eastern half of Sydney. This area doesn’t really identify as “eastern Sydney” but could be defined as a number of smaller regions: the inner west, eastern suburbs, north shore, northern beaches, St George district and the Sutherland Shire.
If you look across the whole of Sydney, there are three bands of electorates: Liberal seats along northern Sydney from Manly to the Hills district and Hawkesbury (let’s include Vaucluse as an honorary north shore electorate), Labor seats from Maroubra to Londonderry, and Liberal seats on the southern end of the city, in the Sutherland Shire, on the Georges River, and the south-western fringe of the city.
All but one marginal seat in the city lies on the edge of one of these bands. The only exception is Heathcote, which borders a block of Labor seats in the Illawarra region.
In the eastern half of Sydney, seats of interest tend to be most concentrated close to the city in the inner west and eastern suburbs. There are no seats of interest on the north shore, and then there is also Oatley in the St George district and Heathcote at the southern end of the Sutherland Shire.
Half of these seats of interest are non-classic electorates held by Greens or independents.
I’ll run through these seats one by one below the fold:
The most marginal Liberal seat in this region is the eastern suburbs seat of Coogee. This beachside electorate was won by Liberal Bruce Notley-Smith in 2011. Notley-Smith held on by 2.9% in 2015. The seat is a relatively strong seat for the Greens, who have harboured ambitions of coming in the top two, but this seems unlikely in 2019. Labor would be hoping to win this seat as part of depriving the current government of a majority.
While Coogee is part of a group of seats held by very small margins, Oatley is in the next group, on a margin of 6.6%. Liberal Mark Coure won the seat in 2011 and increased his margin in 2015. This seat covers parts of the St George district on the north side of the Georges River, including Peakhurst, Penshurst and Riverwood.
Heathcote covers the southern end of the Sutherland Shire along with a small part of the City of Wollongong, and is held by Liberal MP Lee Evans by a 7.6% margin. This is one of the seats that could put Labor in an election-winning position, even if they don’t win a majority, and there’s evidence that the Liberals are putting in a big effort to hold on.
The Greens’ Jamie Parker holds Balmain by a 4.7% margin. This electorate covers the Balmain peninsula and other nearby suburbs. Parker won the seat in 2011, and strengthened his hold in 2015. Conventional wisdom suggests that the Greens will win a third term here, but Parker is not very safe and could be vulnerable if Labor’s campaign goes well.
Independent MP Alex Greenwich holds the seat of Sydney by an 8.1% margin. Greenwich won the seat at a 2012 by-election following the resignation of lord mayor Clover Moore, who was forced to pick between her two jobs. Greenwich is an ally of Moore’s and has benefited from her personal vote. It doesn’t seem likely that he would lose but he polled less than 40% of the primary vote in 2015 so this isn’t a seat where you can be sure of the independent hold.
The Greens’ Jenny Leong holds Newtown by a 9.3% margin, which is about as safe as any Greens lower house seat has ever been. She is probably safe, but the interactions between Labor and Greens aren’t as predictable as the major party contest. A resurgent ALP and a conflict-ridden Greens may hinder the Greens campaign here.