Dobell – Australia 2019

ALP 4.8%

Incumbent MP
Emma McBride, since 2016.

NSW Central Coast. Dobell covers most of Wyong Shire and parts of the City of Gosford. Dobell covers Lake Tuggerah and the suburbs surrounding it, including Wyong, Bateau Bay, The Entrance and Toukley, while those parts of Wyong Shire from Budgewoi Lake north are not part of the electorate. The seat also covers a small part of the City of Gosford, extending as far as Wyoming and the northern parts of Terrigal.

Dobell was created in 1984 when the House of Representatives was expanded. It was first won by Michael Lee (ALP). Lee held the seat by largely safe margins for over a decade, becoming a federal minister from the 1993 election until Paul Keating’s defeat in 1996, when Lee came close to losing Dobell.

Lee served as a senior member of the Labor frontbench from 1996 to 2001, when he was defeated by Ken Ticehurst (LIB). Lee went on to run as the ALP candidate for Lord Mayor of Sydney in 2004 and served on the City of Sydney council from 2004 to 2008 after losing the lord mayoralty to Clover Moore.

Ticehurst won the seat twice before losing in 2007 to Labor candidate Craig Thomson, then Assistant Secretary of the Health Services Union. Thomson was re-elected in 2010.

In his second term, Thomson was accused of improper use of his HSU credit card before entering Parliament. Thomson was suspended from the ALP in 2012 and finished his term as an independent.

Dobell was won in 2013 by Liberal candidate Karen McNamara, with Thomson coming a distant fifth.

McNamara only held Dobell for one term, losing to Labor’s Emma McBride in 2016.


Dobell is a marginal seat, but McBride has a decent margin and should benefit from a national pro-Labor swing and a new personal vote to give her a strong chance of re-election.

2016 result

Emma Mcbride Labor 41,45442.9+6.5
Karen Mcnamara Liberal 36,58637.8-3.0
Carter EdwardsOne Nation8,3268.6+8.6
Abigail Boyd Greens 5,6075.8+0.9
Hadden Robert ErvinChristian Democratic Party2,5492.6+1.2
Gregory F StephensonIndependent1,1761.2+1.2
Paul BakerIndependent9761.0+1.0

2016 two-party-preferred result

Emma Mcbride Labor 52,99154.8+4.6
Karen Mcnamara Liberal 43,68345.2-4.6

Booth breakdown

Booths have been divided into four parts:

  • Central – Berkeley Vale, Chittaway Bay, Tuggerah, Wyong
  • North-East – Gorokan, Toukley, Tuggerawong
  • South-East – Bateau Bay, Killarney Vale, The Entrance, Wyoming
  • West – rural areas away from the coast.

The ALP won a majority in the three more populous areas, ranging from 52.9% in the south-east to 61.1% in the north-east. The Liberal Party won 53.2% in the sparsely populated west.

Voter groupALP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes51.811,00811.4

Two-party-preferred votes in Dobell at the 2016 federal election

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  1. McBride greatly benefited from the personal profile of her father, who had been the state MP for The Entrance, for over 2 decades. She also received the preferences from One Nation. There was also a crucial few % gained from the 2015 re distribution.
    It would be surprising if she had not built a significant personal vote by now. McBride is an interesting example of a political dynasty. She clearly wanted the job, even having grown up seeing the sacrifices her father made.
    This is a very different pathway to people from the political machine, advisers, operatives,staffers, & such. This is because representation is about people, not numbers.
    Consequently i hope McBride is given a ministry in the next govt.
    It is worth emphasising that Labor is extremely fortunate, that the voters of Dobell appear to have forgotten the Craig Thompson debacle. I wouldn’t, & i Haven’t. Particularly how much public money was spent pursuing the worthless prick.

  2. I wouldn’t assume that the voters have forgotten anything. They may just consider that previous issues on both sides are irrelevant to whether Emma McBride is a good representative of their interests.

  3. Chris
    Your comment is not without legitimacy. However i’d point to the resurgence of Labor’s vote. If there was good “electoral memory” the minor party/independent vote would have been even stronger, & Labor’s quite anaemic.
    I did say McBride was ministerial material, & as such she would be a strong advocate for her constituents.
    i would say to you very directly that political parties need to be held to account in every way, especially in who they put forward as representatives. There cannot be severe enough punishment for poor choices, & performances.
    I would contrast all of Thompson’s hideous, & disgusting behaviour, lies, & deceptions, & Labor’s defence of them. As opposed to O’Farrell losing his job over (failing to declare the gift) of a bottle of wine ! Incidentally i think he ought to have lost his job.

  4. The local state Liberals hardly covered themselves in glory in recent times, so I think that blunted any anti-Thompson sentiment. It probably became a “both sides are just as corrupt and useless as each other” mentality.

  5. Mark Mucair
    True, i’d forgotten about Chris whatshisname MP for Terrigal. There is a difference, no one defended that jerk. It is often said that in politics the cover up, is worse than the crime.

  6. & how do you know ?. Do you live in the electorate ?. Do you know lots of people that live in the electorate ? Do you subscribe to the local newspaper ? Are you privy to some information that has escaped everyone else ? Can you point to some historical facts ?

    Or is your opinion just that ? An opinion ?

  7. I live in the electorate. It is comprised almost completely of the state electorates of Wyong and The Entrance. In the 2019 state election there were swings of 3.7% and 5.7% to Labor in these two electorates. Emma had a margin of 9.6% last time. There is no chance that she will lose.

    I can vouch for the fact that she is a lovely person, and a diligent local member. These speed that her office sorts out stuff like Centrelink cockups is amazing.

  8. Yabba
    Been out in the sun on the Hill too long mate !!??. 9.6% ?? Where is that ?? If there was no chance she would lose she would not be sitting behind BS during the budget reply. However i still call a labor hold

  9. Labor Hold. Coalition had a really good chance to really eat into the Labor Party here from 2011 through to 2015 and botched it completely.

  10. McBride may be Ministerial material but Pilon definitely isn’t. Useless as a Councilor and never opens her mouth. Had the audacity to say the North of the Coast had been forgotten she’s obviously forgotten she was elected to Council to represent The Entrance and she’s done nothing.

  11. I can see the AEC gives McBride a margin of 4.8%. It’s the difference between 50% and the 2CP percentage, not the difference of the top two 2CP candidates, which I think is where the 9.6% came from (wrongly).

    McBride is a great local member, and I’ve had one interaction with her office so far re the Indue Cashless “welfare” card, and was satisfied with how the office dealt with it.

    Can’t see her losing in 2019. Back in 2013, when Thomson was on the nose, McBride ALMOST got there, with MacNamara only winning by about 0.2%. She got to 4.8% in 2016, and that margin will increase this time due to getting a higher personal vote now she’s been the MP for nearly three years.

    Yes, I’m a Dobell resident, and have been for over 20 years now. It’s GREAT living in a marginal. We get calls from the polling organisations all the time!



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