Grayndler – Australia 2019

ALP 15.8% vs GRN

Incumbent MP
Anthony Albanese, since 1996.

Inner West of Sydney. Grayndler covers the Leichhardt council area and parts of Ashfield, Canterbury and Marrickville council areas. Main suburbs include Annandale, Balmain, Rozelle, Leichhardt, Petersham, Lilyfield, Sydenham, Hurlstone Park, Summer Hill and Haberfield, and parts of Ashfield, Dulwich Hill, Marrickville, Newtown.

Grayndler was created in the 1949 redistribution, and has always been held by the ALP. The seat was first won by Fred Daly, who had previously held the nearby seat of Martin since 1943. Daly was a highly popular MP and served as a minister in the Whitlam government before his retirement in 1975.

The seat was won by Tony Whitlam at the election following his father’s dismissal as Prime Minister in 1975, but he was replaced by Frank Stewart at the 1977 election following the abolition of Stewart’s former seat of Lang. Stewart had previously served as a minister in the Whitlam government, and had been in Parliament since 1953. Stewart died in 1979, and the following by-election was won by the Assistant General Secretary of the NSW Labor Party, Leo McLeay.

McLeay held the seat until the 1993 election, serving as Speaker from 1989 until 1993. At the 1993 election he was forced to move to the neighbouring seat of Watson in order to free up Grayndler for federal minister Jeannette McHugh, whose seat of Phillip had been abolished.

McLeay held Watson until 2004, and McHugh retired at the 1996 election, when the seat was won by another Assistant General Secretary of the NSW Labor Party, Anthony Albanese, after Albanese had arranged McHugh’s move to Grayndler in 1993.

Anthony Albanese has been re-elected seven times. He served as a senior minister in the last Labor government, including a brief term as Deputy Prime Minister in 2013, and now serves as a senior shadow minister.


On paper, Grayndler looks like a safe seat, and it will likely remain safely in Labor hands at the next election, but this hides some interesting factors.

The Greens have long targeted this seat. They have done well at the state level in this area, holding two of the three seats which cover most of the electorate, and have also done quite well at the local government level.

They haven’t been able to perform anywhere near as strongly at the federal level, possibly due to Anthony Albanese’s profile, the choice of Greens candidate or other factors.

The Greens came within 4.2% of winning Grayndler in 2010. If there is a surge in Greens support in the future, possibly when Labor returns to power or Albanese retires, this seat could be in play. This is unlikely to be the case at this election.

2016 result

Anthony Albanese Labor 40,50346.1-0.4
David Van Gogh Liberal 20,49823.3-3.1
Jim Casey Greens 19,55522.2+0.2
Emma HurstAnimal Justice1,8312.1+2.1
Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-MeowScience Party1,1571.3+1.3
Jamie ElvyChristian Democratic Party1,0851.2-0.4
Chris HindiDrug Law Reform1,0291.2+1.2
Pat SheilSex Party9341.1+1.1
Chris MclachlanRenewable Energy Party5370.6+0.6
Noel McfarlaneAustralian Cyclists Party4600.5+0.5
Oscar GrenfellSocialist Equality Party3330.4+0.4

2016 two-candidate-preferred result

Anthony Albanese Labor 57,87265.8
Jim Casey Greens 30,05034.2

2016 two-party-preferred result

Anthony Albanese Labor 63,61672.4+3.6
David Van Gogh Liberal 24,30627.6-3.6

Booth breakdown

Booths have been divided into five parts. Polling places in the Leichhardt council area have been split into “Leichhardt” and “Balmain”. Those booths in the Ashfield council area have been grouped as “Ashfield”, and those in the Marrickville council area have been split into “Marrickville” and “Petersham”.

The ALP won sizeable majorities of the two-candidate-preferred vote (against the Greens) in all five areas, ranging from 61.6% in Petersham to 71.3% in Ashfield.

The Liberal Party came third, with a primary vote ranging from 15.6% in Petersham and Marrickville to 34.7% in Balmain.

Voter groupLIB prim %ALP 2CP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes23.961.112,48114.2

Election results in Grayndler at the 2016 federal election
Toggle between two-candidate-preferred (Labor vs Greens) votes and Liberal primary votes.

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  1. The Greens nearly won Grayndler in 2010, but that’s with Liberal how to votes preferencing Greens over Labor. Liberals haven’t done it since Bandt got elected. They might do it again to throw shade at an incoming Labor government, but it will probably be more politcially convenient for the Liberals to paint the Greens as toxic (with the hope of tarring Labor with that brush) and put them last.

    Additionally Greens likely would have lost Balmain in 2015 if NSW was full preferential. Greens survived due to Liberals putting out “just vote 1” how to vote cards, and the Greens actually got more Liberal preferences than Labor did.

    Labor will be extremely safe until Albanese retires. Their best hope both here and in Sydney is that the increasing gentrification of the area would turn this seat into one where Liberals win the primary vote and Labor and Greens duke it out for 2nd (like Maiwar and Prahran).

    Greens would be idiots to make a big deal (in terms of media etc.) of trying to win this seat in the upcoming election. It’s not going to happen, and it will actually hurt their chances in other seats as Labor runs its attack lines. Their risk is dropping back into 3rd place, but that won’t happen at a low tide Liberal election.

    The Greens best chance of winning a seat in the Sydney Metro in 2019 is probably Warringah; that’s an extremely remote chance, but even then it’s more likely than Grayndler. NSW Greens would do best to focus on Richmond (held by a Labor Right MP) and building their senate vote.

  2. I agree with much of what John said, but to add:

    The Greens rhetoric needed to gain in a strong left Labor seat will echo out of throats and slide into receptive ears when LABOR is in government and on the nose. Perhaps a 2022 run is possible.

    Greens NSW should be all about Mehreen Faruqi and perhaps Richmond in this election.

    Warringah I don’t think would be possible until the next redistribution where they would be hoping for a major change to get the very blue areas south of spit bridge out of the electorate. The Greens seem capable of overtaking Labor in all the booths in North Sydney and Warringah, the trick is that doesn’t matter if the Liberals start with 50%+ primary!

  3. Safe & easy Labor hold, but Grayndler will become more competitive over time.

    Should be an easy Green gain once Albanese vacates the seat, which won’t be any time soon.

  4. They might but it would still be a bad idea. The “progressive within Labor” narrative is too strong, and it will likely be a feature of the Liberal’s election campaign that Albo is a better leader (in order to deter people from voting for Shorten’s Labor).

    The Greens threw a lot of money at Grayndler in 2016 and you can see in the image above that it didn’t work out well for them.

    Greens NSW also don’t have a good track record with preselections here. They would do well to select a female candidate, for example, but haven’t done so yet.

  5. Albo proved today that he is a master politician. He is one only Labor MP to handle the Husar disaster well. Albo got out in front, & said he knew about it “weeks ago “.

    At the same time he immediately undermined BS, & exposed all of Shortens bull since this thing erupted. Albo sank the political stiletto in deep, & silent. Man it was smooth, & pretty. Then Albo reaffirms he has no leadership intentions to divert attention away from the blood.

    He is just so convincing as a genuine, authentic good bloke ( & he really is !!) that it seems inconceivable, that he could perform a political execution !!

    Albo proved today that he can, & will do what it takes to be Prime Minister. I am impressed. The man has stones

  6. It’s a very old political and media strategy to imply that the person who SHOULD be leading the party is waiting in the wings and the person currently leading the party is second rate. It makes for interesting headlines and can push voters into waiting another election until the “real” leader steps up.

    To what extent Albo himself is leaning into this, I’m not sure, but the reforms Rudd put through when he returned to the leadership in 2013 mean that Shorten is safe.

  7. John
    I just could not disagree more. I do agree about the old political strategy stuff. However Caucus can , & will tear Kev’s “REFORMS” apart like a wet tissue paper.
    BS is very far from safe. Come Sunday i am pretty sure he will be in mortal danger !!.

  8. “Should be an easy Green gain once Albanese vacates the seat”

    @Angus JT

    Anthony Albanese is a very popular local MP and the Greens won’t be able to dislodge him, but I generally think if Labor found a good candidate they would still be favorites to hold this seat.

    Greens state seats popularity hasn’t transferred federally in NSW because progressive voters have punished state Labor for the Eddie Obeid scandal but that polling does not necessarily carry on to federal seats.

    Also after the Greens failed to win Batman by-election despite holding all the cards I tend to think Greens are not are certainty at any federal House of Rep seats with the exception of Adam Bandt’s seat of Melbourne. Richard Di Natalie has also said they won’t be looking to add seats in the House of Reps at the next federal election but will instead concentrate on retaining all there senators which is a dose of realty right there.

  9. “failed to win Batman by-election despite holding all the cards”

    I think it’s more mixed than that.

    Labor would’ve been able to concentrate more resources than the Greens, Kearney is a far better candidate than Feeney, and Bhathal faced a bunch of internal drama during the campaign.

    On the flip side the Liberals not campaigning was probably worth a few points on 2CP for the Greens in depressing right-wing turnout.

  10. @PJ where on sportsbet? I do not see Grayndler on sportsbet, there is a few missing seats on that website, Could you link me to the market please? I Looked at 2019 australia seats, But its missing

  11. The Greens candidate at the 2016 election, Jim Casey needs to reflect on his comments on Richard Glover’s program on then 702 ABC, on 20 June 2016. In response to a question to each candidate on who had inspired them to become politically involved, Mr Casey nominated one Bobby Sands, a convicted criminal and member of the Provisional IRA. This organisation murdered thousands of people, including two Australian citizens, Nick Spanos and Stephen Melrose, mistaken by the PIRA for British Army personnel. So, we have the Greens Candidate at the 2016 election telling ABC listeners that he is inspired by a member of a terrorist organisation that murdered two Australians. I repeatedly sought answers from the Greens on Mr Casey’s comments, I never got a Response. Inner west residents need to reflect on Mr Casey’s position, from which he has not retreated.

  12. Once upon a time, I would have said that this seat will fall to the Greens once Anthony “I love Michael Douglas” Albanese retires.

    These days, the way the NSW Greens are going, I think Albo really has a chance to lock this seat up for his successor.

  13. Another disappointing result for the Greens here. Even with a bunch of left-wing minor parties dropping out, they still went backwards.

    It’s not even clear that they’ll beat the Liberals into second, after postals come through.

  14. Well, it turned out to be rather a dull campaign here in Grayndler, and the result of course was not in doubt. The one point of interest in the count, as Mark says, will be seeing whether the minor party preference distribution (CDP and UAP) pushes the Liberals ahead of the Greens into second place. Currently, just on ordinary votes, LIB are 521 behind GNS. That will narrow when postal votes come in. 1595 UAP+CDP votes vs 2141 Science Party (mostly to Greens), but I wonder if the latter includes donkey votes that will flow to the LIBs? Might be an interesting finish!

  15. “Dull”, yeah, I guess it was, at least compared to days long gone when the Greens were seen as “a threat” to Albo. The Greens certainly did try though, at least in terms of posters and volunteers activity. Heaven knows why they re-chose the candidate who dashed all their hopes last time – an unrepentant Trot. What were they thinking? Grayndler’s households are amongst the wealthiest in the country (two income professionals, few non-earning dependents, mostly). Does anyone really think that barristers, hedge fund managers and “innovation consultants” want to smash capitalism?

    Around Grayndler’s polling booths there was a sea of Green and hundreds of party faithful handing out how-to-votes. The Libs did absolutely nothing there, spent nothing, had no posters I saw and their candidate made no campaign appearances – he was next to invisible. All he did was put his name on the ballot and yet now (79.8% counted, AEC have just updated) he is only 117 votes behind the Greens, who have now declined to a paltry 21%. And there were no bicyclists, vegans, socialist equities or animal-lovers to dilute the Green vote either. Albo was over the vital 50% in primaries before counting stopped on Saturday, and has now scored a 5.7% increase against his once formidable Greens opponents.

    What now for Albo? This I know: If his party don’t select him leader, they can expect another drubbing in 2021.

  16. … still only 80.9% counted, and Libs are inching forward towards second place – only 35 votes behind Greens. I’m pretty confident this will revert to being a Lab vs Lib seat as is was before the rise and rise and rise (and now fall –at least in the inner west) of the Greens. A stunning failure for the Greens in their Sydney “heartland” and a remarkable achievement for the Coalition – considering they didn’t bother to campaign.

    Counting seems remarkably very slow though, and not just in Grayndler. I asked someone who was working at a polling station (in the ACT) if that was because of the large number of pre-polls. It was my understanding that they weren’t counted until after the votes cast on the actual day. She assured me I was wrong – they were counted at the same time, but maybe someone here can confirm that? Whatever – I can’t think of any reason why 20% of Grayndler remains uncounted. Surely not all postals and absentee?

  17. Teddy the “80% counted” number will never reach 100% because it is based on the number of enrolled voters.

    Grayndler will get to 90-95%. The remaining votes are indeed postals and absentees.

    There are 6230 absentee ballots that are as yet not processed, 920 provisionals to process and count some of them, and 3943 declaration pre-poll (basically absentee pre-polls if that makes sense).

    There were 7021 postal vote applications and thus far 5138 returned (which is likely close to the final numbers). About 1000 of those haven’t been counted yet.

    None of this is the AEC’s priority because Albanese can’t lose.


    Unless you mean in the ALP leadership contest, which I presume you are not, not standing against the ALP in Grayndler is a ridiculous idea. Abandoning tens of thousands of Green voters and preferencers in the House of Reps, in one of the Greens` top ten highest polling seats in Australia and the top Greens voting seat in NSW. That would tank the Greens NSW Senate vote, making it very hard for the Greens to win a NSW Senate seat, when they can potentially hold up to 2 of them (if they have 2 good half-Senate elections in a row or a double dissolution election followed by a good half-Senate election) if they put their best in. Albanese is also prone to making sneering comments about Green voters in his own seat.

  19. Just one final observation about the 2019 contest here in Grayndler. It’s interesting that the 4.79% swing to Labor on the primary vote only translated into a 0.48% two-party preferred swing. In comparing 2016 with 2019, it looks to me like 2016 voters for those small left-wing parties that didn’t run in 2019 (Animal, Drug, Sex etc. etc.) appear to have preferenced Labor over the Greens already in 2016, and in the absence of those candidates in 2019, just switched their primary votes to Labor. PS I’m still waiting with interest for the actual preference distribution – or don’t we get those any more?

  20. So, we finally have a proper preference distribution! As I suspected, there was one point in the count where the Liberals pulled ahead of the Greens, albeit by just 77 votes. At the final turn, Greens stayed a nose in front – 338 votes (0.35%). A close battle for second place!


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