North Sydney – Australia 2019

LIB 13.6%

Incumbent MP
Trent Zimmerman, since 2015.

Lower North Shore of Sydney. The seat covers the north shore of Sydney Harbour from Hunters Hill to Kirribilli and extends as far north as Chatswood. Main suburbs are North Sydney, Willoughby, Lane Cove, Chatswood and Hunters Hill. The seat covers the entirety of Hunters Hill and Lane Cove local government areas, almost all of Willoughby (except for Castle Cove and parts of Chatswood) and a majority of the City of North Sydney (except for Neutral Bay).

North Sydney is an original federation electorate, and has never been held by the ALP, being held by the Liberal Party and its predecessors with the exception of two terms when it was held by an independent.

The seat originally extended much further than the immediate lower north shore of Sydney. The original seat covered all of the north shore and extended further north to cover the Central Coast and reached Morisset on Lake Macquarie. The seat rapidly retreated back to Pittwater by the 1906 redistribution. The 1922 redistribution saw the creation of Mackellar covering Manly and the Northern Beaches, and North Sydney retreated to most of the area it covers today around North Sydney, Chatswood and Lane Cove.

The seat was first won by Dugald Thompson, originally of the Free Trade Party and then the Commonwealth Liberal Party. Thompson served as a minister in George Reid’s government from 1904 to 1905, and retired in 1910. The seat was won in 1910 by George Edwards, who, like Thompson, had moved from the Free Trade party to the Liberal party. Edwards had previously held the seat of South Sydney from 1901 to 1906.

Edwards died in 1911, and the seat was won by Granville Ryrie (LIB). Ryrie was a Boer War veteran, and was promoted to Brigadier-General at the beginning of the First World War and served in battle at Gallipoli and in Sinai and Palestine. Ryrie continued to serve as Member for North Sydney and became a minister under Billy Hughes in 1920. Ryrie moved to the new seat of Warringah in 1922 and remained in Parliament until 1927.

North Sydney was won in 1922 by then-Prime Minister Billy Hughes. Hughes had previously served as Labor member for West Sydney from 1901 to 1917, when he became the Nationalist member for Bendigo. Hughes had become Prime Minister in 1915 and had left the ALP in 1916 over the issue of conscription, and created the new Nationalist party with the support of fellow ALP defectors and his former conservative opponents.

At the same election when Hughes moved to North Sydney, his party lost its overall majority in the House of Representatives. The Country Party decided to support the Nationalists, but animosity between Hughes and Country Party leader Earle Page saw Hughes resign as Prime Minister and Stanley Bruce take over.

Hughes went to the backbenches and remained there until 1929, when he crossed the floor and brought down the Bruce government. He served as an independent for two years before joining with his former party and another group of Labor rebels, led by Joseph Lyons, to form the United Australia Party.

Hughes served as a minister once more from 1934 to 1937, after first becoming a minister in 1904. He became leader of the United Australia Party in 1941 and led the party, barely, into the 1943 election. Hughes held the seat of North Sydney until the 1949 election, when he moved to the new seat of Bradfield, and stayed in Parliament until his death in 1952.

The ensuing by-election was won by William Jack, who remained a low-profile, yet locally popular, backbencher until his retirement in 1966.

The seat was won in 1966 by Bill Graham, another Liberal who had previously held the marginal seat of St George from 1949 to 1954 and from 1955 to 1958. Graham remained in North Sydney until 1980.

Graham was succeeded by John Spender, who was defeated at the 1990 election by Ted Mack, an independent who had previously been Mayor of North Sydney and member for the state seat of North Shore. Mack had previously been a member of state Parliament from 1981 until 1988, when he resigned just before he qualified for a parliamentary pension in protest against excesses of public office. He retired at the 1996 election for similar reasons.

The seat was won in 1996 by Joe Hockey, and he held the seat for the next nineteen years. Hockey was a junior minister in the Howard government from 1998 to January 2007, when he was elevated to Cabinet as Minister for Workplace Relations.

Hockey became a senior member of the Opposition frontbench following the 2007 election and became Shadow Treasurer in February 2009. Hockey served as Treasurer from 2013 until 2015. Hockey moved to the backbench when Tony Abbott was replaced as Prime Minister, and resigned from Parliament soon after.

The 2015 by-election was won by Liberal candidate Trent Zimmerman, and he was re-elected in 2016.


  • David Vernon (Christian Democratic Party)
  • Brett Stone (Labor)
  • Peter John Vagg (United Australia)
  • Daniel Keogh (Greens)
  • Arthur Chesterfield-Evans (Independent)
  • Greg Graham (Sustainable Australia)
  • Trent Zimmerman (Liberal)
  • Assessment
    North Sydney is a safe Liberal seat.

    2016 result

    Trent Zimmerman Liberal 47,61451.5-9.4
    Peter Hayes Labor 15,53716.8-3.2
    Arthur Chesterfield-Evans Greens 12,03613.0-2.5
    Stephen RuffIndependent11,82912.8+12.8
    Sharon MartinChristian Democratic Party1,8942.0+1.1
    James CoffeyScience Party1,6291.8+1.8
    Daniel LeahyLiberal Democrats1,2891.4+1.4
    Eddy KuFamily First6490.7+0.7

    2016 two-party-preferred result

    Trent Zimmerman Liberal 58,82563.6-2.1
    Peter Hayes Labor 33,65236.4+2.1

    Booth breakdown

    Polling places have been split into three areas. Those booths in the North Sydney and Willoughby council areas have each been grouped together, while those in the Lane Cove and Hunters Hill council areas have been merged together as one area.

    The Liberal Party won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all three areas, ranging from 62.2% in North Sydney to 63.7% in the west.

    The Greens primary vote ranged from 12.3% in Willoughby to 14.6% in North Sydney. Independent Stephen Ruff polled between 12.9% in North Sydney and 13.8% in the west.

    Voter groupGRN prim %IND prim %LIB 2PP %Total votes% of votes
    North Sydney14.612.962.217,74619.2
    Other votes13.011.465.615,13316.4

    Election results in North Sydney at the 2016 federal election
    Toggle between two-party-preferred votes, Greens primary votes and primary votes for independent Stephen Ruff.

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    1. My Seat
      Zimmerman represents EVERYTHING that is wrong with the Libs. This bloke is a perfect counterweight to someone like Matt Thistlewaite. An arrow. He will never, i repeat never deviate from the party line. This is because he is incapable of having any kind of original, thought, or idea. Anyone would be better.
      I have met him, & talked at length. What a total waste of time. He is part of the appalling monoculture ,of political staffers, & lawyers that dominate the Libs. The thing about monocultures is that they ferment disease.

      Still the 2016 result was a lot closer than it appears (at first glance). Stephen Ruff went very close to overtaking the Greens, which would have set off a cascading effect of preferences. Labor did it’s best to run dead by presenting one of the most appalling candidates i’ve ever seen, Peter Hayes, just shocking. However i guess the Greens voters may have well proven too stupid to preference Ruff (IN sufficient numbers ) ahead of the ALP !

      To me it demonstrates that N Sydney is vulnerable to a strong independent candidate.

      Btw the WINEDIAMOND household were 5 of 1289 Lib Democrat votes. We will do better next time. The furthest north 65 is the North Willoughby booth, which is mine.

      Interestingly in 2007 a few of the Pacific Highway 55+ booths went red. That might indicate the electorate has become significantly more anti Labor, though i wouldn’t say more pro Lib.

    2. Winediamond

      Didn’t Labor put in a ton of effort in 07 though? Managed to reduce the margin to 5% I think.

    3. WD, Zimmerman won on primaries in 2016, so even a Chicago-style method of preference counting wouldn’t have seen him lose.

      WoS, yes I was actually living in Cremorne during the 2007 campaign, and it was certainly ‘on’. From the intensity of the campaigning from both sides, Labor thought they had a real chance, and the Liberals were definitely worried. But it seems to have drifted away again….

    4. 2007 was of course a high water mark for Labor (even more so the polling in the months leading up to the election), and as I recall it, one of the demographics that was said to be swinging strongly to Labor was the so-called “doctors’ wives”, of which North Sydney has a few. With a supposed moderate leading the Liberals, and a ex-union leader leading Labor, that demographic is much less likely to shift, and having fallen short in 2007, Labor is less likely to put the effort in here now.

    5. I can reliably advise that Labor didn’t run dead in 2016 – I hear some branches weren’t contributing to the effort. And for non marginal seats, sometimes there is a very limited set of candidates to pre-select from – often only 1.

      Wine diamond – I look forward to meeting you at the North Willoughby booth next time, it’s mine also, though I now vote there Absent as I was re-distributed into Bradfield last time round.

      If Ruff was going to win it was at the 2015 by-election where he forced the LIB vote below 50%. By the following July his supporters had run of our puff and many were away on northern hemisphere summer holidays – it being July. His first preference vote was well down in the general election than on the preceding by election.

    6. Ben,

      I know it is only splitting 23% of the votes into two smaller areas, but lumping Hunters Hill LGA and Lane Cove LGA into a single “West” area, produces an average figures which meaningless to either.

      Can we have an additional area – just based on LGA’s?


    7. W of S
      Yes quite so. Labor were hampered in 2007, by having that mental flyweight, Mike Bailey running. What an idiot.
      Still N Sydney nearly went to preferences, which is always a good thing.

    8. RIP Ted Mack. Of “The Big Three” direct electionist leaders from the 1999 republic referendum, (Phil Cleary, Clem Jones, Ted Mack), only Phil Cleary is still alive. Turnbull warned Clem Jones that if the vote failed, Clem would never live to see an Australian republic.

    9. Ben,

      ALP Candidate has been pre selected and active in the electorate for many months now – Brett Stone. We’ll see if the Greens even manage to stand someone up…..

    10. I saw Trent Zimmerman at the kids school awards presentation – wanted to ask him if he will be inviting Craig Kelly to jointly campaign with him in North Sydney? Craig would go down a treat round these parts…..

    11. High Street
      Look forward to meeting you in May. So you’re in Castle cove, which i found so objectionably placed in Bradfield. As you may remember i’m in Middle cove There is no justice in Willoughby LGA not being entirely within the electorate.
      Frankly i can’t think of any reason to speak to Trent Zimmerman. What a total oxygen thief.

    12. Wine Diamond – I’m not in Castle Cove if the code name is “High Street” – am I?
      I wrote to the Redistribution Committee last time and argued that the electorate border needed to be moved northwards to Boundary Street. Instead they moved it southwards to Victoria Avenue – splitting Chatswood in two.

    13. Do people think the margin here can reduce, now that Malcolm is not there to hold up the well educated, high income but socially progressive Liberal vote?

    14. High Street . Apologies, i get you. As you know i’m with you 100% on the boundary rd boundary . The lib vote is sure to reduce in N Sydney. The only question is where the votes go. I’d like to think that N Sydney voters were too intelligent etc, to vote FOR such a total reprobate as BS, & his likeminded appalling crew. Consequently the other vote will be interesting. We do after all have a strong tradition of atypical voting

    15. Seems we are not being offered any viable Independent options in Lane Cove (yet again). I’d love to see a viable Independent candidate on the list… but doubt we’ll see someone of Ted Mack’s ilk anytime soon.

    16. I’m expecting a swing against the Libs but without a prominent independent running like Stegell in Warringah it won’t be anywhere near enough to change hands


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