Watson – Australia 2019

ALP 17.6%

Incumbent MP
Tony Burke, since 2004, previously member of the NSW Legislative Council 2003-2004.

Inner west and south-western Sydney. Watson covers the inner west suburbs of Canterbury, Campsie, Lakemba, Wiley Park, Punchbowl, Greenacre, Ashbury and parts of Ashfield, Hurlstone Park and Lidcombe.

The Division of Watson is a recent creation, having been created in 1993 to replace the Division of St George. In its short history it has always been a safe Labor seat.

The seat was first won in 1993 by the ALP’s Leo McLeay. McLeay had previously held the neighbouring seat of Grayndler since 1979, and had served as Speaker of the House of Representatives from 1989 until shortly before the 1993 election, when he was forced to resign over allegations of a false compensation claim.

McLeay was reelected at the 1996, 1998 and 2001 elections before retiring at the 2004 election.

The seat was won in 2004 by the ALP’s Tony Burke, who had held a seat in the NSW Legislative Council since March 2003. He moved immediately to the Labor shadow ministry in 2004, served as a senior minister in the Labor government from 2007 to 2013, and now serves again as a senior shadow minister.


  • Dean Wrightson (United Australia)
  • Karl Schubert (Christian Democratic Party)
  • Raymond Zeng (Science)
  • Emmet Bhaldraithe (Greens)
  • Tony Burke (Labor)
  • Mohammad Zaman (Liberal)
  • Assessment
    Watson is a very safe seat.

    2016 result

    Tony Burke Labor 46,10555.4+4.8
    Mohammad Shahe Zaman Liberal 21,13325.4-11.2
    Violet AbdullaChristian Democratic Party7,9579.6+7.2
    Barbara Bloch Greens 5,5556.7+0.4
    Tom GordonScience Party1,6111.9+1.9
    Paul GeranOnline Direct Democracy8751.1+1.1

    2016 two-party-preferred result

    Tony Burke Labor 56,24767.6+8.8
    Mohammad Shahe Zaman Liberal 26,98932.4-8.8

    Booth breakdown

    Booths have been divided into four parts. Polling places north of the Cooks River, including all of those in the Burwood, Strathfield and (former) Ashfield council areas, have been grouped as “north-east”. Polling places in the former Bankstown council area along with the sole Lidcombe booth have been grouped as “north-west”. The booths in the former Canterbury council area (except for those north of the Cooks River) have been split into south-east and south-west.

    The ALP won a large majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all four areas, ranging from 63.1% in the north-east to 72% in the south-west.

    Voter groupALP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
    Other votes64.710,53012.7

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

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    1. This is a socially conservative area (No got 70% of votes in the marriage vote last year), and the swapping of Abbott (who supported No) for Turnbull (who supported Yes) in 2015 looks like it was reflected in the 2016 election result quite a few amongst conservative voters here. Going from the result, it would appear there were a few CDP/Labor voters, though.

      I did a similar thing in 2016 (Liberal got #2 from me, although I voted for the Australian Christians as my #1).

    2. That’s pretty incredible. I guess people voting just for the word “Christian” rather than the right wing policies? Obviously there was bad HTV coverage by the CDP (or did they run an open ticket)?

      I’m consistently baffled by the weakness of 2PP flows from “extremist” parties (in that they are “to the left” or “to the right” of both major parties) other than the Greens. ~35% of people voting for parties with socialist in the name preference Liberals above Labor…

    3. The strength of Social Conservatism in this seat means squat when you consider that Tony Burke is from the NSW Right, effectively cancelling out the impact. He is close to the perfect candidate for Labor in this seat.

      If Labor ran someone from the Socialist Left, I think you would have a very interesting battle on your hands.


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