Blacktown by-election, 2017

Cause of by-election
Labor MP John Robertson resigned on 25 August 2017.

Margin – ALP 13.2%

Geography
Western Sydney. The seat covers central parts of the City of Blacktown, including the suburbs of Blacktown, Doonside, Kings Park, Marayong, Woodcroft and parts of Lalor Park and Seven Hills.

History
The electoral district of Blacktown has existed continuously since 1941. With the exception of the 1959 election, it has always been won by the ALP.

The seat was first won in 1941 by the ALP’s Frank Hill, who held it until 1945. The by-election was won by John Freeman, who held the seat until 1959. In 1959 Blacktown was redistributed into a marginal seat, and Freeman retired after failing to win preselection for the new seat of Merrylands.

The Liberal Party’s Alfred Dennis won Blacktown in 1959, but the next redistribution in 1962 largely reversed the changes, making Blacktown stronger for the ALP. Dennis lost preselection for the new safe Liberal seat of The Hills, and ran for the seat unsuccessfully as an independent.

Jim Southee won Blacktown for the ALP in 1962. He held the seat until 1971, when he moved to the new seat of Mount Druitt, which he held until his retirement in 1973.

Gordon Barnier won Blacktown in 1971. At the 1981 election, he lost preselection to John Aquilina.

Aquilina became a minister for the final two years of the Labor state government from 1986 to 1988. In 1991 he moved to Riverstone, which he held until 2011. He served as a minister from 1995 to 2003 and as Speaker from 2003 to 2007.

In 1991, the seat of Wentworthville was abolished, and Pam Allan, who had won Wentworthville in 1988, moved to Blacktown. She served as a minister in the first term of the Carr government, and held Blacktown until 1999. In 1999 she returned to a recreated Wentworthville, holding it until 2007.

Blacktown was won in 1999 by Paul Gibson, a former rugby league player and Member for Londonderry since 1988. Gibson was appointed a minister following the 2007 state election, but never took office, as allegations of an assault sixteen years earlier against his former partner saw him stood down.

Gibson retired in 2011, and was replaced as Labor MP by John Robertson. Robertson had been a member of the Legislative Council since 2008, and before that secretary of Unions NSW for seven years. Robertson had served as a minister while sitting in the Legislative Council.

Following the 2011 election, Robertson was elected leader of the NSW Labor Party. He served as Leader of the Opposition until he resigned as leader in December 2014. He was re-elected as member for Blacktown in 2015, and resigned in 2017.

Candidates

  • Josh Green (Christian Democratic Party)
  • Stephen Bali (Labor)
  • Chris Winslow (Greens)
  • Vivek Singha (Independent)

Assessment
Labor should easily retain this seat.

2015 result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
John Robertson Labor 24,916 53.9 +9.5
Raman Bhalla Liberal 14,250 30.8 -5.3
David Bate Greens 2,937 6.3 +0.8
Meena Hanna Christian Democratic Party 2,750 5.9 +0.2
Julia Cacciotti No Land Tax 1,411 3.0 +3.0
Informal 2,262 4.7

2015 two-party-preferred result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
John Robertson Labor 26,679 63.2 +9.0
Raman Bhalla Liberal 15,547 36.8 -9.0

Booth breakdown

Booths in Blacktown have been split into three parts: east, south and west.

Labor won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all three areas, ranging from 60.9% in the east to 64.3% in the west.

Voter group ALP 2PP % Total votes % of votes
West 64.3 14,867 32.1
South 62.7 10,140 21.9
East 60.9 6,026 13.0
Other votes 63.3 15,231 32.9

Two-party-preferred vote in Blacktown at the 2015 NSW state election

About the Author

Ben Raue is the founder and author of the Tally Room. If you like this post, please consider donating to support the Tally Room.