Banks – Australia 2019

LIB 1.4%

Incumbent MP
David Coleman, since 2013.

Southern Sydney. Banks covers large parts of the St George area and neighbouring suburbs. It includes most of the Georges River council area and parts of the Canterbury-Bankstown council area. Key suburbs include East Hills, Panania, Padstow, Picnic Point, Revesby, Mortdale, Peakhurst, Penshurst, Allawah and Oatley.

Banks was created for the 1949 election, and was held by Labor continuously until 2013.

The seat was first won in 1949 by Labor candidate Dominic Costa. Costa held the seat for twenty years, always as a member of the opposition, retiring in 1969.

Vince Martin was elected in 1969, and held the seat until he was defeated for preselection in 1980 by John Mountford. Mountford held the seat until his retirement in 1990.

In 1990, Banks was won by Labor candidate Daryl Melham. Melham held the seat for over two decades, serving in the Opposition shadow ministry from 1996 to 1998 and again from 2001 to 2004. Successive swings against the ALP wore his margin down to 1.06% in 2004, although a favourable redistribution before the 2007 election, combined with a swing of almost 8%, made the seat much safer.

Daryl Melham narrowly held on in 2010 despite a 9% swing, and in 2013 he lost to Liberal candidate David Coleman with a further 3.3% swing. Coleman was re-elected in 2016.


Banks is a very marginal seat and could go either way. There has been a trend of the Liberal Party getting stronger in this area, relative to other parts of New South Wales, but this doesn’t rule out a Labor win if they are strengthening their position.

2016 result

David Coleman Liberal 39,42343.9-3.8
Chris Gambian Labor 35,89040.0+0.1
Philippa Clark Greens 5,2255.8+0.8
Greg BondarChristian Democratic Party4,7775.3+2.9
Sharon WuFamily First1,6211.8+1.8
Roy Owen BarnesAnimal Justice1,5551.7+1.7
Bob SpanswickIndependent1,3411.5+1.5

2016 two-party-preferred result

David Coleman Liberal 46,21051.4-1.4
Chris Gambian Labor 43,62248.6+1.4

Booth breakdown

Booths have been divided into three parts: east, central and west.

The Liberal party won a 51.9% majority of the two-party-preferred vote in the centre and east. Labor won 50.6% in the west.

Voter groupLIB 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes52.611,50612.8

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

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  1. One of the few marginal seats I can see the Liberal Party retaining next year.

    David is impressive and seems to work his Electorate hard.

  2. I’ve worked with David Coleman before. While we disagree on many things, I have to confess he does work very hard. In particular, he’s done a lot of work trying to woo Asian voters along the river. Still a marginal at heart, but I also think could be a Liberal retain.

  3. Mick Q
    Do you have an idea why Chris didn’t get any traction against Coleman ?

    What might you have disagreed about ?

  4. Winediamond

    When I used to be a member of the Liberal Party, he was big in the moderate faction. Their ideology is specifically *not* to be bound by ideology. Some of the tactics they use inside the party are deplorable.

    However, on a personal level, he was quite a nice fellow and a lot of constituents showed him great respect. He was hardly in the office at all and was always out and about too.

  5. He got a small swing about 1% which was roughly what the previous redistribution added to the liberal vote.Chris was the only one to put up his hand for Alp preselection last time so maybe people just thought he could not win…now Chris is better known and there is a swing to Labor…extra Nsw seats will I think come out of Robertson Gilmore and Banks and Reid……also after the state election he may have one or 2 colleagues representing overlapping state seats

  6. Wreathy
    All that under the table stuff sounds interesting. Would you be prepared to give a favourite example ?

    Mick Q
    The rapid demographic change in this seat is going to insulate Coleman again i think. The change in numbers in the western half over the last few years, has been extraordinary.
    However there will be a redistribution in 2022, & i expect that Banks will be decimated, so if Gambian can hang in till then, he will have a seat. I’ll respond on Gilmore, & Robertson on their threads

  7. What demographic change has been happening here? This is long-established suburbia without many new developments that I’m aware of. The population is probably getting a bit older, and maybe a bit wealthier in parts of the electorate (subject to fluctuations in housing prices). It’s the sort of inner-middle suburban seat where Labor didn’t do particularly well at the last election (See also Reid, Chisholm, Bonner, Swan) but if there’s any sort of national swing I’d expect this to be a fairly straightforward Labor gain.

  8. Chris

    My father lived in Connells Point (that big blue 64!) for many years so I know this neck of the woods quite well. There is considerable development in the eastern parts of this seat, particularly duplexes in the suburbs and larger development along the rail line. Furthermore, there has been an influx of wealthier, Asian voters along the riverside suburbs for a long time now. These people are aspirationonal types and are not likely Labor voters.

    That doesn’t rule out a Labor gain, but makes this seat a lot less vulnerable than the margin suggests. Definitely one to watch.


    Well the way that the moderates used to collaborate amongst themselves and use internal party instruments to shut out those from an even slightly different viewpoint is a key example. One of my friends was put into ‘deep-freeze’ and was not allowed to join a branch because of this. Not because he was a bad person, or even because he necessarily held different views, but because his father was in the wrong faction. Dirty, shameful stuff really.

  9. the Labor Stronghold is Riverwood and They get a good vote in Revesby and parts of Padstow…… Oatley, Lugarno and Blakehurst are Liberal strong holds…. the rest of the Revesby and Hurstville suburbs are marginal….. condell park is in Blaxland and the areas of :Punchbowl / Roselands closest to Riverwood are in Watson
    the boundary changes worsened the labor vote as did the changes in the Revesby suburbs from 1949 to about 1993 Labor had a vote of greater than 60% in the Revesby suburbs now this is no more……. there has been the change of a generation eg in 1979 I was in my early 20s now I am 62. People of my parents generation are now in 80s and 90s if they haven’t passed.. The people moving in would be much younger than me.

  10. my post got lost…… the Revesby suburbs from 1949 to 1993 used to average 60% plus now they tend to vote Labor in parts of Revesby but overall is mainly marginal.
    Riverwood is a labor strong hold…… the suburbs of Lugarno, Oatley and Connels point are liberal party strong holds….. what remains in the Hurstville area is marginal. look at the map here you will see. The boundary changes adding strong liberal suburbs and taking away Labor voting Punchbowl have changed the seats margin 3 to 4% over time.
    This change in the Revesby suburbs is the basic demographic change

  11. Wreathy, thanks for that information. I’d be surprised if the changes are enough to outweigh the nationwide swing though.

    Mick, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. More riverside suburbs equals a lower Labor vote. I recall the State seats of George’s River and Hurstville electing Liberal members in the 70s and 80s, although I don’t think East Hills ever had until the last 2 elections (and it took some dirty tricks for the Libs to hold it last time). I suspect Lugano and maybe Connell’s Point have never voted Labor.

  12. wreathy…… there was a book written…. confessions of a young liberal…..even though I will never vote liberal it was quite interesting…….talks of faction fighting in the liberal left..I think

  13. Does this area associate itself with the Shire at all culturally?

    Morrison being PM will shore up his own (very safe) seat and Hughes as well despite Craig Kelly’s failings. This seat is the closest marginal and Cook does jump the river.

    That’s the only way I can see the Liberals surviving here.

  14. There’s no affinity with Sutherland shire. Sutherland shire is a world of its own.

    Coleman stood a good chance of re-election under Turnbull. Arguably, he was the favourite. He’s in seriously jeopardy now.

  15. There is some affinity along the riverside suburbs, particularly Connells Point and Oatley. However, that quickly dissipates the further inland you go. Turnbull probably would have been a better fit, but I still wouldn’t rule Morrison out here, especially among Asian voters (with the caveat that the government actually recovers from this mess to a reasonably competitive position).

  16. Is there anything about Morrison that will make the Liberals more likely to pick up any seat off Labor anywhere?

    I am at a loss as to what Morrison will even say to the media when the election comes around when asked what their path to victory looks like. Labor did a very poor job of this in 2013, with many prominent MPs openly saying they were stuffed, but at least they ran big in LNP held Forde (with “star candidate” Peter Beattie) and Dawson to create a narrative.

  17. As the hard right warriors of the parliamentary Liberal party have made perfectly clear, they’re not the least bit interested in the party’s electoral viability. It’s the cranky conservatives at party branch meetings that trouble them, not the swinging voters who decide elections.

  18. It is interesting that David Coleman was made a Minister. How much attention will he be able to give his own seat with a 1.4% margin. This is the sort of seat that needs sandbagging and I think it will fall as the member will not be able to spend much time in the seat campaigning. Labor win.

  19. Chris Gambian is a good candidate who is working well with his colleagues who are standing in East Hills and Oatley which overlap this seat

  20. This seat is completely different to the Shire. In particular there is a large Cantonese speaking Chinese community in the Hurstville-Mortdale area of this seat that historically was working class and voted Labor sine the 1980s. There are also some migrants from the middle east living in the northern areas of the seat and some Vietnamese voters in the west. These voters would not have responded well to Prime Minister Dutton, and Coleman knew it, which is why he voted for Turnbull.

    There’s been huge development around Hurstville in the last five years with apartment towers going up. Coleman has worked community connections very effectively, and this will certainly reduce any swing, but he will still face a challenge to hold the seat if there’s a landslide. Now that same-sex marriage is out of the way it also removes one barrier some socially conservative voters felt coming back to Labor.

  21. The NSW state election suggests Labor will have trouble picking up this seat, with a swing TOWARDS the liberals in Oatley, and East Hills still in doubt.

    However, commentators are suggesting that it was due to Daley’s remarks about Asian immigrants, and that won’t be a factor in the federal election (or it might even be a factor towards Labor).

    I’m still putting this as an ALP Gain in my books but not an easy one.

  22. It is definitely a seat the Liberals should pour resources into and not give up on.

    Whilst Labor starts favourites, they can no longer assume the seat will just fall.

  23. Agreed PRP – that part of the St George district is trending Liberal generally, so Labor shouldn’t take it for granted although they are the favourites given where we are in the electoral cycle.

  24. Daley’s comments definately hurt the party here and in nearby Kogarah, but don’t think much can be inferred from that for the fed election since Federal Labor don’t have that problem. Still think this will be a labor gain

  25. If the field stays as compressed as it is now, I’m more confident for Coleman, especially as the area is trending to the Liberal Party. I know there is usually a difference in issues but if Cameron Murphy couldn’t win East Hills, then it really speaks of the strength of the demographic change in the region.

    I’d say a Liberal Hold

  26. Hawkeye
    There is just this uncomfortable, unlikely feeling about a group of people that STRONGLY voted Liberal, suddenly & dramatically changing a few months later. Why would they ??. Is BS that convincing, that compelling ?
    A significant part of East Hills is from Blaxland. So how does that add up ?
    Liberal hold

  27. There are a lot of Coleman signs around the strong Liberal areas of the seat, especially around Blakehurst and Connells Point. My first thought was that any suggestion of moderates potentially sitting out/casting a protest vote is unlikely. However, there are certainly *less* Coleman signs than there were Coure signs a few weeks ago. Whether this is because the campaign has yet to really heat up or because there is genuinely less support remains to be seen.

    Because of Daley, it is very hard to know what precipitated the swing in Oatley. Given the high concentration of Asian Australians, I’m certain his comments played a factor in enlarging the size of the swing. Nevertheless, I personally think Coure would have increased his margin anyway. First, because he, like Coleman, is extremely active in the electorate. Second, because I think the underlying demographics will continue to favour the Liberals in this seat.

    I can see a situation where this seat doesn’t fall yet a bloodbath ensues in other states. Still predicting a narrow ALP gain at the moment, but no more than a 3% swing I think.

  28. Yeah this seat is probably safer for the LNP than Reid with the demographics change and a good local member. I think labor will scrape across with a ~1% margin but I wouldn’t be suprised to see Coleman hang on

  29. Wreathy of S
    A very conservative assessment.. I am unconvinced of any swing being on in NSW, that not to say there won’t be movement. However given Labor will likely lose 2 seats, there may be no if not a negative movement for labor in NSW. Vic, WA different story. Coleman should put his holiday plans on hold !!

  30. It would be wrong to think Coleman can simply skate home on the back of the strong state Liberal performance. For one thing, the federal result in Banks 2016 was a fair bit weaker than the overlapping state results of 2015. I’ve also heard there’s strong evidence from the East Hills pre-poll count that the Labor vote really did tank in the last week of the state election campaign.

    As Coleman being “extremely active”, errr really? I can’t ever recall seeing him at a train station or street corner.

  31. I’ve seen him plenty of times around Revesby and Panania. Less so since he became a Minister though.

  32. Sportsbet has Labor on $1.60 and Liberal on $2.30. Is that an accurate indicator of voting intentions?

  33. @Flossy Barker, those odds are actually fairly close, all things considered.

    Was driving down through the area yesterday and what I did notice was a couple more houses in the Padstow area with Labor Corflutes up, while the houses that turned out for East Hills weren’t up yet. This area could well decide the winner of the seat.

  34. What’s going on here? I’ve not seen a Labor campaign this subdued in Banks for well over a decade. Less signs, leaflets and appearances from Labor volunteers compared to last time. Considerable Coleman signage around Hurstville, particularly along portions of King Georges Road and in some shopfronts.

    Perhaps the state results in East Hills, Oatley and Kogarah spooked them into diverting resources to other seats? My guess is that they’re relying on the general tide to win them this one.

    Even so, going out on a limb and predicting a LIB win at this stage.

  35. The ballot order is a big win for Coleman. Chris Gambien picked up the number 1 position in 2016. This year, Coleman got the top position. You can effectively make it a 1% swing back to the Coalition from the Donkey Vote situation.

    Ladbrokes has swung around here as well, putting Coleman at $1.77 favourite, effectively flipping the situation from Flossy on 14th April.

    Quietly confident LIB Hold

  36. Last two weeks of the campaign, I expect to see Labor go hard on race and multicultural issues to strengthen its vote in the northern booths and capitalise on the Coalition’s problem with candidates, deals with PHON etc. All the gains Gladys made as a result of Daley’s racist gaffe in March are cancelled out by this stuff imho.

    In the south, Coleman may get some small swings, but won’t be enough to offset the swing against him in the north.

    A few more appearances for ScoMo and Bill in Banks for sure.

  37. I’ve seen K Rudd campaigning here a fair bit on the ground and on Wechat, with his mandarin skills quite handy for connecting with the Asian vote in seats like this and Chisholm. Thought it was interesting tactically to see how targeted he is being used by labor HQ

  38. I doubt Coleman will increase his margin, though I agree he may hold on against the trend. Think the seat will be decided on <1% margin to either side

  39. Everyone seems to agree Banks will be very tight – I reckon it wont be called on the night, but I’m now tipping an ALP gain.

    My take on the NSW election results (and polling leading up to the day) in this area is that there were enough non-committed voters who were prepared to vote Labor – enough to deliver the swing needed – but when it came time to vote, the objective assessment was that NSW Labor was still grossly unprepared to govern and Gladys & team weren’t doing bad enough to vote out of office.

    This time around, making the same objective assessment, the same voters (or enough of them anyway) will see federal Labor a much more appealing prospect. The same dynamic will deliver Robertson to Labor imho.

  40. LT Smash
    Your “objective ” assessment is based on a subjective judgement that voters will find Labor’s “appealing” prospects something worth buying, or convincing in compelling ways. I find your level of conviction interesting.
    In 1974 the reckless Whitlam Labor govt increased govt outlays/ expenditure 45 % in ONE year. By any realistic measurement the economy did not FULLY recover until 2004. 3 Decades later !!. BS proposes to not only go further than this historically excessive debacle, but to reintroduce many other well proven major policy failures.
    I struggle to comprehend, & have enormous difficulty imagining how any thinking voter could find any of this “appealing”. Having great respect for your obvious intellect (& i am sincere in saying that), perhaps you could enlighten me as to what i am clearly not seeing ?

    WRT to Banks & Robertson my analysis has lead me to an altogether different expectation. We shall see.
    cheers WD

  41. WD
    Most voters have either forgotten (chosen or otherwise) the Whitlam Gov legacy or not old enough to remember. The rest just vote for who ever makes up the most appealing sh1t whether its sustainable or not. Mostly election promises are not followed through on.
    When are people going to realise that government is like business. You spend more than you make, you go broke. You make stupid decisions, economy suffers.
    The one thing that I cant get my head around is that in any corporation or bank etc if the CFO, CEO, Treasurer, Manager or otherwise starts mismanaging funds assets etc there’s hell to pay. might even get a royal commission. However if you are the treasurer of the Australian Federal Government you can basically p1ss money up the wall and not be held one bit accountable apart from maybe loosing your seat in 3 years.

    That Chris Bowen is a complete and utter dumbass and isn’t even qualified to push trollies at woollies. I’m worried if he ends up as treasurer

  42. Karl
    You aren’t going to get much of an argument from me on any of that. However i think you missed my point that Bowen plans to reintroduce many well proven policy FAILURES !!. This is relatively unprecedented. My criticism of Bowen goes considerably further than yours, on the McMAHON thread
    cheers WD

  43. First things first – we’re never going to agree on a lot of policy things, and no one is on here to have their mind changed on the big issues. My father always said that swinging voters are the ones who can’t recognise when they’re being screwed – which I think all rusted on Lab or Lib supporters would find amusing/true in their own way.

    My reasoning for the above comment is as follows – if you’re a non committed or swing voter paying casual attention to politics and coming in to vote with an open mind, you make a call based on the choice in front of you. Assuming there’s no real pressing hip-pocket or local issue influencing you, you make a call based on who deserves to govern and who doesn’t. Who is ready, who is unfit. etc.

    (and here is my subjective assessment of the “objective assessment”) In this election, the casual & neutral observer of politics over the last term has seen another PM coup, a lovechild scandal around a deputy PM, policy stasis on energy and climate change (assuming this is a top issue, which apparently it is in this contest), and a party with huge disunity problems and mass resignations ahead of the contest. Some or all of these things can be forgiven if the average worker is getting further ahead, but he/she hasn’t been for a while now, so the imaginary swing voter becomes more open to the alternative. Also the average voter isn’t paying attention to government outlays or net debt or projected surpluses – if you think they should, then join the club.

    Based on all this, my argument is that Labor looks more fit to govern and deserving of the swing voters’ vote – pull me up on that if you want, but we’ve got some very recent examples of punishing swings against the government that knifes its leader & is riddled with disunity. Fact.

    And further, I argue that it’s entirely possible that the same voters in NSW, making the same assessment of the govt and opposition, could vote Coalition in March and Labor in May. Basically these are the “the best team won on the day” voters.

    Based on that theory I’m saying that projecting NSW election swings on this federal election in this part of Sydney is a little misguided. There’s at least 3% of my imagined swing voter in Banks and at least 3% in Robertson.

    Reading back, I think I’ve rationalised my bias fairly well, though I grant you it’s a bit all over the shop.

  44. I’ll eat my hat if Coleman holds on. That’s how confident i am. State election figures don’t mean anything because some Federal Labor voters vote Liberal at state level (And Vice-Versa) Labor did well in NSW in 2016 but poorly in 2015/2019 state elections (Around the time of the Federal elections) And remember in 2015 Abbott was still pm and unpopular and Baird easily won again. I expect a smaller swing to Labor in NSW than in other states, But not only do i think the Independents will gain 1-2 seats as well as hold Wentworth, But i also think Labor will hold all theirs, I think the Coalition will do terrible in NSW. I predict they will lose: Banks,Gilmore,Cowper,Page,Reid as well as New England,Farrer and Bennelong being very closer but Coalition will edge those 3 out. And Labor alone only needs NSW to win a majority notionally if you give them the 4 seats i had them gaining (Cowper for IND) All other Labor/IND seats will retain but some might have small swings to the coalition. A wild card seat i might throw in. is HUME


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