Cook – Australia 2019

LIB 15.4%

Incumbent MP
Scott Morrison, since 2007.

Southern Sydney, Cook covers parts of the Sutherland Shire and the St George area. Suburbs in Sutherland include Cronulla, Sylvania, Miranda, Gymea, Caringbah and Taren Point. Suburbs in the St George area include Sans Souci, Ramsgate, Sandringham, Monterey, Beverley Park, Kogarah Bay, Kyle Bay and Blakehurst.

Cook was first created for the 1969 election. The suburbs around the current seat of Cook were first included in the seat of Illawarra from federation until the 1922 election, when it was transferred to Werriwa, when Werriwa was a large rural seat covering areas south of Sydney. The seat of Hughes was created in 1955, which was the first seat based in Sutherland. Cook was then created in 1969. This used the same name as an earlier seat based in inner Sydney, which had been a safe Labor seat before its abolition in 1955.

For the previous sixty years the seat covering Sutherland had been mostly held by the Labor Party, although Hughes was lost to Liberal candidate Don Dobie in 1966, and Cook has been held by the Liberals for most of its existence.

Dobie transferred to Cook in 1969, but was defeated by Labor’s Ray Thorburn in 1972. Thorburn was defeated by Dobie in 1975 and Dobie held the seat until his retirement in 1996.

Dobie was succeeded by Stephen Mutch, a member of the NSW upper house, in 1996, and Mutch was defeated for preselection by Bruce Baird in 1998. Baird had previously been a state MP and Minister for Transport from 1988 to 1995, as well as taking charge of Sydney’s Olympic big up to 1993.

Baird held the seat for nine years, during which time he developed a reputation as an independent-minded Liberal backbencher who was occasionally critical of the Howard government.

Baird announced his retirement at the 2007 election, and the Liberal preselection was originally won by Michael Towke. Towke’s preselection was overturned amid allegations of branch stacking in a controversial contest, and he was replaced by the former director of the NSW Liberal Party, Scott Morrison.

Morrison won the seat in 2007, and has been re-elected three times. Morrison served as a senior minister in the coalition government from 2013 until he became Prime Minister in 2018.


Cook is a safe Liberal seat.

2016 result

Scott Morrison Liberal 53,32158.3-1.4
David Atkins Labor 24,28326.6+0.4
Nathan Hunt Greens 6,1986.8+0.9
George CapsisChristian Democratic Party4,4304.8+2.9
John BrettIndependent3,1533.5+3.5

2016 two-party-preferred result

Scott Morrison Liberal 59,76065.4-0.3
David Atkins Labor 31,62534.6+0.3

Booth breakdown

Booths have been divided into five parts named after key suburbs. All of the booths in the St George area have been grouped as “Sans Souci”. Those in the Sutherland Shire have been split between Sylvania in the north, Cronulla in the east, Gymea-Miranda in the south-west and Caringbah in the centre.

The Liberal Party won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all five areas, ranging from 59.7% in Sans Souci to 70.5% in Caringbah.

Voter groupLIB 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Sans Souci59.716,21817.7
Other votes65.111,89613.0

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

Become a Patron!


  1. My seat (I’m that big blue 75!). Nothing to see here, though I’d be interested to see if some of those Ramsgate booths turn red.

  2. ReachTEL actually did a poll of the seat last year; safe Liberal with only a 2.2% swing to Labor, although with an 18% One Nation vote (surprisingly high for a relatively affluent metropolitan seat). I suspect a lot of that would be vote parking, and One Nation have lost a lot of relevance in the year since.

  3. Wreathy
    Remember when Kurnell (64) used to be a labor booth ?
    GeeZ this seat is badly drawn. How dumb is it, not to have Bundeena in Cook ?. IF you decide to go over the river why stop at President Ave ? Why not go all the way to the M5 ? Why have that funny bit west of King Georges RD ?
    That is all quite apart from the fundamental fact, that no one i know, thinks it was a good idea to mix the Shire, with St George

  4. John

    I wasn’t aware; thanks for the information though. That PHON vote does seem unusually high and I think they’ll definitely struggle to even get double figures come election day.


    I’ve said before that I hate the idea of Cook jumping the river. The two communities have very little in common, though it’s not as bad as it could be, at least areas further inland aren’t apart of the seat! Putting numbers aside, the areas in St George most like the Shire would be the parts around Blakehurst and Connells Point. Anything futher inland and we’re talking chalk and cheese. Ramsgate and Sans Souci are an *OK* compromise for the moment I suppose.

  5. Wine Diamond I recall Kurnell as an industrial slum but that was 53 years ago. I guess from reading this that it is no longer a slum .

  6. Andrew Jackson
    Yeah, ain’t it grand !? Waterfront (or beachfront !) under a flight path !. The things that are important to some people !!….

  7. The problem is that the shire isn’t quite big enough for 2 seats, but it’s way too big for 1, so you have the shire split in 2 with random extra bits in each seat. Cook could shed parts of the shire to move further up Botany Bay, with Hughes being the shire seat (and dropping Holsworthy). However not ready to think about all the flow on effects on other seats yet.

    There’s also the (unpopular) idea I’ve raised on other pages of increasing the senate count to 7 per half election and 3 for the territories (given how much fairer odd numbers are in proportional systems), with the corresponding increase in lower house seats. It would probably allow the shire to be cleanly split into 2 seats.

  8. Winediamond & Andrew Jackson

    Yeah, Kurnell is still partly industrial, but much less than it used to be, particularly since the closure of Caltex refinery. It’s only now being realised as nice waterfront property and an important heritage area. In all honesty though, the Shire is aplenty with much better waterfront property, let alone the rest of our great harbourside city!

    Even though the flight path is quite aways from the Shire proper, I can still manage to hear it in the distance as a low hum. I can’t imagine what it’d be like to be right under it!

  9. Wow yeah, 7 for states and 3 for territories would make senate races far more interesting. The default of states going 3 “left” and 3 “right” is very boring. One side getting to 4-2 is a huge mountain to climb.

  10. John, Ben, Bennee
    We don’t need MORE politicians, Senators or otherwise !.

    There are plenty of better ways to reform the Senate. Admittedly they involve constitutional change, but that should not stop us.

  11. I’d also be happy with the Senate going down to 5 per half election; it’s more about the odd number than there not being enough. 7 would be better though.

    There must also surely be a point where a local member has too many constituents to reasonably function as a local member. I think we’re past that point; far too many sitting lower house politicians seem more connected to their party than their local community. Part of this is because our executive have to be sitting MPs, which limits the time they can spend in their electorates; I’m imagining ScoMo isn’t exactly “Mr Everywhere” (although happy to be proven wrong). However it seems to be fairly common even with backbenchers to do Dorothy Dixers in question time, or the national media circuit (eg the Member for Warringah, or in the previous government the Member for Griffith).

    A seat also shouldn’t be too big for a grassroots campaign. As seats get bigger, the only way to win them is for major parties to spend massive $, and we all know the corrosive effect of money in politics.

  12. John

    While this may be a sound principle in urban areas, I don’t see how that’s feasible given Australia’s size and population distribution. As soon as you start to pull away from the cities, it’s going to become harder and harder to mount a grassroots campaign and there’s no way around that.

    Speaking from experience, ScoMo isn’t exactly unseen per se, but nor is he one of those real hard-working MPs who are always hosting events. This is to be expected of course since he *is* the Treasurer.


    I agree with you, we need less politicians not more. At the very least, politicians of a much higher calibre would be nice; a few less staffers and lawyers and a little more people of real experience and I say that as someone who’s studied law!

  13. What’s the right amount of politicians per capita winediamond?

    How many at federal, state, and local level?

  14. W o S
    I agree completely. Also about seat size.

    My initial reaction, is as few as possible. However the enormous number of staffers, & advisors, that WE PAY FOR, gives me plenty of pause.

    I’ll escape the imbroglio, by returning to my overriding contention that reform of the federation is paramount. Once that is sorted, we can worry who fills the parliamentary canteen !!. ( actually its more like a 5star restaurant !) Remember John Murphy’s rant about the inadequate portion of his wife’s beef stroganoff !! I wonder how he’s traveling on his Defined Benefit Parliamentary Pension, free travel, & so on ?

  15. If you agree with Rein Taagepera & Mathew Shugart, then the size of the lower house should be roughly equal to the cube root of the population. This optimises both for relationships with constituents and with other politicians.

    For Australia, that’s about 290 MHRs. We could, perhaps, achieve this by implementing mixed-member proportional representation with about 150 district MPs, same as now, and somewhat fewer additional MPs.

  16. Alex J
    Does that factor in state MPs ? Do we need state Upper Houses as well the Senate ?

  17. I don’t really understand how people would be helped by having less politicians? It doesn’t make us any less governed, it just concentrates the power in a smaller number of people. The cost of paying politicians and their staff is small compared to the size of government.

  18. Ben
    It comes back to duplication of govt. Hence my question about State govt Upper Houses.

    The great weakness of our system is the lack of proper roles, & responsibilities, between state, & fed. This enables the “blame game “. The excess of pollies is an effect of this , not a cause.

    Perhaps it would be a small quantum, but still step in the right direction to reduce some numbers of politicians ?

    Perhaps concentrating the power would place it more effectively in capable hands, seeing has we have such an evident dearth of talent ??

  19. Is that cube root rule just for the lower house or total?

    Total would actually close to my proposal, which would lead to 90 Senators and ~180 MHRs.

    290 MHRs would mean that federal electorates would be approximately the size of NSW electorates now; still quite large but more manageable and within the realms of possibility for grassroots campaigns and independents. It’s not the silver bullet for redistributions and you’d still have some extremely large rural electorates, but I can’t see any situations that are worse than now. It would likely mean 5 electorates in the ACT which would be a nice fit with the Territory electorates.

    Also that would mean ~145 senators. Best way would be 11 at each half election with 5 for each of the territories (142 total) This seems like a lot and every senate election would be like the 2016 double dissolution but it would be good for representing Australia. Even the smallest quota (Tasmania in a DD) is ~16,000 votes, which is small but more than getting a majority in an SA or WA state electorate.

    I’m personally more of a fan of multi member electorates than top up lists.

  20. But how does having 175 MHRs, instead of 150, create duplication? Unless you think we could do the job the same with say 25. They are required to represent different parts of the community so more MPs allow for more diverse and more granular representation.

    I don’t think the lack of talent amongst MPs is because there just aren’t enough people who can do the job. We don’t choose MPs for talent. If we reduced the numbers we’d be unlikely to lose the least talented ones.

    I also don’t see what it’s got to do with the number of levels of government we have. I think three is fine although the responsibilities could be better clarified. Got nothing to do with how many individuals we elect to run these levels of government.

  21. Ben
    OK so you don’t think State Upper Houses, & the Senate represent a duplication. Fair enough, but i’ll disagree.

    I ‘ve never advocated less than 3 levels of govt. However the Federal govt ought to be a laissez faire complexion, & be restricted to four areas of responsibility. Trade, Taxation, Law, & Defence. All other service related functions would then be state responsibilities. In that scenario 150 MHRs would be more than enough.

    You are correct in saying that there is no guarantee that reducing numbers would increase talent. However there are many 3+ term MPs that have failed to rise, or accomplish much at all. I haven’t had the chance to identify them explicitly yet, but you can count on it.

  22. There are many MPs who are in their 3rd or later term who are yet to hold a ministry or any other appointment, or do anything of note. Some of the ones that come to mind are in marginal seats and I don’t expect the parties to bother putting in the effort to build up those sorts of people to ministry level, even if they’re very important locally. There are also backbenchers who are quietly (and more recently, not so quietly) stewing as they wait for the factional balance of power to change. I think those things would be the same no matter how big parliament is, and reducing the size of the government will eliminate potential ministers as much as the former two, making governing harder.

    As an aside, 2 tiers of government works fine for the ACT but that’s due to it essentially being a city state of a not particularly large city. SA and WA have extremely overcentralised populations and increasingly so, but their enormous size is an argument for strong local governments lest the other parts of those states be forgotten.

  23. Winediamond, you said “it comes back to duplication of govt” in response to me asking about less politicians. So that’s what I responded to. Upper houses is a different question but I do think they serve a valuable purpose in being elected on a proportional basis. Maybe if we had proportional lower houses we wouldn’t need them.

    But I think you want a parliament with room for there to be lots of MPs who aren’t in the executive and don’t have leadership roles. I think a large part of the reason we have much stronger party discipline than places like the UK is because much more of the work of being an MP involves having a leadership or frontbench role in a party.

  24. Cook is indeed drawn badly ….should not include Rockdale or Hurstville suburbs. Should be in Sutherland shire….the left over to Hughes which starts in the shire where Cook finishes and extend into Liverpool and Wollongong….to make up the numbers

  25. There is an argument for o more hor seats but get more senators too…the quota becomes smaller

  26. Ben
    Some interesting points.

    I’d come at proportional lower houses (i presume at state level) if we could do away with the upper houses. I struggle with the concept of the Senate being proportional !!!

    Your POV about the numbers of MPs is a valid one. You may have convinced me ….. ! Though i struggle with the application of “discipline”, conceptual, or otherwise, in reference to politicians !

  27. Mick Q
    You aren’t wrong. However Cook is the effect of the AEC’s decision to make the Shire sacrosanct WRT an incursion from Woolongong.

    Once that happened Cook, or Hughes were inevitably pushed over the river. The AEC chose Cook, & made Barton a safe labor seat.
    The only other alternative was Shane Easson’s (Labor) ,to make Hughes a Liverpool centred seat, which was absurd, & quite “coincidentally”, made Hughes a Labor seat too !

  28. Re shape of Hughes vs Cook:

    I can’t see how having Gray’s Point and Moorebank in the one seat (as is currently the case with Hughes) is better than having Cook cross the Georges River. I agree its not ideal, but if you take Ben’s view that Wollongong and the Shire shouldn’t be in one seat, then its currently the best worst option.

    WD: I agree with you that Bundeena MUST be in the same seat as Cronulla. The same can be said of Gymea and Grays Point, but on the need to get more Shire population into Hughes, Gymea and or Game Bay should switch. And I also agree with you (and Wreathy) that if you are going over the river, all of Blakehurst and Connell’s Pt. is required rather than “a funny little bit west of King Georges’ Road”. But this would mean you wouldn’t go as far north as President Ave. and certainly not to the M5/airport. Brighton (and probably by extension, Ramsgate) shouldn’t be in Cook.

  29. High ST
    It is all a question of priorities ,or if you like the lesser of evils !.
    To me reforming Hume is the top Priority. Taking the Highlands out of Whitlam Forces an (minor), incursion by Cunningham into the Shire. Forcing Gilmore further south than Eurobodalla Shire won’t really work IMO.
    Therefore compromises are inflicted on Cook, Hughes.

    Fundamentally i agree with you about “best worst options”, however we ‘d disagree on some details. eg i’d shove all of Blakehurst, & Connells PT west of KG Rd into Banks, & take Cook up to the M5 !!. I’d also abandon the lentil munchers, in Bundeena to Cunningham !!

  30. I went to school with many of them lentil munchers from Bundeena and they weren’t that bad. They had to leave school 10 minutes early in order to catch the ferry home, which of course did nothing but worsen their inferiority complex.

    I agree with you re Hume. I just think there might be an outcome where the Southern Highland and Illawarra seats are not combined and Hughes remains an entirely Shire seat. See also my comment in the Hume thread about moving Gilmore north, not south (or renaming it) and making Eden-Monaro revert to the coast only. I have a huge problem with E-M and this Snowy Valleys Council area. I was there in April and Tumbarumba and Tumut don’t even want to be in the same shire as each other! How they are in a community of interest with Eden and Narooma is beyond me.

  31. John –

    As I stated, the cube root rule is usually considered for the lower house only.


    My preferred model is to have a legislative+executive House elected by MMP at both state and federal level. House size set by cube-root rule, of course.

    State-representation functions can be taken over by an enhanced COAG.

    The concept of a house of review is a valuable one, and we can achieve this with an under-utilised method in modern democracy – sortition! Rotate some fraction of them out every year.

    Local level would ideally be all independents, elected by STV in wards of whatever size makes sense.

  32. High St
    For certain the blokes you went to school with have moved on, to put their complexes behind them !!. It is the lentil munchers that have moved in !!. This is evidenced by the burgeoning Green vote. My daughter’s godmother having found her true place. It really is a very interesting place.
    As for moving Gilmore north (of Kiama LGA). There is one coastal liberal booth in Whitlam, Battery Pt from memory. That is hardly likely to lure the Libs north.

    WRT E-M there was no other outcome possible once the AEC made all it’s other (dumbass) decisions. All the ones iv’e previously outlined. Amusingly the AEC are likely to have a number of their sacred cows slaughtered.

    Goulburn will probably go into E-M . Tumut, & tumbarumba will go back to Riverina i could make many more predictions…..

  33. Daniel

    Yes, indeed. But how “New” really ?. How different. ?

    I ‘ve settled on my opinion of Scomo’s fixation. He is, like Malcolm, a Type 3, i believe. Malcolm embodied the risk of 3’s. Because failure is like kryptonite to fixated 3s, they will endlessly present the IMAGE of success, however bizarre, & unlikely. The SUBSTANCE of success can be entirely irrelevant. Equally, I find Scomo’s devotion to the narrative of the govt’s “success” very troubling, & disturbing.

    This kind of avoidance of reality, & hard decisions is deadly for govt, & the country. In truth the Turnbull govt was hopelessly inept, confused, & even impotent. Failing to acknowledge this is delusional, & stupid. Morrison has a “one-off” opportunity to acknowledge all the govt’s mistakes, inadequacies, & FAILURES (there is THAT word again!), & undertake corrections. It is almost impossible to hope this might happen. As the master ( type 3) politician Peter Beattie showed repeatedly, humble apologies, & acknowledgements of shortcomings are almost pain free.
    Indeed he was such a genius, that he virtually weaponised them ! Can Morrison learn from this ?

    Whilst considering Morrison as our new PM, I’ve reflected deeply on what Australians expect from him, & indeed all our representatives. We no longer really expect moral, or ethical behaviour.

    What is necessary is (as clear) a set of values, & transpersonal goals. Malcolm clearly was so self absorbed that his only transpersonal goal was around climate change. Obviously he was not deficient in ambition, & personal goals. Morrison is no less ambitious, but i would hope that he has an idea where he wishes to lead the country. Malcolm demonstrated he had NFI.
    A detailed genuine plan (as long term as possible) with real, clearly defined goals, objectives, & measurements, would be desirable.

    When the govt was being butchered over the (extension of) the Medicare levy, for the NDIS, Morrison obviously came to the following conclusions. We are in a war, we are losing, it’s costly, unproductive, & inefficient. Ruthlessly, pragmatically he acted to create an IMAGE of success (from this failure). His new narrative was that the levy was Unnecessary because we (I) have managed, the economy so brilliantly.

    Wonderful !!. Except that all the numbers were insanely optimistic, & ridiculously unlikely. The reality is that the NDIS remains fundamentally Unfunded. The immediate consequence of this is that there is constant funding pressure on all services, programmes, & the disabled personally. There are 1.8 million carers also. What about them ?

    The absence of genuine values regarding this profoundly, shameful betrayal of the disabled, & their carers, is deeply disturbing. I’D have thought that the NDIS was a cause worth dying for. Certainly the Levy was worth bleeding for, & giving it our all. Apparently not for our new PM. His rival Peter Dutton would have seen clearly, & immediately where his duty lay. Dutton would have been prepared to bleed. Whether his values are to be liked, or not, they are clear to see.

    On behalf of my profoundly disabled daughter, & my Ex (her primary carer), i am prepared to forgive the PM for his past action. However, only if he immediately declares total war on the opposition over the NDIS levy, & demands unconditional acquiescence, if not surrender.

    If ever there was a fight worth having, this is it. This is a question of values, & true, if not moral courage. However this would be wildly unlikely as PM Morrison is doubtless convinced he has succeeded in dealing with the NDIS issue. If this is the case then such luxuriation, & self -deception render him unfit for leadership.

    Moreover the NDIS is something the WHOLE NATION is, & has committed to. This goes to a truly spiritual commitment, & is part of our soul as a people. This commitment is no less, or different to that of our pledge to the aged.
    Imagine ANY politician having the audacity to suggest cuts to aged care, or pensions !. Instant political Hara-Kiri !
    All in all i’m struggling to be optimistic, about the 30th PM. It is as if he has a kind of illness. As my very wise grandfather Isadore used to often say, “A long illness, means a sure death !!”

    Most of this will be used in my book. So any comment would be appreciated
    cheers WD

  34. I believe he will increase his margin from 2016 a little considering he is the PM, Although baring in mind if there is a large swing to labour it won’t happen.

  35. Daniel
    I agree with you that the PM will increase his margin. Given that i now believe he will avoid a wipeout, that is without qualification

  36. The PM is meeting G20 leaders in Argentina on 01/02 Dec 18. Pres Trump had a talk with PM Morrison but the last time Trump met an Australian PM it was PM Turnbull I think and the next time it will probably be PM Shorten. The Westminster system is easy however to get rid of a US President he has to die, become ill or be impeached before his term ends

  37. Wow… Coalition is on $1.06 while ALP is on $6.00, LNP Hold with a 3-5 point swing against the PM my prediction.

  38. This is one seat I don’t think will swing against the government. From everything I know about The Shire, people are loyal and tribal and the fact that one of their own and a super-fan of their rugby team is the PM should pretty much wipe out most of the anti-LNP swing that would otherwise have most likely occurred.

    By the same token, the general anti-LNP sentiment will also probably wipe out any positive swing that Shire tribalism would have given him when he became PM, so I imagine there won’t be much movement at the station here.

  39. Trent, I have lived in Sydney for 38 years. This is the first time I have heard about this immense support of rugby and in particular the Southern Districts Rugby Team. In Sydney, Rugby is considered to be a sport only followed by Doctors, Lawyers, and Kiwis.

  40. @Watson Watch

    I think Trent is talking about the Cronulla Sharks… he has just omitted to specify LEAGUE! I know there is a difference but some southerners often do not.

  41. Watson Watch – Trent is obviously referring to League, not Union – Morrison was very quick to promote his love of the Cronulla Sharks post-coup.

  42. Daniel and Adrian
    The current impasse in US shows up the inferiority of a directly elected President. Our President should be answerable to Parliament, dismisses b by Parliament and elected by Parliament with a 66% majority required. A directly elected President is likely to be a “Kylie Minogue” type personality. We need a President who is respected by all even if politically disliked. We certainly do not need a President with the intelligence, social skills or compassion of a “Trump” type President.
    Andrew Jackson

  43. Watson Watch – BJA and AlexJ are correct, I was referring to the Cronulla Sharks. My wife’s originally from the Shire and she reckons the Sharks are a pretty big deal there, enough that a local super-fan becoming PM would be a source of pride among many in the area.

    Despite being a southerner, I know there’s a difference between rugby league & rugby union, I just didn’t bother specifying which rugby code I meant because I thought it would be pretty obvious given the fact that Morrison’s a known Sharks fanatic.

  44. Morrison,the ocker version of TRUMP was very poor last week
    Losing control of the parliament…blowing his cool …and whipping up fear about invasions by boat….very unchristian like behaviour.

    Morrison,the accidental PM is out of his depth……Australians like leaders who are calm and measured…..not ones who create fear and anxiety…

  45. The real challenge you have with a seat like Cook is that it is on the edge of the state and there is no real growth in numbers occurring in the seat. I agree that it looks dumb for the seat to cross the Georges River but the problem you have is how disjointed Hughes gets.

    The best you could do is use Woronora River as a boundary, especially as there are some new homes going up towards that end of the seat, which could allow Cook to move back south of the Georges River. Not sure if that would be enough, given the density of housing around San Souci and up towards Brighton-Le-Sands.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here