Gilmore – Australia 2019

LIB 0.7%

Incumbent MP
Ann Sudmalis, since 2013.

Gilmore covers parts of the south coast and the southern Illawarra. This includes the entirety of the City of Shoalhaven and Kiama LGA, and northern parts of the Eurobodalla council area. The southernmost significant settlement is Moruya.

Gilmore was created in 1984 when the House of Representatives was expanded in 1984. The seat was first held by the National Party’s John Sharp until 1993, when he moved to the nearby seat of Hume. Sharp served in the first Howard cabinet until he resigned over the travel rorts affair in 1997.

The seat was won by the ALP’s Peter Knott in 1993, and he was defeated by Joanna Gash of the Liberal Party in 1996. The  seat was considered marginal after the 1996 and 1998 elections, but a large swing in 2001 saw Gash hold the seat by a much larger margin. This was cut back to a margin of about 4% in 2007.

Gilmore’s boundaries were redrawn before the 2010 election, making the seat a notional Labor seat. Gash gained a 5.7% swing.

Gash announced her impending retirement in 2012, and was elected as the directly-elected Mayor of Shoalhaven.

In 2013, Gash was succeeded by Liberal candidate Ann Sudmalis, who won despite a 2.7% swing to Labor. Sudmalis suffered a further 3% swing in 2016, but narrowly won a second term.

Sitting Liberal MP Ann Sudmalis is not running for re-election.

Gilmore is an extremely marginal seat, and could go either way. A lot may depend on whether Sudmalis runs for re-election: there have been strong rumours that she will be replaced by another Liberal candidate.

2016 result

Ann Sudmalis Liberal 46,71345.3-2.2
Fiona Phillips Labor 40,47639.2+5.0
Carmel Mary Mccallum Greens 10,82010.5+1.4
Steve RyanChristian Democratic Party5,1605.0+2.2

2016 two-party-preferred result

Ann Sudmalis Liberal 52,33650.7-3.1
Fiona Phillips Labor 50,83349.3+3.1

Booth breakdown

Booths in Gilmore have been divided into five areas. Polling places in Eurobodalla and Kiama council areas have been grouped along council boundaries. Those polling places in Shoalhaven have been divided in three. From north to south these are: Nowra, Jervis Bay and Ulladulla.

The Liberal Party won a majority in Gilmore, but only managed a majority in one of five areas in the election-day vote, winning 50.5% in Kiama. Labor won a majority ranging from 50.3% in Ulladulla to 54.4% in Jervis Bay. Sudmalis won thanks to large wins in the pre-poll (53.4%) and postal (57.3%) vote.

The Greens primary vote ranged from 9.3% in Jervis Bay to 14.7% in Kiama.

Voter groupGRN prim %LIB 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Batemans Bay11.248.611,84711.5
Jervis Bay9.345.611,36411.0
Other votes11.453.410,40810.1

Election results in Gilmore at the 2016 federal election
Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and Greens primary votes.

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  1. Bad news for Sudmalis. Fiona Philips is contesting again. Sudmalis has proven herself to be a very poor campaigner.It is hard not to see Labor taking Gilmore.

  2. If you look at the overlapping state Districts, they’re all comfortably Liberal held by 8-10%

    Even allowing for other factors, it’s not surprising if there’s rumblings about Sudmalis, if she can barely scrape out a win on these boundaries.

  3. David Walsh
    Sorry i disagree E-M is still a fundamentally Labor seat. Gilmore based on the Shoalhaven LGA is not. It is extremely difficult not to hold Sudmalis responsible for the Libs pathetic showing. I’ll go further- she just IS totally pathetic.

  4. south coast and Kiama have comfortable lib majorities on state figures….. why did Kiama fail to swing? Shelly Hancock is a much better mp than Sudmalis………probable alp win

  5. Greens could do well here if they take advantage of the fact that sitting local government members have now been proven to be eligible for federal parliament.

  6. Interesting that Kiama is the one part of this seat with a Lib 2PP majority at the last election. It used to be a Labor area, and I don’t think its demographics have changed that much, while the Nowra area, despite its demographics, used to be Liberal. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this become a seat Labor wins more often than not in the future.

  7. I just feel compelled to go further WRT to Sudmalis. Her 2016 result flattered her as she had a very favourable redistribution. When this is taken into account it makes her (lack of ) performance all the more culpable, & pathetic.
    As Chris points out above Sudmalis even received the completely undeserved outcome of Kiama having a slight swing to the liberals. This is even more inexplicable when the furore about Kiama’s council almost being amalgamated with Shellharbor is considered. Truly this woman had far more luck than she deserved.

  8. As a local resident I will clarify a few things posted in comments. Firstly, the region doesn’t react positively to “party politics” – local councillors tend to run as “independents” rather then disclose their political affiliations. The state electorates of South Coast and Kiama are marginal. South Coast was held for a long time by an independent (John Hatton) while Kiama electorate had been ALP until 2011. Regardless of political affiliations but generally is a tactic employed by the Liberal members of the state and federal level is to represent themselves as “independent” rather then reflect themselves as part of party politics. The other thing to note is that previously the ALP candidates for Gilmore were from Kiama including the last ALP member Peter Knott. The ALP candidate for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips, is from the Shoalhaven which has changed things.

    There are various demographic changes and situations occurring in the Shoalhaven and Kiama. In Kiama, the population is getting older (median age has increased), there is a higher level of wealth and unemployment has remained relatively steady. In the Shoalhaven however, the population is growing faster but so is unemployment, particularly youth unemployment. Youth unemployment has significantly increased to being one of the highest in Australia. The population in the Shoalhaven is younger and within the last decade there are many Labor voting retirees from the Illawarra-Wollongong area who are moving into affordable housing areas in the Shoalhaven.

    The proposed amalgamation between Kiama-Shoalhaven councils was in the back of everyone’s minds in 2016 but is not in play anymore as that proposal didn’t eventuate (thank goodness!) – but the issues that are relevant to this region is unemployment/youth unemployment, education and health, NBN issues and the need for increased infrastructure. The roads and public transport situation – particularly in the Shoalhaven – is a joke and in some circumstances 3rd world conditioned.

    The Greens vote is interesting. Kiama votes high for Greens (14-20%). The Shoalhaven has never really been a Green voting area until 2016. Subsequently following the 2016 federal election (Sudmalis’ reelection) was the local council elections. The former Liberal member for Gilmore, Joanna Gash, attempted at a second term for mayor of the Shoalhaven. Her vote collapsed. She had 65% of the popular vote in 2012 for mayor but only 35% for 2016. She lost the mayoral election to Greens candidate Amanda Findley and the Greens representation increased from 1 to 4 including holding the mayoral position and 1 councillor in each ward. Liberal vote collapsed, ALP gained its first councillor in decades in 1 Ward and the “Shoalhaven Independents Group” made small gains.

    Many people in the Shoalhaven are very fatigued of Liberals in their region. They’ve had 21 years of Gash/Sudmalis for Gilmore, 16 years of Hancock for South Coast, 8 years of Ward for Kiama and a bloody long legacy of Liberal control over local councils particularly in the Shoalhaven. Many local issues are being highly pinpointed on the Liberals. The one thing I have not mentioned is Sudmalis herself – that’s already been discussed on this comment thread so I will leave it at that.

    We never know the end result until Election Day but I find it very difficult to see how the Liberals could retain this seat at the 2019 election.

  9. S
    Thankyou for such an interesting, & detailed post. I wasn’t aware that the demographics were changing so rapidly. The enrolment numbers have not shifted much. The influx of retirees from the Illawarra / Wollongong was surprising. Are they being pushed out by economic factors ?
    Do you have any examples of the ineptitude of Sudmalis ?

  10. Carmel McCallum is recontesting for the Greens.

    I really can’t get a read on Amanda Findley’s popularity as mayor – not much in the way of scandal or other negativity, but not finding much to suggest she’s “popular” either.

    At any rate the Greens don’t seem to be hyping it up as winnable at all, at any tier of government.

  11. Nine News is reporting that Ann Sudmalis has informed Scott Morrison that she won’t stand as a candidate next election

  12. Sudmalis not recontesting may actually help the Liberals, but they’re doomed either way.

    Fiona Phillips has been preselected as the candidate for Gilmore since a few months after the last election. That kind of stable commitment will really shine through now.

  13. Sudmalis gone. The Libs now have some kind of very vague chance. Likely Labor gain. However they won’t hold it.


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