Warringah – Australia 2019

LIB 11.6% vs GRN

Incumbent MP
Tony Abbott, since 1994.

Geography
Northern Sydney. Warringah covers parts of the Northern Beaches and Lower North Shore of Sydney, including Manly, Mosman and parts of Neutral Bay, Allambie Heights, Brookvale and Curl Curl. The seat covers the entirety of Manly and Mosman council areas, as well as parts of North Sydney and Warringah. The largest proportion of the population lives in Warringah.

History
Warringah was first created at the 1922 election, and has never elected a Labor candidate, electing a conservative candidate at every election, the one exception being 1937 when an independent was elected, who proceeded to join the United Australia Party shortly after his election and went on to serve as a minister in a number of conservative governments.

The seat was first won by Granville Ryrie in 1922. Ryrie had been Member for North Sydney since a 1911 by-election and was elected to Warringah unopposed. The ALP challenged him in 1925 but he managed over 80% of the vote.

Ryrie was appointed High Commissioner to London in 1927 and the by-election was won by Archdale Parkhill, in a race where the two Labor candidates polled barely 18% between them.

Parkhill had been the Lynton Crosby of early 20th Century Australian politics, coordinating many campaigns for the early Liberal Party and Nationalists over two decades. Parkhill served as a minister in the Lyons government from 1932 until 1937, serving as Minister for Defence during Lyons’ second term.

Parkhill was defeated at the 1937 election by conservative independent Percy Spender, who won the seat in a close race on preferences after falling 15% behind on primary votes. Spender went on to join the UAP shortly after his victory. Spender served in the wartime governments of Robert Menzies and Arthur Fadden and served as Minister for External Affairs until 1951, when he retired at the election before being appointed Ambassador to the United States. Spender went on to serve as Australia’s first representative on the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

Spender was succeeded in 1951 by Francis Bland, who held the seat for ten years with massive majorities, polling over 70% on two occasions and being elected unopposed on a third. He retired without ever taking a ministerial role.

Bland was succeeded in 1961 by John Cockle, who held the seat until his death shortly before the 1966 election.

Cockle was succeeded by prominent Edward St John in 1966. St John caused controversy in 1969 attacking Prime Minister John Gorton, which led him to resign from the Liberal Party, and he was defeated at the 1969 election by Liberal candidate Michael MacKellar.

MacKellar served as a minister in the Fraser government until 1982, when a scandal involving the importation of a colour television saw him resign from the ministry.

MacKellar resigned from Parliament in 1994, and the ensuing by-election was won by Tony Abbott. Abbott went on to serve as a minister for the entirety of the Howard government from 1996 to 2007, becoming a senior member of Cabinet in the last two terms of the government.

Abbott had always held Warringah by large margins over the ALP, and the only serious threat to his hold on the seat came in 2001, when Peter Macdonald, former independent member for the state seat of Manly, challenged Abbott. Macdonald polled 27% of the primary vote and came within 6% of defeating Abbott.

Abbott served as Shadow Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs following the Howard government’s defeat in November 2007, serving in the role under leaders Brendan Nelson and Malcolm Turnbull.

Abbott resigned from the frontbench in November 2009 in protest at Malcolm Turnbull’s support for the Emissions Trading Scheme, which triggered the collapse of Turnbull’s leadership. Abbott won a slim majority in a party room ballot against Turnbull in December 2009 and was elected Leader of the Liberal Party.

Abbott led the Coalition into the 2010 election. The Labor government lost its majority, but managed to piece together a majority with the support of crossbench MPs. Abbott led the Coalition through the next term, before winning the 2013 election. Tony Abbott served as Prime Minister until he was defeated for the Liberal leadership in September 2015.

Candidates
No information.

Assessment
Warringah is a reasonably safe Liberal seat, in the absence of a strong independent challenge.

2016 result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Tony Abbott Liberal 44,759 51.6 -9.2
Andrew Woodward Labor 12,820 14.8 -4.5
Clara Williams Roldan Greens 10,565 12.2 -3.3
James Mathison Independent 9,887 11.4 +11.4
Marie Rowland Nick Xenophon Team 5,506 6.4 +6.4
June Scifo Christian Democratic Party 1,039 1.2 +0.5
Marc Giordano Science Party 800 0.9 +0.9
Shea Caplice Arts Party 669 0.8 +0.8
Tony Backhouse Independent 368 0.4 +0.4
David Barrow Independent 253 0.3 +0.3
Informal 5,611 6.1

2016 two-candidate-preferred result

Candidate Party Votes %
Tony Abbott Liberal 53,346 61.6
Clara Williams Roldan Greens 33,320 38.4

2016 two-party-preferred result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Tony Abbott Liberal 52,948 61.1 -4.2
Andrew Woodward Labor 33,718 38.9 +4.2

Booth breakdown

Warringah has been split into three areas: Manly, Mosman and Warringah. Polling places in the Mosman and North Sydney council areas have been grouped as “Mosman” while those booths in the Northern Beaches council area have been split between the two former council areas of Manly and Warringah.

The Liberal Party won a majority of the two-candidate-preferred vote (against the Greens) in all three areas, with just under 60% in Warringah and Manly and over 64% in Mosman.

Labor came second on primary votes, but fell into third behind the Greens on preferences, with a primary vote ranging from 13.6% in Manly to 16.3% in Warringah.

The primary vote for independent candidate James Mathison ranged from 9.1% in Mosman to 14% in Warringah.

Voter group ALP prim % IND prim % LIB 2CP % Total votes % of votes
Warringah 16.3 14.0 59.5 23,582 27.2
Manly 13.6 12.3 59.7 16,543 19.1
Mosman 14.4 9.1 64.3 16,062 18.5
Other votes 15.0 10.2 62.7 12,655 14.6
Pre-poll 14.1 10.1 62.6 17,824 20.6

Election results in Warringah at the 2016 federal election
Toggle between two-party-preferred votes, Labor primary votes and primary votes for independent James Mathison.


Become a Patron!

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.