Warringah – Australia 2019

LIB 11.6% vs GRN

Incumbent MP
Tony Abbott, since 1994.

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.

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.


  • Tony Abbott (Liberal)
  • Kristyn Glanville (Greens)
  • Dean Harris (Labor)
  • Susan Moylan-Coombs (Independent)
  • Zali Steggall (Independent)
  • Assessment
    Warringah is a reasonably safe Liberal seat, in the absence of a strong independent challenge.

    2016 result

    Tony Abbott Liberal 44,75951.6-9.2
    Andrew Woodward Labor 12,82014.8-4.5
    Clara Williams Roldan Greens 10,56512.2-3.3
    James MathisonIndependent9,88711.4+11.4
    Marie RowlandNick Xenophon Team5,5066.4+6.4
    June ScifoChristian Democratic Party1,0391.2+0.5
    Marc GiordanoScience Party8000.9+0.9
    Shea CapliceArts Party6690.8+0.8
    Tony BackhouseIndependent3680.4+0.4
    David BarrowIndependent2530.3+0.3

    2016 two-candidate-preferred result

    Tony Abbott Liberal 53,34661.6
    Clara Williams Roldan Greens 33,32038.4

    2016 two-party-preferred result

    Tony Abbott Liberal 52,94861.1-4.2
    Andrew Woodward Labor 33,71838.9+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 groupALP prim %IND prim %LIB 2CP %Total votes% of votes
    Other votes15.010.262.712,65514.6

    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.

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    1. Abbott is getting very much into campaign mode.
      there he was on the Corso,dressed in budgie smugglers complaining about the lack of toilets at Manly Beach….really…doesnt he realise that this is a council matter…and that he is a Federal MP

      there may be more important issues than dunnies…say the lack of Community care packages for 100,000+
      older Australians,implementing the 76 recommendations of the Banking Royal Commission,Global Warming

      Tony Abbott…out of touch,out of time….

    2. In more bad news for Abbott,the Wilderness Society has announced that they will be campaigning aginst the incumbent …ouch

    3. Abbott ,in an article for the SMH has floated the idea of developing nuclear power…why does this bloke even bother?

    4. I have never opposed nuclear power and Australia and Canada has most of the uranium in the ground too. Naturally we should only use it for power generation. In 100 years time all means to generate power will have to be used, including coal mines reopening. Renewables will help but will not replace fossil fuels as development and the need for power is expanding to rapidly world wide. Even now Australia experiences power failures after coal plant were closed in SA and Vic.

    5. Phantom Bantam, you really aren’t contributing that much to the conversation. It is dribble, border-lining on spam.

      Now I’d like to contribute something actually useful to this. The best result that a non-Liberal Candidate has achieved was in 2001, when Dr Peter MacDonald ran against Abbott. While Abbott’s Primary Vote at 2016 was similar to 2001 (51.45% vs 51.65%), the difference was the preferences. in 2001, Abbott’s 2CP only got up to 55.65%, while in 2016, his 2CP was 61.5%. The boundaries are very similar.

      What does this mean? It means that of the 48.55% of the vote left over, Abbott only received an extra 4%, which is less than 1 in 10 preferences. Yet in 2016, Abbott received an extra 10% from the 48.35% leftover vote, giving him over 1 in 5 preferences.

      So how does Abbott lose this seat? Two things need to happen:
      1. His Preference Pick-up needs to return to 1 in 10
      2. His Primary vote needs to drop below 45%

      As I said before, Abbott’s big strength is the ‘Old Money’ support in Mosman, Cremorne and Neutral Bay, along with Balgowlah, Seaforth and Forestville. Dean Harris is a Mosman local while Zali Steggall is based in Manly itself. The pair would need to preference swap each other in order to topple Abbot and have the 2 conditions that I had mentioned before in order for Abbott to lose the seat.

      Here is the other problem. Steggall would need to come 2nd to be a chance of winning this. She can offer a preference swap with Harris or the Greens but my gut feeling is that some of her supporters would go back to Abbott should she fail to come 2nd on Primaries.

      What happens if she doesn’t come 2nd? Let’s take James Mathieson. His preferences split 50% to the Greens, with Liberal and Labor getting 25% each. That 25% accounted for 3000 votes.

      This means that the 2 conditions now becomes 3:
      1. Abbott’s preference flow needs to drop back to 1 in 10
      2. Abbott’s Primary Vote needs to drop to 45%
      3. Zali Steggall must finish 2nd.

      Fail all 3 and Abbott is more than likely re-elected.

    6. Abbott’s pledge to build a nuclear reactor in Warringah,apparently hasn’t gone down to well with those swinging voters.
      I suppose when an incumbent is desperate they will promise anything…….like a tunnel or a stadium redevelopment for a privately owned football team(Manly Sea Eagles)

    7. The 2016 preference flow isn’t very instructive; the Greens are obviously a less compelling alternative than a centrist independent. It’s reasonable to assume Steggall will receive a strong MacDonald-esque preference flow.

      I think its odds on that Steggall places second. Wentworth showed how pragmatic left-leaning voters can be. Like Phelps, Steggall is clearly the only non-Liberal candidate capable of victory.

      So it just comes down to the simple question of who gets more votes. I still think Abbott, but I’d love to see more polling.

    8. I smell delusion, Have you been to Warringah? Or more specifically, Manly. He has become more disliked as the years go by. Him,Andrews,Dutton and other Conservative Puppets will be gone come May, And you’ll be there to see that i was right. IND Gain

    9. there is really only one condition Abbott’s vote needs to drop to 45% or less…….. maybe on 46% he could be defeated but razor thin

    10. Daniel, you smell delusion and you ask if I have been to Warringah? I’m getting really sick of your commenting here. I have already declared that I live in Mackellar, the very next seat along. You are as bad as the Phantom. I’m on the verge of request you get banned as well because you are doing nothing to contribute to what is a genuine discussion.

      Mick – 46% would be that very cusp. I only say 45% because a 1% difference in a federal election can result in a big shift in numbers. Agreed that it is exceptionally tight at that point.

      David Walsh – I don’t think you will be far off it but the vote could be decided on who finishes 2nd. Steggall would be the only one to chase it down from 2nd place. Anyone else and Abbott holds comfortably.

    11. Abbott has narrowed down his campaign theme song from the Beatles back catalogue;
      Nowhere Man
      I’m a loser
      or the Queen favourite…Another one bites the dust.

      Now that the coalition has endured the humiliation of a defeat on the floor of Federal parliament,Abbott must be delighted with his contribution to the dire situation

    12. Ben – I remember when these Beatles songs first came out in the 1960’s as a teenager. Still have dozens of their Singles (one song each side), EP’s (2 songs each side) and LP’s (6-10 songs each side). In the mid 1960’s a single record cost 50 cents. Hard Days Night (in parliament yesterday) or Ticket to Ride (out of the electorate) are another ones.

    13. Today on 2GB9(the radio rag for rednecks)Abbott took the opportunity to bag Zali Steggall
      Abbott complained, among other things that Steggall had never voted liberal…so what?

      Abbott’s nauseating “interview” with Redneck Ray Hadley followed the usual format, whereby they both agree with each other and stroke each others egos

      Abbott is obviously very worried about Zali Steggall’s candidacy…..

      No further news about Abbott’s grand plan for more latrines at Manly

      Does anybody know what Abbott does during question time?…he is always shuffling papers and shows a complete lack of interest in proceedings


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