Werriwa – Australia 2019

ALP 8.2%

Incumbent MP
Anne Stanley, since 2016.

Geography
South-western Sydney. Werriwa covers western parts of the City of Liverpool and a small northern part of the City of Campbelltown. Key suburbs include Casula, Glenfield, Macquarie Fields, Hoxton Park, Prestons, Rossmore, Austral, Green Valley, Cecil Hills, Miller, Ashcroft and Badgerys Creek.

History
Werriwa is an original federation electorate, named after an indigenous name for Lake George, near the ACT. The seat originally covered parts of southern NSW including what became northern parts of the ACT. It gradually shifted northeast to the Illawarra, eventually reaching the Liverpool-Campbelltown area. The seat has been a safe Labor seat since the 1930s, and has been held by a number of prominent Labor figures, including a Prime Minister, a Treasurer and a Leader of the Opposition. The seat has seen a record number of five federal by-elections, which have all seen Labor retain the seat, in 1912, 1952, 1978, 1994 and 2005.

The seat was first won by Alfred Conroy of the Free Trade Party in 1901. Conroy was defeated by David Hall (ALP) in 1906. Hall was re-elected in 1910, but resigned in 1912 to return to state politics. Hall served as Minister for Justice then Attorney-General from 1912 to 1920. Hall was expelled from the ALP in 1916 for supporting conscription, along with Premier William Holman.

Werriwa was won by the ALP’s Benjamin Bennett at the 1912 by-election, but retired at the 1913 election, when Conroy was re-elected for the Liberal Party. John Lynch gained the seat back from Conroy in 1914, and left the ALP in 1916 over conscription, becoming a Nationalist.

Lynch was re-elected as a Nationalist in 1917 but lost the seat to the ALP’s Hubert Lazzarini in 1919. Werriwa began to strongly shift from the Southern Highlands into the Illawarra region at the 1922 redistribution, and over the next thirty years Lazzarini saw the seat shift into the Liverpool district and eventually lose the Illawarra.

Lazzarini followed NSW Premier Jack Lang out of the ALP in 1931, and was one of the Labor splitters who brought down the Scullin government, and lost Werriwa to Country Party candidate Walter McNicoll at that year’s election.

Lazzarini regained Werriwa as a Lang Labor candidate in 1934, and returned to the ALP in 1936. Lazzarini served as a minister in the Curtin government and the first Chifley ministry in the 1940s, and held the seat until his death in 1952.

The 1952 by-election was won by ALP candidate Gough Whitlam. Whitlam ascended to the leadership of the Labor Party in 1967 and was elected Prime Minister in 1972. Whitlam was Prime Minister for three years, losing the 1975 election following the dismissal of his government. He remained Leader of the Opposition and led the ALP into the 1977 election, retiring in 1978.

The 1978 by-election was won by John Kerin, who had previously held the neighbouring seat of Macarthur from 1972 until his defeat in 1975. Kerin served as a minister for the entirety of the Hawke government, rising to the position of Treasurer after Paul Keating moved to the backbench in 1991, but a troubled period as Treasurer saw him move to the backbench just before Keating became Prime Minister, and he retired in 1994.

The 1994 by-election was won by Mayor of Liverpool and Whitlam protege Mark Latham. Latham quickly rose to the ALP frontbench following their 1996 election defeat, although he left the frontbench after the 1998 election because of conflicts with ALP leader Kim Beazley.

Latham returned to the frontbench following the 2001 election, when Simon Crean succeeded Kim Beazley as Leader of the Opposition, rising to the position of Shadow Treasurer before Crean resigned as Leader, and Latham was narrowly elected as Labor leader in December 2003.

Latham led the ALP to a defeat at the 2004 election and resigned in early 2005 as both Labor leader and Member for Werriwa. The ensuing by-election (at which the author stood as a candidate for the Greens) saw ALP candidate Chris Hayes safely elected, and he won re-election in 2007.

The 2010 redistribution saw the seat of Reid effectively abolished in its existing form, and this triggered a reshuffling of Labor MPs in Western Sydney. Laurie Ferguson moved from Reid to Werriwa. Hayes shifted north to Fowler.

Ferguson had been a state MP from 1984 to 1990 and had already served twenty years in federal Parliament when he shifted to Werriwa.

Hayes and Ferguson were both re-elected in their new seats, with Ferguson being hit by a large 8.3% swing. Ferguson was re-elected again in 2013.

Ferguson retired in 2016, and was succeeded by Labor candidate Anne Stanley.

Candidates

  • Anne Stanley (Labor)
  • Signe Westerberg (Greens)
  • Assessment
    Werriwa is a reasonably safe Labor seat.

    2016 result

    CandidatePartyVotes%SwingRedist
    Anne Stanley Labor 46,59652.1+2.8
    Ned Mannoun Liberal 32,67036.6+0.5
    Daniel EdwardsChristian Democratic Party5,9866.7+2.5
    Signe Westerberg Greens 4,1094.6+1.4
    Informal8,5818.8

    2016 two-party-preferred result

    CandidatePartyVotes%SwingRedist
    Anne Stanley Labor 52,00558.2+1.7
    Ned Mannoun Liberal 37,35641.8-1.7

    Booth breakdown

    Booths have been divided into four parts. Most of the seat’s population lies in the eastern half of the seat, and these areas have been split into central (including West Hoxton and Prestons), north-east (including Cecil Hills, Green Valley and Hinchinbrook) and south-east (including Casula, Glenfield and Macquarie Fields). The remaining rural booths in the western end of the seat were grouped as “west”.

    Labor won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in three out of four areas, ranging from 51.9% in the centre to 62.1% in the north-east. The Liberal Party won 66.5% in the west.

    Voter groupALP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
    North-East62.124,33527.2
    South-East60.318,59720.8
    Central51.914,83316.6
    West33.52,1862.4
    Other votes56.99,51210.6
    Pre-poll59.519,89822.3

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

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    12 COMMENTS

    1. This will never go Liberal even on a landslide year, This is Gough whitlam’s seat, The voters won’t give this to the liberal’s, The same reason Kooyong won’t go labor

    2. Ben Raue, Did you stand here in 2005 for the greens? Someone named Ben Raue stood here. If so do you still believe in Green values? If so i respect that. Im just interested to know

    3. Considering there is a margin of 8%, when will there be a challenge within Labor to Anne Stanley for holding this seat.

    4. Daniel
      My understanding is that Ben Raue has previously stood for Greens. However as far as Tallyroom is concerned he has run a site that has been open to all points of view. I am not saying he is unbiased but 95% of contributors to this site have bias.
      Ben has called my views “fascist” but he has not censored my views. I have congratulated him for his excellent work after quite a few elections. Well done Ben and I hope you stick to Tallyroom rather than consorting with Communist sympathisers.
      Andrew Jackson
      apjackson2@bigpond.com

    5. If you read the text above you’d see Ben saying that he was the Green candidate in 2005.

      I could sort of see this seat going Liberal under a certain redistribution in a few cycles, like if Bonnyrigg, Green Valley and Busby ended up out of the seat, and replaced with newly-booming suburbs like Oran Park and Leppington, areas with those much-vaunted Young Working Families (apparently) that strike me as likely to become more conservative over time. But it’s not likely in the next few elections.

    6. I should probably declare that in 1972 I stood for DLP in Moreton. Seat was always a mixture of suburban inner city (privately owned houses but public ally employed voters in West along Ipswich Railway line ) and working class voters) DLP strength in area in those days were the East European migrant communities. DLP had three Branch in electorate which in those days included Vince Gair (Annerly)as a constituent as well as a couple of Branches where State seats crossed into Moreton Greenslopes and Wollston. Some booths were friendly and civil (Graceville and Sherwood) but others were pretty rough (Oxley Station and Oxley School) I was spat at with phlegm and vitriol at Oxley school. I have had vitriol since but never phlegm. Lazarus’ thugs came close on Bribie Island pre poll. The only both that I worked which was rougher was Fortitude Valley which in those days was a wharfie booth with Communist Party HQ a mere kilometre away.
      Jim Killen would have lost Moreton at every election he stood at with possible exception of 1966 landslide if the seat had, had the current boundaries. This is now a safe ALP seat. This must fall the solicitors judges and stockbrokers on the high side of Chelmer- Graceville and those willing to live with potential flooding on low side solely to have 4075 postcode.

    7. As Werriwa is a safe Labor Seat I wonder how long it will be before there is a challenge within the Labor Party for this seat.

    8. @Daniel Yes this is the Ben Raue of Tallyroom that stood for the electorate of Werriwa at the 2005 by election following the resignation of Mark Latham. I think there is an article that Ben Raue wrote about Mark Latham located here: http://www.tallyroom.com.au/1028 I think he did state some where that he lived in the electorate of Werriwa during Latham’s time of being an MP here.

    9. @James Werriwa is gradually becoming a mortgage belt seat with the margin being much lower than what it used to be in the 70s and 80s. The Fairfield Council areas and the Green Valley estate strengthen the margin but anything southward and westerly of those two areas are pretty much mortgage belt type where it swings quite a lot similarly to Lindsay demographics.

    10. Regarding the margin – When Whitlam was PM back in the 70s, a lot of what made up Werriwa then is now in Fowler (which is still rock solid ALP) – so both demographic change and shifting boundaries are the reason for the change in margin here.

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