Ballina – NSW 2019

GRN 3.1% vs NAT

Incumbent MP
Tamara Smith, since 2015.

Northern NSW. Ballina covers all of Ballina Shire and Byron Shire. The main towns in the seat are Ballina, Lennox Head, Byron Bay and Mullumbimby.

The seat of Ballina in its current form has existed since 1988, and it was held by the Nationals continuously from 1988 until 2015. Another seat named Ballina existed from 1894 to 1904.

Ballina was created in 1988, when the pre-existing seat of Byron was broken up between Ballina and Murwillumbah.

Ballina was won by Don Page, a grandson of former Country Party Prime Minister Earle Page. He served as deputy leader of the NSW National Party from 2003 to 2007, and held the seat until 2015.

Page retired in 2015, and the seat was won by Greens candidate Tamara Smith, with a 20% swing after preferences.


  • Asren Pugh (Labor)
  • Tamara Smith (Greens)

Ballina is a marginal seat, and the Greens shouldn’t take it for granted. A small swing back to the Nationals would see the seat revert to type. In 2015, the progressive vote was severely splintered between the Greens, Labor and an ex-Greens independent. Labor is still stronger in the southern parts of the electorate, and the Greens would be hoping to use their incumbency advantage to consolidate the progressive vote, to ensure they stay in the top two, and to help with reducing preference leakage.

2015 result

Kris Beavis Nationals 17,39236.6-19.6
Tamara Smith Greens 12,82427.0+4.5
Paul Spooner Labor 11,73824.7+12.8
Jeff JohnsonIndependent3,7087.8+7.8
Matthew HartleyIndependent8261.7+1.7
Vyvyan StottChristian Democrats6791.4-0.5
Greg ZylberNo Land Tax2910.6+0.6

2015 two-candidate-preferred result

Tamara Smith Greens 21,52853.1+20.1
Kris Beavis Nationals 18,99646.9-20.1

2015 two-party-preferred result

Paul Spooner Labor 21,48453.0+27.7
Kris Beavis Nationals 19,03147.0-27.7

Booth breakdown

Booths in Ballina have been split into three parts. Polling places in Byron shire have been grouped together, while those in Ballina shire were split between those in the town of Ballina and those in surrounding areas.

Any analysis of Ballina undoubtedly becomes a tale of two councils. The Greens won a thumping majority in Byron Shire – winning about 73.5% of the two-candidate-preferred vote, and 44% of the primary vote.

Ballina makes up a majority of the seat, and the Greens lost the two-candidate-preferred vote to the Nationals both in Ballina itself (41.3%) and in the surrounding areas (46%). The Greens were outpolled by Labor in both these areas, with a vote of only 15.7% in the town of Ballina.

Labor’s primary vote ranged from 21.7% in Ballina Surrounds to 26% in Ballina.

The low Greens vote in Ballina was likely worsened by the candidacy of Jeff Johnson, an independent candidate who had been twice elected as a Greens councillor in Ballina Shire. Johnson polled over 10% in both Ballina subareas, compared to less than 5% in Byron.

Voter groupJJ prim %ALP prim %GRN 2CP %Total votes% of votes
Ballina Surrounds10.521.746.18,93118.8
Other votes6.823.650.97,83316.5

Election results in Ballina at the 2015 NSW state election
Toggle between two-candidate-preferred votes (Greens vs Nationals) and Labor primary votes.

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  1. This seat was won by the Greens off the back of the Anti-CSG Movement throughout the North Coast of New South Wales. The next election will confirm whether that was a one-off result or whether the demographics have changed sufficiently that this seat becomes a marginal-Greens Seat.

  2. As a former resident of this electorate, I agree with moderate. If Ben Franklin or any other Sydney based Liberal Party member runs as the Nats candidate in this electoral, it will be a close result between Greens and Labor with the Nats finishing a very distant third.

  3. It will be interesting to see what resources Labor puts in here, as I would think it could be a 3-way contest, but I’m not sure whether Labor will target it or not.

    Smith was clearly swept over the line on the tide of the anti-CSG protest vote, but the underlying trend for the Greens in the area would still help her have a strong chance of re-election even though those extraordinary circumstances of 2015 aren’t here again. Polling had pointed to Labor finishing 2nd here in 2015 and then winning, so the Greens win was a bit of a surprise on election night. They could repeat it, but the context of this election will be very different and incumbency advantage won’t necessarily overcome that.

    One seat I expect not to be betting on.

  4. Despite appealing to the Green rainbow constituency, if Ben Franklin is the candidate the Nats will get smashed – Franklin just doesn’t have the charisma to be received well in a seat like this.


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