Blue Mountains – NSW 2019

ALP 8.1%

Incumbent MP
Trish Doyle, since 2015.

Western fringe of Sydney. The seat of Blue Mountains almost exactly matches the boundaries of the Blue Mountains local government area, with the exception of a small part of the lower mountains included in the neighbouring district of Penrith.

The seat of Blue Mountains was first created in 1968. After being held by an independent for eight years, the seat has been held by the party of government continuously since 1976.

The seat was first won in 1968 by conservative independent Harold Coates. A Lithgow councillor for almost forty years, Coates had previously run as a Liberal candidate unsuccessfully, and had first run as an independent for the seat of Hartley in 1962, losing to the sitting Labor MP by 234 votes. Hartley covered Lithgow and the upper Blue Mountains. Coates won Hartley in 1965, and moved to Blue Mountains in 1965 when a redistribution saw the former seat of Hartley shift deeper into the mountains and change name.

Coates was re-elected in 1971 and 1973, before losing to the ALP’s Mick Clough in 1976 by a bare 236 votes. In Coates’ career, the Liberal Party never ran against him, and he was considered a supporter of the Liberal-Country coalition.

The 1980 redistribution shifted the boundaries of Blue Mountains, moving the town of Lithgow into the neighbouring seat of Bathurst. At the 1981 election, Clough defeated the sitting Country Party Member for Bathurst by 31 votes. Clough held Bathurst until 1988, and again from 1991 until his retirement in 1999.

Clough was succeeded in Blue Mountains in 1981 by Bob Debus. Debus joined the ministry in 1986, serving in that role until the 1988 election, when he lost his seat to the Liberal Party’s Barry Morris.

Morris was re-elected in 1991, but his second term in Parliament took a bizarre turn. Morris had a bad relationship with Blue Mountains City Council. In 1992, a bomb ripped through the council building, not killing anyone but doing significant damage to the building. A year later a phone call to the local newspaper threatened the life of a councillor who had regularly clashed with Morris. The tape of the phone call was passed on to the Labor opposition, which led to a campaign in the Parliament against Morris.

In 1994, Morris was charged with making threatening phone calls on a number of occasions. He resigned from Parliament and from the Liberal Party in late 1994.

In 1995, Bob Debus won back Blue Mountains. Morris ran as an independent, winning 16%. Debus served as a minister in the state Labor government until his retirement in 2007. Debus  was elected as federal member for Macquarie in 2007, serving as Minister for Home Affairs from 2007 to 2009. He retired from federal politics after one term in 2010.

Blue Mountains was won by Phil Koperberg, former commissioner of the Rural Fire Service and ALP candidate. Koperberg joined the Iemma government’s ministry in 2007. He was stood down in late 2007 due to allegations of domestic violence against his former wife. The charges were dismissed, but he stepped down from the ministry in early 2008.

Phil Koperberg retired at the 2011 election, and Liberal candidate Roza Sage won Blue Mountains. Sage lost in 2015 to Labor candidate Trish Doyle.


  • Trish Doyle (Labor)
  • Assessment
    Blue Mountains is a reasonably safe Labor seat.

    2015 result

    Candidate Party Votes % Swing
    Trish Doyle Labor 19,995 41.2 +18.7
    Roza Sage Liberal 17,241 35.5 -4.1
    Alandra Tasire Greens 7,888 16.2 -0.7
    Tony Piper Christian Democrats 1,507 3.1 -1.1
    Mark Harrison Independent 1,470 3.0 +3.0
    Gianna Maiorana No Land Tax 450 0.9 +0.9
    Informal 1,252 2.5

    2015 two-party-preferred result

    Candidate Party Votes % Swing
    Trish Doyle Labor 25,866 58.1 +13.5
    Roza Sage Liberal 18,616 41.9 -13.5

    Booth breakdown

    Booths in Blue Mountains were split into five areas. The two largest towns of Springwood (including Winmalee) and Katoomba (including Leura) were grouped together. Booths between those two towns were grouped as “Mid Mountains” with the remainder split into “Lower Mountains” and “Upper Mountains”.

    Labor won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in four out of five areas, ranging from 53.2% in Springwood to 68.9% in Katoomba. The Liberal Party polled 50.8% in the lower mountains.

    The Greens primary vote ranged from 12.5% in the lower mountains to 24.5% in Katoomba.

    Voter group GRN prim % ALP 2PP % Total votes % of votes
    Springwood 12.5 53.2 9,399 19.4
    Mid-Mountains 17.8 64.8 7,058 14.5
    Lower Mountains 12.5 49.2 6,814 14.0
    Katoomba 24.5 68.9 5,256 10.8
    Upper Mountains 23.3 64.4 2,993 6.2
    Other votes 17.0 55.7 7,863 16.2
    Pre-poll 13.9 58.8 9,168 18.9

    Election results in Blue Mountains at the 2015 NSW state election
    Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and Greens primary votes.

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    1. This area seems to have firmed up for Labor at both state and federal level. An 8% margin is pretty big, in what was an overall solid Liberal win last time.

      Macquarie saw underwhelming Lib wins in 2010 and 2013, then was a Labor gain with a big swing in 2016. Whereas in 1998 (basically the closest equivalent of 2016), the Liberals held it quite comfortably.

    2. In the current climate it looks like he won’t. But if the election became a bit more competitive this should be one of the top Liberal targets. Although the Blue Mountains (similar to Monbulk in Victoria) is trending Labor, I suspect at least some of this result could have been due to Louise Markus, who it should not be forgotten, was originally the member for the Hills/Blacktown seat of Greenway and I suspect never really gelled with the Mountains.


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