Camden – NSW 2019

LIB 18.3%

Incumbent MP
Chris Patterson, since 2011.

Southwestern Sydney. The seat of Camden covers all of the Camden local government area, including the suburbs of Camden, Narellan, Harrington Park, Leppington, Catherine Park and Mount Annan, as well as western parts of the City of Liverpool, including Austral, Badgerys Creek and Greendale, and Camden Park in Wollondilly Shire. These suburbs include newly-developing areas on the fringe of Sydney.

The electoral district of Camden has existed for two different periods: from 1859 to 1920, and again since 1981.

The original district elected two MLAs from 1859 to 1889, and then three MLAs from 1889 to 1894. It continued as a single-member district from 1894 until its abolition in 1920.

Throughout that period Camden never elected a Labor MP, and was won by a variety of Protectionist and Free Trade MPs, becoming a safe Liberal/Nationalist seat by the time of its abolition.

Camden was restored at the 1981 state election, by which time Camden had become part of the fringes of the rapidly-expanding Sydney metropolitan region. Many of the most populous suburbs in the seat today developed throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

The latter seat of Camden has an unusual history of changing parties against the trend of state politics, on two occasions it was gained by a party while losing a state election, and on two other occasions a governing party gained the seat while losing ground statewide.

Camden was won in 1981 by Ralph Brading of the ALP, gaining power in a Labor landslide. In 1984 he was defeated by the Liberal Party’s John Fahey.

The original seat of Camden covered an area from Warragamba to Mittagong, and the redistribution before the 1988 election reduced the seat to a smaller area around Camden itself. The new redistribution was much improved for the ALP.

Following the redistribution, Fahey moved to the neighbouring seat of Southern Highlands. Fahey became a minister in the Greiner government in 1988. He went on to serve as Liberal premier from 1992 to 1995, and then resigning to contest the federal seat of Macarthur. He held Macarthur from 1996 to 2001, serving as Minister for Finance in the first two terms of the Howard government.

In 1988, while the Labor Party was suffering a massive defeat statewide, Peter Primrose managed to gain the seat of Camden, defeating Liberal candidate John Ryan by only 31 votes. Ryan went on to serve as a Liberal member of the Legislative Council from 1991 to 2007.

Primrose only held Camden for one term, losing in 1991 to the Liberal Party’s Liz Kernohan. Another redistribution had expanded Camden to cover most of Wollondilly Shire, a shape it maintained until the 2003 election. Primrose was elected to the Legislative Council in 1996 and now serves as a minister in the Labor government.

Kernohan was a former Mayor of Camden, and she held Camden for three terms, retiring in 2003. She then returned to Camden Council in 2004, but died only seven months later.

Camden was won in 2003 by the Mayor of Camden, Geoff Corrigan, who was running for the ALP. Corrigan was re-elected in 2007. His margin in 2003 had been 5.4%, which expanded to 8.7% in the redistribution, with parts of the seat in Wollondilly Shire removed from Camden. He held on with a reduced 3.9% margin.

In 2011, Corrigan lost his seat with a 22.8% swing, and the Liberal Party’s Chris Patterson was elected. Patterson was re-elected in 2015.


  • Sally Quinnell (Labor)
  • Assessment
    Camden is a safe Liberal seat, despite a recent history of being held by Labor.

    2015 result

    Chris Patterson Liberal 29,54561.4-2.8
    Cindy Cagney Labor 13,10527.2+4.5
    Danica Sajn Greens 2,5515.3-0.2
    Mario TaboneNo Land Tax1,5133.1+3.1
    Colin BroadbridgeChristian Democrats1,4403.0-0.1

    2015 two-party-preferred result

    Chris Patterson Liberal 30,69368.3-4.5
    Cindy Cagney Labor 14,25831.7+4.5

    Booth breakdown

    Booths in Camden have been split into three parts. Most of the electorate’s population is in the urban area at the southern end of the seat, and these booths have been split into Camden in the west and Narellan in the east, with the remainder of the seat grouped as “north”.

    The Liberal Party won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all three areas, ranging from 65.2% in Narellan to 73.6% in the north.

    Voter groupLIB 2PP %Total votes% of votes
    Other votes65.78,36717.4

    Two-party-preferred votes in Camden at the 2015 NSW state election

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    1. Camden has a funny history. For a state seat to be held by Labor for the single term of 1988-91 is pretty weird. But that’s explained by redistributions which pushed and pulled it between the southern highlands and the Campbelltown suburbs.

      Even in its present configuration the seat has been slightly anomalous. It withstood the Labor landslide of 1999, only to fall in the repeat landslide of 2003. It then stayed with Labor despite the improved Liberal performance in 2007. Incumbency factors seem to have played a part.

      The last redistribution added about four points to the Liberal margin. That would have made it line ball in 2007, but still Labor in 2003. It doesn’t look like being any sort of contest this time around.


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