Heffron – NSW 2019

ALP 14.1%

Incumbent MP
Ron Hoenig, since 2012.

Geography
Inner south of Sydney. Heffron covers southern parts of the City of Sydney, as well as northern parts of the Bayside Council. Heffron also covers those parts of the Inner West Council to the east of the Illawarra railway line, and small parts of Randwick Council. Key suburbs include Redfern, Waterloo, Eveleigh, Alexandria, Zetland, Beaconsfield, Kensington, Kingsford, Rosebery, Eastlakes, Mascot, St Peters and Tempe. Heffron also covers Moore Park and Centennial Park.

History
The district of Heffron has existed since 1973. It has always been held by the ALP.

The seat was first won in 1973 by Laurie Brereton. He had previously held the seat of Randwick for one year. He won it in a 1970 by-election following the election of the previous member Lionel Bowen to the federal seat of Kingsford Smith in 1969. Randwick was abolished at the 1971 election.

Brereton served as a minister in the Labor state government from 1981 to 1987, and held Heffron until 1990, when he resigned to contest Kingsford Smith. He served as a minister in the Labor federal government from 1993 to 1996 and a shadow minister from 1996 to 2001. He retired from Kingsford Smith in 2004.

Brereton was replaced at the 1990 Heffron by-election by his sister Deirdre Grusovin, who had been a member of the Legislative Council since 1978. She had served as a minister from 1986 to 1988.

Grusovin held Heffron at the 1991, 1995 and 1999 elections. In 2003 she lost a bitter preselection contest against Kristina Keneally.

Keneally won a second term in Heffron in 2007. Following the 2007 election she was appointed as a minister. In 2009, the ALP caucus elected her as Labor leader, and she succeeded Nathan Rees as Premier of NSW.

Keneally led the ALP into the 2011 state election, where the party was reduced to only 20 seats, after holding over 50 prior to the election.

In June 2012, Keneally resigned from Parliament. The ensuing by-election was won by Labor candidate Ron Hoenig, the mayor of Botany Bay. Hoenig was re-elected in 2015.

Candidates

  • Ron Hoenig (Labor)

Assessment
While the Greens have strong support in northern parts of this electorate, this support is much weaker at the southern end. Unless something dramatic changes in this seat, the Greens will struggle to compete with Labor, while the Liberal Party is not a factor as long as Greens preferences favour Labor.

2015 result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Ron Hoenig Labor 20,53944.3+4.4
John Koutsoukis Liberal 13,77529.7-5.1
Osman Faruqi Greens 9,78821.1+3.5
Anastasia BakssNo Land Tax1,3923.0+3.0
Shawn ArbeauChristian Democrats8731.9FALSE
Informal1,5583.3

2015 two-party-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Ron Hoenig Labor 26,52964.1+8.9
John Koutsoukis Liberal 14,86035.9-8.9

Booth breakdown

Booths in Heffron have been divided between the four local councils which cover parts of the electorate.

The Labor two-party-preferred vote (against the Liberal Party) ranged from a slim 53% majority in Randwick to almost 80% in the Inner West Council area.

There was also a massive range in support for the Greens, from only 8% in the Bayside council areas to over 35% in the Inner West council area.

Voter groupGRN prim %ALP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Sydney27.662.512,60027.2
Bayside8.075.18,55618.5
Randwick15.052.96,89514.9
Inner West35.379.53,3087.1
Other votes23.459.112,40726.8
Pre-poll20.167.82,6015.6

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

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Easy Labor retain. This should return to 70% 2PP for NSW Labor, where it naturally sits.

    The Liberal Party’s one chance to win this was back in 2011 and Keneally got through by the skin of her teeth against Patrice Pandeleous.

    Greens won’t get into 2nd place in this seat, especially with their weak performances around the Randwick region.

  2. Keneally easily retained in 2011.

    The real point of interest in the Greens. They have also been doing better in Randwick in recent years; the Mayor of Randwick is a Green (Lindsay Shurey, the 2015 Coogee candidate). No such luck for them in Bayside however where they failed to pick up a seat, although they did grab 20% in Mascot ward.

    The seat looks to me like looks like it has a lot of potential Green areas (students, terrace houses, young singles etc.), but a bridge too far to actually overtake Labor at the next election. The Greens still have a very good chance of overtaking the Liberals on their way out, and they can take advantage of Labor vs Green status to pinch the seat off an ailing Labor government.

    A long term prospect, but in the coming election the Greens would be better off focusing on areas where Libs and Nats win the primary vote.

  3. On those demographics, John, this is definitely an area that the Greens ought to improve in further.

    For the Greens to win this seat, I think they would pretty much need to swap primaries with Labor. And even in that scenario they’d need about a fifth of the Liberal preferences, presumably against the HTV. Realistically, I don’t think they can expect much more than that. The Liberals in such a seat won’t need to do anything more than run a candidate, staff booths, keep the LegCo vote up and direct kingmaker preferences (usually against the Greens, but in an expected tight loss, forcing Labor to govern in minority might be more appealing).

  4. Actually all that would need to happen is for the Greens to beat Labor primaries; no gap required. The asset helping the Greens in a seat like this is optional preferential.

    If you look at Balmain 2015, the Greens actually picked up more votes than Labor when Liberals were excluded, with most votes just exhausting. I don’t know what the Liberal how to votes were, but I’m assuming they were “just vote 1”, which would have the least political implications of any way they could do the cards. If the Liberal votes flowed the same way they did federally (in Grayndler), the Greens would have lost the seat.

    Conversely Lismore would have been a Green gain in full preferential, and Liberals would have lost both the North Shore and Manly byelections. Really not sure what political parties are thinking tactically when they propose to switch between optional and full preferential.

  5. John –

    IMHO, full vs optional is pretty much always dependent on “do we rely on prefs” (eg Labor in Qld post 2009 or so) vs “do we usually lead on primaries” (eg Labor in Qld in the early 90s when Libs and Nats used to run three corner contests, although they did have an Inquiry recommendation in favour too).

    Thanks for reminding me that NSW state is optional prefs – with the Qld switchover I had forgotten it yesterday!

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