Gosford by-election 2017

Cause of by-election
Labor MP Kathy Smith resigned in early 2017 due to ill health.

Margin ALP 50.2%

Geography
Central Coast. The seat of Gosford covers western parts of the former City of Gosford (now contained in the Central Coast council area), including the Gosford and Woy Woy areas.

History
A district with the name ‘Gosford’ has existed since the 1950 election. Prior to that period the southern parts of the Central Coast were combined with a seat covering the Hawkesbury.

The seat was held by the Liberal Party from its creation in 1950 to 1971, when it was won by the ALP.

In 1973, the seat of Gosford was broken into the seats of Gosford and Peats. The seat of Peats is the most immediate predecessor of the current seat of Gosford.

Keith O’Connell, who had won Gosford in 1971, moved to the safer Labor seat of Peats in 1973. O’Connell held the seat until his retirement in 1984.

O’Connell was succeeded in Peats by Paul Landa. Landa had been a Labor member of the Legislative Council since 1973 and had served as a minister in the Labor government since 1976. Landa held the seat for only nine months before his death in December 1984.

The ALP’s Tony Doyle won the 1985 by-election. He was re-elected safely in 1988 and 1991, and held the seat until his death in 1994. No by-election was held due to the impending 1995 election.

In 1995, the ALP’s Marie Andrews won the seat of Peats. She won re-election in 1999 and 2003.

In the lead-up to the 2007 election, the redistribution shifted the boundaries of seats on the Central Coast, moving the centre of Gosford from the original seat of Gosford into Peats. In response the seat of Gosford was renamed ‘Terrigal’ and Peats was renamed ‘Gosford’. Andrews was elected to the newly-renamed Gosford.

In 2011, Marie Andrews retired, and Liberal candidate Chris Holstein won Gosford with a 16.7% swing.

Holstein was defeated in 2015 by Labor’s Kathy Smith, who won the seat by barely 200 votes after a 12.2% swing.

Candidates

Assessment
Gosford is extremely marginal, and it is easy to imagine the Liberal Party regaining the seat. But there has been a general shift towards Labor in state polling since 2015, and this suggests that Labor are likely to increase their majority.

2015 result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Chris Holstein Liberal 20,535 42.5 -7.6
Kathy Smith Labor 18,654 38.7 +11.0
Kate Da Costa Greens 4,346 9.0 -2.9
Jake Cassar Independent 2,698 5.6 +5.6
Andrew Church Christian Democratic Party 1,091 2.3 -1.2
Matthew Maroney No Land Tax 938 1.9 +1.9
Informal 1,573 3.2

2015 two-party-preferred result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Kathy Smith Labor 22,029 50.2 +12.2
Chris Holstein Liberal 21,826 49.8 -12.2

Booth breakdown

Booths in Gosford have been split into three parts: north-east, south-east and west. Most of the seat’s population lies in the two urban areas in the east, while ‘west’ covers a large rural areas.

Labor won a 54.5% majority in the south-east area, which makes up the largest part of the seat’s population. The Liberal Party won a slim 51.8% majority in the north-east and won a large 64% majority in the sparsely-populated west.

The Greens came third, with a vote ranged from 8.6% in the south-east to 12.5% in the west.

Voter group GRN % ALP 2PP % Total votes % of votes
South-East 8.6 54.5 15,964 33.1
North-East 9.2 48.2 13,100 27.1
West 12.5 36.2 1,978 4.1
Special 11.2 46.8 8,205 17.0
Pre-poll 6.7 51.4 9,015 18.7

Two-party-preferred vote in Gosford at the 2015 NSW state election

About the Author

Ben Raue is the founder and author of the Tally Room. If you like this post, please consider donating to support the Tally Room.