Canterbury-Bankstown council election, 2017

Canterbury-Bankstown council covers suburbs in the middle south-east of Sydney. The council’s south-western and western boundary follows the Georges River, while the south-eastern boundary follows the M5 motorway and the Cooks River, and the remainder of the boundaries are more erratic. The council covers the suburbs of Bankstown, Bass Hill, Belmore, Birrong, Campsie, Canterbury, Chester Hill, Clemton Park, Condell Park, Earlwood, Georges Hall, Greenacre, Lakemba, Milperra, Padstow, Panania, Picnic Point, Punchbowl, Revesby, Roselands, Sefton, Wiley Park and Yagoona. The new council has a population of about 350,000 as of 2014, which makes Canterbury-Bankstown the most populous council in NSW, and the fourth-most populous council in Australia.

Council amalgamations
Canterbury-Bankstown council is an amalgamation of the former Bankstown and Canterbury councils. These two councils only shared a small boundary, and thus the shapes of the two former councils can still be distinctly identified in the new council’s boundary. The council is long and thin on its eastern end – and most of this area was previously contained in Canterbury. The western end is a more rounded shape, and this area was contained in Bankstown. The boundary ran roughly between Punchbowl and Bankstown.

Bankstown council contained a population of about 200,000 as of 2014, while Canterbury contained a population of about 150,000 as of 2014.

Canterbury-Bankstown is divided into five wards, with each ward electing three councillors.

Bankstown ward covers north-central parts of the council, including Bankstown, Greenacre and Chullora. Most of the ward lies within the former Bankstown council area, with a small area at the southern tip of the ward coming from the Canterbury council area.

Bass Hill ward covers the north-western corner of the council, including Chester Hill, Georges Hall, Yagoona, Birrong, Sefton, Bass Hill and parts of Condell Park.

Canterbury ward covers the eastern end of the council, including Belfield, Campsie, Canterbury, Clemton Park, Hurlstone Park and Earlwood.

Revesby ward covers the south-western corner of the council, including Milperra, Revesby, Panania, Picnic Point, Padstow and parts of Condell Park.

Roselands ward covers central parts of the council, in what used to be the western end of the former Canterbury council. This ward covers Belmore, Lakemba, Punchbowl and Roselands.

History – Bankstown
Bankstown City Council has long been dominated by Labor. Labor held the mayoralty continuously from the 1995 council election until the council was abolished in 2016.

The last independent mayor of Bankstown was Max Parker, who served a second term as mayor from 1994 to 1995. Parker had joined his own father (another former mayor) on the council in the 1980s.

Labor shared the mayoralty around between a number of councillors throughout the late 1990s, with Kevin Hill serving three terms and Ian Stromborg serving two.

Helen Westwood was elected mayor in 2002, and held the position until 2006.

The 2004 council election produced a result of 7 Labor councillors, 3 Liberal councillors and two independents: Max Parker and former Labor mayor Kevin Hill. This majority allowed Labor complete control, and Westwood continued to lead the council for two more years after the election.

Westwood was succeeded in 2006 by Tania Mihailuk. Westwood was elected to the NSW Legislative Council in 2007, serving one eight-year term before losing her seat in 2015.

Mihailuk led Labor to another majority at the 2008 election, maintaining their seven seats. The Liberal Party gained a fourth seat, while Max Parker continued in his seat. Mihailuk served as mayor until 2011, when she was elected as the state member for Bankstown.

Labor lost its majority in 2012, holding only six seats out of twelve. The Liberal Party held its four seats alongside two independents. Max Parker was succeeded by his son Scott, and ex-Labor councillor Allan Winterbottom also won a seat as an independent.

Labor’s Khal Asfour succeeded Mihailuk as mayor in 2011. Asfour was re-elected in 2012 and 2013, and returned to the mayoralty in 2015 after one year with Labor’s Linda Downey as mayor. Asfour was mayor of Bankstown when the council was abolished in 2016.

History – Canterbury

Labor has been dominant in Canterbury for many decades. The party has held a majority on the council at least as far back as 2004, and the council has been led by a succession of six Labor mayors since 1976.

John Mountford served as mayor from 1976 until 1980, and then Kevin Moss held office from 1980 until 1987. John Gorrie, another Labor mayor, served from 1987 until 1995.

Kayee Griffin served two terms as mayor from 1995 until 2004, when she was replaced by Robert Furolo.

Griffin went on to serve as a Labor member of the Legislative Council from 2003 until 2011. Furolo won a second term as mayor of Canterbury in September 2008, and a month later was also elected as the state member for Lakemba at a by-election. Furolo served out his term as mayor of Canterbury, and retired from state parliament in 2015.

Labor’s Brian Robson won the Canterbury mayoralty in 2012 and held the position until the council was abolished in 2016.

Candidate summary
Former Labor mayor of Bankstown Khal Asfour has announced he plans to run for the new council.

Both of the constituent councils which make up the new Canterbury-Bankstown council are heavily Labor-dominated, and the domination is likely to continue.

Labor should comfortably win a seat in all five wards, and is on track to win second seats in the Bass Hill, Bankstown and Roselands wards, which would give them a majority.

The Liberal Party would have a solid chance of winning a second seat in Revesby, but would otherwise struggle to win more than six seats.

The Greens vote varies substantially across the council. The Greens won a seat in the East ward of Canterbury council twice, and this remains their best area by far, but the new Canterbury ward covers a larger area, bringing in less pro-Green areas. The Greens polled 14% in this ward in 2012, and this may not be enough to win a seat.

We don’t know how well various independents will perform in the new council – incumbent councillors Scott Parker and Allan Winterbottom represented wards which both partially cover the Revesby ward, so they may find themselves in competition if they choose to run for re-election. No independents have won election to Canterbury council since 2004.

2012 council result

Party Votes % % where contested
Labor 67,900 43.4 43.4
Liberal 57,525 36.7 36.7
Greens 7,360 4.7 11.6
Scott Parker 3,844 2.5 15.8
Allan Winterbottom 3,466 2.2 15.2
Rebecca Kay 2,638 1.7 11.4
Rabie Chehade 2,306 1.5 10.1
James Liu 2,187 1.4 10.3
Harry Giannacopoulos 2,025 1.3 9.0
Pam Gavin 1,342 0.9 5.9
Brian O’Mara 1,341 0.9 5.9
Unity 813 0.5 3.8
Other independents 3,796 2.4 2.9

Ward breakdown – federal
Since there are different factors in each local council election, I’ve included the results of the 2013 federal election to give a sense of underlying support.

Labor won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in four out of five areas, with a vote ranging from 56.7% in Canterbury to 61.3% in Bankstown. The Liberal Party won 53% in Revesby.

The primary vote tells a similar story, with the Liberal Party doing best in Revesby, and slightly less well in Canterbury, with Labor’s vote peaking in Bankstown, Bass Hill and Roselands.

The Greens polled 8.5% in the Canterbury ward and couldn’t manage any more than 4.4% across the rest of the council.

Ward ALP 2PP % ALP % LIB % GRN % OTH %
Bankstown 61.3 54.8 33.5 3.7 7.9
Bass Hill 60.5 54.7 33.7 3.0 8.6
Canterbury 56.7 46.4 38.3 8.5 6.8
Revesby 47.0 39.9 47.3 4.3 8.4
Roselands 60.9 54.3 34.9 4.4 6.4

Ward breakdown – 2012 council results
I have also broken down 2012 council election results by ward. Labor’s primary vote ranged from 35.6% in Canterbury to 50.6% in the Bankstown ward.

The Liberal vote ranged from 32.6% in Bass Hill to 44.5% in Revesby.

The Greens stood in all three wards of Canterbury council (which roughly aligns with the Canterbury and Roselands wards) but did not stand for Bankstown council, so they did not have the ability to gain votes in the three westernmost wards. Their vote was 9% in Roselands and over 14% in Canterbury.

Votes for various independents ranged from 9% in Roselands to over 21% in Bass Hill.

Ward ALP % LIB % GRN % OTH %
Bankstown 50.6 34.0 0.0 15.3
Bass Hill 46.3 32.6 0.0 21.1
Canterbury 35.6 36.6 14.2 13.6
Revesby 38.5 44.5 0.0 17.0
Roselands 47.5 34.2 9.0 9.3

Election results in Canterbury-Bankstown at the 2012 council election
Click on the ‘visible layers’ box to toggle between primary votes for the Labor and Liberal parties.

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.