Parramatta council election, 2017

The City of Parramatta covers central parts of Western Sydney. The council is bordered by the M2 to the north, and mostly bordered by the M4 to the south. The council covers Parramatta, North Parramatta, Harris Park, Rosehill, Camellia, Westmead, Northmead, North Rocks, Oatlands, Carlingford, Epping, Dundas Valley, Telopea, Dundas, Rydalmere, Ermington, Wentworth Point, Newington, Silverwater and Sydney Olympic Park.

Council amalgamations
The City of Parramatta previously covered a strangely-shaped area, stretching out in three arms from the Parramatta CBD to Granville in the south, Epping in the north-east and Toongabbie in the north-west.

The City moved north to cover a more compact area, but did not substantially grow in size. The former council included about 189,000 people as of 2014, while the new council covers about 216,000 people.

The City gained those parts of the Hills and Hornsby shires south of the M2, including Northmead, North Rocks, Carlingford, and the remainder of Epping. Parramatta also gained those parts of the former Auburn Council north of the M4, including Sydney Olympic Park, Newington and Silverwater.

Parramatta lost those areas south of Granville railway station. Most of Granville, as well as all of Guildford and South Granville, was moved into the new Cumberland council. Parramatta also gained a small area from the former Holroyd Council.

Wards
Parramatta is divided into five wards, with each ward electing three councillors.

Dundas ward covers central parts of the council, including Dundas, Ermington, Telopea, Oatlands, North Parramatta and parts of Rydalmere. The ward is bounded by Victoria Road to the south, Church Street to the west, and Pennant Hills Road to the north-west. The north-eastern boundary runs through Dundas Valley.

Epping ward covers the north-eastern corner of the council, including Epping and Dundas Valley. The ward is bounded by Pennant Hills Road to the west, and the south-western boundary runs through Dundas Valley.

North Rocks ward covers the northern edge of the council, including Winston Hills, North Rocks, Carlingford and parts of Northmead. The ward is bounded by Pennant Hills to the south and east, and by Toongabbie Creek on its south-western corner.

Parramatta ward covers the Parramatta city centre and the western end of the council, including Westmead, Toongabbie, Pendle Hill and Constitution Hill. The ward is bounded by Toongabbie Creek, Pennant Hills Road, Church Street, Victoria Road, Macarthur Street, Hassall Street and the railway line.

Rosehill ward covers the south-eastern corner of the council, including Rosehill, Wentworth Point, Newington, Silverwater, Harris Park, Clyde, Sydney Olympic Park and parts of Rydalmere and Parramatta. The ward’s boundary lies on the south-eastern edge of the Parramatta City Centre and then runs along Victoria Road.

History – Parramatta
The Parramatta municipality was created in 1862. It was joined by neighbouring councils covering Granville, Dundas and Ermington and Rydalmere were created between 1885 and 1891. These four councils were merged to form the City of Parramatta in 1948.

Throughout the 20th century Parramatta was usually led by independent mayors, interrupted by a few periods of Labor mayors.

Independent Alan Hyam served as mayor, and then lord mayor, from 1986 until 1991. Fellow independent mayor John Haines led the council throughout the 1991-1995 term, and in the following term Haines shared the mayoralty with fellow independents Paul Garrard and John Books.

Labor’s David Borger became lord mayor following the 1999 election: the first Labor mayor since the mid-1980s. The last three-and-a-half years of that term saw the mayoralty shared by independents Lorraine Wearne, John Haines and Paul Garrard.

Labor won a majority on the council in 2004, holding eight seats, alongside five Liberals and two independents. Labor’s Julia Finn, David Borger and Paul Barber held the mayoralty in that term.

The Liberal Party gained ground at the 2008 election, winning a sixth seat. Labor dropped from eight seats to six, with three independents. Parramatta’s first Liberal mayor, Tony Issa, took office after the 2008 election, and the Liberal Party shared the mayoralty in that term with independents Paul Garrard and Lorraine Wearne.

The 2012 election saw more gains for the Liberal Party. They won a seventh seat, with Labor dropping to five. Lorraine Wearne elected a second councillor on her team, as well as independent Paul Garrard. The Liberal Party’s John Chedid and Scott Lloyd held the mayoralty from 2012 until 2015, when they handed over to Garrard, who led the council until the council was sacked in 2016.

History – The Hills East
Those areas transferred from the Hills Shire to Parramatta City previously made up about half of the East ward of the Hills.

In 2004, the East ward elected one Labor candidate, one candidate from the Community First team, and independent candidate Larry Bolitho. There was no official Liberal ticket in 2004, but Bolitho went on to sit as an official Liberal councillor in later terms. Overall, what was then called Baulkham Hills elected four independents who later went on to run as Liberals, along with three Labor councillors, two Community First councillors and three others.

The Liberal Party officially ran in the Hills in 2008, and dominated the council, winning eight seats. Labor won the remaining four. The Liberal Party won two seats in the East ward, while Labor won one – the same result as in every other ward.

This result was repeated in 2012 – while the Liberal Party won a ninth seat thanks to a 3-0 result in the north ward.

History – Hornsby C
Those areas transferred from Hornsby Shire to Parramatta City were previously contained in the C ward of Hornsby Shire.

In 2004, that ward elected one Labor member, and two independents, in the absence of an official Liberal ticket. One of those councillors, Felicity Findlay, has since run as a Liberal candidate.

In 2008, the C ward elected one Greens councillor and two independents: one of whom (Michael Hutchence) went on to win in 2012 as an official Liberal.

In 2012, the Liberal Party won two out of three seats, with the third going to independent Bernadette Azizi.

Candidate summary
The Our Local Community party, founded by former Parramatta mayor Paul Garrard, is running:

  • Dundas – Michelle Garrard
  • Parramatta – Wayne Butcher
  • Rosehill – Andrew Wilson

Assessment
Parramatta has traditionally favoured Labor, but the Liberal Party has a significant head-start when it comes to this election. The Liberal Party won substantially more votes in this council area in 2012 than Labor, and the shift of the council north, gaining North Rocks and Epping and losing Granville, will definitely favour the Liberal Party.

The 2012 council election was a bad one for Labor, and you would expect a rebound in support – in the 2013 federal election (a relatively poor result for Labor) the party won two out of five wards and came relatively close in Dundas.

It’s hard to see the Liberal Party failing to win a second seat in the North Rocks ward, and they also stand a good chance in the Epping ward. If they win one seat in each of the other wards, that brings them up to seven seats – only needing one more vote for a majority.

We don’t know which independents will contest Parramatta. Paul Garrard represented Woodville ward, which is now part of Cumberland council. Presumably Lorraine Wearne, who polled 17% in the areas she contested, will be a contender. The Greens will also be a contender, but will find it hard to concentrate support sufficiently to win a seat.

2012 council result

Party Votes % % where contested
Liberal 35,208 43.3 43.3
Labor 18,518 22.8 25.8
Lorraine Wearne Independents 6,609 8.1 17.0
Greens 6,014 7.4 11.7
The Parramatta Independents 4,871 6.0 12.6
Others 10,113 12.4 14.8

Ward breakdown – federal
Since candidate lists varied significantly across the polling places in the four councils now contained in the City of Parramatta, I have included data on how the results of the 2013 federal election (a relatively good one for the Liberal Party) break down between the five wards.

The Liberal Party won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in three wards: Dundas, Epping and North Rocks. The Liberal vote was particularly strong in the North Rocks ward. Labor narrowly won Parramatta and Rosehill.

Judging by both the two-party-preferred vote and the primary vote, the wards can be ordered from most Liberal to most Labor as such: North Rocks, Epping, Dundas, and then Parramatta and Rosehill roughly tied as the most pro-Labor areas.

The Greens vote was significantly higher in Epping than in the rest of the council area.

Ward LIB 2PP % LIB % ALP % GRN % OTH %
Dundas 52.7 47.6 37.9 6.1 8.4
Epping 56.8 52.0 33.4 8.3 6.3
North Rocks 63.0 56.9 28.5 6.6 8.0
Parramatta 48.4 42.9 42.0 5.3 9.8
Rosehill 49.6 44.7 41.1 6.3 8.0

Ward breakdown – 2012 council results

I have also broken down 2012 council election results by ward.

The Liberal Party dominated the result in all five wards, polling well over 50% in North Rocks (including areas previously contained in the Hills), polling around 44-46% in Dundas and Epping, and 39-40% in Parramatta and Rosehill.

Labor polled 22.6% in Dundas, and 26-29% in the three other wards where they stood a full slate of candidates. Labor technically only polled 7% in Epping ward, as they did not run for Hornsby council.

Independent candidate Lorraine Wearne’s group polled quite well in the three Parramatta council wards which she contested, with her highest vote in the parts of Epping ward already contained in Parramatta council.

The Greens polled almost 15% in Epping, with a vote around 8-10% in the rest of the council once you exclude areas without a Greens candidate.

Ward LIB % ALP % LWI % GRN %
Dundas 44.1 22.6 9.32 3.93
Epping 45.7 7.0 15.32 14.8
North Rocks 57.4 28.5 2.72 2.83
Parramatta 39.5 27.5 10.8 9.6
Rosehill 39.0 26.5 3.42 4.33

1 No Labor candidate stood in the C ward of Hornsby council, which makes up a large part of the new Epping ward. Labor polled 16.4% in the remainder of this ward.
2 Lorraine Wearne’s independent group only stood in three out of five wards of the old Parramatta council. These wards covered all of the new Parramatta ward and parts of the remaining four wards. Excluding those areas where Wearne’s group did not stand, her vote was 26% in Dundas, 35.8% in Epping, 8.6% in North Rocks and 19.9% in Rosehill.
3 The Greens stood in three wards of Parramatta council, along with C ward of Hornsby council and the second ward of Auburn council. Excluding those areas where the Greens did not stand, their vote was 10.8% in Dundas, 8.9% in North Rocks and 9.7% in Rosehill.

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