The withdrawal of the Liberal Party from a number of large Sydney councils has unsurprisingly led to a decline in the Sydney-wide Liberal vote, while Labor and the Greens have produced their highest primary vote in Greater Sydney since 2004. It may well be a record high for Labor, but it’s definitely a record high for the Greens.
In this post I’ll map out the swings to and from each party across Greater Sydney and show how the total vote for each party has shifted over the last five election cycles.
I’ve previously analysed the extent of involvement of the larger political parties in local council politics in Greater Sydney. Most smaller regional councils remain dominated by independents (although there are some bigger councils with parties, including the Hunter and the Illawarra), but in Sydney parties now dominate. And most importantly I had already compiled data back to 2004 about how many votes each party received and where they ran across Greater Sydney.
First up, the Sydney-wide totals. This chart is an update of a previous chart and shows the proportion of the formal vote for Labor, Liberal, Greens and others since 2004. This data is current as of Tuesday morning, with thanks to Antony Green’s results service for making it easier to collect.
Labor’s vote in 2016-17 almost reached the 2004 level, and also almost overtook the vote for all others, which reached an all-time low. Labor did reach a new high in 2021, but the ‘others’ vote has started to climb back up with the withdrawal of the Liberal Party in 2021.
The Greens vote previously peaked at about 8.5% in 2008, but then dropped in 2012 and didn’t quite reach the previous high in 2016-17. It is now hovering at 9.7%.
The Liberal vote peaked at 30.8% in 2012, and is now down to under 25%, but is still higher than their vote in 2004 and 2008, despite running in fewer wards.
Next up, I’ve made a map with eight layers, showing the swings and percentage of the vote for the four blocs.
Highlights for Labor include Blue Mountains, where they are close to a majority of the vote, and Parramatta and Cumberland, where the Liberal Party withdrew. They also gained quite the swing in Lane Cove.
It’s worth noting that these swings are simplistic and do not factor in a party running in more wards of a council, or running in fewer. The Greens did gain a real swing in Randwick, but it looks much bigger because they did not run in the South ward in 2017.
Both Labor and Liberal picked up support in Camden, where the independent vote dropped precipitously.
The others vote was at 100% in four councils, and also very high in North Sydney where most candidates were independents. But it’s otherwise highest in Sydney and Fairfield, both councils where a strong mayor was elected with a big team behind them. The ‘others’ vote in Fairfield, which is mostly the Carbone and Le tickets, was up by 44.4% to almost 75%.
If you look at the ‘others’ swing, the biggest swings are in councils like Parramatta, Cumberland, Bayside and Blacktown where the Liberal Party withdrew and were replaced by conservative independents or local conservative parties.