Today’s map shows the two-candidate-preferred vote by booth in Fowler between newly elected independent Dai Le and her opponent, former Labor senator Kristina Keneally.
The map shows booths won by Keneally in red, and booths won by Le in purple.
There seem to be two different trends interacting: underlying support for Labor relative to the Liberal Party, and the strongest areas for the Carbone-Le alliance in local government. Dai Le was deputy mayor of Fairfield until her election to parliament, as part of an alliance with the ex-mayor of Fairfield, Frank Carbone. Between them their alliance won ten out of thirteen seats on the council in December 2021, and Carbone was a loud and prominent supporter of his longtime ally’s federal campaign.
Le’s strongest results were not in the parts of the seat with the largest Vietnamese population, around Cabramatta. She did win some booths in this area, but Keneally also won some booths.
Her best results were in the north-west of the seat, around Edensor Park, Abbotsbury and Bossley Park, where she won every booth. While this area is in Fairfield council, it’s an area that Le has never represented as a ward councillor. You can see the ward boundaries, both old and new, for Fairfield council in my 2021 council election guide.
The north-west is also a relatively weak area for Labor as measured by the two-party-preferred vote in 2019, as you can see in my 2022 federal election guide. Labor polled just 51.2% of the two-party-preferred vote here, compared to 72.5% in the other parts of the seat in Fairfield council.
A majority of Fowler is in Fairfield, but it’s also interesting to look at those parts in Liverpool council, in the south-east of the seat. Keneally won the five booths to the west of the Georges River, with over 60% in the booths around the Liverpool CBD.
But Le won comfortably in the two booths in Chipping Norton, with 58% in each booth.
The results in Liverpool proper are much stronger than for Keneally in any part of Fairfield council, even though the 2019 results for Labor in that suburb were much weaker than in Cabramatta, Canley Vale and Carramar. That suggests Le’s support partly reflects the strength of her party on Fairfield council.
But the support for Le in Chipping Norton likely reflects the underlying Liberal vote in this suburb, where the Liberal Party polled 56-58% of the two-party-preferred vote in 2019. Indeed it appears that Le has won little more than the Liberal vote after preferences here.
All of this is consistent with Le picking up support from both Liberal voters, who were happy to vote for someone with a chance of defeating Labor in a traditional safe Labor seat, and Labor voters who wouldn’t normally consider voting for Labor’s main opponent. If you look at the seatwide primary vote swings, Labor lost 18.5%, and the Liberal Party lost 12.9%. This adds up to 31.4% of the primary vote, and Le polled 29.5%.