Banks – Australia 2013

ALP 1.5%

Incumbent MP
Daryl Melham, since 1990.

Southern Sydney. Banks covers large parts of the St George area and neighbouring suburbs. It includes most of Hurstville council area,  a majority of Kogarah council area and parts of Bankstown and Canterbury council areas. Key suburbs include Padstow, Revesby, Hurstville, Mortdale, Peakhurst, Penshurst, Allawah, Oatley and Blakehurst.

Banks was created for the 1949 election, and has always been held by the ALP. The seat has mostly been a safe Labor seat, although the seat was very marginal at the 2001 and 2004 elections.

The seat was first won in 1949 by Labor candidate Dominic Costa. Costa held the seat for twenty years, always as a member of the opposition, retiring in 1969.

Vince Martin was elected in 1969, and held the seat until he was defeated for preselection in 1980 by John Mountford. Mountford held the seat until his retirement in 1990.

In 1990, Banks was won by Labor candidate Daryl Melham. Melham has held the seat ever since, serving in the Opposition shadow ministry from 1996 to 1998 and again from 2001 to 2004. Successive swings against the ALP wore his margin down to 1.06% in 2004, although a favourable redistribution before the 2007 election, combined with a swing of almost 8%, made the seat much safer.

In 2010, Melham suffered a swing of almost 11% on primary votes and almost 9% on two-party-preferred votes, which cut his margin to 1.5%.


Banks is held by a slim margin and wouldn’t require a large swing for the Liberal Party to win. However, despite often being a marginal seat the seat has never been won by the Liberal Party. It may be difficult for the Liberals to win more of a swing in addition to the large swing in 2010.

2010 result

Ron DelezioLIB38,17845.52+10.48
Daryl MelhamALP36,03442.96-10.76
Paul SpightGRN8,0629.61+3.21
Michael ParsonsON1,5951.90+1.90

2010 two-candidate-preferred result

Daryl MelhamALP43,15051.45-8.92
Ron DelezioLIB40,71948.55+8.92

Booth breakdown
Booths have been divided into six areas: Allawah-Blakehurst, Beverly Hills-Riverwood, Hurstville-Penshurst, Mortdale-Peakhurst, Padstow-Revesby, and the suburbs along the Georges River.

The ALP won majorities varying from 52% to 60% in four areas. The Liberal Party won a slim 53% margin in the easternmost area of Allawah-Blakehurst, and won a margin of over 61% in the riverside booths.

Polling booths in Banks at the 2010 federal election. Allawah-Blakehurst in red, Beverly Hills-Riverwood in orange, Georges River in yellow, Hurstville-Penshurst in purple, Mortdale-Peakhurst in green, Padstow-Revesby in blue.
Voter groupGRN %ALP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Georges River9.5338.7610,57612.61
Beverly Hills-Riverwood8.6059.9510,11112.06
Other votes10.5751.8518,04521.52
Two-party-preferred votes in Banks at the 2010 federal election.


  1. This seat should easily fall to the Liberal David Coleman, has been campaigning strongly for over a year now.

  2. Historical issues with this seat (although boundaries have changed somewhat) have seen this retained by Labor through the nineties and noughties. In 1996, this should have fallen to the Liberals. However, the Liberal Party has always failed to appropriately man booths in this electorate and they have suffered the consequences. I don’t believe this will happen again.

    I’m hearing that Melham may not recontest, in which case Labor cannot hold. Coleman to date has campaigned well, but he will not carry the popularity of Ron Delezio who ran last time and was unsuccessful this time in his candidacy for the Liberal Party.

    Internal polls in Banks/Reid/Hughes are showing around 15% swings against Labor on primary votes. Expect the Green vote to fall quite considerably in this seat at the election to around 6-7%.

  3. This will behave in a similar way to the state seat of East Hills and Oatley. Word on the ground is that people are disgusted with the “conflict of interest” with Darryl Melham running Revesby Workers Club while still an MP, effectively voting against one of the main forms of income when it came to the Mandatory Poker Machine Pre-Committment. I expect this to be one of the first to fall on the night.

  4. At a state level this would be kneck and kneck. I’m not saying labor will hold this but i think that it wont swing as big as other western sydney seats because Delezio was well known and I think there are a handful of seats that have already swung last time (Kingsford smith, fowler etc) that they won’t be as harsh as other seats (Lindsay, Greenway)

  5. Well, he’s obviously a Lib staffer / insider / something or other. That’d help. 😉

    The general trend in Banks seems to be about 1% per election toward the Libs (that’s from eyeballing the graph, not any serious number-crunching). If the 2004 redistribution hadn’t happened (2.1% in Labor’s favour), Banks would’ve probably already turned blue in 2010. (I’m guessing that redistribution added the Bankstown area in the west?)

    Pollytrack (Poll Bludgers rolling poll average) reckons the average swing in NSW is 5.9%. Add on that long-term trend, and a 7% swing is perfectly believable – Melham’s got no chance. (It seems to me the big swing in 2010 wasn’t so much from Ron Delezio being such an amazing candidate, but more a correction for the equally big swing to Labor in 2007.) Add on another few points because OMFG WESTERN SYDNEEEY, and there’s DB’s 10%.

  6. Bird of Paradox
    I think you might mean the 2009 redistribution ??. The GENIUSES at the AEC did a bang up job of moving Banks east, & north, not west at all. Watch how many people they have to move next time. Idiots. BTW i like your style of arithmetic !!!!.

  7. Bird of Paradox
    That would be the case were it not for the introduction of automatic enrolment. WA will get seat 16 in 2015, definitely. However the other states all have a bigger chance of losing one than NSW. My bet is on SA

  8. The population quotients for NSW and SA are 47.5652 and 10.7965 respectively. Both are shrinking, but NSW is a lot closer to that half-a-quota mark, and its quota will shrink about four times as fast as SA’s due to having four times the population (assuming their growth rates are roughly equal). NSW is likely to lose a seat next term, (and if not, it’s a certainty for the term after that). SA will probably also lose one eventually, but that’ll take a few terms.

  9. B of P
    Sorry you are only looking at enrolled voters. The AEC is actually enrolling the “missing voters” very rapidly. Consequently NSW might well be over 50.00 by 2016, there are supposedly already more than 5,100,000 eligible voters in NSW.

  10. A DLP candidate is bad news for Melham in this seat. 70% of DLP will flow to the Libs and there was no DLP candidate last time.

    Two things help Melham:
    1. Rudd’s the PM
    2. Delezio is in Watson.

  11. Even with the change of PM, I still think Melham is in trouble in Banks. Even the slightest swing in primary vote to the Liberals David Coleman, and subsequent swing against Labor/The Greens will equate to enough of a swing for Banks to fall. That’s not to say Labor’s fortunes could change so much so that there could be a swing back to Labor in some Western Sydney seats. But I think this one will fall to the Coalition.

  12. I live in Banks and didn’t see any local campaigning by the Labor party in the first half of 2013. I did see David Coleman and supporters doing a meet and greet on 2 or 3 occasions, plus there’s been a big Coleman poster next to King Georges Road for a couple of months now.

    My guess is that Labor wrote off this seat before the leadership change, and concentrated their resources on less marginal seats, e.g. Barton. Let’s see if they boost their local effort now that Rudd’s return may make Banks winnable again.

  13. Edward Boyce
    Firstly, my humble apologies for getting the re-distribution issue so wrong. You were completely correct.
    Regarding Banks. Until Melham starts UN- packing his boxes. No one else would be advised to consider him a chance !!. One of my labor (party member) mates lives in Banks, & says “the best thing Labor has going for them is Melham, & he is (also) the worst”. What are your thoughts??.

  14. winediamond,
    I don’t have any real view on Melham – I’ve only lived in this area for a couple of years, and don’t have any connections with the parties. Just thought I could offer a local perspective on the visible campaign efforts.

  15. Winediamond – I think Melham’s biggest issue was the changing of boundaries prior to the last election as half of the people that go to the Revesby Workers Club actually live in Hughes now. I also hear that Labor have lost many members in this area and someone told me they won’t have enough people to man all the booths on election day. That would be incredible if true.

  16. Melham was packing up his Canberra office before the challenge, but I have a feeling the ALP will be checking this seat again now that Rudd is back.

    A key factor here will be how the local community in and around around Hurstville (especially the Chinese community) responds to the return of Kevin Rudd. They were very, very pissed off about him being removed in 2010 and have been voting for Unity and the liberals since then at local/state level. Can Rudd win them back?

  17. It will be interesting to see what happens here. A lot of the older residents are moving on in the Beverly Hills, Hurstville areas and are being replaced by migrants and first generation Australians.

  18. Much as I would like a Liberal Government, I wont be voting for Coleman. Doesn’t live in the area so no vote from me. Too cashed up and a media guru…just what we (NOT) need in politics…

    Strategically, it is more sensible, in the interests of the the 2 party state we have, to leave the ALP with a decent seasoned rep who can add to the opposition’s depth.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have a high opinion of my fellow voters to make such a sensible strategic decision.

  19. My fiance lives in this seat and the contrast between the State Election of 2011 and this federal election is startling. From 2011, I did see quite a few corflutes up for Alan Ashton but, this time, there are hardly any for Daryl Melham.

    I think this area is starting to become a swing area, especially as the area along the Georges River is becoming fairly affluent, pushing up towards the M5.

  20. Current polling shows Melham packed his bags early with good reason. The Liberal primary vote is up 3% on the last election and polling in this seat is trending towards the Liberals. This is become a more likely gain for the Liberals as opposed to a knife-edge result.

    Hawkeye – I didn’t think Ashton’s seat (East Hills – state) overlapped with Melham’s (Banks – federal) much given the shift in Banks to the north before the last election? It used to overlap almost entirely from memory, but I think much of East Hills now falls in either Hughes or Blaxland. I stand corrected if I am wrong. Nonetheless, your comments are consistent with the lack of faith in the Labor brand in the middle and outer ring area of Sydney.

  21. There is a third option! Hi I’m Jake Wellham and I am standing for the federal seat of Banks. Unlike Coleman, this is my area. My family has lived in Banks since the early nineties. I was the youngest elected President of a Lions Club in Australia in 2001when I became President of the Hurstville Lions Club. I have lived, worked, and run a business in this electorate. I have helped the needy and raised funds to support local charitable needs. I have instituted Lions drug awareness programmes in the local schools.

    If you have had enough of Labor, and don’t want to vote for a Liberal who has had nothing to do with Banks until this election, then vote for a real person who cares about the people of Banks, vote for me, Jake Wellham. I will be humbled to represent you, and give you back a voice in federal politics.

  22. St. George & Sutherland Shire Leader has reported the following order of candidates on the Banks ballot paper.

    1. Melham, Daryl (Labor Party)
    2. Wellham, Jake John (Palmer United Party)
    3. Khedr, Sayed (Independent)
    4. Richardson, Ross (Katter’s Australian Party)
    5. Spight, Paul (The Greens)
    6. Falanga, Mark (Christian Democratic Party, Fred Nile Group)
    7. Haddad, Robert Michael (Democratic Labour Party)
    8. Coleman, David (Liberal Party)

  23. JWS says Libs 50% to ALP 43% on primaries. Probable Lib gain and internal polling shows a similar primary vote for the Libs and a smaller primary vote for Labor.

  24. But still it’s not quite the result I would expect here its within reach for labor and that’s a blow to the liberals considering Coleman has campaigned more then melham

  25. DB – There is a bit of an over-lap still in existance, especially with Padstow-Revesby between the Georges River and the M5. This area was identified as being soft for the ALP, especially as the area around Revesby has been swinging, despite the presence of Revesby Workers. The areas of Panania and East Hills are in Hughes but there is still a considerable over-lap

  26. Hawkeye – I know. I grew up around here.

    Banks Galaxy 20/08/2013 575 2PP 48% ALP

    I would have thought this is more defendable than Reid for Labor. Banks has never been won by the Libs although a boundary shift before the 2010 election has made it slightly more marginal. I preferred the Lib candidate last time, however, the resources are much better this time. Would expect the Coalition to pick up if there is a general swing in Western Sydney, however, this may not swing as much as others in western Sydney as Delezio picked up a big swing last time.

  27. I’m more sure that Lindsay and Reid will go before this one. I think it will be a Coalition gain, however, I say so with no absolute confidence.

  28. I am holding a free sausage sizzle in Olds Park Penshurst tomorrow betwen 12 and 2pm. Come on down and say hello to me, and to former Australian Representative and State of Origin Footballer Matt Adamson who is running for the senate.

  29. The problems for the Liberals was that they did not campaign on this seat at the last election and put in little effort. It would have fallen already if they did put some effort in

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