Cook – Australia 2013

LIB 12.7%

Incumbent MP
Scott Morrison, since 2007.

Southern Sydney. Cook covers parts of the Sutherland shire east of the Illawarra railway and north of Port Hacking, including the Kurnell peninsula and the suburbs of Cronulla, Sylvania, Miranda, Caringbah, Gymea, Como and parts of Sutherland.

Cook was first created for the 1969 election. The suburbs around the current seat of Cook were first included in the seat of Illawarra from federation until the 1922 election, when it was transferred to Werriwa, when Werriwa was a large rural seat covering areas south of Sydney. The seat of Hughes was created in 1955, which was the first seat based in Sutherland. Cook was then created in 1969. This used the same name as an earlier seat based in inner Sydney, which had been a safe Labor seat before its abolition in 1955.

For the previous sixty years the seat covering Sutherland had been mostly held by the Labor Party, although Hughes was lost to Don Dobie (LIB) in 1966, and Cook has been held by the Liberals for most of its existence.

Dobie transferred to Cook in 1969, but was defeated by the ALP’s Ray Thorburn in 1972. Thorburn was defeated by Dobie in 1975 and Dobie held the seat until his retirement in 1996.

Dobie was succeeded by Stephen Mutch, a member of the NSW upper house, in 1996, and Mutch was defeated for preselection by Bruce Baird in 1998. Baird had previously been a state MP and Minister for Transport from 1988 to 1995, as well as taking charge of Sydney’s Olympic big up to 1993.

Baird held the seat for nine years, during which time he developed a reputation as an independent-minded Liberal backbencher who was occasionally critical of the Howard government.

Baird announced his retirement at the 2007 election, and the Liberal preselection was originally won by Michael Towke. Towke’s preselection was overturned amid allegations of branch stacking in a controversial contest, and he was replaced by former director of the NSW Liberal Party, Scott Morrison.

Morrison won the seat, and was re-elected in 2010.


  • Peter Scaysbrook (Labor)
  • Matthew Palise (Palmer United Party)
  • Beth Smith (Christian Democratic Party)
  • Jim Saleam (Australia First)
  • Mithra Cox (Greens)
  • Scott Morrison (Liberal)
  • Graeme Strang (Independent)

Cook is a safe Liberal seat.

2010 result

Scott MorrisonLIB51,85257.88+5.73
Peter ScaysbrookALP25,80628.81-7.46
Naomi WaizerGRN6,9247.73+1.54
Beth SmithCDP1,7221.92-0.38
Graeme StrangIND1,5681.75+1.01
Richard PutralON9971.11-0.09
Merelyn FoyFF7190.80+0.08

2010 two-candidate-preferred result

Scott MorrisonLIB56,13862.66+6.32
Peter ScaysbrookALP33,45037.34-6.32
Polling places in Cook at the 2010 federal election. Caringbah-Miranda in blue, Como in orange, Cronulla in yellow, Sutherland-Gymea in red, Sylvania in green. Click to enlarge.
Polling places in Cook at the 2010 federal election. Caringbah-Miranda in blue, Como in orange, Cronulla in yellow, Sutherland-Gymea in red, Sylvania in green. Click to enlarge.

Booth breakdown
Booths have been divided into five areas, named after key suburbs in the electorate.

The Liberal Party won a majority in all five areas, ranging from 56.6% in Como to 69.5% in Sylvania.

Voter groupGRN %LIB 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes8.8162.2417,69419.75
Two-party-preferred votes in Cook at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Cook at the 2010 federal election.


  1. The guy who made Rats in the Ranks made a film about the 1984 campaign here called ‘Democracy’, Labor almost won in 1983 but when a candidate from the left unexpectedly won preselection in 1984 there was much bad bd blood.

  2. Anyone who has not heard of Jim Saleam, google that name, then look him up a bit more and learn about him. He’s one of the fathers of the Cronulla riots, a thing which brought shame on the whole country, not just the one suburb. (Google “Patriotic Youth League” while you’re at it.) If you think there’s a single thing he stands for that you agree with, then get a passport, get on a plane out of this country and don’t ever, EVER come back. You aren’t welcome.

  3. Something is wrong win this country when “bird of paradox” can not say what they know about a candidate for public office.

    Lets ask the question to Jim Saleam What Political Parties have you been a member of previously? and an even question would be What is the difference between Australia First and the parties you have previously been a member of?

    I do not live in Cook and have no knowledge of Cook but if I did Saleam would be below the Greens and even below the Communists on my ballot paper.

    Andrew Jackson

  4. Would birdy wirdy be able to inform us who were the other fathers and also the mothers, so we can rely on his bone pointing in case we need to book air fares.

  5. Let the illegals boat people in but have them work in Australia for 5 years at the governments pleasure. After that they can be considered for citizenship as someone who has come to Australia legally and have learnt English, have a job, have private accommodation and have not committed crimes whilst in Australia. Its that simple Liberal and Labour Parties.

    The crocodile tears from the two major parties over drownings of boat people is a double standard after all the same parties support the slaughter of civilians in Afghanistan and earlier in Iraq as far as the Liberals were concerned.

  6. Adrian, please don’t refer to them as “illegals”. Coming to Australia by boat seeking asylum is not illegal, and the status of those who have done so is also not “illegal immigrant”. An illegal immigrant is someone who comes to Australia on a valid Visa and then fails to leave before their Visa expires. Asylum seekers are entirely legal, and the use of “illegals” and “boat people” by certain people and groups is actually an effort to dehumanise them.

    Note that Tony Abbott is the biggest example of this – ever noticed that he never refers to “asylum seekers”? He always refers to the boats, and only mentions the people in the boats when attacking Labor when there are deaths… in which case, he almost always refers to them as “boat people”.

    Anyway, I’m not sure why you posted on this particular page to say what you said.

  7. Anyone without a visa is entering the country illegally. There reasons for entering may be for different reason though. Having a visa does not make a person an immigrant either. Tourists have visas for example

  8. Tourists have visas for example

    They sure do. Plenty of people come here every year on tourist or working holiday visas, and then overstay them. If we had anything like that number of boat people, then we really would have a problem. (There’d be traffic jams in the Timor Sea.) As it is, the English girl in her 20’s who works at your local cafe or pub is more likely to be an illegal immigrant than any of those filthy brown-skinned people you’ve sometimes seen on telly in their paradise holiday camp west of Port Augusta. The small number we have can easily be accommodated. Just ask folk in Northam, Katanning, Cowra or Shepparton, it’s been done in the past and can be again.

  9. Bird of Paradox – You think Cowra was an easy accommodation???

    Yes, there are far more people who overstay visas than travel via boat, but if they’re caught, there are significant punishment provisions for them.

    But I think it’s fair that more effort is being put into catching people who are trying to enter Australia without a valid visa via boat because it is more dangerous than those who are overstaying visas within Australia.

  10. Anyone without a visa is entering the country illegally

    The UN Refugee Convention explicitly states that those seeking asylum have the right to enter a country for the purposes of seeking asylum. No need for a visa, or even identity papers.

    It works like this – entering the country by boat is illegal. However, for countries that are signatories to the UN Refugee Convention, of which Australia is one, the convention explicitly states that entering a country by illegal means in order to seek asylum is not illegal. Arriving by boat is illegal; arriving by boat seeking asylum is not.

    Anyway, I’m fed up with both major parties playing right-wing politics on this issue. I have a solution that would stop all of the drownings pretty much immediately – set up our own asylum seeker entrance system – we can have outposts of it in Indonesia, as well as various other places around the world. In these places, we make efforts at rapid identification of true refugees, who then are brought to Australia, or sent to other countries that are safe havens for refugees. Those who can’t have their claims rapidly confirmed are brought to Australia, or sent to other processing locations, by Australian boats, planes, or other such methods.

    The “problem” we need to address for ourselves is the people smuggling. The asylum seekers aren’t a “problem” for Australia, they’re a problem for a world where people are persecuted in such great numbers. Such a truly regional processing and transfer system would remove the people smugglers from the system, and allow asylum seekers the full protection afforded to them by the UN Refugee Convention.

  11. Glen, the “UN Refugee Convention” is not something which should bind Australia’s laws on this issue. We are a sovereign nation, and we should not have to have our laws set by the UN, where every tin pot African or Pacific Island nation gets the same one-vote-one-say as a nation with a billion people such as China. Irrelevant countries have a disproportionate say in global affairs. Is that the kind of organisation that we should take orders from? It’s no wonder the public has turned hard right on this issue. Australians want to decide who comes into our country, not have the rules set by the UN, which is overrun by irrelevant countries.

  12. Jack, whether you think it “should” bind us in terms of opinion, the fact is that it “should” do so by international law as it currently stands.

    Note that Australia *chose* to be a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention. We did so because we honestly thought (and I’d like to think most Australians still think) it’s the right thing to do. It’s a convention that puts forward the idea that we shouldn’t be turning our backs on people who are fleeing persecution. Are YOU in favour of turning our backs on people fleeing persecution?

  13. We should be able to assist people fleeing persecution ON OUR TERMS, not on the terms of the UN, which is dominated by the third world due to the sheer number of countries there are. We should respect ourselves as a nation and not run our immigration program on the basis of the demands of the international community. Why don’t people on the left understand why Howard’s and not Abbott’s rhetoric about “we should decide who comes to this country…etc.” is so successful? It’s because that’s what the punters want. We’re happy to take asylum, but ON OUR TERMS.

  14. Jack, your xenophobic attitude is unfortunate, but is superseded by your ignorance. Not only are most of the signatories to the UN Refugee Convention developed nations, but Australia was one of the first to sign onto it. We signed on in January 1954. The following nations signed on before us: Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg, and Norway. But please, tell me again how it’s clearly a case of third world countries trying to make use of how many of them there are in order to somehow screw over developed nations.

    What’s more, the whole “we should decide who comes to this country…etc” spiel is very, VERY xenophobic, trying to cast the people who are fleeing persecution as “queue jumpers”… there ARE no queues for them to jump in the countries they’re fleeing from.

    So again, I ask you – do you honestly think we should be turning our backs on people who are fleeing persecution?

  15. In answer to your question, YES, in most cases. Do YOU honestly think we should let in everyone who is fleeing persecution?

    Let me tell you. My dad was a refugee. I’m not xenophobic per se. He waited in a camp for 3 years for the right to come here. He didn’t just get on a boat.

    Labor has lost the plot on this issue and its the main reason they’ll get wiped out at the election. People on the left characterise western Sydney as a redneck racist white-supremacist wonderland that hates dark skinned people. What labor and the greens fail to understand is that migrants and families of migrants are smashing labor for this issue – they want an orderly immigration system, since they came here legally.

    I know all the slogans of the left: “There is no queue”, “Claiming asylum is a human right”, “fleeing persecution is not orderly”, BLAH BLAH BLAH. People KNOW all that, and they STILL would rather have a government who will do the first fundamental job of a government: secure the borders properly.

    By the way, there IS such a thing as queue jumpers, if our humanitarian intake is fixed, as it should be. They take the places of humble people in camps. Those who say there is no queue say there is no limit to our humanitarian intake.

    Lastly, I see no problem with Xenophobia as a concept, being the fear of the foreign/unknown. The word xenophobia has such a negative stigma to it. A healthy distrust of all things foreign is not necessarily a bad thing. I’m not sure if you know much about European politics, where the far right is on the rise…it might be best for our nation to solve this problem sooner rather than later before it gets to that…

  16. We’re getting a TINY percentage of asylum seekers, and even the ones called “economic refugees” are fleeing persecution of one form or another. That you happily say you’re in favour of turning our backs on these people disgusts me.

    And you speak of “waiting in camps”. The thing is, like I said, most of these people aren’t coming from places that HAVE such camps. More importantly, many of them don’t have the money necessary to bring the whole family – they scrimp and save enough to be able to send just one person, typically the father or an older son, in the hopes that they’ll be able to bring the rest out of the persecution.

    And xenophobia is very much bad. It is rejection of xenophobia that has resulted in human progress at all times. Fire was foreign at one point, but humans embraced it, learned to understand it, and it improved civilisation. Space was foreign. Science is rooted in the exploration of the unknown.

    So simply put, I’m done arguing this with you.

  17. Forget Saleam, or what he did or didn’t do. I think that the riot itself ultimately sprung out of the hiding behind veils of men engaging in anti-social behaviour, and out of what locals saw as pussyfooting by police. But the alleged white factor means nothing here.
    Morrison’s got this in the bag.

  18. Glen if you want to defend the current system where hundreds of people die in the ocean, that’s fine. If you think my views are disgusting, then you think the views of more than half of the country are disgusting. You may wish to find a new place to live if it bothers you so much.

    Stop the political correctness and realise that we can’t take in everyone who claims to have a problem. There are about 20 countries between here and where they come from, but they want the pot of gold country at the end of the rainbow two continents away.

  19. Jack, on the contrary. I want to fix the current system in the most humane way possible – by setting up an official transport system, so that asylum seekers can be brought to Australia by safe methods of transport, and then processed here. I think Labor’s solution is a weak solution intended only to stop them getting on the boats without really addressing the true issue, while the Liberals’ solution is no solution at all (and indeed will make asylum seekers take greater risks, like intentionally sabotaging their boats so that it is no longer “safe” to turn the boats back).

    And you mention that there are many countries in between. Let’s use Afghanistan as an example. To get to Australia from Afghanistan, you have to start by travelling through Pakistan – a country that is even more dangerous. Then you have to travel through India, where there is great animosity for muslims. Then there’s Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and then Indonesia. None of these countries are signatories of the Refugee Convention and would turn a blind eye to persecution against these asylum seekers, and would have no qualms with sending them back. And even if neither of those were an issue, these countries would not allow these people to bring the rest of their families once they’ve arrived. Remember what I said about these people sending one member of the family because they can neither afford nor risk to send more than one.

    What’s more, most of them AREN’T coming to Australia. The vast majority are fleeing to places like England, Scandinavia, etc. About half a million people lodged asylum claims last year; Australia’s proportion of that is under 16,000. And almost all of those are coming from the Asian edge of the Middle East – where would you have them go? Iran? Syria? China? Maybe you think they should be going to Israel, where they can be persecuted even more?

    In the history of Australia, we’ve had boat people coming all of the time. At one time or another, it has been Greeks, Italians, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Palestinians, just to name a few. And all of them have become major contributors to the nation on the whole. Yes, there have been problem refugees, but they are the exception, not the rule.

    As for “…then you think the views of more than half of the country are disgusting”, I’m going to point back to where I said “We did so because we honestly thought (and I’d like to think most Australians still think) it’s the right thing to do”.

    And if you think it’s OK to tell someone to leave because they disagree with the majority opinion in Australia, then you are more atrocious than I thought. It is thinking like that that produces the kind of extremism and fundamentalism that is such a problem in places like Egypt, Iran, and Pakistan – the very attitudes that are leading these people to flee in the first place.

  20. Glen, if you think Australia is the most appropriate place for muslim asyulum seekers to come and there is no other place better for them, you’re being taken for a ride. There are about 30 countries which are predominantly Islamic. In all seriousness, why can’t they go to one of them? Why should Australia absorb the spillover? When muslims come here, they are not happy. They riot in the city – they are aggressive – they DO NOT assimilate – they constantly claim they’re being discriminated against. I’m guessing with a large degree of certainty that you don’t live anywhere near any muslims. I do. I unfortunately deal with them on a regular basis – it is not pleasant. LOOK at what is happening in European countries. Muslims are NOT assimilating and FAR RIGHT political parties are mainstream now.

    Why do you think the backlash from the punters in the marginals in western Sydney has been so strong? These bleeding heart refugee activists are from the inner-west. They don’t have to compete with asylum seeks for jobs, hospitals, services, etc. They have no idea.

    When I see headlines like “Leaders woo chinese voters…” or when Labor backed down on the Israel/Palestine motion at the UN a few months ago because of a backlash of Arab voters in western Sydney, I almost vomited. Why should people come here in droves and sway the political system based on their loyalties to their home countries? Its sickening. Labor is tangling itself up way too much with minorities – and Bob Carr – the worshiper of foreign cultures – is the prime culprit. They are and will continue to pay the price electorally for this. Australia must support a policy of nationalism. I almost threw up when I saw on the news today muslims protesting at the Egyptian embassy in Sydney about the situation in Egypt, trying to drag Australia in to the conflict. Syrians in Sydney on both sides of the conflict attacking eachother. The problem is that people bring their baggage here. It stinks. Why do you think there is a massive white flight out of Sydney happening right now? Do you think the average Australian really wants to live in Bob Carr’s multicultural paradise?

    We just need to slow the immigration right down. We’ve got enough people now – too many infact – the more people we have, the greater environmental impact it has.

    How many people do you want to take in each year Glen? 500,000? 1 million? I never get an answer from people like you. And you want to set up some sort of taxi service for them to get here, so they don’t even have to make the journey….Do you realise there will be no-one left in Afghanistan – they’ll all be here mate. Get a grip. Everyone in Afghanistan could make some sort of claim that their life is a bit precarious – but we simply can’t take them all.

    There’s people in Australia doing it tough. How on earth people like you can justify advocating spending billions on bringing more people in when we’re not looking after our most vulnerable here, I’ll never know.

    By the way, I’ve read enough “Stop the myths – here are the facts about refugees” websites, add them to the list along with “There is no queue”, “Claiming asylum is a human right”, “fleeing persecution is not orderly”. The punters can see right through it.

  21. Jack, why the hell does it matter that they’re Muslims? Are you saying that, if Christians in Thailand are being persecuted, they have to go to the Vatican or Italy? That Buddhists in South Africa have to travel to India for asylum?

    Your Islamophobia is showing.

  22. Also, stop acting as though you speak for the majority, and hiding behind phrases like “the punters”. You’re not fooling anybody. Go and vote for One Nation, the rest of the country, even the Liberal Party under Tony Abbott, are happy to dismiss your arguments for what they are – hypocritical and xenophobic.

  23. I’m calling an end to this conversation about asylum seekers. It’s not on topic regarding the campaign for Cook specifically, and not within the gamut of this website.

    Any more comments on this topic will be deleted in the morning.

  24. Well, well. Half the population of this seat have to vote again in a few weeks, in a state by-election for Miranda. Labor got splattered in that seat in 2011, and they’ve only held the seat after landslide victories (1978-84 and 1999-2011), so they’re unlikely to win, but their MP’s resignation may annoy enough people to make it interesting. (He realised he didn’t like politics all that much and wanted to go back to his old job.)

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