Hughes – Australia 2013

LIB 5.2%

Incumbent MP
Craig Kelly, since 2010.

Hughes covers parts of southern Sydney crossing the Georges River. The seat covers parts of Sutherland LGA west of the Illawarra train line, including Engadine, Woronora, Menai, Illawong and Alfords Point. It also covers eastern parts of Liverpool LGA, including the Liverpool CBD, Warwick Farm, Chipping Norton, Moorebank, Holsworthy and Wattle Grove. The seat now also crosses the Georges River into Bankstown, covering East Hills, Milperra, Panania and parts of Revesby.

Hughes was first created in 1955 and has been held by the ALP for much of its history despite generally covering relatively affluent areas that would usually be thought of as more favourable to the Liberals. Its first MP was Les Johnson, who held the seat for Labor until he was defeated in the 1966 landslide by the Liberal Party’s Don Dobie. Dobie transferred to the newly created seat of Cook in 1969, and Johnson regained Hughes for the ALP, going on to serve as a minister in the Whitlam government.

Johnson resigned in December 1983, and was succeeded at a by-election by Robert Tickner, who went on to serve a high-profile tenure as Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs from 1990 until losing his seat when the Keating government lost office in 1996.

Danna Vale won the seat for the Liberals in 1996 and has held it ever since. Labor tried to regain the seat in 1998 with high-profile candidate David Hill, former boss of State Rail and the ABC. However, it was Hill’s more recent role as head of Sydney Water which effectively derailed his campaign, following widespread criticism of that authority’s handling of the water contamination crisis which occurred a few months prior to the election.

Vale served as Minister for Veterans Affairs during the Howard government’s third term, gaining most notoriety for her misdirected ‘stay brave and true’ faxed message of support intended for broadcaster Alan Jones whilst he was facing investigation by broadcasting regulators.

In 2007, Vale’s margin was cut to 2.2%. In 2010, Vale retired and Liberal candidate Craig Kelly won the seat, increasing the Liberal margin to 5.2%.


Hughes is a marginal seat but should be easily retained by the Liberal Party in 2013.

2010 result

Craig KellyLIB42,42449.15+2.67
Brent ThomasALP32,61137.78-5.96
Susan RobertsGRN5,4306.29+0.93
Scott NailonCDP2,1122.45-0.70
Peter BussaON1,5991.85+1.85
Stan HurleyFF1,1831.37+0.45
Don NguyenLDP9481.10+1.01

2010 two-candidate-preferred result

Craig KellyLIB47,61955.17+4.63
Brent ThomasALP38,68844.83-4.63
Pollign places in hughes at the 2010 federal election. Bankstown in blue, Liverpool in green, Sutherland in orange. Click to enlarge.
Pollign places in hughes at the 2010 federal election. Bankstown in blue, Liverpool in green, Sutherland in orange. Click to enlarge.

Booth breakdown
Booths have been divided into three parts along local government areas. Approximately half of the population lives in Sutherland Shire, with the remainder split between Liverpool and Bankstown.

The Liberal Party won 58.9% in Sutherland and 52.7% in Liverpool. The ALP won a very slim majority in Bankstown.

Voter groupGRN %LIB 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes7.8955.2216,31218.90
Two-party-preferred votes in Hughes at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Hughes at the 2010 federal election.
Greens primary votes in Hughes at the 2010 federal election.
Greens primary votes in Hughes at the 2010 federal election.


  1. An interesting seat that had parts of Banks distributed into it 2 elections ago. This used to be part of a Labor stonghold under the Hawke/Keating Governments and prior to this, and has been held by the Liberals since Howard became PM. This is part of the new affluence in south-western Sydney (due to a dying blue-collar demographic changing into a younger white-collar family demographic) which Labor are going to find hard to recover at any point in the immediate future.

    There is also a new development around Moorebank which will, over time, re-enforce the Liberal vote here. Google for the new estate details. House and land packages starting at about $650k on 400 square metres. An extremely anglo demographic across the seat (like Lindsay which is quite some distance away but Hughes is more affluent), this seat will probably go to double digits and don’t be surprised if the Libs end up with a 15-20% margin.

  2. I’ve always thought the Liberals have under-achieved in this seat, given the strength of areas like Menai and Panania. This election should make it safe.

  3. I don’t understand this district. Why do they lump parts of Liverpool and East Hills with the Shire?

  4. Morgieb
    Seems crazy doesn’t it ??. In my view it is down to incredible incompetence, on the part of the AEC. The AEC did an appalling job of the 2009 redistribution which i could write hundreds of pages of legitimate, factual criticisms. Hughes was a fulcrum of past , & present (in 2009) mistakes, & compromises that made them look ridiculous, & more so as events have evolved.
    The AEC have consistently, no spectacularly, UNDER- estimated population growth in the shire. They have transfered about 5000 voters from Cook to Cunningham + overallocated, & transfered about another 7000 nett from Hughes to Cook . This pushed Hughes west, over the georges river into Liverpool. Rather than acknowledge the failure, of. & in 2004. The AEC compromised,gave back voters to Werriwa, & Fowler, & went over the river into Bankstown LGA big time. What this bunch of clowns (the AEC) will mandate in 2016 (& how they will justify that !!! ) is quite frankly anyone’s guess !!!. I just can’t wait !!!.

  5. With Alison Megarrity running for Labor I think this seat has become a lot more interesting. Craig Kelly has been campaigning quite a fair bit which will help him. The seat should be a Liberal hold if the state vote in Menai and Wollondilly is anything to go by.

  6. Wollondilly is nowhere near Hughes though?

    Megarrity won’t win. Might get a swing towards her though.

  7. yes two things …..the boundaries are crazy……the Revesby suburbs should be all grouped together as the basis of Banks. Menai and Engadine and Sutherland should form the basis of
    this seat…….then extend into North Wollongong…… then into suburbs adjoining in Liverpool
    eg wattle Grove, Sandy Point etc.
    The margin less the 2010 swing is about 1 % ….. Alison Megarrity was a state mp for more than
    half this seat and has a personal vote. it is possible she can win

  8. Winediamond, whatever it ends up looking like, I’m sure it will have been a conspiracy. I’ll try to remember to bring my alfoil hat if I ever visit Sydney.

    Next redistribution, all continuing seats will need to expand a bit. Hughes will have to move west or north, and therefore become very marginal. Cook has nowhere to go but west, since it’s on a peninsula, so Hughes would have to lose one or two hardcore Lib Sutherland suburbs to Cook, and gain two or three Liverpool / Bankstown suburbs from other seats. It’ll still cross the river… there’ll always be one seat that has to, regardless of which river runs through your town and how important you think it is.

  9. I don’t understand why Alison Megarrity is the candidate for Labor in this seat. She retired in 2011 from the state seat of Menai with the best wishes of everybody. A long career of service not just for that seat, but Liverpool Council, saw her gain a very good reputation amongst the people.

    I doubt that she can win. She is a better retread option than, say, an Alan Ashton, but my feeling is that her best days are behind her. I still have a Liberal hold.

  10. Alison Megarrity is there because Labor could not find anyone else to stand for the seat. That is why she was such a late, last minute nomination. She was a good local member, but she will suffer because she was part of the Government that has been discredited by the ICAC hearings even though she has no connection to Obeid and his sleazy mates.

  11. It’s a wierd seat, but this is starting to become a Liberal stronghold. I suspect more in that southern Bankstown Council area e.g. Panania, East Hills, Picnic Point, Revesby Heights will vote Liberal this time.

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