Parramatta – Australia 2013

ALP 4.4%

Incumbent MP
Julie Owens, since 2004.

Western Sydney. The seat of Parramatta covers the centre of Parramatta and surrounding suburbs, including Granville, Holroyd, Merrylands, Wentworthville, Westmead, Toongabbie, Carlingford, Dundas and Rydalmere.

Parramatta is an original Federation electorate. The seat has long been a marginal seat, focused on the Parramatta CBD. The seat has shrunk substantially from its original boundaries, when it covered most of what is now northwestern Sydney and stretched as far as Lithgow.

The seat was first won in 1901 by Joseph Cook, a former minister in George Reid’s Free Trade colonial government. Cook held the seat for the first twenty years of Federation, successively for the Free Trade Party, Anti-Socialist Party, Commonwealth Liberal Party and the Nationalists.

Cook served as Leader of the Anti-Socialist Party following George Reid’s retirement in 1908, and agreed to merge with Alfred Deakin’s Protectionists in 1909 to form the Commonwealth Liberal Party. He served as Defence Minister in Deakin’s final government and became Liberal leader after Deakin’s defeat at the 1910 election.

Cook won the 1913 election, becoming Prime Minister, but with a Labor majority in the Senate his government was stifled, and he called a Double Dissolution in 1914, which he lost.

In 1916, Labor Prime Minister Billy Hughes left the ALP over the issue of conscription, and Cook agreed to merge his Liberals with the Labor rebels to form the Nationalist Party, with Cook as Hughes’ deputy. He retired in 1921 to serve as High Commissioner in London.

The ensuing by-election was won by Herbert Pratten. Pratten moved to the new seat of Martin in 1922, and was replaced in Parramatta by fellow Nationalist Eric Bowden. Pratten held Martin until his death in 1928, while Bowden held Parramatta until 1929, when he lost the seat.

Labor candidate Albert Rowe won in 1929, but only held it for one term, losing it to United Australia Party candidate Frederick Stewart in 1931. Stewart went on to serve in a variety of ministerial roles in the Lyons and Menzies governments, and retired in 1946.

Parramatta was won in 1946 by Liberal candidate Howard Beale. Beale served as a minister in the Menzies government from its election in 1949 until his retirement in 1958, when he became Ambassador to the United States.

The seat was won in 1958 by prominent barrister Garfield Barwick, who held the seat for the Liberals until 1964, when he was appointed Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia.

The 1964 by-election was held by Liberal candidate Nigel Bowen. Bowen joined Harold Holt’s cabinet following the 1966 election and remained there until the election of the Whitlam government. He left Parliament in 1973 to serve on the NSW Supreme Court.

The 1973 by-election was a key contest during the Whitlam government. Bowen had held on by a slim margin in 1972, but Liberal candidate Philip Ruddock managed a 7% swing and won the seat.

Ruddock was re-elected in 1974 and 1975, but moved to the new seat of Dundas in 1977. He held Dundas until its abolition in 1993, when he moved to Berowra, which he still holds today. He served as Minister for Immigration then Attorney-General in the Howard government.

Parramatta was won in 1977 by the ALP’s John Brown. Brown served as a junior minister for the first two terms of the Hawke government, and was promoted to Cabinet in 1987, but was forced to resign as a minister in 1988 after misleading the House, and retired in 1990.

Brown was succeeded by former Mayor of Parramatta Paul Elliott, also an ALP member. Elliott served as a Parliamentary Secretary in the final term of the Labor government, and lost Parramatta to Liberal candidate Ross Cameron in 1996.

Cameron was appointed a Parliamentary Secretary after the 2001 election, and continued in similar roles until the 2004 election, where he was one of the few Liberal MPs to lose their seat, with Labor candidate Julie Owens winning the seat. The 2007 redistribution pushed Parramatta north and made it notionally Liberal, but a big swing saw Owens retain the seat. Owen’s margin was cut in half from 9.9% to 4.4% in 2010.


Parramatta is a marginal Labor seat with a recent history of being held by the Liberal Party. Labor will struggle to retain the seat.

2010 result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Julie Owens ALP 34,818 44.46 -8.94
Charles Camenzuli LIB 31,889 40.72 +6.14
Phil Bradley GRN 6,237 7.96 +2.66
Alex Sharah CDP 2,404 3.07 -0.22
Kalpesh Patel IND 1,436 1.83 +1.83
Chris Gordon SEP 1,203 1.54 +1.38
Duncan Roden SA 330 0.42 -0.14

2010 two-candidate-preferred result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Julie Owens ALP 42,583 54.37 -5.49
Charles Camenzuli LIB 35,734 45.63 +5.49
Polling places in Parramatta at the 2010 federal election. North-East in yellow, North-West in red, South-East in green, South-West in blue. Click to enlarge.
Polling places in Parramatta at the 2010 federal election. North-East in yellow, North-West in red, South-East in green, South-West in blue. Click to enlarge.

Booth breakdown
Booths have been divided into four areas:

  • North-East – Carlingford, Dundas, Oatlands, Rydalmere.
  • North-West – Westmead, North Parramatta, Constitution Hill, Wentworthville.
  • South-East – Parramatta CBD, Granville, Harris Park, Rosehill.
  • South-West – Merrylands, South Wentworthville, Holroyd.

The north-east has the largest proportion of the voting population, with the other three being a roughly even split.

The ALP won a majority in three of these four areas, with the Labor vote varying from 54.6% in the south-west to 60% in the south-east. The Liberal Party won a slim 51.7% majority in the north-east.

Voter group GRN % ALP 2PP % Total votes % of votes
North-East 7.40 48.26 20,530 26.21
North-West 8.42 56.58 13,939 17.80
South-East 8.46 60.00 13,574 17.33
South-West 6.13 54.62 12,832 16.38
Other votes 9.22 55.25 17,422 22.27
Two-party-preferred votes in Parramatta at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Parramatta at the 2010 federal election.
Greens primary votes in Parramatta at the 2010 federal election.
Greens primary votes in Parramatta at the 2010 federal election.


  1. I’d suspect a very easy gain for the Liberal Party, considering the thumping victory they experienced in this seat at the 2011 State Election.

  2. Owens will be smashed in the northern part of this seat. A recent internal poll I saw around here put Labor’s primary vote at 31%. I can’t see Labor holding it in the current conditions and the Libs could end up with a margin of 10% or so unless there is a large change in voter intentions.

    Owens is a good MP and is not used enough by the ALP but seats such as this is where Labor will really find it very difficult.

  3. I don’t agree that Owens is a good MP, DB. I’ve met Owens personally at Westmead Station, and she came across to me as lacking the human touch. I asked her some questions regarding the Carbon Tax and she didn’t answer them well at all.

    Generally speaking, Owens has been really low-profile in the Parramatta and Holroyd press which isn’t a good thing, and is a classic sign of a timeserver. I’m a bit concerned over the choice of Martin Zaiter as the Liberal Party’s candidate. He’s from the pro-Issa faction which caused a lot of upheaval prior to the Parramatta and Holroyd Council Elections. He doesn’t strike me as someone who will go far in the Federal Parliament, and be an effective advocate for Parramatta.

    I would tip the Liberals to win Parramatta comfortably, even with a candidate, who is at best, mediocre. Him and Diaz will make good company on the backbench in Canberra.

  4. From my recent reading of the Parramatta Advertiser, Martin Zaiter is practically everywhere like a good candidate. Owens? Page 9 of the Advertiser with a little paragraph criticising Joe Hockey’s visit to Parramatta. The die is already cast, it seems.

    Not good enough, Julie.

  5. Barring the unforeseen, Owens is gone.
    Still, I’ve never forgotten how she won this seat off the Liberals in 2004 – after all, this seat was supposed to be the heart of western Sydney and Howard’s “battler” country, yet the much-derided Latham managed to pick this seat up as other western Sydney seats swung the other way, so it’s fair to assume that Owens had something, not that she apparently has it now.

  6. If I recall correctly, weren’t the boundaries more Liberal-orientated than they are, say now, back then?

    What did Ross Cameron in, was not anything special that Julie Owens did or didn’t do. It was to do with his personal life after promoting himself as a model Christian. I can tell you, as a person who’s lived in South-Western and Western Sydney all my life that that sort of thing does not go down well out in this neck of the woods. Cameron was finished after that. Had no chance of winning at all.

    Let’s put it this way, if this was a traditional election, I would be tipping Owens to win, on the boundaries alone, but this is one of ‘those’ seats where Labor’s support has gone through the floor.

  7. I went to a Welcome to Australia migrants rally on Saturday.Julie Owens spoke well in support of refugees. Not using these vulnerable people to electioneer. How can misrepresenting these people be good for Australia? Most migrants I know work hard and appreciate what we have.And are prepared to look after it too.

  8. Sportsbet actually has labor ahead in this electorate, good sign for labor, should be a labor retain

  9. Still have the Liberal Party gaining Parramatta. I hear Julie Owens is a good local member, but I don’t think she will be able to withstand the swing against Labor in NSW. Labor was smart by placing their HQ in Parramatta for this election. Recapturing those lost Western Sydney voters will be tough, but Rudd is popular here. Martin Zaiter on the other hand has been campaigning non-stop here. My prediction is as I said earlier, a Liberal gain quite comfortably.

  10. I think that this asumption is based on state voting intentions. Federally this seat should be retained. Abbott dislikes both Diaz and Zaiter and would rather see Scott and Coleman win. This should be a nervous seat for labor but a retain between 52-53% tpp

  11. I personally think this is too close to call. One would think Labor should hold it, however, the strong personal vote of Owens is already built in and it is not likely to increase. I tend to think Labor should be favourites, but I think the seats in western Sydney generally will swing slightly more to the Liberal Party than the state average.

  12. A very strong swing to the Coalition in this weeks polling. I still say too close to call, but possibly the Liberals are more favoured here now as with many seats following the same trend in western Sydney one month in post-Rudd appointment.

  13. DB,

    I agree I think Julie Owens will lose this seat with the narrowist of margins. I agree Western Sydney still would like to further punish NSW Labor, even though the candidate maybe a very strong one.
    Also Kevin’s “rock star” appeal and Obama’s digital media strategist, the MUD has stuck and isnt falling off in Western Sydney.

  14. Nah this seat will be retained by labor, Abbott won’t be able to connect with the ethnic vote and they have a weak candidate.

  15. The Liberals have quite poor candidates across western Sydney, which is where they believe they will win the election. It defies logic, but it could be a very real indicator of how the powerbrokers in the party operate.

    I suppose if people actually voted for candidates like Tony Issa and Andrew Rohan during the State election then the brand must overcome the individual, and they think they can sleepwalk to power this time.

  16. This is still a very soft margin, considering that this area swung massively in the last state election. I would put Martin in front atm but this seat will come to the wire.

  17. On current polling, Parramatta is too close to call with the Liberal Party primary vote exceeding the ALP’s.

  18. Parramatta Galaxy 20/08/2013 Sample 575 ALP 2PP 50%

    Too close to call. I think this could be one of the surprises on election night personally. The one thing Labor has going for it (and the reason it won’t swing like the State election did) is due to a great local member.

    Yes MDM, DB was right again.

  19. Prediction: If pushed, I have to say the ALP wins, because I tend to lean towards movement towards the incumbent by the end of the campaign. Nevertheless, it should be very close.

  20. Kevin Rudd now leaving the Central Coast seat of Robertson to campaign in Parramatta……….no last minute change……..Chifley…….I kid you not Tallyroomers. What is that internal ALP polling showing???

  21. Hard one to call, just have to wait. The betting markets say a definate LNP gain but Julie Owens is popular and a good local member.

  22. Martin Zaiter is now catching up fast with a very healthy lead in the postal votes. He is less than 400 votes behind and may just pull it off.

    I handed out HTV cards in this electorate and I was diappointed to see that most of the ALP contingent of helpers were foreign backpackers being paid by Julie Owens to hand out HTVs and give a false impression of Labor’s strength.

  23. Why do you think that the rejected postal votes in Parramatta are so low compared to all other divisions particularly when they seem to have counted more postal than others

  24. So the lead is back out to 409 votes, and here is a bit to think about.

    So far, Absentee votes are splitting 54/46 in Lib favour, with 4987 left to count.
    Every provisional vote so far has been rejected (289) with 1530 left to process, so ruling them out for now.
    Pre-poll is splitting 49/51 to ALP, with 1158 left to count.
    Postals have 486 left to count, and have been splitting 54/46 in Lib favour.


    Absentee can be expected to go 2693 to Martin, 2024 to Owens.
    Pre Poll 567 to Martin, 591 to Owens
    Postals 262 to Martin, 226 to Owens

    Owens 40,317
    Zaiter 40,595

  25. After briefly extending to a lead of 1030 votes, Julie Owens looks to be settling in at 971 votes (swing -3.77).

    Eye-rollingly, the SMH the other day when reporting Owen’s win stated: a redistribution before the 2016 election will see the Liberals take Parramatta.

    Before the count has even finished in 2013?! And before the redistribution has been done? This is why we’re abandoning traditional media.

Comments are closed.