Bennelong – Australia 2022

LIB 6.9%

Incumbent MP
John Alexander, since 2010.

Geography
Bennelong straddles the north shore and western suburbs of Sydney. The seat covers the entirety of Ryde local government area, as well as Epping, Carlingford and Ermington, from Hornsby and Parramatta council areas. Main suburbs in the seat are Ryde, Epping, Ermington, Eastwood and Gladesville.

History
Bennelong was created in 1949, and was held by only two MPs between then and the 2007 federal election. Bennelong originally covered Ryde, Hunters Hill and Lane Cove, but not areas such as Eastwood and Epping that are now contained within the seat.

Bennelong was first won by John Cramer (LIB) in 1949. Cramer served as Minister for the Army under Robert Menzies from 1956 to 1963. During his time holding Bennelong the seat was never a very safe seat, and in 1961 Cramer only held on by 1832 votes. His largest margin was 15.4% in 1966.

Cramer retired at the 1974 election and was succeeded by John Howard (LIB). Howard went on to serve as a minister under Malcolm Fraser, including as Treasurer from 1977 to 1983. He then served in a variety of roles on the opposition frontbench after 1983, including as two stints as Opposition Leader (1985-1989, 1995-1996). He was elected as Prime Minister in 1996 and served until 2007.

The seat of Bennelong had gradually shifted to the north-west over the decades, taking in Epping. The 1992 redistribution saw the last parts of Lane Cove removed from the seat, and Howard’s margin was cut in 1993. After recovering in 1996 to a margin over 10% it gradually declined to a 4.3% margin in 2004, when the Greens ran high-profile former intelligence officer Andrew Wilkie against Howard.

The 2006 redistribution saw Howard’s margin cut slightly and the ALP decided to target the seat, running former journalist Maxine McKew. McKew won the seat with 51.4% of the two-party vote.

In 2010, McKew was defeated by former tennis champion John Alexander. Alexander was re-elected in 2013 and 2016.

John Alexander was found to be a British dual citizen in 2017, and resigned from his seat to recontest without any citizenship concerns. He was re-elected at that by-election, despite a swing to Labor. Alexander was re-elected in 2019.

Candidates
Sitting Liberal MP John Alexander is not running for re-election.

Assessment
Bennelong has been drifting back to the Liberal Party after being a key seat in 2007 and 2010, but it is still not particularly safe.

2019 result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
John Alexander Liberal 48,94250.8+0.4
Brian Owler Labor 32,76934.0+5.6
Qiu Yue Zhang Greens 9,1169.5+0.3
Julie WorsleyChristian Democratic Party3,5883.7-2.7
Andrew MarksUnited Australia Party1,8902.0+2.0
Informal5,2375.2+0.1

2019 two-party-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
John Alexander Liberal 54,80956.9-2.8
Brian Owler Labor 41,49643.1+2.8

Booth breakdown

Booths have been divided into five parts around the main suburbs of Bennelong: Eastwood, Epping, Gladesville, Ryde and West Ryde.

The Liberal Party won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all five areas, ranging from 53% in West Ryde to 60% in Gladesville.

Voter groupGRN prim %LIB 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Ryde9.256.214,20714.8
Eastwood10.554.313,19213.7
West Ryde9.453.012,08312.5
Epping10.354.511,44411.9
Gladesville9.360.08,0848.4
Pre-poll8.758.024,19825.1
Other votes9.662.213,09713.6

Election results in Bennelong at the 2019 federal election
Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and primary votes for the Liberal Party, Labor and the Greens.

Become a Patron!

139 COMMENTS

  1. Kennedy may not deserve the seat and Laxale is more dedicated to the area but I can’t see Laxale getting up.

    The indirect donkey vote (about 1%) favors Kennedy. Laxale has alienated the local paper (TWT) before he was bounced as Ryde Mayor. The TWT is giving blanket coverage to Kennedy while Laxale’s coverage is his link to Covid-19 (because he was with Albo before he tested positive).

    With Kennedy getting support at 3 levels of government and the local paper Kennedy is in the box seat.

  2. If Kennedy was preselected earlier and his vaccination mandate stance well known earlier, I believe Labor would’ve chosen a better candidate than Laxale since Laxale has some baggage.

  3. Spent a few hours here today through Gladesville, Ryde, West Ryde and Eastwood. Only Labor signs at businesses and houses – in the single digits but the Liberals are clearly sandbagging this hard. Simon Kennedy signs are everywhere, on the side of Victoria Road, all over Eastwood hung up on tables, next to trees and on several Eastwood businesses.

  4. I think Bennelong will definitely fall back into the marginal category, the question is how much the swing will be. I predict a swing of about 3-4% given Simon Kennedy’s candidacy hasn’t got off to a good start, giving a final result of about 52-53% 2PP.

  5. Hard to win for Labor. my guess was Alexander would have been less popular then he was…… but I was wrong this implies he had a personal vote. 7 % margin and if Alexander had a personal vote of 3 to 4 % then thios will be close. Also this effectively a Ryde based seat which votes fairly evenly. this area can swing up to !0% look at the equivalent state seat of Ryde on occasions John Watkins had a margin of 14 % in a 55/45% 2pp state enviroment,

  6. Apparently a Liberal internal has Labor winning 55-45 which makes little sense considering that would be a 11.9% swing, unlikely in a seat like this. If the Liberals are confident of holding Chisholm as reported then why would this seat be so far out? I think it’ll be a narrow Liberal retain.

  7. Given the unfavourable national polling to the Coalition, the retirement of what was probably a reasonably popular MP, the previously reported souring among Chinese voters to the government over attacks on China and the Liberal candidate’s flirtation with anti-vax groups to cross the floor over mandates in a seat like this, a 12% swing would be surprising but not entirely unexpected. It’s worth noting that of recent elections, only 2010 and 2019 failed to have a single seat swing over 10%, while 2007 (which current polling indicates could be a similar national swing) had six seats do so.

    The more likely outcome is still a narrow retain or gain, but the ingredients for a big backlash are there.

  8. Clarification to the above – no seats in 2010 and 2019 changed hands with swings of over 10%. Capricornia and Dawson both swung by over 10% but were LNP retains. Similarly, in 2007 the six seats are specifically those which changed hands and swung by over 10%

  9. @John Smith Polls in this part of Sydney regularly underestimate the Liberals, polling in the Bennelong by-election in 2017 underestimated the Liberal primary vote by between 3-6% and underestimated the Liberal 2PP vote between 2-5% so I’d take polls with a grain of salt. Another example of a poll in this part of Sydney underestimating in Liberals was Ryde in 2019, where the Liberal primary vote was underestimated by 7% and the 2PP vote by 6%. Simon Kennedy’s campaign team have worked hard to hand out flyers and has put up many, many signs around the electorate. By personal observation, I saw 50+ Simon Kennedy signs and only around 7 Jerome Laxale signs. The Liberals are putting in much more effort and this seat is naturally Liberal leaning, so I think marginal Liberal hold

  10. When was the last time this was an open seat? And John Howard clearly knows nothing about elections if he thinks the coalition are favoured to win the election. He is just saying that to rile up his parties supporters. He is completely irrelevant now and should stay in the sidelines.

    This will be close but if I see it I believe it. I expect Labor to pick this up sometime in the next 5-10 years so the liberal candidate won’t be around too long.

  11. The swings in this seat in Eastwood and Epping (their traditional strongholds) are absolutely crazy – double digit swings in Eastwood. If the Liberals lose this it’ll be due to their China stance and nothing more. Dominic Perrottet may start to get worried in Epping.

  12. @ Ben also look at the huge swings in Carlingford in Parramatta which is demographically similar to Bennelong.

  13. @Ben Even with other seats, the areas with the strongest Chinese Australian populations swung the most to the ALP. Menzies which no one expected to fall or be knife-edge has a very large Chinese Australian population as well. Seats like Chisholm and Reid and maybe even Bennelong won’t be gained by Libs anytime soon since the only ones left are the hawks like Dutton, Hastie etc.
    As for Dominic Perrottet, he will probably try to switch seats again but since the NSW state Liberals aren’t nearly as hawkish towards China as the federal Liberals, the swings won’t be as large. For example, Reid covers much more Liberal friendly territory than the state Strathfield seat yet Sally Sitou has a TPP margin that’s essentially the same as what Jason Yat Sen Li got in the by-election.

  14. What would the margin in Perrottet’s seat be on federal results? There are double-digit swings all across it.

  15. Ethnic Chinese voters were very influential this election. In Bennelong, Reid, Banks, Chisholm and even in safe Labor seats with large Chinese communities (e.g. Barton, Kingsford Smith), there were huge swings away from the Liberals and to Labor.

    This swing was more pronounced in areas with more ethnic Chinese and commercial centres like Eastwood, Burwood, Strathfield, Hurstville etc.

  16. Antony Green has offically declared this seat a Labor gain. With Dutton being the heir apparent as Liberal leader, I can’t see them regaining this seat or Reid or Chisholm. He’s most likely going to double down on the rhetoric.

  17. Hopefully this will be the last we will hear from Simon Kennedy, truly a dud candidate. There’s plenty of more reasonable candidates who contested the preselection to run here in 2025.

  18. The biggest problem that Simon Kennedy had was that he was only selected just before the election was called. He had no time to establish himself as a candidate – he wouldn’t even been Simon Who? just Who? Flirting with the anti-vaxxers was probably the fatal mistake.

    I have asked before but go no answer – what did ever happen with Jerome Laxale’s referal to ICAC?

  19. I don’t think anything particularly serious came out of the ICAC investigation since otherwise the Libs would be bringing it up non-stop during the campaign especially since they were clearly worried about the seat in the final weeks of the campaign.

  20. Three of the last four Liberal Prime Ministers’ seats are held by non-Liberals. The last Labor Prime Minister’s seat is held by a Green.
    This must be some sort of a record!

  21. More precisely, the seats of every post-WW2 Liberal prime minister are now held by non-Liberals. Only Fraser’s remains.

  22. If Labor holds it next time it will be historic as it will be the first time that Labor has been re-elected here. However, Dutton rhetoric against China will not help the Libs win back this seat.

  23. The nude photos scandal surrounding the newly elected ALP MP won’t help. Entirely undermines the narrative of the ALP being good for women’s rights.

  24. @Entrepreneur I don’t think that would impact a lot, it’s barely mentioned in the media and the ALP is currently in its honeymoon period, meaning this is the best time for such scandals to come out and there’s plenty of time for the public to forget about it before the next election. Dutton certainly doesn’t seem too keen on toning down the rhetoric and has promoted a lot of similarly hawkish MPs like Hastie and Paterson into key shadow ministry roles, suggesting to me they are going to double down on the rhetoric and stance. They’ve probably decided to give up on winning the Chinese Australian vote since basically the only Lib MPs left are the hawks.

  25. Not a single media outlet other than Daily Telegraph, Sky News and Daily Mail even bothered giving the “scandal” a run.

  26. And 2GB, I should add. But in any case, it’s a swing and a miss from the right wing shock jock outlets.

  27. I’ve estimated that if the federal results played out at the state level, Dominic Perrottet would have a margin of around 0.5%.

    (Methodology: Aggregated 2CP polling place data from all on-the-day polling booths within the boundaries of Epping district. The result is virtually a tie. On-the-day votes favoured the Liberals by around 0.5%.)

  28. There’s talk of Gisele Kapterian contesting one of the new teal seats (Warringah, North Sydney, Bradfield) in the next election or replacing Marise Payne in the senate, leaving this seat clear for Craig Chung to contest in 2025 which is probably one of the first wise decisions the NSW Libs have made in a long time especially given the circumstances that led to this seat falling to Labor. Of course this won’t even be relevant until 2025 and even then NSW is headed for a redistribution which could radically change the boundaries of this seat. Also if Dutton remains as leader then and does not tone down the party’s rhetoric on China, both of which seem very likely at this stage, the Libs won’t retake this seat for quite some time.

  29. @Dan M, you mean contesting in Mackeller? Bradfield is a Liberal seat. It’ll be at least two years before either of the Liberal candidiates will think about Bennelong or the senate. Marise Payne has just been reelected to the senate. Bennelong will be one of Dutton’s targets for the next 3 years for sure. It’s not a teal/green seat and the new margin is very small.

    There’s a possibility that Scott Morrison will vacate Cook. There’s also the state election coming, though I don’t know of any state Liberal MPs in metropolitan Sydney who’ll retire in 2023.

  30. @DanM @Adda the fact it didn’t receive much publicity doesn’t make the behaviour acceptable. Exploiting female campaign volunteers is an abuse of power and reflection of poor character.

  31. No one is saying it’s acceptable. The thing is that there’s barely any publicity on it and if the voters aren’t aware of it, he can’t be punished in the ballot box for it.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here