Kingsford Smith – Australia 2022

ALP 8.8%

Incumbent MP
Matt Thistlethwaite, since 2013. Previously senator for New South Wales 2011-2013.

Geography
South-eastern Sydney. Kingsford Smith covers southern parts of the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, including all of the former Botany Council and most of Randwick Council. Kingsford Smith includes the suburbs of Coogee, Randwick, Maroubra, Mascot, Malabar and Kensington.

History
Kingsford Smith was first created for the 1949 election after the House of Representatives was expanded. The seat has always been held by the ALP, originally being a marginal seat in its early years before gradually becoming safer, and it has been solidly safe since at least the 1960s.

Gordon Anderson (ALP) won the seat in 1949 with a bare 50.9% margin over the Liberal Party, and only won a 50.5% margin upon reelection in 1951. Anderson won with 54.2% in 1954, before retiring in 1955.

The seat was won in 1955 by Daniel Curtin (ALP), who had previously held the seat of Watson since 1949. Curtin won in 1955 with 55% of the vote, and the seat’s has only dipped below 5% once since 1955, in the 1966 landslide.

Curtin held the seat until 1969, and in that time solidified the ALP’s hold on the seat, but was almost defeated at his last election in 1966.

Curtin retired in 1969 and was succeeded by the state member for Randwick, Lionel Bowen, who won the seat with a margin over 10% for the first time. Bowen was a minister in the Whitlam government and became a senior member of the ALP in opposition in the late 1970s.

Bowen served as Deputy Prime Minister for the first three terms of the Hawke government, from 1983 until his retirement at the 1990 election.

He was succeeded in 1990 by Laurie Brereton. Brereton had briefly succeeded Bowen as member for Randwick from 1970 until the seat was abolished in 1971, when he moved to the seat of Heffron. Brereton served as a minister in the Wran and Unsworth governments before switching to the federal arena in 1990, after the Liberals won a landslide victory in New South Wales.

Brereton served as a federal minister in the final term of the Keating government and served as Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs from 1996 until 2001, when he moved to the backbench.

In 2004 Brereton retired and was succeeded by Peter Garrett, former lead singer of Midnight Oil and President of the Australian Conservation Foundation. Garrett had also previously run for the Nuclear Disarmament Party in the Senate at the 1984 election, losing due to the Labor and Liberal parties preferencing each other over the NDP.

Garrett joined the ALP frontbench upon the election of Kevin Rudd as Labor leader in late 2006. Garrett served as Environment Minister in the first term of the Labor government, and as Minister for School Education from 2010 to 2013.

Peter Garrett retired in 2013, and he was replaced in Kingsford Smith by Matt Thistlethwaite, who had served as a Labor senator since 2011. Thistlethwaite was re-elected in 2016 and 2019.

Candidates

Assessment
Kingsford Smith is a safe Labor seat.

2019 result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Matt Thistlethwaite Labor 42,62945.2-2.2
Amanda Wilmot Liberal 34,38036.4-1.1
James Cruz Greens 11,41812.1+1.6
James JanssonScience Party1,5951.7-0.5
Adam WatsonUnited Australia Party1,6491.7+1.8
Adrian MansonChristian Democratic Party1,3591.4-0.9
Petra CampbellSustainable Australia1,3461.4+1.4
Informal5,8055.8+0.8

2019 two-party-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Matt Thistlethwaite Labor 55,50158.8+0.2
Amanda Wilmot Liberal 38,87541.2-0.2

Booth breakdown

Booths have been divided into three areas. Booths in the former City of Botany Bay have been grouped together. Booths in the City of Randwick have been split between Coogee in the north and Maroubra in the south.

Labor won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all three areas, ranging from 59.6% in Maroubra to 62.8% in Botany.

Voter groupGRN prim %ALP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Maroubra10.759.621,83623.1
Coogee16.360.218,46019.6
Botany9.662.814,33115.6
Pre-poll10.856.229,70631.5
Other votes15.056.610,04310.6

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

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11 COMMENTS

  1. Just my luck to have moved to an electorate no one is interested in… (Damn, my old one of Reid is way more fascinating). It’s a pity there’s no commentary here – as its hard for new arrivals (to any area) to discover “the lay of the land” of their new electorates now that local press no longer exists.

    I have seem nothing written about Kingsford Smith in any media (and I consume it widely)

    No one cares about it, and despite gentrification and skyrocketing property prices all along the coast, not even the Libs do. They didn’t even bother to nominate a candidate until well after the election was called. The only corflutes up are the incumbent’s and – (much less so) the Greens – the generic ones about climate, the ones they recycle every election. There’s been next to no volunteers outside shopping centres (Randwick anyway) on weekends, and the very few Ive seen have been Labor only. I have had two flyers (both Labor) in my Randwick mailbox, and that’s it.

    Those corflutes are not on the font lawns of private homes – pretty well all are on Ausgrid’s posts, and unlike in Wentworth to my immediate north (I’m only a few blocks inside the borders), no one cares enough to complain. In terms of an election contest, this one is a dud.

    Assessment: Er…I’ll go out on a limb, and say “no change!”

  2. I may be wrong, but as far as I can work out, our incumbent MP Matt Thistlethwaite is Labor Party Royalty and was given this safe seat as a reward for services rendered. He’s been next to invisible since 2013. No one outside the electorate (and I suspect quite a few inside) knows who he is.

    There might have been some Sussex St logic then, in giving Kingsford Smith rather than Fowler to KK. At least its adjacent (with some overlap) to her former State seat of Hefron (though still a long way from Scotland Island). However I’m guessing Matt is firmly entrenched, and can stay put as long as he wants.

    I’ve had two flyers letter-boxed, both the same, both depicting Matt and his handsome and very blonde family under the slogan “We need more people like Matt”. I’ve no comment on his ethnicity, but the both the message and the imagery goes against current political marketing trends, where (it seems) the cult of diversity rules… Kingsford Smith is actually quite a diverse and varied electorate. It’s coastal wealth, with its hip Venice Beach, CA style co-exists with large swathes of 60s and 70s-style 3-story walk-ups providing (relatively) cheap rentals for students, health workers and recent immigrants. As well there’s still a lot of public housing. I’m sure Matt’s family are lovely people, but they wouldn’t look out of place in the Shire. Or maybe even in Katherine Deves’ turf.

    I did see a photo of the Greens candidate on a flyer I picked up from the footpath. He’s very blonde too, but “Coogee cool” rather than Matt’s “Mr Shire”. He was sporting very fetching blue-framed spectacles. Unlike Albo’s, they were definitely not purchased from the 2-for $199 range at Specsavers…

    Apologies to all serious Tallyroomers. I know my contribution here has been trivial… I really do wish there was something more substantial to say about this contest!

  3. The area is definitely trending Liberal long-term but it seems to have stagnated over the past few elections. The rightward shift of the Liberal Party certainly won’t help them in a seat like this.

  4. Agree, Long term trend here. This area is a mix of Macmanara and Gellibrand in Victoria . The coastal areas of this seat are gentrifying. The hope for Labor is that there is more High rises along Anzac Parade and near UNSW a bit like Hawthorn/Chapel street especially after the Light Rail. It is among the more affluent Labor held seats

  5. It’s a shame Matt Thistlethwaite has such a chokehold on this seat. I fail to hear of anything he’s ever actually achieved in Parliament. Andrew Charlton or KK would be brilliant picks for this seat, a real waste unfortunately. It will be fascinating to see what happens to this seat in a redistribution.

  6. Used to live here, I think Matt is a pretty visible member and works the seat fairly hard, alongside being an actual local. I remember Peter Garrett used to treat it like a safe seat and barely try, whilst Matt used to answer my emails and be around the place. Agree with comments that this likely will trend more marginal over the election cycles, especially if areas around Mascot get moved out of the seat

  7. The high-rises around Mascot are surprisingly very strongly Labor leaning though it could simply be that mainly non-citizens live there hence don’t have any say in elections with the voters in Mascot being the traditional industrial blue collar worker.

  8. Greens have slept on this seat in the past and should be getting a much higher vote in the area around UNSW than they are. They seem to do consistently well on Randwick council and have produced several mayors and deputy mayors, but that hasn’t translated at all to other tiers of government.

    If the seat is gentrifying and densifying as other commenters say, that seems to benefit Greens. If the Greens pick up a few seats this time, this seat could be in play for 2025, especially if Thistlethwaite is a hack (his history suggests so, but also doesn’t seem to be a particularly bad local MP) and the Labor government is disappointing to progressives.

    Greens will benefit from the donkey vote and a small ballot paper with only the 2 majors and 2 fairly polarizing right wing parties in a fairly low activity seat. A decent swing up for grabs.

  9. I’d say Matt is a popular member because he is genuinely involved in the community – Surf life saving etc. He is also quite accessible and visible, not only during elections. I have received at least three pamphlets from Labor.

    As for the Liberals, they’ve really dropped the ball this time around. They need to get a strong candidate and build their profile over multiple elections. I have seen two corflutes in Eastlakes/Mascot area and received no material.

    As for the Greens they put very minimal effort in building up their profile beyond Coogee-Randwick-Clovelly. The eastern booths may get a reasonable swing but they won’t pick up any extras in Botany.

  10. John, Anton, budgie

    Full disclosure : Greens member and long-term resident of this seat for the last 12+ years – personal opinions only

    Matt Thistlewaite is a good, active and engaged local member with roots in the community and his is in a position to increase his 2pp numbers.

    I don’t think this area is gentrifying as much or as quickly as everyone says it is, aside from some pockets in South Coogee and Little Bay.  There is not a lot of movement out of the area, and there is no large scale movement in (the K2K project has not changed the makeup of the electorate). The potential redevelopment of Long Bay or the public Housing around soldiers settlement may change this trajectory, but it feels 10+ years away.  Large parts of the electorate have not changed in 20+ years. Many residents will argue this is a good thing.

    FYI John – The Greens were also #1 on the ballot paper in fed19 so there will be no measurement of donkey vote this time around :). I think you will find the Council and Fed greens results are actually very similar, its just that with the strong greens vote in the north can deliver 4 councillors in the Randwick LGA, but that may only translate to a ~12% primary vote across all of Kingsford Smith.

  11. James, Zep, happy to amend my view of Matt, especially in view of that generous assessment from an opposing party member. I’m new to electorate, and still feeling my way around. It’s quite ritzy where I live up in its northern reaches, but I do like the area’s diversity and air of unpretentious “genuineness.” I’ll be one of those newcomers who hopes that never changes (unlikely, I know).

    Uninspired by this blah campaign, my partner said she’d “have to vote Greens” this time, totally flooring me, as she’s been rusted-on Red for as long as I’ve known her. I went and picked up some HTVs from Randwick Town Hall yesterday just to make sure her vote would eventually get to Matt. I come from the inner west, where the Grn/Lab relationship is poisonous, so especially in State and council elections, you can never be sure.

    This was around lunchtime, and all three majors were handing out, as well as Allegra’s people (we’re close to the border). There were several Lib corflutes for Grace as well, so I finally got to put a face to the name. She’s pretty, but that’s all I know about her – clearly they’re not trying very hard… And, this would NEVER happen in the inner west, but Matt’s guy asked if I wanted their HTV or a Greens one, as he had both…

    On the HTVs, only the Greens note the party of the other candidates, something I wish Labor and the Libs would do too to be totally transparent. And the avoid voting mistakes – many people are totally confused by preferences and the talk of “deals”. Grace’s prefs won’t be counted, but she has Matt as no 2 as well. UAP were nowhere in sight (no garish signage either), and phew, nothing for PHON, thankfully.

    So yep, Matt’s 2PP will probably go up. Don’t know what PHON or UAP are doing with prefs, an don’t want to google “how to vote One Nation in my electorate” – in case I’m forever digitally tarnished.

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