Mitchell – Australia 2022

LIB 18.6%

Incumbent MP
Alex Hawke, since 2007.

Geography
North-Western Sydney. Mitchell mainly covers parts of the Hills, including Baulkham Hills, Castle Hill, Winston Hills and Kellyville.

History
Mitchell was created for the 1949 election. It has almost always been won by the Liberal Party, except for two elections where the ALP won the seat, and it has become a solidly Liberal seat over recent decades.

Mitchell was won by Liberal candidate Roy Wheeler in 1949. Wheeler was re-elected at every election in the 1950s, but lost Mitchell to ALP candidate John Armitage. Armitage only managed to hold on to the seat for one term, losing it to Liberal candidate Leslie Irwin in 1963, although he later held the safe Labor seat of Chifley from 1969 to 1983.

Irwin held Mitchell from 1963 until the 1972 election, when he was swept aside with the election of the Whitlam government, with Mitchell being won by Labor candidate Alfred Ashley-Brown. Ashley-Brown lost in 1974 to Liberal candidate Alan Cadman.

Cadman held Mitchell for over thirty years without rising to much prominence in the Liberal Party, and by the mid-2000s was one of only three MPs remaining from the time of the Whitlam government, along with Prime Minister John Howard and Attorney-General Philip Ruddock. Cadman served as a Parliamentary Secretary in the final years of the Fraser government and the early years of the Howard government, but didn’t rise any further.

After narrowly surviving a preselection challenge in 2004, Cadman faced a challenge in 2007 from prominent right-winger Alex Hawke, and decided to retire. Hawke easily won election in 2007, and has been re-elected four times.

Candidates

  • Clinton Mead (Liberal Democrats)
  • Linda Daniel (United Australia)
  • Matt Cox (Greens)
  • Immanuel Selvaraj (Labor)
  • Donald McKenzie (One Nation)
  • Alex Hawke (Liberal)
  • Assessment
    Mitchell is a safe Liberal seat.

    2019 result

    CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
    Alex Hawke Liberal 61,20262.0+1.6
    Immanuel Selvaraj Labor 23,61823.9-0.7
    Lawrence Murphy Greens 7,9558.1+0.1
    Craig HallChristian Democratic Party3,1563.2-3.7
    Roy HoppenbrouwerUnited Australia Party2,7052.7+2.7
    Informal5,2345.0+0.5

    2019 two-party-preferred result

    CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
    Alex Hawke Liberal 67,69868.6+0.8
    Immanuel Selvaraj Labor 30,93831.4-0.8

    Booth breakdown

     

    Booths have been divided into three parts: central, north and south.

    The Liberal Party won sizeable majorities of the two-party-preferred vote in all three areas, ranging from 63.3% in the south to 71.8% in the north. The Liberal vote increases as you move further north.

    Voter groupGRN prim %LIB 2PP %Total votes% of votes
    North7.071.825,36225.7
    South9.263.323,64224.0
    Central8.368.715,51515.7
    Pre-poll7.769.521,15521.4
    Other votes8.470.712,96213.1

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

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    29 COMMENTS

    1. There had been talk about a plot by the hard right of the Liberal Party to oust Alex Hawke (along with others) in preselection. I am aware of the factional shenanigans surrounding him, but it’s still so bizarre – as if Hawke is not right-wing enough!

      “The two greatest forces for good in human history are capitalism and Christianity, and when they’re blended it’s a very powerful duo.”
      — Alex Hawke, 2007

      Maybe there will be a preselection scuffle and whoever loses will run as an independent. Unlikely, but at least that’d be something exciting in this seat.

      I see two likely possibilities for the next redistribution:
      • Mitchell has its southern end trimmed, hopefully rectifying the nonsensical boundaries around North Rocks and West Pennant Hills. This could make the seat even safer.
      • Mitchell is pushed across Old Windsor Road. This will drastically reduce the margin but it still won’t be competitive unless Labor is headed for a landslide.

      Will be interesting to see how rapid demographic changes might change The Hills politically. Unfortunately North Kellyville and the newer parts of Bella Vista, Kellyville, and Norwest had no polling places in 2019!

      @Ben Raue
      It looks like you have some text under the booth breakdown intended for Fairfax.

    2. @Nicholas – The issue isn’t around Ideology. If it was, Hawke would fit right in. The issue was around control of the Right of the NSW Liberal Party, which was a fight between Hawke and Clarke (Now Perrottet). For all intents and purposes, Perrottet won. All that Hawke managed to do with his shift was give the Left of the Liberal Party enough resources to rebuild and re-take control of NSW.

      As for this seat even becoming remotely a problem for the Liberal Party in terms of Labor winning the seat, that is about as likely to happen as I am of shoving a pound of butter up a parrot’s rear end with a hot needle.

    3. @Hawkeye_au

      I see. Makes it even worse that it’s not even about ideology.

      I make no suggestion that this seat on its current boundaries will be competitive any time soon. My question concerning the newer areas is whether they will vote 60% Liberal or 70% Liberal!

      As I said, due to the difficulties the committee will likely face in the northern half of Sydney, it is a possibility that the next redistribution may push Mitchell across (Old) Windsor Road. Mitchell still wouldn’t be competitive on such boundaries unless Labor is headed for a 2007-like landslide.

    4. Mitchell had an alp mp in 1961 and 1972 .none since. The seats on any boundaries which include the hills is safe liberal..unless the liberal supporters are split..or a independent liberal stands. The internal numbers within the liberal party are normally paramount in determining the liberal candidate and thus the mp for the seat

    5. Hawke has cancelled Djokovic’s visa – finally. This is why Immigration is a portfolio for “big boys”. Whilst i’m hardly a fan Hawke has made the popular choice apparently 85% of punters would have thrown him out too !!.
      Still it does look like a “career (defining !?) decision or moment! We will see if Alex gets out of this without a new falsetto voice !.

      Atm this would be the job that no australian would want IMV. What happens if the High Court ignores him again ? Wouldn’t he look a goose ? i mean more than usual ?

    6. Although I do believe that much of the mess in the NSW branch of the Liberals is of Alex Hawke’s doing.

      If they suffer losses or failure to pick up low hanging fruit (Warringah, Gilmore) a lot of the blame will be directed towards Hawke and he may be tapped on the shoulder.

      He was missing in action over most of the whole Djokovic saga IMHO and did not act swiftly enough.

    7. The Religious Right of the New South Wales Liberal Party with Alex Hawke “searching for moderately aligned prey” are on a godly mission to ruin the Coalition’s chances in New South Wales. Is it another case of religion ruining everything?

    8. Thank you John T for your asinine input. Not the first time you have done that.

      @Nicholas – Quite possible that Mitchell could be dragged Westward and become smaller, especially as quotas slowly decline across the North Shore, forcing those seats to expand West. The real question would be the continued growth along Old Windsor Road and the developments occurring along Richmond Road around Marsden Park. This will have a significant impact on the neighbouring seat, Greenway.

    9. Liberal Hit MEN can be very powerful and are power seeking in all aspects. The three hide behind Christianity.
      The Liberals point the finger at Labor Branch stacking. Hawk Branch Stacked BIG TIME to win preslection.
      Do people forget or do they don’t want to know about it. It is all about him being powerful. Can say he very popular.

    10. Labor has finally nominated Immanuel Selvaraj as their candidate for Mitchell. He ran here in 2019 too.

    11. I live in the electorate, and I think most will be unsurprised to hear that I have seen nothing to suggest anything other than a Liberal walkover.

      Just out of curiosity – when’s the last time there was a 15 percentage point 2PP swing (major parties only) in federal politics?

    12. Accounting for redistribution effects, the biggest in my memory are Forde and Leichhardt in 2007 with swings of 14.4 and 14.3 percent to Labor. I’m not old enough to remember 1996 but if there’s nothing from that election then 15 must be an extremely rare mark.

    13. You would be hard pressed to be able to draw a set of electoral boundaries which captures Sydney’s Bible Belt better than this electorate’s boundaries. More so than ScoMo’s Shire, for example. Not only is this one always going to vote Liberal, it’s member will always be a bastion of the Christian Right.

    14. If as expected the Morrison govt loses and Morrison resigns what happens to.Hawke?There be residual hatred for him.given his role in the preselection coup on.Morrusons behalf..protecting himself from a challenge. Suspect Hawke is for the high jump and will not be in parliament after 2025

    15. I’m honestly surprised by the extent of the swings in both here and Greenway. Did interest rates bite particularly hard in the new growth corridors? Did local members have a strong effect (Alex Hawke in the news for unfavourable reasons and Michelle Rowland for positive ones)? The former seems strange considering the results in other outer-suburban growth areas often having minimal change or swinging to Liberals.

    16. Labor candidate Indian-Australian and seemed to have higher profile than some past Labor candidates, also the Chinese-Australian vote but Hawke does seem a prat?

    17. Hawke is the ultimate definition of a political hack. His only jobs before entering Parliament at age 29 were electorate officer and Woolies shelf stacker. I remember when his profile for the 2007 election stated that “Alex previously worked in the retail sector” as a euphemism for that.

    18. Adda

      Was the hawke-nsw preelection debacle REALLY in the news ??

      I know it rated a lot of mentions on twitter and political forums i frequent but i don’t recall any noise in the msm ( 9, 2gb, daily tele )

    19. I’m not sure it was the overriding factor in the large swing but I can say that for my parents and probably many other voters in the electorate, the events of the last few months (Djokovic visa and the preselection mess up) are the first time they heard about Hawke in the news. Preselection messes normally don’t rate as a factor but the whole mess was extended right until the election was called (and beyond the election call, with Katherine Deves, drawing attention to her hand-picked selection by Morrison along with the other candidates). That probably made it more salient to voters who would have started paying attention to political news around the period of the election call.

      Certainly, the results seem to reflect on Hawke losing a big chunk of his primary vote and then having it spread between all the other parties. The Labor and Greens primaries were up by a total of 5% while the 2PP swung by 7.5% – so a good chunk of the loss to right-wing minors has not flowed back.

    20. There may definitely be a candidate (Hawke) factor involved but in short, the Lib primary vote cratered north of the harbour. Similar swings were seen in the neighbouring seat of Berowra (which has 3 distinct zones and voting patterns) and in Bradfield (the leafiest, most traditionally Liberal of seats); Fletcher was shedding >15% primary in most booths.

    21. I agree. On the whole, there were substantial swings to Labor in above-average education metropolitan areas (all of the north of Sydney). I expect Parramatta would have had a similar story if not for the parachuting, which resulted in a backlash among the Indian-Australian demographic (as can be seen in booth results).

    22. Will be interesting to see how the 2PP runs out in the seats that the Teals won (Warringah, Mackellar, Nth Sydney) or ran surprisingly close (Bradfield) but the real story is that the Lib primary cratered horrifically. Is this due primarily to the ScoMo rejection factor or a more underlying issue; that the “traditional” Liberal voter in these “more established” being increasingly turned off by what they perceive the current direction of the party and the “culture wars”. Whether this election proves a one-off anomaly or whether we are seeing a long term breach in the “Blue Wall” remains to be seen.

    23. Mitchell is a fair bit different to North Sydney, or Bradfield, or even Berowra. It is much more socially conservative. Indeed, VoteCompass ranked Mitchell as the second-most right-wing electorate in the country, behind only Maranoa.

      However, I think the Liberal meltdown north of the harbour, combined with a personal vote against Alex Hawke, changing demographics, and interest rates may all collectively account for the swing here.

    24. Mitchell is certainly a very different political demographic to the North Shore electorates.

      Berowra is a strange beast in that you have 3 distinct zones, each with differing political characters.

      You have the transport/railway corridor from Brooklyn through Hornsby down to Cheltenham. This is the oldest area and with the most voters; and whilst it leans Liberal its far from overwhelmingly so (especially around Hornsby). It would fair to describe this area as a fairly safe but not rock solid Lib seat but one that can swing quite nastily as has been seen at this election where the Lib 2pp was only 52-53%

      The West Pennant Hills/Cherrybrook sprawl gravitates more to Castle Hill than Hornsby and, whilst not Bible Belt, its demographics are closer to the more established areas of Mitchell and votes similarly. Barring hell freezing over, this area remains safe Liberal under all circumstances

      The semi-rural north west is where the Liberals pad out the margin. This area saw a 10% primary swing but the reality is that this only means the Lib 2PP reduces from 80+% to low 70%

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