Parramatta – Australia 2022

ALP 3.5%

Incumbent MP
Julie Owens, since 2004.

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

History
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. Owens has since been re-elected four more times.

Candidates
Sitting Labor MP Julie Owens is not running for re-election.

  • Rohan Laxmanalal (Animal Justice)
  • Maria Kovacic (Liberal)
  • Heather Freeman (One Nation)
  • Liza Tazewell (Liberal Democrats)
  • Julian Fayad (United Australia)
  • Phil Bradley (Greens)
  • Andrew Charlton (Labor)
  • Steve Christou (Independent)
  • Assessment
    Parramatta is a marginal seat. The retirement of Julie Owens could create an opportunity for the Liberal Party.

    2019 result

    CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
    Julie Owens Labor 38,17145.1-1.4
    Charles Camenzuli Liberal 34,95441.3+6.9
    Phil Bradley Greens 6,1317.2+0.4
    Asma PayaraChristian Democratic Party2,5263.0-2.3
    Ganesh Sahadev LokeUnited Australia Party2,1862.6+2.6
    Oscar GrenfellSocialist Equality Party7020.8+0.8
    Informal7,7398.4-0.9

    2019 two-party-preferred result

    CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
    Julie Owens Labor 45,30253.5-4.2
    Charles Camenzuli Liberal 39,36846.5+4.2

    Booth breakdown

    Booths have been divided into three parts: north-east, north-west and south. The north-east covers all booths on the north-eastern side of the Parramatta river, while the south covers booths in the CBD and further south and the north-west covers booths to the west of the CBD.

    Labor dominated in the south (58.5% of the two-party-preferred vote) and north-west (57.2%) while the Liberal Party polled 51.7% in the north-east.

    Voter groupGRN prim %ALP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
    North-East8.348.322,74926.9
    South6.358.515,31118.1
    North-West6.057.214,71617.4
    Pre-poll7.054.020,31024.0
    Other votes8.551.611,58413.7

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

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    112 COMMENTS

    1. I’m almost taken aback by suggestions that the Deves controversy helped the Liberals here. I’m from Western Sydney and I’m Asian Australian, as are many people I know. We’re really not that terrible.

    2. Neighbouring booths in McMahon swung to Labor so the swing to the Liberals in the west and south can basically entirely be pinned on the candidate selection and controversy of removing a South Asian in favour of Charlton. The attempt to manufacture an issue over transgender sportswomen among “no” voters on SSM shows no evidence of success with the target demographics. People do, however, vote over candidate quality and local issues as seen by the Fowler result.

    3. With respect to Deves controversy/RDA helping the Libs among South Asian communities in this seat. I cannot comment as i cannot see a clear trend to either party nationwide in seats with large South Asian communities for example neighbouring Greenway which also has a large South Asian community went in the opposite direction. This the opposite to areas with a large Chinese Australian communities where there was an unequivocal trend away from the Libs. However, as someone who is South Asian myself and have close family who live in the western part of the seat i was insulted by Andrew Charlton being parachuted from his $16 Million mansion in Bellevue Hill. For me, he resembled a colonial viceroy like Lord Mountbatten ruling over the community. Same level of insult that the people of Fowler would have felt with KK being parachuted from Scotland Island so i was happy to see a swing away from Labor (Charlton) in parts of the seat although the big swing away from the Libs around Carlingford saved him. My initial rage has since been placated by the election of Zaneta Mascrenhas, Cassandra Holt etc IMV if Durga Owen or Abha Devasia where chosen instead, Labor would have had a thumping victory and this would be safer than Reid.

    4. @Nicholas What’s wrong with Deves’ views? I think they’re very sensible and should appeal to all Australians who value equality, especially since transgender garbage and gay marriage are threats to Australian society and equality.

    5. I wonder whether the Liberal Party of Australia is more like US Conservatives or Western European Conservatives. It seems like overall it is a hybrid for policies but more like Western European due to a lack of social conservatism and populism in their rhetoric. Canada on the other hand is more like US Conservatives due to being pro-gun and supportive of the anti-vax movement (especially with Pierre Poilievre who I think shares similarities with Matthew Guy)

    6. @Dan M

      While I don’t agree with Ben’s views on SSM, it is hard to argue the views on trans women aren’t welcome when the opposite views are.

      I think it is though worth asking what the effects of the ‘Deves’ issue was. I suspect it had no effect whatsoever – in part because it was hard to work out what the actual issue was. Was it trans women in sport, trans women in women’s spaces, trans women as a whole, the whole transgender issue?

      As usual with Morrison, his inherent weakness and the divisions within the LNP made it hard to work out if this was a sincerely held belief, a cynical marketing ploy, an actual Liberal policy or a ‘full pay maternity leave’ type position that everyone knew wouldn’t get past the party room. For that reason, I doubt it changed a single vote.

    7. The swings in Parramatta were in line with the national swings – swing away from Labor, bigger swing away from LNP and swings to everyone else. 2PP swings to Labor at strong Liberal booths and 2PP swings to the Liberals at strong Labor booths.

      Parramatta is under quota i.e. needs to expand. I foresee at the next redistribution, if nothing in metro Sydney gets abolished, Parramatta will expand westward. This would take up suburbs that are more working-class.

    8. @Votante, if you look at southern part of Greenway and adjacent areas of McMahon there were swings to Labor unlike in Western Parramatta which shows that Andrew Charlton was the issue especially among South Asians. There were strong swings to Labor in Carlingford etc due to the Chinese community abandoning the Libs.

    9. The way Parramatta is redistributed can radically alter which party wins. If it shifts north or east, it moves into traditionally more Lib friendly areas while if it shifts south or west, it moves into traditionally more Labor friendly areas. In this election, the Lib friendly areas, which have a large Chinese population, swung very strongly to Labor while the opposite is true in the Labor friendly areas. The Andrew Charlton issue will likely be gone in 2025 as he establishes himself so it would be interesting what happens in 2025. I can see the Libs advocating for one of the northern Sydney seats like Warringah being abolished to pit the teals against each other. It would also push Bennelong and Parramatta eastwards which would put them in more traditionally Lib territory. That being said, Parramatta would be absorbing areas like Epping which have a very large Chinese community meaning if the Libs continue using very tough rhetoric on China which seems very likely, it won’t make it any easier for the Libs to pick up the seat.

    10. I have to wonder why some booths in Merrylands voted for the Libs in the TPP while I understand for Toongabbie due to High Income. Is it due to Merrylands size where there are rich and poor areas a bit like Frankston in Melbourne?

    11. Re: Redistribution.
      The seats south and east of Parramatta are under quota and will need to have more voters. Unless a seat in metropolitan Sydney gets abolished, most likely, Parramatta will expand and take up Northmead from Mitchell and/or Girraween from Greenway. Both areas have large Indian and Sri Lankan migrant communities. The preselection controversy and the anger over the handling of the pandemic will probably be forgotten by 2025.

      Carlingford is normally Liberal-voting and swings there helped Andrew Charlton. It’s probably the only place where he got a swing in the primary vote.

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