Whitlam – Australia 2022

ALP 10.9%

Incumbent MP
Stephen Jones, since 2016. Previously member for Throsby 2010-2016.

Southern Illawarra and Southern Highlands of NSW. Whitlam covers the entirety of the Shellharbour council area along with southern parts of the City of Wollongong. These suburbs mostly surround Lake Illawarra, including Shellharbour, Dapto and Albion Park. It also includes distinct areas in the Southern Highlands, covering the most populated parts of Wingecarribee Shire, stretching as far west as the Hume Highway and covering Bowral, Mittagong and Moss Vale.


The seat of Whitlam was known as Throsby until 2016. Throsby was first created for the 1984 election, and has always been held by the ALP. It has always been won by the ALP by a large margin, with well over 60% at every election since 1993.

The seat was first won in 1984 by Colin Hollis. Hollis had previously been elected in Macarthur for one term in 1983. Hollis retired in 2001, and was succeeded by former ACTU President Jennie George. George held the seat from 2001 to 2010.

In 2010, Stephen Jones won the seat for the ALP upon Jennie George’s retirement. Jones has been re-elected three times.


  • Stephen Jones (Labor)
  • Michael Wheeler (Liberal Democrats)
  • Colin Hughes (One Nation)
  • Mike Cains (Liberal)
  • Allan Wode (United Australia)
  • Jamie Dixon (Greens)
  • Assessment
    Whitlam is a safe Labor seat.

    2019 result

    Candidate Party Votes % Swing
    Stephen Jones Labor 50,102 48.8 -4.0
    Stephen Wentworth Nationals 26,145 25.5 +19.0
    Jamie Dixon Greens 9,461 9.2 +0.9
    Angelo Cuda United Australia Party 9,071 8.8 +8.8
    Frank Nero Christian Democratic Party 4,214 4.1 0.0
    Ken Davis Sustainable Australia 3,678 3.6 +3.6
    Informal 8,020 7.2 +1.8

    2019 two-party-preferred result

    Candidate Party Votes % Swing
    Stephen Jones Labor 62,541 60.9 +60.9
    Stephen Wentworth Nationals 40,130 39.1 +39.1

    Booth breakdown

    Booths have been divided into three areas, along local government boundaries.

    Labor won a large majority in two out of three areas, polling 66% in Shellharbour and 70.6% in Wollongong. The Liberal Party polled 54.4% in Wingecarribee, the least populous part of the electorate.

    Voter group GRN prim % ALP 2PP % Total votes % of votes
    Shellharbour 9.5 66.0 25,236 24.6
    Wollongong 9.4 70.6 16,542 16.1
    Wingecarribee 10.6 45.6 12,144 11.8
    Pre-poll 8.2 58.7 40,441 39.4
    Other votes 11.0 59.6 8,308 8.1

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

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    1. Why have the Liberals decided to take this seat on instead of the National? An attempt to steal some suburban votes around South Wollongong and Shellharbour?

    2. Being an urban and Southern Highlands seat it is likely that there is zero National infrastructure to enable a run. Katrina Hodgkinson running in Gilmore last time was probably a surprise to most.

    3. Agree with Redistributed, all state seats covered by Whitlam were are all Labor v Liberal contests at the last state election, so it wouldn’t make much sense for the Nationals to contest.

    4. Sounds like hitting up in this seat with one UAP volunteer charged and bailed for inappropriate behaviour at Dapto.
      From ABC News No link available “United Australia Party volunteer ‘banned from polling booth’ aft…
      A United Australia Party (UAP) volunteer says she has been banned from polling booths across the Illawarra region in New South Wales after police received reports she made violent threats over campaign advertising. Key points: Police were called to a Dapto polling booth after receiving reports of a volunteer threatening violence against others”

    5. This seat bucking trends and swinging to the Liberals (albeit by a tiny amount) was interesting. I wonder if there’ll be any carry over to the state election with this. Perhaps the margins on overlapping seats like Wollondilly and Shellharbour won’t change too much.

    6. If you look at the break down – the swings against the ALP we’re primarily in the Illawarra part of Whitlam. Definitely spells bad news for the ALP in Shellharbour and the Albion Park section of Kiama. Long term – I see the seats of Gilmore and Whitlam moving south on a redistribution. A Kiama LGA + Southern Highlands + Shellharbour/Albion Park federal electorate could form from this. This would be a true bellwether seat slowly trending to the Liberals over time.

      Goulburn is in play this state election, and will probably fall to the ALP.

    7. Re federalfigures.
      Albion.park.60 alp
      Rest of electorate overall
      53 to 55% alp
      This shows a potential for alp
      Win. Now Andrew Contstance was not facing police charges

    8. Mick, whilst you are correct that Albion Park is the safest Labor part of the district – Stew is also correct pointing out that area also recorded the largest swings against Labor (albeit on primary vote mainly, 2PP swings were more modest at 2-3% max). Even other areas like Dapto and Oak Flats nearby also recorded similar swings against Labor.

      Stew – I would disagree with you about all of Shellharbour LGA swinging against Labor. The suburb of Flinders did record a 2PP swing of 2% towards Labor (although still a 2% primary vote swing against ALP, but less than the 5%+ recorded for other suburbs). Although that could be an anomaly – since you are a local resident is Flinders considered a slightly different suburb in terms of demographics compared to others in the wider LGA/region?

    9. Thank you for your sensible response Yoh An. Flinders is (from what I’ve seen) an anomaly here. It’s demographically different as it’s an established suburb in the ‘middle’ socioeconomically between neighbouring suburbs on both sides. Therefore, it’s one of the few areas on Shellharbour not seeing rapid expansion like Shell Cove and Tullimbar/Calderwood on new land releases, but also not the redevelop and gentrification that other parts of the region are – such as Warilla and Oak Flats.

      Interestingly enough, when compared to the rest of the country’s swing away from the Liberals it had a ‘net swing’ to the Liberals.

    10. Stephen Jones would have to be worried about the referendum results here. Seems to be just another step in a conservative trend away from Labor – in particular for the left faction, of which Jones is a prominant member.

      A stark contrast to it’s counter-part Cunningham covering the nothern Illawarra. 65% NO in Whitlam, and Cunningham voted majority YES.

    11. The next redistribution may infact remove the Southern Highlands region which is a totally different community of interest to the Illawara. If that happens the Libs will be lucky to just win the Shell Cove booth as the rest of the seat is Rock solid Labor. I dont think most people pay attention to which faction of the party they are from. On that logic Labor could target and win seats such as Flinders, Moore & Fairfax because of a a very high support for SSM. Even Whitlam had an above average vote for SSM. The Danger to Stephen Jones however, if if there is a promiment independent in a safe seat is easy for an independent to make the 2CP. In the seat of Shellharbour at the state election an independent made the 2CP.

    12. @nimalan people vote differently on social issues then they do on political. by your logic the libs can win about 120 seats and labor are finished based on the voice referendum

    13. I think Wollongong and Newcastle town centres have more in common with the centres of capital cities and you can see it in the relatively strong Green vote. Bendigo, Ballarat and Geelong have that potential as well. Young progressives priced out of capital cities will impact these towns.

      But they also have “suburbs”. Whitlam can be best compared to Labor’s outer suburbs seats in capital cities. Not surprised it voted No, but it’s not a death knell for the ALP there

    14. @ John
      I actually agree with you 100% and that was my point exactly, i dont think the Libs will win Whitlam just because it voted No on the voice. I think most people vote on economic issues which is why i dont think Stephen Jones will be worried here. I would not read too much on the result on the voice referendum other than Albo should probably spend the rest of this term of parliament on bread & butter issues.

    15. @ John
      I actually agree with you 100% and that was my point exactly, i dont think the Libs will win Whitlam just because it voted No on the voice. I think most people vote on economic issues which is why i dont think Stephen Jones will be worried here. I would not read too much on the result on the voice referendum other than Albo should probably spend the rest of this term of parliament on bread & butter issues.

    16. @nimalan im sure it could come into play possibly in outer suburbs with people who are feeling marginalised and the cost of living and the fact albo should be foucsing on that but not in woolongong but it shows the coalition where they can focus theyre campagin ing

    17. @John
      Agree with you can possibly come to play in Outer suburbs especially mortgage belt areas where there is a high% of young families with children who would be acute to matters such as interest rates, transport costs etc examples of such seats are Hasluck, Pearce & possibly Macarthur (depending on what new boundaries are). Like you said not in Wollongong or Labor Heartland seats elsewhere.

    18. I agree the voice on its own is far from enough for him to lose the seat. But wind turbines planed for off the coast of the Illawarra are also galvanising the community. It’s yet another key issue Jones will hold a contrary position to his electorate on.

      This time is local; it’s in their back yard effecting their economic interests. There’s a community sentiment that only ‘big corporations’ will benefit at the expense of local small business especially in tourism.

    19. Insider reports are saying that high profile independent councillor and Deputy Mayor Kellie Marsh will be contesting the seat of Whitlam.

      Marsh scored 66% of the primary vote at the last council election in her ward. Certainly a competitive candidate for Stephen Jokes.

    20. Why not?

      Fraser, Gorton, Holt, McMahon, Curtin and Fisher are all generally held by the ‘other side’ from their namesakes.

    21. Given the results in Dunkley – what’s the assessment for a seat like Whitlam. For Dunkley the UAP and PHON all rallied behind the liberal party despite having other options to vote for in the libertarian and independent candidates. Those rw minor parties in Whitlam combined polled about 16% on primaries in 2022.

      Not to mention there was a net swing away from labor + greens primaries combined. Particularly in the locations where demographics of Dunkley that are more similar to a Whitlam.

    22. Even if the Libs sweeped all RW minor parties. Labor would still have 45% primary and its very hard for labor to loose from that primary. Compared to Dunkley the Illawarra portion has more unionized workforce due to the Steel Works and Ports (It is labor heartland). While places like Langwarin are more self-employed tradies with higher living standards. As Tony Barry said last night Dunkley is not Labor party heartland and just 10 years ago the Libs held the seat and all overlapping state seats. The only part of Whitlam that is strong for the Coalition is the Southern Highlands.

    23. I think at the redistribution, Whitlam loses some (not all) of Wollongong LGA while gaining the rest of Wingecarribee LGA which makes the seat more conservative than currently (dunno by how much)

      Could be in play eventually but I suspect not at 2025

    24. @nimalan to be honest the sh should be in hume. Whitlam can take in more Illawarra. That will allow hume to shed some of sw Sydney to the new seat

    25. @nimalan same hume will probably cede boroowa to Riverina and it will probably lose parts of outer Sydney to the new division if it take in sh. This should keep Angus Taylor happy

    26. The seat isn’t anywhere as unionised has it had been historically. This is very middle australia with a lot of self employed tradies. Expect this is become more Hughes likes over time. 10% swing over the next 2-3 elections isn’t out of the question.

    27. @Mr Crown Whitlam really depends on redistribution. All the Liberal booths are in the Southern Highlands but it also includes parts of Wollongong and Wollongong has always been a very Labor-voting city, more so than Newcastle. To demonstrate that, the state Liberals only won none of the Wollongong-based seats (to be fair they did win Heathcote but at the time it was mostly a Sydney seat).

    28. @np agreed I thiijjik this seat will become stronger for Labor however I think Cunningham /Hughes or whatever its called after redistribution will be marginal. I personally have amalgamated Hughes and cunningham

    29. @John Cunningham and Hughes together? I thought that’d be way over quota. That’s a difficult one though because Hughes is a fairly safe Liberal seat in southern Sydney while Cunningham is a safe Labor seat stretching from Helensburgh to the northern suburbs of Wollongong.

    30. @np once you take out Holsworthy to werriwa parts of Wollongong to Whitlam and parts of the area South of George’s river to sure up cook especially once cook retreats to the river you’ll find it makes up one seat. About 55/45 Cunningham/Hughes I believe someone states. There were a few people supporting and suggesting this.

    31. @np You can find Darren McSweeney’s submission here. https://www.aec.gov.au/Electorates/Redistributions/2023/nsw/files/suggestions/nsw24-s0016-darren-mcsweeney.pdf For Darren McSweeney’s proposed Cunningham, 56.5% of voters come from the old Cunningham and 43.5% of voters come from the old Hughes, so it kind of looks like a merger of the old Cunningham and the old Hughes. Darren’s Hughes has been pushed entirely into south west Sydney and shedded all voters in the Sutherland Shire. As a result, less than 20% of the voters of Darren’s proposed new Hughes come from the old Hughes, while just over 50% (54.6%) of voters of Darren’s proposed new Hughes come from the old Werriwa. Therefore, I propose retiring the name Cunningham by renaming Darren’s proposed Cunningham to Hughes and renaming the proposed Hughes to Werriwa, while the proposed Werriwa further west of Hughes be given a new name called Walton. Under my proposal, Hughes is effectively abolished while Cunningham is renamed Hughes. Note that Hughes had always included parts of the Wollongong City Council before 2000, therefore it’s entirely possible for Hughes to return to its pre-2000 configurations. Assuming the Redistribution Committee draws non-Sydney seats before drawing Sydney seats, a seat that contains part of the Sutherland Shire and part of the City of Wollongong is likely to be drawn, and it is most appropriate to name that seat Hughes and retire the name Cunningham for reasons I have described above.

    32. @John my initial proposal for Whitlam was to make it a Southern Highlands-based seat and to move Wollongong, Kiama and Helensburgh into Cunningham (with the border with Gilmore running through Gerringong). Though I missed the redistribution deadline, so all my proposals were posted as comments here (you were there too). If the boundaries that are initially proposed can be improved, I’ll submit my proposals as objections where necessary. I only managed to get through all the non-Sydney seats (I won’t say “regional seats” since I did all the seats in Newcastle, the Central Coast and Wollongong in addition to all the regional and rural seats) though (my Sydney boundaries would need to have like two seats abolished since I created a new regional seat (a Hawkesbury-based seat called Kurrajong, notionally a Liberal seat) and it could potentially mean one or two Sydney seats would flip to being Labor since my regional boundaries saw like four Labor seats outside Sydney become notionally Coalition-held).

    33. @np that actually seems reasonable. I’m thinking of moving hume into the Illawarra (Shellharbour Kiama etc) and moving it out of Sydney entirely my current borders have it retreating to Camden and giving the rest to the new seats

    34. @john would you not be better off just moving Whitlam into Kiama in that case? With it shedding Dapto to compensate for the population gain. Hume doesn’t need to move into the Illawarra given it’s namesake.

    35. Maybe wrong spot but Hume includes Camden and Goulburn in the one seat. This is nuts no community of interest

    36. @mick yes I agree I have withdrawn hume as much as possible from outer Sydney however current numbers mean it still extends to Camden. I’m sure the next redistribution will allow for further change. However it may go further into Sydney and lose Goulburn


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