Cook by-election, 2024

Cause of by-election
Sitting Liberal MP Scott Morrison has flagged that he will resign his seat at the end of February.

Margin – LIB 12.4%

Southern Sydney, Cook covers parts of the Sutherland Shire and the St George area. Suburbs in Sutherland include Cronulla, Sylvania, Miranda, Gymea, Caringbah and Taren Point. Suburbs in the St George area include Sans Souci, Ramsgate, Sandringham, Monterey, Beverley Park, Kogarah Bay, Kyle Bay and Blakehurst.


Cook was first created for the 1969 election. The suburbs around the current seat of Cook were first included in the seat of Illawarra from federation until the 1922 election, when it was transferred to Werriwa, when Werriwa was a large rural seat covering areas south of Sydney. The seat of Hughes was created in 1955, which was the first seat based in Sutherland. Cook was then created in 1969. This used the same name as an earlier seat based in inner Sydney, which had been a safe Labor seat before its abolition in 1955.

For the previous sixty years the seat covering Sutherland had been mostly held by the Labor Party, although Hughes was lost to Liberal candidate Don Dobie in 1966, and Cook has been held by the Liberals for most of its existence.

Dobie transferred to Cook in 1969, but was defeated by Labor’s Ray Thorburn in 1972. Thorburn was defeated by Dobie in 1975 and Dobie held the seat until his retirement in 1996.

Dobie was succeeded by Stephen Mutch, a member of the NSW upper house, in 1996, and Mutch was defeated for preselection by Bruce Baird in 1998. Baird had previously been a state MP and Minister for Transport from 1988 to 1995, as well as taking charge of Sydney’s Olympic big up to 1993.

Baird held the seat for nine years, during which time he developed a reputation as an independent-minded Liberal backbencher who was occasionally critical of the Howard government.

Baird announced his retirement at the 2007 election, and the Liberal preselection was originally won by Michael Towke. Towke’s preselection was overturned amid allegations of branch stacking in a controversial contest, and he was replaced by the former director of the NSW Liberal Party, Scott Morrison.

Morrison won the seat in 2007, and was re-elected five times. Morrison served as a senior minister in the coalition government from 2013 until he became Prime Minister in 2018. He then led the government to victory at the 2019 election.

Morrison continued to serve as Prime Minister until his government’s defeat the 2022 federal election.


  • Vinay Kolhatkar (Libertarian)
  • Natasha Brown (Animal Justice)
  • Roger Woodward (Independent)
  • Martin Moore (Greens)
  • Simon Kennedy (Liberal)
  • Simone Francis Gagatam (Sustainable Australia)

The Liberal Party should retain this seat at the by-election.

2022 result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Scott Morrison Liberal 54,322 55.5 -8.2
Simon Earle Labor 24,444 25.0 +1.9
Catherine Dyson Greens 9,685 9.9 +3.1
Gaye Cameron One Nation 4,985 5.1 +1.6
Jacqueline Guinane United Australia 4,381 4.5 +3.3
Informal 4,498 4.4 FALSE

2022 two-party-preferred result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Scott Morrison Liberal 61,080 62.4 -6.6
Simon Earle Labor 36,737 37.6 +6.6

Booth breakdown

Booths have been divided into five parts named after key suburbs. All of the booths in the St George area have been grouped as “Sans Souci”. Those in the Sutherland Shire have been split between Sylvania in the north, Cronulla in the east, Gymea-Miranda in the south-west and Caringbah in the centre.

The Liberal Party won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all five areas, ranging from 60.1% in Sans Souci to 68.2% in Sylvania.

The Greens came third, with a primary vote ranging from 10.9% in the south to 17.3% in the north-east.

Voter group GRN prim % LIB 2PP % Total votes % of votes
Sans Souci 7.8 60.1 14,956 15.3
Gymea-Miranda 10.8 60.9 11,260 11.5
Caringbah 10.9 65.6 10,562 10.8
Cronulla 13.2 62.0 10,139 10.4
Sylvania 6.5 68.2 6,059 6.2
Pre-poll 9.5 62.7 31,673 32.4
Other votes 10.6 61.1 13,168 13.5

Election results in Cook at the 2022 federal election
Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and primary votes for the Liberal Party, Labor and the Greens.

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  1. A uComms poll points to a 2PP result of LIB 65% GRN 35%. I take this poll with a grain of salt as points to primary votes of 11.7% for the independent Roger Woodward and 8.0% for AJP.

    @James, the secret ministries matter was revealed after the 2022 election.

    I agree that this isn’t a good teal target but for different reasons. A teal candidate doesn’t need a young population to be successful. Mackeller, especially the northern end, has a large number of retirees and a high median age. It currently has a Teal MP.

    North of the Georges River is culturally diverse and quite socially conservative. It is very religious, mainly Orthodox Christian and Catholic. It was blue-collar heartland but trended Liberal as it got absorbed into Cook. This neck of the woods will favour a Labor/Liberal dichotomy.

  2. @Votante as I’ve said before affluent or middle-class blue-ribbon seats in Sydney aren’t all good teal targets. Cook and Mitchell are good examples of teal-proof Sydney seats (and Labor won’t win them either). Teals also have no chance in Banks and Hughes either (though they aren’t considered blue-ribbon seats; in fact David Coleman’s win in 2013 was the first time ever Banks had been won by a non-Labor candidate). The only other seats that might be potential teal targets are Bradfield, Reid and maybe Kingsford Smith. On the state level a good teal target would be Coogee which overlaps with the federal seats of Kingsford Smith (a safe Labor seat) and Wentworth (formerly a blue-ribbon seat but now a teal seat).

  3. @votante chas been pretty accurate lately so I don’t imagine it will be too different. However independents always throw thing out of whack so could be lib vs ind either way easy lib win due to demographic
    Shout out to the next member for cook Simon Kennedy and thanks to scomo for his service

  4. Who is Roger Woodward? The piano player?
    Candidates used to be identified on the ballot paper by their full names.
    In the interest of transparency, the AEC should reinstate that requirement.

  5. What’s turn out expected to be here? Is turnout normally lower when one of the majors doesn’t run? Doesn’t seem any alternative centre left or centre candidates for Labor voters to go to. Do they just not show up?

  6. Labor are running scared of a protest vote against Albaese Government in Cook.
    If a gaggle of leftie ratbags can draw 45% primary today, which wouldn’t surprise, they’ll call it a rejection of Dutton and full steam ahead for the Corporate State.

  7. @gympie the other reason is that’s a blue ribbon seat and they wouldn’t want to waste the resources especially when a general election could be just around the corner as soon as August. Maybe they know something we ?dont

  8. Simon Kennedy won in a landslide. No surprise.

    Kennedy’s primary vote was higher than Morrison’s in 2022, but a percentage point lower than that of 2019. I’d say that Morrison peaked in 2019 and underperformed in 2022. 2022 was the nadir of Morrison’s career and there was big swing away from him. There was also UAP and ON and they took primary votes away. In 2019, Morrison’s personal vote, as a new Prime Minister with a raised profile, was sky high.

    On the topic of teals, I think the only teal-ish part of the electorate is Cronulla. In Cronulla, there are lots of 20 and 30 something year old renters living in apartments. There’s a bit of a beachside conservationist vibe as well as lots of backpackers and surfers like in Wentworth, Warringah and Mackellar. Greenhills Beach (although having lots of mortgage holders and nuclear families) and Woolooware have some teal vibe though not as strong. If you’re a teal, there’s no use winning booths in just one suburb.

  9. @Votante, I wouldn’t say even Cronulla and Woolooware anywhere close to being Teal-ish as they still had a No Vote on The Voice plus Cronulla is well associated with “Anglo Australian” Values as they had as still have a large Australia Day celebration on the beach in contrast to Bondi plus I heard that Cronulla Riots is still viewed favorably by many residents.

  10. @Marh how does Australia Day equate to Anglo Australian values? It is a day celebrated by most Australians from plenty of different cultures and backgrounds: European, Asian, Indigenous, Arab, African, Pacific Islander, etc. I would advise you to refrain from referring to Australia Day as an exclusively or mostly White Australian celebration, because it isn’t.

  11. But nevertheless I agree that Cronulla and Woolooware aren’t tealish at all, nor is anywhere in this electorate really.

  12. I agree that Cronulla is Teal-proof Blue ribbon Liberal area and not in reach of Labor as well. Maybe the Gold Coast seats are similar blue-Ribbon teal proof. The Northern Beaches seem to be much more socially progressive despite it being an even less ethnically diverse area and have a similar surfing culture. Bondi is more progressive and has a larger Green/ALP vote than the Northern Beaches or Sutherland Shire. Interestingly, Bondi has a large Jewish community which is not found in either the Northern Beaches or Sutherland Shire.


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