Maxine McKew, since 2007.
Bennelong straddles the north shore and western suburbs of Sydney. The seat covers the entirety of Ryde local government area, as well as Epping, Carlingford and Ermington, from Hornsby and Parramatta council areas. Main suburbs in the seat are Ryde, Epping, Ermington, Eastwood and Gladesville.
The recent NSW redistribution saw no changes to the boundaries of Bennelong.
Bennelong was created in 1949, and was held by only two MPs between then and the 2007 federal election. Bennelong originally covered Ryde, Hunters Hill and Lane Cove, but not areas such as Eastwood and Epping that are now contained within the seat.
Bennelong was first won by John Cramer (LIB) in 1949. Cramer served as Minister for the Army under Robert Menzies from 1956 to 1963. During his time holding Bennelong the seat was never a very safe seat, and in 1961 Cramer only held on by 1832 votes. His largest margin was 15.4% in 1966.
Cramer retired at the 1974 election and was succeeded by John Howard (LIB). Howard went on to serve as a minister under Malcolm Fraser, including as Treasurer from 1977 to 1983. He then served in a variety of roles on the opposition frontbench after 1983, including as two stints as Opposition Leader (1985-1989, 1995-1996). He was elected as Prime Minister in 1996 and served until 2007.
The seat of Bennelong had gradually shifted to the north-west over the decades, taking in Epping. The 1992 redistribution saw the last parts of Lane Cove removed from the seat, and Howard’s margin was cut in 1993. After recovering in 1996 to a margin over 10% it gradually declined to a 4.3% margin in 2004, when the Greens ran high-profile former intelligence officer Andrew Wilkie against Howard.
The 2006 redistribution saw Howard’s margin cut slightly and the ALP decided to target the seat, running former journalist Maxine McKew. McKew won the seat with 51.4% of the two-party vote.
- Victor Waterson (One Nation)
- Julie Worsley (Christian Democratic Party)
- Sue Raye (Sex Party)
- Mary Louise Mockler (Carers Alliance)
- Stephen Chavura (Family First)
- Bill Pounder (Climate Sceptics)
- Lindsay Peters (Greens)
- Maxine McKew (Labor) – Member for Bennelong since 2007.
- Martin Levine (Building Australia)
- John Alexander (Liberal)
- Terje Petersen (Liberal Democrats)
This seat lies on a precarious margin and is a high priority for the Liberal Party, both because of its position on the pendulum and its historical significance for the party. While considering the very slim margin, it’s worth bearing in mind that McKew managed to win the seat against the sitting Prime Minister, who had held the seat for 33 years. While Howard’s reputation had suffered damage by 2007, you would still have to think a political novice like John Alexander would struggle to perform better than Howard, suggesting McKew may have an easier time of winning reelection.
|David L Allen||IND||123||0.14||+0.14|
2007 two-candidate-preferred result
I’ve divided booths between five of the main suburbs in the electorate, being Epping, Eastwood, Ryde, West Ryde and Gladesville.
The ALP won solid majorities across Ermington and West Ryde in the south-west of the seat. The ALP also won a majority of booths in Epping and Eastwood. The Liberals won most booths in Gladesville and a majority of booths in the centre of Ryde.
|Voter group||GRN %||ALP 2CP %||Total votes||% of votes|