Grayndler – Election 2010

ALP 24.8%

Incumbent MP
Anthony Albanese, since 1996.

Inner West of Sydney. Grayndler covers the local government areas of Marrickville and Ashfield and parts of Canterbury and Leichhardt. Main suburbs include Leichhardt, Newtown, Marrickville, Petersham, Lilyfield, Dulwich Hill, Sydenham, Tempe, Hurlstone Park, Ashbury, Ashfield, Summer Hill and Haberfield.

Grayndler was slightly expanded to cover a small part of Ashfield previously covered by Lowe.

Grayndler was created in the 1949 redistribution, and has always been held by the ALP. The seat was first won by Fred Daly, who had previously held the nearby seat of Martin since 1943. Daly was a highly popular MP and served as a minister in the Whitlam government before his retirement in 1975.

The seat was won by Tony Whitlam at the election following his father’s dismissal as Prime Minister in 1975, but he was replaced by Frank Stewart at the 1977 election following the abolition of Stewart’s former seat of Lang. Stewart had previously served as a minister in the Whitlam government, and had been in Parliament since 1953. Stewart died in 1979, and the following by-election was won by the Assistant General Secretary of the NSW Labor Party, Leo McLeay.

McLeay held the seat until the 1993 election, serving as Speaker from 1989 until 1993. At the 1993 election he was forced to move to the neighbouring seat of Watson in order to free up Grayndler for federal minister Jeannette McHugh, whose seat of Phillip had been abolished.

McLeay held Watson until 2004, and McHugh retired at the 1996 election, when the seat was won by another Assistant General Secretary of the NSW Labor Party, Anthony Albanese, after Albanese had arranged McHugh’s move to Grayndler in 1993. Albanese has held the seat ever since and is now a senior cabinet minister and Leader of the House in the Rudd government.


  • James Cogan (Socialist Equality Party)
  • Pip Hinman (Socialist Alliance)
  • Alexander Dore (Liberal)
  • Anthony Albanese (Labor) – Member for Grayndler since 1996. Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government.
  • Sam Byrne (Greens) – former Mayor of Marrickville.
  • Perry Garofani (Democrats)

Political situation
This seat is nowhere near as safe as the large two-party preferred margin suggests. The Greens polled only 3% less than the Liberal Party in 2007, and if the Greens manage to overtake the Liberals a much smaller two-party preferred margin would be produced. A swing of about 10% from the ALP to the Greens would reduce the Labor vote below 50% and put the Greens in second place on primary votes and would make the seat winnable for the Greens. Having said that, it is unlikely that this scenario will happen in 2010.

2007 result

Anthony AlbaneseALP46,50955.47+4.77
Daniel CafferyLIB17,48520.86-4.77
Saeed KhanGRN15,67518.70-1.34
Jeffrey GabrielDEM1,4071.68-0.35
Pip HinmanSA1,3941.66+0.45
Ehab HennienCDP1,0421.24+1.06
Patrick O’ConnorSEP3280.39+0.39

2007 two-candidate-preferred result

Anthony AlbaneseALP62,82174.93+3.74
Daniel CafferyLIB21,01925.07-3.74

Results do not take into consideration effects of the redistribution.

Booth breakdown
Grayndler is split between four local government areas. Most of Ashfield and all of Marrickville, as well as parts of Leichhardt and Canterbury. I have divided booths between these local government areas. About half the population lives within Marrickville local government area, so I also divided Marrickville booths into two areas: those in the Camperdown-Petersham-Newtown-Enmore-Stanmore area and those in the rest of the council area.

The ALP polled in the low 50s in Ashfield, Petersham-Stanmore and Leichhardt, while polling closer to 60% in Marrickville and Canterbury. The Greens beat the Liberals in Marrickville and Petersham-Stanmore. The Greens performed most strongly in the Petersham-Stanmore areas, where the Greens polled over 27%, far ahead of the Liberals.

Polling booths in Grayndler. Marrickville in red, Petersham-Stanmore in yellow, Leichhardt in green, Ashfield in blue, Canterbury in orange.
Voter groupALP %LIB %GRN %Total votes% of votes
Other votes53.2821.6519.6516,63519.84
Polling booths in Grayndler, showing Labor primary votes at the 2007 election.
Polling booths in Grayndler, showing Liberal primary votes at the 2007 election.
Polling booths in Grayndler, showing Greens primary votes at the 2007 election.


  1. Interesting..why did McLeay have to move to Watson to accomodate McHugh? Wouldn’t it have been simpler to just move McHugh to Watson, especially considering that Lakemba is not much further from Coogee than Marrickville?

  2. Perhaps because the Left controls the branches in Grayndler. Tony Whitlam was a loss to the federal parliament and its an indictment of the NSW ALP that they pushed him to running for St George in 1977 (which he lost). Daly’s move to Grayndler in 1949 from Martin (which Labor held in 1949) reflected some Byzantine fighting for seats.

  3. “Pip Hinman is running again for the Socialist Alliance.”

    There was no doubt in my mind that she wouldn’t. I think I can comfortably predict that she will be the SA candidate for Marrickville for the next State and Council elections (and probably the few after that too). Pip, of course, is a journalist for the GLW.

  4. I remember reading in The Australian in 1993 that there was a formal or informal rule in the NSW ALP at that time that Ministers had to be found a seat. I also remember reading that there was a fight between right and left for the Ministerial seat that McHugh won as her seat had been or would likely be abolished, and she’d have to be found a seat if she became a minister.


    Sylvia Hale to contest preselection with Fiona Byrne for the state seat of Marrickville.

    Byrne would have a much better chance of winning. While Hale may have the support of the Green base, Byrne is far less grating to the ‘Marrickville mainstream’ and would prove a far better long-term bet.

    I wrote my thoughts about Hale in PB and won’t repeat them here, but I think this could be a real crossroads moment for the Greens.

  6. I hope Ben puts together guides on seats to watch in NSW election. Discussing the Greens preselection makes sense there. Anyway whoever can crack The Warren would be the better candidate.

    That’s the main challenge facing Grayndler as well.

  7. Very working class suburb at the very south of Marrickville Council, near Canterbury. It votes very heavily Labor.

  8. Hmmm, a Uni student. Me thinks they’re playing dead so the Greens can give Albo a scare.

  9. I was putting up Greens corflutes along Illawara Rd., in the heart of Labor heartland and Anthony Albanese happened to walk by. A bit of a jovial exchange but he did say “You’re the guys who’re trying to put me out of the job!” That sort of self-entitlement goes to show why a “safe seat” is bad for democracy.

  10. @ deconst. Grayndler is anything BUT a safe seat, so I don’t understand the comment. Where are your prefs going, or is that a rude question?

  11. Grayndler has been a safe seat for most of Albanese’s time in the seat, which explains his attitude.

    Who cares where the Greens preference in Grayndler? There’s no way that the Liberals could challenge for the seat, and if the Greens overtake the Liberals the preferences won’t be distributed.

  12. It sounds like he was joking. I’ve run into Albo a few times while volunteering for the Greens/Dems, he seems like a pretty nice guy.

  13. No one cares? Really? But you are right, Ben, Greens prefs don’t matter, they will run second and won’t be counted. But people other than myself WILL be interested, if only for the symbolism. I asked because the just announced pref “deal” significantly excluded some Greens branches, and local Greens are hostile to Labor and anyone on the left they tag as not “on side”. And I agree with Hamish. I’ve had professional dealings with Albo and have always found him friendly, courteous and far, far from “entitled”. I am NOT a member of his party, btw, or any other.

  14. Well, in any case, reports are that council has taken down both Green and Labor corflutes around the inner west stations so it’s all a bit moot then.

    Never had any personal dealings with Albo, so not sure what to expect. And.. yes.. the general take by the media is that the Greens have as much chance of winning Grayndler as the Liberals have of winning Griffith.

  15. Vote for Pip Hinman, Socialist Alliance
    40+ years of dedication to the cause of peace and human rights

  16. Anthony Albanese has agreed to a candidates debate. All candidates are invited. I don’t think he’s ever agreed to a debate before. “Time and date tbc

  17. What sort of comment is that dogface? I am guessing you are a model for David Jones this week then or something? Although only Allanah Hill would hire you with a name like that. Alex is actually incredibly intelligent and yes he will get hammered at the polls, but I don’t see all the other Labor, Green and Liberal students around the country running in no hope situations copping vitriol like this. Wyatt Roy excepted, that is fair play

  18. The Liberals are giving their preferences to the Greens. you lucky boy, deconst. Sam Byrne quoted in todays local press as “undecided”. Gee, that must be sooo hard…

  19. If you’d met the local Liberals candidate, you’d get the impression that he’d really rather not have the HTV put the Greens ahead of Labor. It’s a Liberal HQ strategic thing.

    Still love it though 🙂

  20. I’m hoping someone can point me to an algorithm of preferences for Grayndler. I see from the banter above that someone knows something about the preference roundabout, academically or symbolically. Where does one voter glean such information?

  21. Caleb, mostly from what’s reported in the news. The Greens tend to preference Labor ahead of Liberals, and they’ve definitely done so in Grayndler. The Liberals prefer the Greens ahead of Labor in extremely safe Labor seats where they want to remove the representative from parliament to decrease their

    I will be scrutineering North Ashfield on polling day, very much looking forward to seeing how the vote balances change! The Greens will need their vote up to 23% and the Labor primary to go below 47% to be demonstrative of a healthy, vote-winning swing across the electorate, I think. A tough call!

    However the total absence of Labor resources to the race, anger about Aircraft Noise, the strong presence of the Greens on the ground, the strong Greens candidate and the increased attention to the Greens in the media this election, means that there’s a surprisingly healthy chance of a shock win. (Still, realistically, I wouldn’t bet on this seat at odds less than $4).

    There’s a candidates debate on Wednesday afternoon at 6pm at Marrickville town hall.

  22. I always thought the aircraft noise ‘debate’ was pretty wafer-thin. All MPs around the airport support a second airport, it seems stupid that people take it out on the sitting MP (of whatever stripe). The Government has commissioned Green and White Papers to find locations for a second airport, which should be released soon and seem pretty determined to build one somewhere – first indications looking like Richmond or possibly Williamstown. It seems pretty non-sensical to blame Albo for aircraft noise when he has pushed more than anyone in the ALP for a second airport.

    While I feel sorry for the residents of 50+ years, the number of people I see who’ve recently moved to a nearby suburb (to a suburb that is affordable because of the airport noise) then constantly complain about the airport noise, well, it’s pretty weak (and I say this as a resident of an ‘airport suburb’).

    Going by the Marrickville Greens website, the Greens advocate exactly the same as the Government in regard to finding a place for a second airport, but add a few unworkable extras such as lowering flight movements, extending the curfew and finally replacing the Mascot airport, things that are frankly impossible in a major hub like Sydney if we want to maintain tourist numbers and trade levels, not to mention the compensation the airport would demand (and legally would be entitled to). Basically they’re just advocating shifting the problem somewhere esle – the worst type of NIMBYism.

    We live in a major city that needs at least one major airport, two or even three really. Aircraft noise is a fact of life when you move next to an airport. Moving a long established airport because people moved nearby is silly beyond belief.

    In regard to preferences, the Greens recommend preferencing Labor or not at all. I can’t think of a time where the Greens have preferenced the Libs before Labor.

  23. The Aircraft Noise problem can be seen as a bit of guff but it is a problem to residents, long term and new. The concern is that there isn’t a plan to reduce aircraft movements, and in fact the pressure being placed on Sydney Airport may lead eventually to revocation of the curfew. There are already plenty of incidents that skirt the curfew due to flight delays, etc.

    As the Federal Minister for Airports, Albanese is in a unique situation to demonstrate leadership on this issue, but he has not, so it’s time for him to go.

    Richmond wouldn’t be a possibility, I can’t imagine the community would embrace it, so it doesn’t look like there’ll be a second airport in the Sydney basin. Proposing one at Williamstown should be considered with the high speed rail study as it may make both viable, and palatable to the community. The alternative is outside Goulburn, with high-speed rail to the city.

    I would prefer Sydney’s air traffic become similar to how Tokyo solved their airport problems: kept Haneda for domestic, put most International flights out at Narita. In the distant future, I would prefer Kingsford-Smith phased out and redeveloped for high-density housing, an effective reuse of infrastructure for the longterm.

    Ultimately, a community will have to accept a new airport and a determination for location of a new airport should be based on that, not the other way around.

  24. I doubt very much that any Government, least of all a Labor Government, which holds the ‘airport seats’ would ever consider removing the curfew. I’ve heard many politicians say it would never happen (and I’ve had a lot to do with the airport, I’m not just saying this as a casual observer).

    Sydney is a growing city that will inevitably see growth in trade, freight and general passenger numbers. As I said, while I support a second airport – and I’ve long advocated Williamstown – it is naive to believe that a major airport by the coast would be phased out. The compo bill would run impossibly high, money that I for one would far rather see invested in education, health, renewable energies etc then buying out an airport, having the noise problem shifted to another airport, and then being in the same situation that Sydney needs another airport all over.

    Yes, it would be nice for inner city residents to have more noise respite, but honestly I see it as one of the prices of living in a big city. For me, the cost simply could not justify the means.

  25. Labor was very keen to talk up a second airport in Richmond, when that area was located in the safe Liberal seat of Greenway and would only affect other safe Liberal seats in Berowra and Mitchell.

    Then the redistribution moved Richmond into mega-marginal Macquarie.

    Funny, I don’t think I’ve heard any talk from Labor about a Richmond airport since!

  26. I gather that a preferred site will be named in December.

    From what I understand, an airport takes close to a decade to build, so one outside Sydney proper with a superfast train is an option, simply because the North West is a growth corridor and a Government may not want to hinder that. When Howard took Badgery’s Creek off the table, Richmond became the possibility that was closest to the City.

    The ACT Government is apparently pretty keen for Canberra Airport to become a major hub because it would mean the Feds would have to put a super fast train in from Canberra to Sydney. In any case the number of freight and passenger numbers will only go up in the medium term. We couldn’t build airports fast enough to stop that happening at KS and capping numbers would just be ridiculous; it would funnel money away from Sydney and increase transport costs just to get goods to the city, not to mention overburden other airports.

    Anyway, I gather the three places the Dept of Transport are looking at are Richmond, Canberra and Williamstown, probably in that order. We’ll have to wait and see.

  27. Would love to see Mr Albanese be beaten by the Greens. I would gladly hand out how to votes for Sam Byrne.

    Good luck Sam

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