Hughes – Election 2010

LIB 0.5%

Incumbent MP
Danna Vale, since 1996.

Hughes covers parts of southern Sydney crossing the Georges River. The seat covers parts of Sutherland LGA west of the Illawarra train line, including Engadine, Woronora, Menai, Illawong and Alfords Point. It also covers eastern parts of Liverpool LGA, including the Liverpool CBD, Warwick Farm, Chipping Norton, Moorebank, Holsworthy and Wattle Grove. The seat now also crosses the Georges River into Bankstown, covering East Hills, Milperra, Panania and parts of Revesby.

The seat has changed to cover parts of Bankstown after previously exclusively covering Liverpool and Sutherland. The suburbs of Heathcote and Waterfall in southern Sutherland were transferred to Cunningham. Bonnet Bay, Como and parts of the Sutherland CBD were transferred to Cook. The western parts of the suburb of Liverpool was transferred to Fowler. In exchange the seat crossed the Georges River into Bankstown, taking in East Hills, Milperra, Panania and parts of Revesby. This saw the margin for the Liberal Party cut from 2.2% to 0.5%.

Hughes was first created in 1955 and has been held by the ALP for much of its history despite generally covering relatively affluent areas that would usually be thought of as more favourable to the Liberals. Its first MP was Les Johnson, who held the seat for Labor until he was defeated in the 1966 landslide by the Liberal Party’s Don Dobie. Dobie transferred to the newly created seat of Cook in 1969, and Johnson regained Hughes for the ALP, going on to serve as a minister in the Whitlam government.

Johnson resigned in December 1983, and was succeeded at a by-election by Robert Tickner, who went on to serve a high-profile tenure as Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs from 1990 until losing his seat when the Keating government lost office in 1996.

Danna Vale won the seat for the Liberals in 1996 and has held it ever since. Labor tried to regain the seat in 1998 with high-profile candidate David Hill, former boss of State Rail and the ABC. However, it was Hill’s more recent role as head of Sydney Water which effectively derailed his campaign, following widespread criticism of that authority’s handling of the water contamination crisis which occurred a few months prior to the election.

Vale served as Minister for Veterans Affairs during the Howard government’s third term, gaining most notoriety for her misdirected ‘stay brave and true’ faxed message of support intended for broadcaster Alan Jones whilst he was facing investigation by broadcasting regulators.

In 2007 the ALP received a 6.4% swing to them, making it a marginal seat.

The highest vote ever for a non-major party candidate in Hughes came in 1977 when Ken Johnson of the Democrats gained 15.2% of the vote, one of the party’s best ever results in NSW. The seat took in northern parts of the Illawarra at the time.


  • Peter Bussa (One Nation)
  • Craig Kelly (Liberal)
  • Susan Roberts (Greens)
  • Stan Hurley (Family First)
  • Scott Nailon (Christian Democratic Party)
  • Don Nguyen (Liberal Democrats)
  • Brent Thomas (Labor)

Political Situation
The retirement of the sitting MP, and the continuing shift of this seat into more strong Labor areas, makes it appear one of the strongest prospects for a Labor gain in NSW.

2007 result

Danna ValeLIB40,33448.29-4.73
Greg HollandALP35,08742.01+8.26
Jamie PatersonGRN4,6465.56-1.20
John VanderjagtCDP2,4192.90-0.07
Julie MezyedFF1,0331.24+1.24

2007 two-candidate-preferred result

Danna ValeLIB43,56252.16-6.39
Greg HollandALP39,95747.84+6.39

Results do not take into account effects of the redistribution.

Booth breakdown
Booths have been divided between the three local government areas in the seat. About half the population lives in Sutherland with the remainder living in Liverpool and Bankstown. Bankstown is strongly Labor (although bear in mind that this has long been a relatively safe Labor seat with little Liberal competition. Only one booth (Picnic Point) was won by the Liberals. While the centre of Liverpool itself voted extremely strongly for the ALP, these booths were quite small while the Liberals won the bigger booths around Holsworthy, Moorebank, Wattle Grove and Chipping Norton by relatively small margins. This gives the ALP an overall majority in these booths, although not a large one. The Liberals won Sutherland solidly, although a few booths on the train line were won by the ALP.

Polling booths in Hughes. Liverpool in red, Bankstown in green, Sutherland in blue.
Voter groupGRN %LIB 2CP %Total votes% of ordinary votes
Other votes6.5053.6014,311
Polling booths in Hughes.


  1. This is one of the stranger seats the AEC has drawn up, with no real centre or community of interest. I’ve been redistributed into it from Banks, but luckily I’ll never be represented by Danna Vale.

  2. I heard that Brent Thomas won preselection for the ALP. Apparently a Labor Right man who used to work for Carl Scully.

  3. This seat hardly takes into account the demographics of the two population groups. The Sutherland Shire and the Bankstown-Liverpool region have nothing in common. They’re 2 widely different regions. It hardly seems fair that someone from either major party is able to represent a seat that is split right down the middle. It would be alright if the two population groups were evenly mixed, but this is not the case.

  4. I agree with Jake. I’ve always been concerned that the area cannot be properly represented by one party or the other, as the regions are indeed much too different. Honestly, Sutherland and Liverpool?

  5. But you could say this about any marginal seat.

    Like Dunkley or Swan where you have mixtures of millionaire’s mansions and public housing areas. Or a seat like Capricornia where you have working-class mining towns and vast conservative rural areas.

    You could claim that it “isn’t fair” for one party to represent any of these seats.

  6. The real swing section of this seat is the Moorebank/ Holsworthy/ Wattle Grove Areas, With Both major party candidates no longer supporting the planned Moorebank container terminal, I believe the first Party leader to say this project will not go ahead has a major chance on winning the seat. Only time will we if the candidates can get that kind of commitment for there party leaders.

  7. I grew up in Ashcroft (Liverpool Area) until I was 16, I understand some of the issues in the area and the fact that it is a diverse and multicultural area.

    I was a bought up by a Lebanese Step Father, which gives me a love for that culture as well as my own. I have two Siblings to my mother and step fathers marriage.

    I have also Lived in the Sutherland Shire for the past 10 years now. I rarely leave it these days (Which makes me a real hobbit)

    I stand by Family Values & have a family myself.

    I hope this helps you.


  8. Hmm, this one disappeared as well, and browser crashes too much, so I think I’ll have to make this the last one and give up at this point.

    My prediction: Liberal retain, negligible swing.

  9. Trying it with a new browser now, so that should fix it. I believe it’s some sort of bug with this version of WordPress, so unfortunately Ben can’t do much about it.

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