Heffron – NSW 2011

ALP 23.7%

Incumbent MP
Kristina Keneally, since 2003.

Southern Sydney. Heffron covers areas to the south of the inner city of Sydney as far south as Botany Bay. It includes parts of the City of  Sydney and Marrickville, Randwick and Botany local government areas. Suburbs include Redfern, Waterloo, Eveleigh, Alexandria, Zetland, Beaconsfield, Kensington, Rosebery, Eastlakes, Mascot, St  Peters and Tempe.

The district of Heffron has existed since 1973. It has always been held by the ALP.

The seat was first won in 1973 by Laurie Brereton. He had previously held the seat of Randwick for one year. He won it in a 1970 by-election following the election of the previous member Lionel Bowen to the federal seat of Kingsford Smith in 1969. Randwick was abolished at the 1971 election.

Brereton served as a minister in the Labor state government from 1981 to 1987, and held Heffron until 1990, when he resigned to contest Kingsford Smith. He served as a minister in the Labor federal government from 1993 to 1996 and a shadow minister from 1996 to 2001. He retired from Kingsford Smith in 2004.

Brereton was replaced at the 1990 Heffron by-election by his sister Deirdre Grusovin, who had been a member of the Legislative Council since 1978. She had served as a minister from 1986 to 1988.

Grusovin held Heffron at the 1991, 1995 and 1999 elections. In 2003 she lost a bitter preselection contest against Kristina Keneally.

Keneally won a second term in Heffron in 2007. Following the 2007 election she was appointed as a minister. In 2009, the ALP caucus elected her as Labor leader, and she succeeded Nathan Rees as Premier of NSW.


Political situation
Heffron on paper is a very safe Labor seat, and has a strong candidate in the sitting Premier. It’s worth noting, however, that the Greens came close to overtaking the Liberal Party in 2007, with 19.7% compared to 21.8%. If the Greens overtake the Liberals, the margin will be much smaller.

The seat has future potential to be won by the Greens like neighbouring seats such as Marrickville, Coogee and Sydney. While the northern and western parts of the seat are very strong for the Greens, areas around Rosebery and Mascot are much weaker, with a big divide between the north and south of the seat in terms of demographics and voting patterns.

2007 result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Kristina Keneally ALP 23,066 56.4 +2.1
Scott Nash LIB 8,889 21.8 +4.0
Ben Spies-Butcher GRN 8,031 19.7 +6.9
James Cogan IND 875 2.1 +2.1

2007 two-candidate-preferred result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Kristina Kenealy ALP 27,371 73.7 -0.5
Scott Nash LIB 9,783 26.3 +0.5

Booth breakdown
Booths in Heffron have been divided into four areas. Mascot covers booths in Botany council area at the southeast end of the seat. Kensington-Rosebery covers southeastern parts of the City of Sydney and the two booths in Randwick council. West covers two booths in Marrickville council and the nearby booth in Erskineville. The northern end of the seat is covered by Redfern-Waterloo.

The ALP polled over 70% of the primary vote in Mascot, but around 51-53% in the other three parts of the seat.

The Liberal Party polled almost 30% in Kensington-Rosebery, but less than 20% in the rest of the seat, and 15% in the western end of the seat. The Greens polled almost 26% in the northern end of the seat and 29% in the western end of the seat. The Greens only polled 9% in Mascot.


Polling booths in Heffron at the 2007 state election. Redfern-Waterloo in blue, Kensington-Rosebery in red, Mascot in green, West in yellow.


Voter group ALP % LIB % GRN % Total votes % of votes
Mascot 70.5 18.2 9.3 10,110 24.7
Redfern-Waterloo 52.7 19.2 25.9 8,495 20.8
Kensington-Rosebery 51.3 29.7 17.3 8,121 19.9
West 52.9 15.7 29.0 4,928 12.1
Other votes 50.8 24.1 22.3 9,207 22.5
Labor primary votes in Heffron at the 2007 state election.
Liberal primary votes in Heffron at the 2007 state election.
Greens primary votes in Heffron at the 2007 state election.
Polling booths in Heffron at the 2007 state election, showing which out of the Greens and the Liberal Party polled more votes in each booth.


  1. The Greens need liberal preferences to win any such seats……… I suspect they will not be directed to them for nsw 2011 election cf Victoria

  2. I do wonder if KKs position as Premier will help or hinder her campaign, usually you would think that it would help but given the popularity of this Government and the stuff her name is associated with lately you have to wonder just how much of an effect it will have.

  3. This seat might have been a possibility if Keneally was not Premier. As Premier she might expect a swing against but not of the magnitude of others seats. While taking her below 50% might suggest a window of opportunity for the GReens, the very low vote in Mascot will provide a bolster for her – the swing there is likel to be ALP-Lib, while in the north votes will probably continue to split ALP-Lib/ALP-Grn. So, whil the Greens might yet overtake the Libs, I suspect it will be more a case of both Grn & Lib increasing at a similar rate. Even if the Greens do pass the Libs (and this is in a 3-horse race of course), I don’t see the Libs allocating preferences here, so the lack of preference flow will allow Keneally to win, albeit with a reduced margin. The issue might be more acute if she decides to resign post-election – the resulting by-election could be pretty close all round!

  4. BTW – got polled today by “Ask Australia” (who appear to be a WA mob) about heffron voting intentions – seems someone thinks there’s a story in it (or maybe just checking!!).

  5. The north and north west of the seat will go more green, but in the rest of the seat any swing is likely to go to the liberals (especially in the east around kensington). The south of the seat is rusted on labor. There’s lots of public housing around eastlakes, daceyville, lower middle class areas around mascot and botany, warehouse factories around alexandria, and large greek and italian communities around Rosebery who have traditionally voted labor. It’ll be labor for some time yet, even this year.

  6. Stewart J – yeah, there is a bit of polling going on. Much of it is to see where the margin is for both parties so they know where to campaign. Lots of polling in the south west at the moment and on the central coast.

  7. This seat will probably have more candidates at this election (lots of people tend to run against party leaders because they are high profile seats), which might complicate (with preferences, exhausted ballots and whatnot) whether the Greens or the Liberal party come second.

  8. Heffron is my seat. I am surprised by how quiet it has been here. I’ve seen Keneally volunteers a few times and there are both Keneally and Green posters up around Botany Bay, plus I’ve got a couple of pamphlets from Keneally and but I haven’t heard a thing from the Green candidate and the Lib one seems to be running dead.

    Removing the access fees from Mascot and Green Square was a good decision and should be sufficient insurance for Keneally to be returned with relative comfort.

  9. Sorry, got a pamplet from the Green yesterday. It was pretty brief, think they’re saving their money for Marrickville.

  10. Predicting this to be the next state version of Grayndler. Labor still retains with a comfortable enough margin to not bother, Greens come in second but far enough behind that they’ll go fry bigger fish in the Inner West.

  11. I don’t know about that, mogoose. Maybe the west side of the seat will, but over in the south and east of the seat it’ll stay a liberal vs labor contest for a long time yet.

  12. Tend to agree with Lachlan here. Where I am on the east side its still old-style politics all the way. Got 4 different pieces of mail from KK all in the space of a couple of days – including one that looked like a pizza menu (complete with “100 achievements”). And while I liked the pamphlet about the Metrobuses, I then had to suffer 2 days of broken down buses on the 370 route (kinda sours you towards a govt that can’t get the buses to run, let alone run on time!!!). And those 100 achievments were a mish-mash of state govt programs, grants and some direct representation, so I wasn’t THAT impressed. It also noted that it had been printed using her parliamentary allowance – sure looked like electioneering, but of course, doesn’t say “Vote” anywhere…and of course, arrived prior to the issue of writs…also explains why you don’t get loads of stuff from Greens and Libs – the value of incumbency (and the attached allowances) should not be underestimated.

  13. Got a Postal Vote letter from Keneally today (I’ll be out of the state on the day). Interesting to see that she is recommending that voters vote Labor 1 and the Greens 2 in the Upper House. I expected it would be just vote one after the Greens refused to do an upper house preference deal.

    I look forward to filling out all LegCo 17 boxes and putting Pauline Hanson last (just ahead of Fred Nile, then the Shooters).

  14. Hamish: I think many Labor campaigns are still preferencing Greens despite The Betrayal tm.

    In Drummoyne, Labor HTVs have Labor 1 Greens 2.

  15. Head Office has authorised a direct mail for Thursday in Heffron and also a roster of Young Labor hacks to doorknock this week.

    Read into this what you will as the Americans say!

  16. Millard Fillmore – mmmmmm…..worried or what? I’d think only the Greens could possibly win. Anyway, I’d be dissapointed if she lost. She is not a bad Premier.

  17. Might I say KK losing her own seat mightn’t be the worst result as she won’t have to face parliament and subject the seat to a by-election. Similar to John Howard losing Bennelong where it allowed him to slide away gracefully………..

    @DB always dissapoints me to hear that a party is not competing because you never know if you don’t try.

  18. Pretty huge difference between the Howard and Keneally situations. There isn’t really any reason why Keneally would walk away. I expect that she’ll stay on.

  19. Keneally romped in. I’m not that surprised, she ran a good local campaign and is a quality local member with a good office (though that didn’t save Paul Pearce or Verity).

    What happened to the Green vote? I thought you guys were saying this was their outside shot?

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