Heathcote – NSW 2019

LIB 7.6%

Incumbent MP
Lee Evans, since 2011.

Southern Sydney and the Illawarra. Heathcote includes parts of the Sutherland Shire and the City of Wollongong. Heathcote covers the suburbs of Sutherland, Woronora Heights, Engadine, Yarrawarrah, Bundeena, Bangor, Menai and Heathcote and stretching into the northern suburbs of Wollongong.

Heathcote was first created as an electoral district in 1971. The seat was abolished in 1991, and restored in 1999.

Heathcote was first won in 1971 by Rex Jackson. He had previously served as Member for Bulli since 1955. The 1970 redistribution shifted Bulli north, deeper into Sutherland and losing parts of Wollongong, and following this Bulli was renamed Heathcote. Jackson joined the ministry when Labor won power in 1976, and became Minister for Corrective Services in 1981. He left the ministry in 1983 and resigned from Parliament in 1986. He was convicted of accepting bribes in relation to the early release of prisoners, and spent over three years in a prison which he had previously had ministerial responsibility for.

Jackson had run in the January 1987 by-election as an independent, but polled only 6%, losing to the ALP’s Ian McManus.

The redistribution for the 1988 election shifted Heathcote north, deeper into Sutherland and further out of Wollongong. McManus shifted to the newly-created Labor seat of Burragorang, which covered parts of Wollondilly Shire and northern suburbs of Wollongong. The Liberal Party’s Allan Andrews won Heathcote.

The 1991 redistribution reduced the size of the Assembly, and Heathcote and Burragorang were both abolished, and the seat of Bulli was restored in the northern suburbs of Wollongong. Andrews ran in the seat of Coogee, losing by 600 votes to the Labor candidate. McManus won the seat of Bulli.

McManus was re-elected in Bulli in 1995 and became a Parliamentary Secretary in the newly-elected Carr government.

The 1999 redistribution restored the seat of Heathcote, and again abolished Bulli. McManus once again was elected Member for Heathcote, and served for one final term before retiring in 2003.

Heathcote was won in 2003 by the ALP’s Paul McLeay, son of federal MP Leo McLeay. McLeay was immediately appointed as a parliamentary secretary in 2003. He became a minister in 2009, but resigned in 2010 after admitting to having used parliamentary computers to access gambling and pornography websites.

In 2011, Paul McLeay lost Heathcote to Liberal candidate Lee Evans with a 21.7% swing. Evans was re-elected in 2015.


Heathcote is not the most marginal Liberal seat, but could be in play if Labor is close to forming government.

2015 result

Lee Evans Liberal 25,55450.0-4.6
Maryanne Stuart Labor 16,72432.7+11.5
Natasha Watson Greens 4,7299.2-1.9
Greg PettyIndependent1,8933.7-2.4
Ula FalangaChristian Democrats1,5183.0-1.3
Ahmed ElawaadNo Land Tax7171.4+1.4

2015 two-party-preferred result

Lee Evans Liberal 26,98957.6-11.4
Maryanne Stuart Labor 19,87342.4+11.4

Booth breakdown

Booths in Heathcote have been split into four parts. Polling places in the City of Wollongong have been grouped as “Helensburgh”. The scattered booths in southern parts of Sutherland Shire have been grouped as “Heathcote-Bundeena”, with those polling places in the urban Sutherland suburbs at the northern end of the seat were split into Menai and Engadine.

The Liberal Party won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in three out of four areas, ranging from 50.1% in Heathcote-Bundeena to 63.4% in Menai. Labor won 53.1% in Helensburgh.

Voter groupLIB 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes58.48,93017.5

Two-party-preferred votes in Heathcote at the 2015 NSW state election

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  1. There really are some brutal hills to climb for Labor to form government. Anyone with NSW knowledge keen to guess which 13 seats Labor will target?

  2. It does look very difficult. There are only 6 Coalition seats with a margin under 5% and 3 of them are Nationals seats (one vs Greens).

    With a margin of 7.6% this is the 11th most marginal Coalition seat and the last one with a margin under 8%, so Labor will have to win multiple seats with +8% swings to win government.

  3. You can see from the booth map that Heathcote is not really the hybrid Sutherland shire/Illawarra seat it used to be. More like a shire seat topped up with bits of the northern Illawarra.

    Is Heathcote is still a true marginal seat? Certainly its position on the pendulum suggests it ought to be, and the shire’s southern suburbs are its most marginal. But you can see the difference the addition of Menai and Bangor has made.

  4. Heathcote to Engadine is where this seat will be won or lost. The fascinating analysis will be to see how much these booths hold in terms of positioning, given how the southern area of the shire continues to slowly develop.

  5. Am I the only one who thinks the most recent NSW state redistribution has created some of the most disgusting boundaries we’ve ever seen? The north of this electorate is like a tumour.

  6. Look at the federal boundaries of forde first , then come back here, the AEC should be banned from drawing them and let the supreme court draw them

  7. the shape does not matter but community of interest should be honoured……. all of Menai should be in the one seat….. but is largely split between Holsworthy, here and I think Miranda……… now who ever draws the boundaries looks at just the numbers….. look at the Boundaries of cook…… that seat could be all in Sutherland shire. Banks should start with the east hills state seat and build from there but at one stage half of the Revesby suburbs were in Banks and half in Hughes. At a state Level these boundaries make some seats more competive…… This is why a lot of seats up to 10% on the pendulum are competive … as are some 10 To 16%

  8. There’s some very misinformed commentary on this thread.

    The AEC does not draw state boundaries. The suggestion that the supreme court ought to perform the task is bizarre.

    The boundaries drawn at the last redistribution were overall very good. In regional areas especially the electoral commission did a fine job of aligning district boundaries to LGA boundaries.

    But redistributions are a series of trade-offs. And certainly Sutherland shire appears to have copped the worst of them. The part of the shire lying west of the Woronora river was previously united in the old seat of Menai. Now it’s split three ways. An unfortunate outcome.

    But you can see how this happened when you look more broadly. Two constraints have contributed to this outcome: (1) fixing the Georges River as a hard boundary; and (2) narrowly confining the Illawarra and south coast seats to the coast. Once those constraints are adopted, the options for Sutherland shire become very limited indeed.

    Federally the AEC has done away with both constraints in the way it has drawn Cook and Whitlam. Both decisions attracted plenty of ire. Damned if you, damned if you don’t.

  9. The liberal party have apparently been robocalling this seat with a message recorded by Berejiklian herself, so clearly they must be worried. If they are concerned about a seat like this then we are probably on track to a hung parliament

  10. I don’t think with the recent train troubles that robocalls and visits by the Premier herself will make any difference here, maybe too little, too late as most voters probably made up their own minds and they have only now realise it is not as safe as on paper and this seat has swung quite severely in the past. But I will expect that it will go right down to the wire, possible Liberal retain and I will be paying attention to those booths especially in Menai and the northern part of the electorate.

  11. David Walsh, I disagree with your comments re boundaries drawn by both Federal and State Commissioners for boundaries from the South Coast to The Shire.

    It makes absolute sense on communities of interests grounds to have the Georges River as a hard boundary and also to keep coastal seats to the coast.

    That’s what the State Commissioners decided in 2013. Where they fell down rather spectatcularly was in their handling of the Menai area. All the then Commissioners needed to do was to keep the Royal National Park in one seat by including Grays Point/Kirrawee/Gymea into Heathcote. Instead these areas were rather bizarrely added to the seat of Cronulla. Flowing from that, the Commissioners then drew Miranda as a district with two halves unconnected by road.

    These things are not especially difficult. And no, the Commissioners were not the victims of the tyranny of numbers in the case of the Shire.

  12. re create a Menai seat…. similar to what existed prior to this slice up…. and allow Heathcote to extend further into north wollongong


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