Hornsby – NSW 2019

LIB 18.9%

Incumbent MP
Matt Kean, since 2011.

Northern Sydney. Hornsby lies entirely within Hornsby shire, covering Hornsby, Asquith, Berowra, Cowan, Mt Colah, Mt Ku-ring-gai, Westleigh and parts of Dural, Galston, Normanhurst, Thornleigh, Waitara and Pennant Hills.

Hornsby first existed as an electoral district from 1927 to 1991. It was restored in 1999. It has always been held by the Liberal Party and its predecessors.

The first Member for Hornsby, James Shand, represented the seat for the Nationalist Party and then the United Australia Party from 1927 to 1941. He served as a minister from 1935 to 1938, and became an independent shortly before the 1941 election.

In 1941 Shand shifted the neighbouring seat of Ryde, holding it until his death in 1944.

In 1941, Hornsby was won by independent UAP candidate Sydney Storey, defeating the party’s official candidate. Storey joined the newly-formed Liberal Party in 1945, and held the seat until 1962, when he lost Liberal preselection and unsuccessfully ran as an independent.

John Maddison won Hornsby as a Liberal candidate in 1962. He became a minister in 1965, serving in the role until the government lost power in 1976. In 1973, a redistribution created the new seat of Ku-ring-gai, and Maddison moved to the seat. He held it until his retirement in 1980.

Neil Pickard won Hornsby in 1973. He became Minister for Education in early 1976, serving for a few months before the Coalition government lost power. He became a minister in the first term of the Greiner government from 1988 to 1991. In 1991, the seat of Hornsby was abolished at the 1991 redistribution, and Pickard retired.

Much of the former seat of Hornsby was absorbed by Ku-ring-gai, which moved north. Parts were also absorbed by Northcott. In 1991, Ku-ring-gai was held by Premier Nick Greiner, and Northcott was held by state minister Bruce Baird. Greiner retired in 1992, and the Ku-ring-gai by-election was won by Stephen O’Doherty.

Baird became Liberal Party deputy leader in 1992, serving in the role until 1994. He served as a minister until his retirement at the 1995 election. Northcott was won in 1995 by Liberal Party state director Barry O’Farrell.

The redistribution prior to the 1999 state election substantially redraw boundaries in northern Sydney. The seats of Northcott, Gordon, Eastwood, Ermington and Gladesville were all abolished, with the seats of Hornsby, Parramatta, Epping and Ryde created, and Ku-ring-gai moved substantially to the south.

O’Farrell took on the seat of Ku-ring-gai, while O’Doherty moved to the seat of Hornsby. O’Doherty retired in 2002.

The 2002 Hornsby by-election was won by Liberal candidate Judy Hopwood. She won re-election in 2003 and 2007, surviving a challenge to her preselection in 2007.

Hopwood retired in 2011, and the preselection was contested by Matt Kean and Nick Berman, mayor of Hornsby. After losing preselection to Kean, Berman ran for Hornsby as an independent, but Kean retained the seat for the Liberal Party. Kean was re-elected in 2015.


  • Hayden Gray (Keep Sydney Open)
  • Matthew Kean (Liberal)
  • Mick Gallagher (Independent)
  • Emma Eros (One Nation)
  • Joe Nicita (Greens)
  • John Murray (Independent)
  • Justin Thomas (Sustainable Australia)
  • Andrew Isaac (Conservatives)
  • Katie Gompertz (Labor)

Hornsby is a safe Liberal seat.

2015 result

Matt Kean Liberal 29,09758.4+8.1
Steve Ackerman Labor 9,64719.4+8.4
John Storey Greens 6,92513.9+1.4
Mick GallagherIndependent2,3794.8+1.4
Leighton ThewChristian Democrats1,2562.5-0.8
Mary Di CosmoNo Land Tax5421.1+1.1

2015 two-party-preferred result

Matt Kean Liberal 31,22568.9-7.5
Steve Ackerman Labor 14,06531.1+7.5

Booth breakdown

Booths in Hornsby have been split into four parts. The main urban parts of the seat have been split into “Hornsby Central” and “Hornsby North”. Booths further north have been grouped as “Berowra” while those further west were grouped as “West”.

The Liberal Party won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all four areas, ranging from 66.3% in Hornsby Central to 83.5% in the west.

The Greens primary vote ranged from 10.3% in the west to 15.5% in Hornsby Central.

Voter groupGRN prim %LIB 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Hornsby Central15.566.315,65031.4
Hornsby North14.367.29,11518.3
Other votes14.068.79,14718.4

Election results in Hornsby at the 2015 NSW state election
Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and Greens primary votes.

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  1. Whilst always in conservative hands, Hornsby has not always been a safe seat. In 1978, Pickard scraped home by a few hundred votes and whilst not as close in 1981, it was still highly marginal. When re-established for the 1999 election, it had a nominal margin of @13% but a very active LAB candidate caught O’Doherty on the hop and he snuck home by only 2%. LAB ran hard in 2003 (albeit with a poorer candidate) and the margin was held to 3%. However, the redistribution for 2007 which split Hornsby in half and took the seat across Galston Gorge into semi rural Galston & Dural have rendered it an unwinnable seat. Returning to previous boundaries and perhaps excising Westleigh and Thornleigh south of Duffy Ave would leave a Liberal leaning seat albeit one that has the capacity to swing. The central Hornsby booths have been won by LAB (sometimes with some margin) at both state & Fed elections. The booths along the rail corridor north tend to be Lib leaning albeit to varying degrees with some capable of swinging considerably and some capable of being won by LAB in favourable times. The booths south of Hornsby tend to be more conservative and safer for Libs. The current member, Kean, is quicker out of the blocks than Usain Bolt at the slightest sniff of getting his mug in the local press and is liable to attend the opening of an envelope should it have the potential of publicity. I cannot see this seat being actively contested by either LAB or GRN (even though both parties won seats on Hornsby Council in 2017) but the margin in this seat IS grossly inflated and may well see it halved at least.

  2. I can defintely see that there is a certain inflation in the margin but I don’t see it collapsing that much. Kean is a pretty popular local member, although wombat is right in that he would attend the opening of an envelope (I’d upgrade that to a jar of sauce).

  3. In 1978, Neil Pickard was saved by Wahroonga being in the seat – it was bad year for the Libs, they only polled about 75% of the vote in Wahroonga – Ha!!
    I lived in the area at the time and the closeness of the result was quite a shock.
    Even in safe seats, local MPs feel the need to be a lot more visible than they used to be. Living now in a marginal seat – you become very used to seeing the local MP in person a lot. What I have learned is that the when nobody is speaking to the local MP , then they are on the nose.


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