Newtown – NSW 2019

GRN 9.3% vs ALP

Incumbent MP
Jenny Leong, since 2015.

Newtown covers parts of the City of Sydney and Marrickville council, stretching from Surry Hills and Redfern in the east to Lewisham in the west. Newtown covers Camperdown, Chippendale, Darlington, Enmore, Newtown, Redfern, Stanmore and parts of Erskineville, Lewisham, Marrickville, Petersham and Surry Hills.


The seat of Newtown was a new seat created in 2015 primarily out of eastern parts of Marrickville. The seat of Marrickville had been continuously held by Labor since 1910, but had become a Labor-Greens marginal in the last twenty years.

In 1995, the Liberal Party was pushed into third place behind the No Aircraft Noise party in Marrickville, who polled over 23% of the primary vote. The Greens came second after preferences in 1999, and the Liberals never again came in the top two in Marrickville.

When Premier Bob Carr announced his retirement in 2005, Labor MP Andrew Refshauge also announced his retirement.

The ALP ran Carmel Tebbutt, a former Marrickville councillor who had been a Member of the Legislative Council since 1998 and a minister since 1999. The Greens ran Deputy Mayor of Marrickville, Sam Byrne. The ALP’s 10.7% margin was cut to 5.1% in the by-election.

Tebbutt was re-elected in 2007, winning with a 7.5% margin over the Greens, less than in the 2003 election, but more than in the 2005 by-election. Tebbutt served as Labor deputy leader and Deputy Premier from 2008 to 2011.

At the 2011 election, Tebbutt again faced strong opposition from the Greens. Her margin was cut to 0.9%.

The 2015 redistribution created a notional Greens seat. Greens candidate Jenny Leong defeated Labor candidate Penny Sharpe, who had been a member of the Legislative Council since 2005, and returned to the upper house following the election.


Newtown is probably the safest Greens seat in Australia. It is likely that the Greens will retain this seat, regardless of the candidate, although Labor may still be a contender here in the long run.

2015 result

Jenny Leong Greens 20,68945.6+10.1
Penny Sharpe Labor 13,97830.8+0.4
Rachael Wheldall Liberal 8,07417.8-3.2
Michael WalshAnimal Justice9892.2+2.2
Noel McfarlaneCyclists8281.8+1.8
Karl SchubertChristian Democrats4531.0-0.1
Dale DinhamNo Land Tax3860.9+0.9

2015 two-candidate-preferred result

Jenny Leong Greens 22,60559.3+4.8
Penny Sharpe Labor 15,53240.7-4.8

2015 two-party-preferred result

Penny Sharpe Labor 27,52674.4+10.4
Rachael Wheldall Liberal 9,46125.6-10.4

Booth breakdown

Booths in Newtown have been split into three parts:

  • Central – Newtown, Camperdown, Chippendale, Darlington and Erskineville
  • East – Redfern and Surry Hills
  • West – Enmore, Petersham and Stanmore

The Greens won a majority of the two-candidate-preferred vote (against Labor) in all three areas, ranging from 54.2% in the east to 64.7% in the centre.

The Liberal primary vote ranged from 14.5% in the centre to 20.9% in the east.

Voter groupLIB prim %GRN 2CP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes20.058.812,51627.6

Election results in Newtown at the 2015 NSW state election
Toggle between two-candidate-preferred votes (Greens vs Labor) and Liberal primary votes.

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  1. Like Balmain, Newtown could be won by the ALP… Or at least they could make significant inroads into Jenny Leong’s margin. And, if the Libs deemed to help them with a preference, they could even win. The Libs won’t though. They’re quite happy with a non–Labor MP here, and will continue to tactically support Ms Leong by running dead, and with an exhausted vote.

    I doubt she’ll win quite so handsomely this time though. Quite apart from the fallout from the bitter internal Greens factional fight she’s right in the thick of, this is a seat which is undergoing warp-speed gentrification. A lot of the professionals now moving in will use their vote strategically and intelligently, and may well assess that having someone like a Greens with no power and no chance of affecting anything is a moral luxury they can do without.

    You have to remember that the Greens have loudly said they would “stop WestConnex” – a project which now has approval for completion. It could be argued that Newtown (and Greens-run Balmain) are getting this highly unpopular (with the locals – Sydney-wide it’s supported) road project precisely because both areas are represented by the Greens.

    Other electorates like Coogee, Drummoyne and Parramatta are getting metros and light rail – all (relatively) more popular public transport projects. The Greens have delivered to Newtown and Balmain.… well, what, exactly?

    That’s the question educated, affluent voters will be asking. Professional inner city gentrifiers do tend to vote Greens, but faced with the additional congestion caused by the WestConnex exit and entry points (not to mention the exhaust stacks) they won’t always vote with their hearts.

    My tip: Reduced majority for Jenny.

  2. Thats a lot of assumptions Ted 🙂

    My informal feedback is that most locals appear very happy and proud to have Jenny as their local member. She’s certainly been very active in the community and has a higher profile than the the MPs in neighbouring seats (summer hill/heffron).

    I’m not sure if Green MPs get a Sophomore bounce but given that she is no longer up against a high profile Labor MLC (Penny Sharpe) there is a good chance of it here.

  3. One of the strongest Green areas in the whole country, now that they hold it, I can’t see them losing it.


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