Shellharbour – NSW 2019

ALP 17.0%

Incumbent MP
Anna Watson, since 2011.

Illawarra. Shellharbour includes parts of the City of Shellharbour and the City of Wollongong. It includes the Shellharbour CBD as well as Flinders, Blackbutt, Oak Flats, Mount Warrigal, Shell Cove, Warilla and Dapto.

The electoral district of Shellharbour was created prior to the 2007 election. The redistribution had abolished the seat of Illawarra, which included a large part of the current seat of Shellharbour. Both the former Illawarra and the current Shellharbour have always elected ALP candidates.

The electoral district of Illawarra had existed in various forms since 1859. It was restored in 1927, when it was won by the ALP’s Andrew Lysaght Jr. He had previously won one of the seats in Wollondilly in 1925. He moved to the new seat of Bulli and became Attorney-General in the Lang government. Clashes with his rivals saw him resign from the ministry in 1931, and he died in office in 1933.

He was replaced in Illawarra in 1930 by Billy Davies, who had held other Illawarra-based seats since 1917. He served in both Lang governments in 1927 and 1930-32. In 1941 he moved to the new seat of Wollongong-Kembla, and in 1949 moved to the federal seat of Cunningham. He held that seat until his death in 1956.

The ALP’s Howard Fowles won Illawarra in 1941, and held it until his retirement in 1968. Illawarra was abolished in 1968, when the neighbouring seat of Wollongong-Kembla was split into two districts, named Wollongong and Kembla.

Kembla was won in 1968 by George Petersen, but in 1971 the seat was renamed Illawarra, and Petersen retained that seat. Petersen was expelled from the ALP in 1987, and ran in 1988 for his own Illawarra Workers Party.

Petersen was defeated by the ALP candidate Terry Rumble. He was re-elected in 1991 and 1995, and retired in 1999.

Marianne Saliba won Illawarra in 1999. She held it until 2007, when she retired and Illawarra was replaced by Shellharbour. Shellharbour was won by Lylea McMahon.

McMahon stepped down in 2011, and Labor candidate Anna Watson won the seat. Watson was re-elected in 2015.


Shellharbour is a very safe Labor seat.

2015 result

Anna Watson Labor 26,89752.7+7.2
Mark Jones Liberal 13,12525.7-6.0
Peter Moran Greens 4,7519.3-5.2
Wayne QuinnIndependent2,2664.4+4.4
Romeo CeccheleIndependent1,5963.1+3.1
John KadwellChristian Democrats1,4892.9-3.4
Hugo MorvilloNo Land Tax8751.7+1.7

2015 two-party-preferred result

Anna Watson Labor 29,67867.0+9.2
Mark Jones Liberal 14,64033.0-9.2

Booth breakdown

Booths in Shellharbour have been split between three main suburbs. The seat is split down the middle by Lake Illawarra, which also acts as the local government boundary. All those booths on the north side of this boundary have been grouped as “Dapto”. Those on the south side of the lake have been split between Warilla in the north and Shellharbour in the south.

Labor won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all three areas, ranging from 63.3% in Shellharbour to 74.1% in Warilla.

Voter groupALP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes65.86,67513.1

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

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