South Coast – NSW 2019

LIB 9.6%

Incumbent MP
Shelley Hancock, since 2003.

South coast of NSW. The seat contains most of Shoalhaven council area, specifically those areas on the south side of the Shoalhaven river. The seat covers Nowra, Milton, Ulladulla, Sussex Inlet and Jervis Bay.

South Coast has existed as a seat since 1927. For most of that time the seat has been held by conservative parties, although it has been held by independents on a number of occasions. It was won by the ALP once only, at the 1999 election.

Henry Bate held the seat from 1927 to 1941, first as a Nationalist and then for the United Australia Party.

In 1941, Bate was defeated by independent candidate Rupert Beale. He died in office in 1942, and was succeeded by his son Jack Beale. The younger Beale was first elected as an independent, but became a member of the Liberal Party in 1948.

Beale became a minister in the Coalition state government in 1965, serving until his retirement in 1973.

He was succeeded in 1973 by John Hatton, the independent Shoalhaven shire president. He was re-elected following 1973 by very safe margins, and was once elected unopposed. He held his seat until the 1995 election. He was a renowned campaigner against corruption, and following the 1991 election he shared the balance of power. In this role he helped establish the Independent Commission Against Corruption, bring down Nick Greiner as Premier, and then establish the Wood Royal Commission into police corruption.

Hatton retired at the 1995 election. He announced in 2010 that he would head an independent team running for the Legislative Council.

The Liberal Party’s Eric Ellis won South Coast in 1995. He held it for one term, losing it in 1999 to ALP candidate Wayne Smith.

In 2003, Smith lost to the Liberal candidate, former Shoalhaven councillor Shelley Hancock. She was re-elected in 2007, 2011 and 2015.


South Coast is a reasonably safe Liberal seat.

2015 result

Shelley Hancock Liberal 24,04052.5-7.5
Fiona Phillips Labor 13,91530.4+7.8
Amanda Findley Greens 5,92712.9-0.1
Matt RoseChristian Democrats1,2082.6-1.8
Licio MalliaNo Land Tax7061.5+1.5

2015 two-party-preferred result

Shelley Hancock Liberal 25,13659.6-10.5
Fiona Phillips Labor 17,02640.4+10.5

Booth breakdown

Booths in South Coast have been split into three parts:

  • Central – Currarong, Sussex Inlet, Vincentia and other areas around the Jervis Bay area.
  • North – Nowra and Culburra Beach.
  • South – Milton and Ulladulla.

The Liberal Party won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all three areas, ranging from 56.4% in the centre to 59.7% in the south.

The Greens primary vote ranged from 11.2% in the north to 20.2% in the south.

Voter groupGRN prim %LIB 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes14.561.37,39816.2

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

Become a Patron!


  1. if nsw labor wins the election despite liberals win south coast i’ll be sad to see shelley hancock replaced as nsw parliament speaker by a labor mp.

  2. Why are Greens so reluctant to run incumbent mayors and other local government high performers as candidates? Amanda Findley would have a decent chance (although with the caveat of Shoalhaven being split across 2 electorates).

    The one time I can recall them actually doing that was Samantha Ratnam in Wills 2016, and she got an incredibly high vote (for the Greens) in both that federal election and the council election later that year.

  3. I don’t think the Greens are reluctant to preselect those kind of candidates, I think there aren’t that many who want to run every 2 years on repeat potentially forever (to go for state and then run to hold their council seat again).

    You don’t get paid for campaigning, or at least the Greens don’t share the public electoral funding the campaign might earn with candidates, it just goes straight into the next campaign.

  4. Over the last decade the Greens have run at least as many local councillors as candidates as any other party has, maybe more. The 4 Greens MPs elected in the 2011 election were all sitting councillors, as was their unsuccessful candidate in their other main target seat.

  5. I think that does go to my point though, a councillor stepping up to run for a very winnable seat is much more enticing than putting their name down to do the hard yards in a seat where the 3PP was 54.9% LIB 31.6% ALP 13.6% GRN again and again and again. Perfectly understandable why Amanda Findley might want an election off.

    I would also note that Kim Stephenson was a candidate in the 2016 Shoalhaven council election, although too far down the ticket to have a chance.

  6. In theory regular liberal seat but strengthening non liberal vote and all the disharmony in Gilmore cannot help


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here