Wollongong by-election, 2016

Cause of by-election
Sitting Labor MP Noreen Hay resigned from the state parliament in August 2016.

MarginALP 8.9% vs IND

Geography
Wollongong covers the Wollongong city centre, as well as surrounding suburbs including Berkeley, Lake Heights, Port Kembla and Unanderra.

History
The current electoral district of Wollongong has existed since 1968. Previous districts with the name of Wollongong existed from 1904 to 1920 and from 1927 to 1930. The current district has been dominated by the ALP, who have won the seat at all but three elections.

Wollongong was created in 1968 when the seat of Wollongong-Kembla was split between Wollongong and Kembla. Wollongong-Kembla had been held by the ALP continuously from its creation in 1941 until 1965, when it was won by the Liberal Party’s Jack Hough. Hough won the renamed seat of Wollongong in 1968, but lost in 1971.

Eric Ramsay won Wollongong in 1971. He held the seat safely throughout the 1970s, narrowly defeating independent Wollongong mayor Frank Arkell.

In 1984, Ramsay retired, and Arkell won the seat. He was re-elected in 1988, but lost the seat with a swing to the ALP in 1991. Arkell was murdered in 1998.

Wollongong was won in 1991 by the ALP’s Gerry Sullivan. He held the seat until 1999, when the ALP gave preselection in Wollongong to Col Markham, who had held the neighbouring seat of Keira since 1988.

Markham was defeated for Labor preselection in 2003 by Noreen Hay. She served as a parliamentary secretary from 2007 to 2008.

At the 2011 election, independent candidate Gordon Bradbery challenged Hay, and came within 700 votes of winning. Bradbery was elected Lord Mayor of Wollongong in 2012.

Hay was challenged in 2015 by another independent, Arthur Rorris, who was leader of the Illawarra trade union council. Rorris didn’t do quite as well as Bradbery. Rorris was narrowly outpolled by the Liberal Party’s Cameron Walters, although Rorris overtook Walters on preferences and finished up on 41.1% after preferences.

Candidates

  • Paul Scully (Labor)
  • Colleen Baxter (Christian Democratic Party)
  • Gordon Bradbery (Independent)
  • Giuseppe Rossi (Shooters, Fishers and Farmers)
  • Cath Blakey (Greens)

Assessment
Gordon Bradbery came very close to winning this seat in 2011, before winning election as lord mayor of the City of Wollongong (covering a larger area) – he will have a real shot at winning the seat off Labor.

2015 result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Noreen Hay Labor 20,07140.4+3.6
Cameron Walters Liberal 10,46521.0-0.1
Arthur RorrisIndependent10,16220.4+20.4
Mitchell Bresser Greens 4,7479.5-0.2
Noreen ColonelliNo Land Tax2,1974.4+4.4
Clarrie PrattChristian Democratic Party1,4632.9+0.4
Phil LatzCyclist Party6131.2+1.2
Informal2,1234.1

2015 two-party-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Noreen Hay Labor 22,29358.9
Arthur RorrisIndependent15,55641.1

Booth breakdown

Booths in Wollongong have been split into three parts: north, south and west.

The Labor primary vote ranged from almost 53% in the south to 33.3% in the north. After preferences, Labor’s margin over independent Arthur Rorris ranged from 51.7% in the north to 70% in the south.

Independent Arthur Rorris’ primary vote ranged from 16% in the south to 23% in the north. The Liberal vote ranged from 14% in the south to 22% in the north.

Voter groupLIB %IND %ALP %ALP 2CP %Total votes% of votes
North22.323.233.351.713,58527.3
West19.121.843.359.312,10124.3
South14.016.452.770.28,91017.9
Other votes25.719.237.258.015,12230.4

Election results in Wollongong at the 2015 NSW state election
Click on the ‘visible layers’ box to toggle between two-candidate-preferred votes and Liberal primary votes.

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