Manly by-election, 2017

Cause of by-election
Mike Baird stepped down as premier of New South Wales in January 2017 and resigned from his seat of Manly shortly afterwards.

Margin LIB 24.5% vs GRN

Northern Sydney. Manly covers the suburbs of Manly, Balgowlah, Seaforth, Queenscliff, Curl Curl and parts of Brookvale. The entire seat is contained in the new Northern Beaches council, but previously covered the entire Manly council area and the southern end of the Warringah council area.

The seat of Manly has existed since the 1927 election. It has been dominated by the Liberal Party for most of that period. The ALP held the seat for six years in the 1970s and 1980s, and independent MPs held Manly from 1991 to 2007.

The seat was first won in 1927 by Alfred Reid of the United Australia Party, he held the seat until 1945, joining the Liberal Party shortly before his death in 1945.

The 1945 Manly by-election was won by Liberal candidate Douglas Darby. He was at the right-wing end of the Liberal Party, and sat as an independent Liberal from 1962 to 1968. He held the seat as a Liberal from 1968 to 1978, when he retired.

The 1978 election was a landslide for the Labor Party, and Manly was won by the ALP’s Alan Stewart. He was re-elected in 1981, but lost in 1984 to Liberal candidate David Hay.

Hay was re-elected in 1988, and became a minister in the Greiner Coalition government.

In 1991, Hay was challenged by independent Manly councillor Peter Macdonald, who won the seat.

Macdonald was re-elected in 1995, and stepped down in 1999. He was succeeded by David Barr, another independent who had been elected to Manly Council on Macdonald’s independent ticket. Macdonald later won election as Mayor of Manly in 2004, serving one term until he was defeated in 2008.

Barr served two terms as the independent Member for Manly. In 2007, he was defeated by Liberal candidate Mike Baird.

The son of former state minister and federal MP Bruce Baird, Baird won a fierce preselection against Michael Darby, son of former Manly MP Douglas Darby.

Baird was promoted to serve as Shadow Treasurer in 2008, and became Treasurer when the Coalition won power in 2011.

When Barry O’Farrell resigned as Premier in April 2014, Baird was elected Liberal leader and Premier.

Mike Baird led the government to a second election victory at the 2015 state election. Baird resigned as premier and from parliament in January 2017.


  • Haris Jackman (Independent)
  • John Cook (Independent)
  • Kerry Bromson (Voluntary Euthanasia)
  • Annie Wright (Christian Democratic Party)
  • Clara Williams Roldan (Greens)
  • James Griffin (Liberal)
  • Brian Clare (Independent)
  • Ron Delezio (Independent)
  • Kathryn Ridge (Independent)
  • Victor Waterson (Independent)
  • W Bush (Independent)
  • Ellie Robertson (Animal Justice)

Manly is a very safe Liberal seat, and is likely to stay that way. The Greens have come second at the last two elections, but they are a very long way away from threatening the Liberal Party. There is a history of independent MPs holding Manly, and a strong independent could be a threat, but it is not clear whether any of the seven independents running in the seat will pose such a threat.

2015 result

Mike Baird Liberal 32,16068.0-2.2
Clara Williams Roldan Greens 8,10317.1-0.7
Jennifer Jary Labor 6,09812.9+2.5
Rod JamiesonNo Land Tax5171.1+1.1
Annie WrightChristian Democratic Party4200.9-0.8

2015 two-candidate-preferred result

Mike Baird Liberal 32,84874.5-2.5
Clara Williams Roldan Greens 11,23325.5+2.5

2015 two-party-preferred result

Mike Baird Liberal 33,42678.4+1.4
Jennifer Jary Labor 9,20921.6-1.4

Booth breakdown

Booths in Manly have been split into three parts: north, south-east and south-west.

The Liberal vote peaked at 72.6% in the south-west, with the vote just below 66% int he other two areas.

The Greens came second in all three areas, with a vote ranging from 15.5% in the south-west to 20% in the south-east.

The Labor vote ranged from 10% in the south-west to 14.6% in the north.

Voter groupALP %GRN %LIB %Total votes% of votes
Other votes12.618.566.810,36521.9

Election results in Manly at the 2015 NSW state election
Click on the ‘visible layers’ box to toggle between primary votes for the Liberal Party, the Greens and Labor.


  1. Probably the best chance the Greens will ever get. They actually won a booth at the 2016 federal election (Manly Central) and the better Warringah booths are all in this state electorate.

    Not sure if the Greens have what it takes to pull off an Orange level swing in either this seat or North Shore, especially since they won’t be able to get support from the likes of Alan Jones and Ray Hadley. Still, nothing would cause a greater shock than the Liberals than losing one of their safest seats to the Greens, and voters just might be able to get behind that.

  2. I don’t think the Greens have any of the same prospects as the Shooters did in Orange. Orange was a right-wing seat and a lot of those right-wing voters switched to another right-wing party in the Shooters. The equivalent in Manly would be someone like the CDP winning.

  3. I suspect we’ll need David Barr to be lured out of retirement for this to be even a chance of a contest. Barbara Aird may run, but she’ll need a shocking Lib preselection (always a chance) to be in with a shot.

    James Matheson perhaps?

  4. Good point Ben.

    Also the big motivating issue in Orange was the Greyhound ban, which the Greens actually support.

    Something like local government mergers may be able to motivate a “vote for everyone and put Liberals last” campaign across party lines (Fred Nile and David Shoebridge just had a joint press conference on the issue). Still, even with a strong candidate it will be hard for many voters to stomach putting Greens above Liberals, and OPV makes it even harder.

  5. The Libs should win here, no independents have popped up, but I suppose there is still time.
    As for the Greens, I doubt they could win, that being said if Labor don’t run which is quite likely they should have a strong result.

  6. The Greens will do well if no Labor candidate runs. If Labor runs then there should be a swing in there favour. I recon it will be a close election if Labor runs. Labor will benefit from any campaigning the Unions, Anti-council merger campaigners & Getup do.

  7. The Greens have already preselected a candidate, in which came second here in the last election and in Warringah in the Federal election. I doubt that would make a huge difference to the result in the end.
    Also the sitting MP for the seat of Gosford has just resigned due to ill health. Labor only holds it by 203 votes and could become quite interesting.

  8. I am surprised no dates have been set yet. I’d have thought the government would want this and North Shore out of the way as quickly as possible, to prevent any Independent getting some momentum going….

  9. Jillian Skinner reportedly has not formally resigned. But nor has she turned up to parliament this week. We know her exit from the ministry was acrimonious but this is really odd behaviour.

  10. It’s hard to know whats going on here and in North Shore especially. When you have three vacancies, two being definite it’s logistically easier for them to be on the same day. That being said if Skinner were to hold out to the state election that would seemingly nullify the threat of an independent winning due to the fact people vote for a government rather than an independent at elections, although that would give an independent time to amass a following and name recognition, quite frankly this is becoming a lose lose situation for the government and is going to hurt them either way.

  11. The Greens are kidding themselves if they think they can win this seat without going through a complete left renewal

  12. Liberal pre-selection was supposed to have happened this weekend, but no news seems to have emerged. Big fight between left and right, apparently- two main front runners- one from each camp.

    Other IND candidates (at least two, one a surfer) are rumored to be lining up to nominate. Labor is a big unknown. Outpolled by the Greens last time, they seem to have lost heart and are focusing on Gosford, where they are in real trouble from an excellent socially-aware Liberal.

    Manly is not really blue ribbon Liberal. It was won by Labor twice, Independents four times and Liberal twice between 1978-2004. Lib Primaries have sometimes been in the low 40s%. Candidates were real duds until Baird came along and, even then, the local branch barely voted for him at pre-selection. He was, rather surprisingly, Peter Debnam’s preferred choice.

    On timing. we at least are told that there will be a forum (not an election forum) “late in March”, run by Baird’s office, at which “all candidates will be invited”. If true, this puts a bit of a time frame on it.

  13. Clara Williams-Roldan is running again for The Greens. She ended up in 2nd place against both Baird and Abbott in the 2CP, and is a very strong candidate, but even with a head start from a slow Liberal preselection it will be hard for her to take it.

    Also worth pointing out that all 3 byelections are in areas subject to council mergers (especially North Shore which is still pending).

    Gosford will almost certainly go to Labor, not just to rebel against both state and federal governments, but Labor can put the entire state’s volunteer resources into that seat. Liberals probably wish it wasn’t a bad look for them not to run a candidate. Maybe they’ll say they aren’t running out of respect to Kathy Smith retiring due to illness (and maybe a few people will believe them too).

  14. In news regarding the Gosford by-election Labor are set to preselect double Paralympic gold medalist Liesl Tesch, former Federal MP and Senator Belinda Neal has thrown a bit of a tantrum due to the fact no rank and file ballot will be held, although it has been found that she has been involved in branch stacking. Lets see who will be the Libs candidate, but at this point in time I can’t see Labor losing this seat.

  15. Belinda Neal as the candidate is really the only thing that could have threatened Labor in Gosford. Governments just don’t win seats from oppositions in by-elections, even when the seats are this marginal. Given the substantial anti-government swings in pretty much every NSW by-election in the last decade, the Liberals will presumably be making sure they don’t suffer any nasty surprises in Manly or North Shore.

  16. The Northern Beaches council finally terminated the Development Deed for the construction of the Oval
    Car Park just over a month ago; however the repercussions will continue to reverberate for quite a while
    yet. It is now beginning to become clear that the cancellation costs will go well over a million dollars and
    the court case is still pending. The damage this has undoubtedly caused the Liberal brand is immense
    which means that the coming by-election in Manly is by no means assured for any of the Liberal candidates
    that are standing. It would be even harder to win if the Liberal representative is James Griffin as he was
    the Deputy Mayor at the time of the Manly Oval decision and he stood solidly within the Liberal bloc
    that voted in favour of the Oval carpark. It would be interested to get your feedback on this with reference to the by-election.

  17. Ben, Manly has a history over the past 40 years or so. It was a Labor Seat during part of the Wran period and until Mike Baird’s Election to Parliament was an Independent seat.

    Much will depend here on the strength of the Independent candidates and one needs to account for the abnormally high Liberal vote.

  18. I’m aware of that history, which is why I said there is a history of strong independents in the area, and that a strong independent could be a threat. Is there a strong independent? I haven’t heard of one yet.

    As for Labor, I don’t think Labor holding the seat in two landslides a decade before I was born has much relevance. I think if a very strong independent doesn’t emerge the seat will stay with the Libs.

  19. Is there a source for the info that it will be on April 8? That isn’t on the electoral commission’s website.

  20. KP, the electorate is far bigger than Manly central. There is no widespread issue with Council amalgamations and many people thought the Parking idea was a good one! It’s a shame it’s not going ahead. Not an election defining issue – sorry!

  21. Sorry, not an issue for many people outside the Manly CBD. Plenty of people I know supported it. Parking in manly is a shocker!

  22. Can confirm Clr James Griffin has been pre-selected for the Liberal Party. Comfortably beat out Walter Villatora.

  23. We need an independent back in Manly. Griffin is a LNP toady wanting to climb on board the gravy train without accountability. He was FOR the massive blowout on the pool, and FOR the oval car park fiasco. We do not need any more stooges.


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