Bega by-election, 2022

Cause of by-election
Sitting Liberal MP Andrew Constance announced his resignation to contest the federal seat of Gilmore following the resignation of NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian in October 2021.

MarginLIB 6.9%

South-eastern NSW. Bega covers all of Eurobodalla and Bega Valley shires. The seat covers the towns of Bega, Eden, Batemans Bay and Moruya.

Bega in its current form has existed since 1988. It has always been held by the Liberal Party. A seat of the same name also existed from 1894 to 1920.

The seat was won in 1988 by the Liberal Party’s Russell Smith. He held the seat until his retirement in 2003.

Andrew Constance held Bega for the Liberal Party from 2003 until his retirement in 2021. Constance had served as a minister since 2011, and as Minister for Transport since the 2015 election.


  • Jeffrey Hawkins (Independent)
  • Karin Geiselhart (Sustainable Australia)
  • Ursula Bennett (Independent)
  • Michael Holland (Labor)
  • Peter Haggar (Greens)
  • Victor Hazir (Shooters, Fishers and Farmers)
  • Fiona Kotvojs (Liberal)

Constance held Bega with a 6.9% margin in 2019. That margin could certainly be overturned at a by-election. It’s worth noting that Labor won most of the booths in the overlapping parts of Gilmore and Eden-Monaro at the last federal election, which shows potential for growth for state Labor here.

2019 result

Andrew ConstanceLiberal24,79648.9-4.3
Leanne AtkinsonLabor15,50830.6-2.2
William DouglasGreens4,9459.8-0.3
Eric ThomasShooters, Fishers and Farmers3,2756.5+6.5
Coral AndersonAnimal Justice1,3712.7+2.7
Joshua ShoobridgeConservatives8061.6+1.6

2019 two-party-preferred result

Andrew ConstanceLiberal26,21056.9-1.3
Leanne AtkinsonLabor19,83043.1+1.3

Booth breakdown

Booths in Bega have been split into four parts. Each local government area in the electorate was split into north and south halves. The town of Bega is contained in Bega Valley North, and Batemans Bay is contained in Eurobodalla North.

The Liberal Party won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all four areas, ranging from just 50.5% in Bega Valley North to 59.5% in Bega Valley South.

The Greens came third, with a primary vote ranging from 8.8% in northern Eurobodalla to 14.2% in northern Bega Valley.

Voter groupGRN prim %LIB 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Eurobodalla North8.857.58,62817.0
Bega Valley South9.259.57,26814.3
Bega Valley North14.250.56,65413.1
Eurobodalla South11.255.33,2266.4
Other votes12.157.45,84911.5

Election results in Bega at the 2019 NSW state election
Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and primary votes for the Liberal Party, Labor and the Greens.

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  1. Labor gain likely if Perrottet is premier, He is too conservative and is a member of the religious right of the liberal party, This will prove toxic and they will lose this. They may hold onto Monaro as that has a more conservative nature but the departure of 2 high profile ministers and the way Glady’s premiership ended and the unpopularity of Morrison will cost them government at both state and federal. and these seats.

    Anyone who seriously thinks the Liberal party has any chance of victory under Perrotet doesn’t know anything about NSW politics.

  2. As an open seat, this will be competitive and it could be a Labor gain if the party chooses a strong enough candidate.

    I hadn’t heard much about Perrottet before but based on new media reports if he is from the right faction (especially in one speech to parliament endorsing/supporting Trump) he will be a drag on the state Liberal Party. Suprisingly he is the state member for Epping, which is the district I originally lived in prior to moving into Brisbane this year and where my family still lives in.

  3. I think Constance has a large personal vote, and this is the only one of the three Labor have a chance in.

  4. @Ryan Spencer?

    What about Monaro? Was a 2% margin pre-2019. I would think the 9% swing was mostly attributable to a personal vote for Barilaro.

  5. Daniel seriously. No-one is listening to you anymore.

    This will come down to whoever the Liberal Party decides to endorse. Constance was immensely popular in the seat and, if Constance gives a solid enough endorsement of the candidate, this might be enough to hang on.

    Expect SFF to mount a serious challenge for the seat.

  6. Sorry Hawkeye but you’re biased if you think the Liberal party will win under Perrottet.

    Name the last occasion a NSW liberal leader from the right faction won a NSW election, as far as I’m aware it was Askin but the political climate was much different in the 1970s than it was today

    It might be close in 2023 as 1976 and 1995 which were both years the coalition lost government in NSW it was close, however going through 4 premiers, the same as what the last Labor government went through, voters are sick and tired of NSW changing premiers every term of parliament.

    I’ll remind you Nick Greiner was the last Liberal leader to fight more than 1 consecutive election in NSW

    If you alienate moderates you don’t win elections, they are always won from the centre ground. Sure my predictions have been wrong before as has many people’s on this board before however NSW has never had a religious right premier, and we all know how “popular” people like Tony Abbott and Donald Trump became didn’t we.

    Local candidates do not matter as much as they used to, voters have become increasingly partisan these days and will vote for which party they want in government. There obviously is some personal vote that Constance enjoyed but it won’t be 7%, but regardless I am tipping a Labor gain because of the factors I mentioned before.

    Unless you can convince me that Perrottet can win over swing voters, I still stand by a Labor victory in 2023

    And if endorsements were that much of a factor then why have other seats flipped at by-elections then, some of the seats has high profile ministers who went onto endorsing their hand-picked successor.

  7. Daniel, it is such folly to assume that Perrottett has no chance just because he is conservative. By the way, Abbott won the TPP twice in NSW so I reject your idea that he was widely unpopular. That said, if we accept the (possibly suspect) midterm polling, Abbott’s dislike would much more likely be attributed to swinging cuts rather than his religious conservatism.

    How does this relate to Perrottet? Well, state elections are not so much about ideology, but SERVICE DELIVERY, crime, local issues and so on. His religious beliefs will probably feature very little although if you and others in the media continue to bang on about it, you may provoke a hostile backlash in the religious communities around Western Sydney.

    On Bega, I note that Labor has never won the seat in its current configuration. I think there will be some anger at Constance’s sudden departure, though 7% is not that easy to overcome.

  8. Would have to agree with some of the comments Wreathy made, that state elections are more focussed on service delivery and hence why parties suffer large swings when the public observes them not performing this role (best examples being NSW 2011 and also Queensland 2015 against Campbell Newman).

    It is best to wait at least another year, until end of 2022 to see how well Perrottet is continuing with ongoing infrastructure and other plans for NSW.

  9. one point as well optional preferential means usually benefita the main party that polls the higher primary vote in any given seat… who is the premier is effected by….. do they seem competent…… includes mistakes in administration unfair policy decisions…. eg mistreating those in lgas of concern, does the other side seem capable to do the job…. natural erosion of support after 10 years……..of the byelections in both bega and Monaro sitting mps have personal votes which will be lost to their parties……..also demographic changes especially in Bega

  10. Daniel – Your predictions aren’t wrong some of the time. They are wrong at least 90% of the time. You make ridiculously sweeping generalisations with no specific localised data to back it up. No-one pays attention to your opinion as well because you don’t back them up properly.

    This issue isn’t what my opinion is. The issue is that you still think that you are relevant here.

    You have just been schooled by 3 people prior to me posting here. I don’t need to add anything more.

  11. Based on what exactly Jess? For all you know, he may just have pulled a master-stroke. It is too early to make that call yet.

  12. It is far too early to make any judgement call as to whether the NSW re-opening is a good or bad thing. Wait a few weeks to see the impact in terms of new cases and their severity. Countries around the world are all re-opening after lockdowns and all states will soon have to follow in NSW’s lead.

  13. I am waiting for my new home state of Queensland to allow all interstate travel by Christmas so I can fly back to Sydney and visit family who I have not seen for several months.

  14. Don’t understand the hate Daniel gets. His posts are fine. I don’t agree that Perrotet’s factional allegiances are putting this seat at serious risk, at least not yet, but I also don’t agree that Berejiklian’s popularity has anything to do with ‘service delivery’, or rather, that the idea that she exemplifies that in any way isn’t just a function of an utterly servile press gallery and a lack of an effective opposition counter-narrative. Daniel isn’t really spitting much more in the wind than anyone else and he manages to mostly express his opinions respectfully, so he deserves at least that much in return.

  15. As unprecedented as it may sound what if Kristy Mcbain resigned her federal seat and ran here? she is popular in the Bega shire so she could win this seat. It won’t happen but it never hurts to explore the ”what if”?

  16. Constance says he’s resigning on Nov 26 which therefore means the by-election will be after Christmas. Also during bushfire season so hopefully nothing flares up.

  17. Longer term Labor should target this. Labor at a federal level does well in this area so they have the demographics to support this. This is especially important as seats like Drummoyne, Bathurst and Riverstone are increasingly out of reach and the demographic shifts in East Hills and Oatley are trending away from Labor along the Georges River (all seats they held until 2011).

  18. Fiona Kotvojs couldn’t win Eden Monaro even when Mike Kelly retired and the coalition was ahead in the national opinion polls. Could she blow this? It will be really tight. Interestingly McBain is from this seat and Fiona Kotvojs is contesting a Bega based seat. (She probably wouldn’t have contested Monaro due to it being a Nationals and not Liberal seat)

    I’m not saying she can’t win but this will be really close. I would put my money on Labor due to the loss of Constance’s personal vote. And I believe Fiona Kotvojs would have lost Bega based on the EM by-election result. I know state and federal aren’t exactly the same. But Labor will throw everything at this and because the premier has failed NSW in terms of leadership (How many cases does NSW have now?) Putting businesses first rather than the people of NSW. Bring me back Gladys would you.

    Monaro may be more anti-lockdown than this seat, Lockdowns are popular whether people like them or not. the restrictions are popular. Just look at the last QLD state election. I do not believe the NSW poll saying nothing has moved since Gladys resigned.

    In future elections Bega should go with government. Labor are much more likely to win this than seats like Riverstone and Ryde and Drummoyne which evidently have moved away from Labor.

    This is the seat I will be watching closely on the next Super-Saturday or whenether it is held

  19. Daniel, I would argue the political mood and feeling in NSW is TOTALLY DIFFERENT to that in Queensland. My family, particularly my parents who live in Sydney are feeling frustrated with ongoing focus on case numbers and actually support relaxed/eased restrictions.

    Lockdowns and restrictions play well in Queensland where voters are more conservative and law abiding. They do not work as well in NSW where most locals have a more ‘free spirited’ attitude and are more critical of excessive control in their lives.

  20. Also it depends on who Labor nominate for this seat. Kristy McBain was quite high profile and was able to narrowly retain a marginal seat. A lower profile candidate may not be able to poll well, even in a more favourable political environment

  21. I Just want anyone else to win but Morrison He is a traitor self indulgent hypocrite I voted 60 years for the liberals never again .The independents will get nmy vote so will millions of others who see Morrison as the worst prime minister in Australias History.

  22. Kay M Treble
    I agree that Morrison has achieved what no other PM has ever attained ;
    He has managed to diminish the OFFICE of Prime Minister ! HOWEVER;
    He is (sic) “Surpassed” by
    & Fraser.
    By most other measures these PM’S were spectacular failures.
    Don’t worry the fact that he isn’t the best, let alone that he is on balance an ordinary , mediocre, unremarkable, average etc performer will haunt him plenty enough .

  23. Will be tight, Holland is a very good candidate and just like Minns has been targeting talkback radio like 2GB.
    Libs retaining Willoughby and Monaro but possibility of Labor flipping Bega and Liberals flipping Strathfield.
    Constance will be campaigning heavily in this by-election to ensure he has a proper base for Gilmore.
    If Libs lose Bega, this will greatly damage their chances federally. Kotvojs also has a very good resume though, probably better than Constance (who is nothing but a career politician).

  24. With all due respect to the previous post, but if Labor are flipping Bega why on earth would they be losing Strathfield. That’s just a nonsensical statement.

  25. So candidates so far: Liberal, Labor, Green with Shooters and Sustainable intending to run candidates. AJP ran last time so they might go again here. If we allocate CON votes to LIB from last time, their vote starts above 50%. Going to need some big loss of personal vote from Constance to give Labor a chance here, with the Liberal vote already high at 48.9%. I have this down as Liberal Retain with a very outside chance of Labor upset.

  26. Ballot Draw ordered announced:

    7 Candidates in total with order being IND, SUS, IND, ALP, GRN, SFF, and LIB. I was unaware of the two INDs but 7 is a good field, showing a real interest and chance in Bega. Hat tip to Antony Green pointing out that one of the INDs (Ursula Bennett) ran for the CDP in this seat at ’03 ’11 ’15 State Elections and ’04 ’10 ’16 Federal Elections in Eden-Monaro. For Bega results she got 1.4, 1.6, 1.5% respectively and for Eden-Monaro 1.39, 0.75, 1.87% respectively.

    Looking at votes from last time to now, it really is a Lib vs Lab contest and ALP really needs a swing from Libs to them as don’t see much support from the others where the votes will be low. GRN and SFF, if they don’t exhaust, preferences could be crucial just like in Eden-Monaro By-Election.

    To get a rough baseline I have IND (Ursula) at 1.5%, IND (Hawkins) 1%, SUS 2.5%, SFF 7%, GRN 10%, 32% ALP, 46% LIB. Pure postulation but gives a rough idea of the task Labor has to get this seat.

    I used CON vote for Ursula and her average. SUS got 3% in Kiama but 7% in Albury 2019, being the closest seats it previously contested, never contesting Bega nor Monaro before, but their state vote tends to be 1-3% for each seat. I’ve put GRN and SFF on same level of support, ALP with a slight increase and LIB slight decrease to loss of personal vote. And IND (Hawkins) just gave one for low profile so far. Bring on election night!

  27. ** from above, I jumped the gun slightly and don’t think SFF will get that high a vote… just saw that their candidate according to their form is from Balgowlah Heights! Should have run in Willoughby instead, much closer! The rest of the candidates live in the area.

  28. There’s often wealthy farmers who are registered to rich metro suburbs (see Dalkeith, Claremont & East Perth in WA) because they have a home in the city as well. Hence why there were National Party corflutes in East Perth last state election.

  29. @Ryan fair point, didn’t think of that. Almost reminds me of a certain former Monaro MP and their affinity for Rushcutters Bay. NP corflutes in East Perth? Now that’s something I didn’t see coming!

  30. The National Party HQ isn’t in a large regional city where they do well, like Geraldton or Esperance; it’s in Claremont. There are some booths at fed level (Senate) where the Nats get 2-3% of the vote (Swanbourne etc.)

  31. Will we miss Mr Constance aka ‘The Gingerbread Man’ handing out the $$$ here and there and everywhere before every election??? At least now we won’t have a dual lane freeway to to the VIC border for a few more years. Princess Fiona??? Tried Eden Monaro (Federal) three times without success. Need I say more???

  32. Ryan Spencer, I heard a funny anecdote some years ago, I think it was in the lead up to the 2008 state election. Some young Liberals door knocking in the swish western suburbs of Perth and who should open the door of one residence? None other than Brendon Grylls, a few weeks away from taking the position of influence in the Liberal/National Alliance Govt on the back of the RfR policy platform.

  33. Will be interesting to see the effect of Ms Kotvojs’ candidacy has on the Liberal vote, as Andrew Constance would have had some personal vote and the unpopularity of the Federal government may punish Ms Kotvojs as most electors in Bega will know her as a failed Federal candidate for E-M.

    Interesting now the state Libs’ are now distancing themselves from the Federal government, even moreso with the leaking of Gladys’ test messages confirms their relationship has been rocky. The NSW branch of the Liberals is also now the most dysfunctional in the country (next to WA, VIC and SA) right on the eve of fighting 3 by-elections and a federal election round the corner with many seats without a candidate.

    Will be interesting to see how Constance can campaign as a federal candidate in Gilmore while also distancing himself from the Prime Minister!

  34. @Echt – I think Constance in Gilmore will hold his own. His personal vote was very strong in the area and he has been thoroughly consistent with his views on Morrison. If anything, I can see it working in his favour.

    I’m not so much worried about Bega with the comparison to E-M. The Bega Half of E-M had always been a stronger area for the Coalition. The challenge is that they have never been (over the last few years) been able to do enough to counter-balance the strength of the Labor Vote within Queanbeyan. You will see Yass reach similar status. I’d be calling a Liberal Retain at this stage, with a reduced margin, owing to the Personal Vote of Constance and the impact of OPV. If she keeps her Primary Vote above 21,000, she should be ok.

  35. How did that workout Hawkeye? Clearly a candidate issue here because on the current count as of 20:19PM it isn’t even close. 56-44 to the ALP.

  36. This seat has been won by Labor for the first time since it is inception in 1988. Does anyone know if this part of the Far South Coast of NSW was ever held by State labor is previous seats for example during the Wran area.

  37. This seat has been won by Labor for the first time since it is inception in 1988. Does anyone know if this part of the Far South Coast of NSW was ever held by State labor is previous seats for example during the Wran era

  38. Before the LA was expanded to 109 seats before the 1988 election, Monaro included the Far South Coast. Not sure how far up the coast the boundary with South Coast was. Monaro was Labor until 1965 and after 1976. Not sure but Eden may have been a Labor voting town and Bega a conservative town. For quite a while Merimbula voted quite heavily Liberal.

  39. I think Daniel you are treated unfairly by Hawkeye – I believe your prediction of a Liberal majority for Sutherland Shire council at last year’s election was also correct.

  40. Very little of Bega overlaps Gilmore.. constance needs to convince those in Kiama and South Coast …Nowra which is an area where he is not well known

  41. Redistributed, thanks for the clarification. It maybe the case that this seat will attract more attention going forward like Eden Monaro does federally especially as i pointed out in an earlier post that some seats the Labor previously held like Bathurst and Drummoyne are increasingly out of reach for Labor. Antony Green pointed out even before last night that Bega would have been Labor held based on the results of the last Federal election.

  42. The swing that was in the northern part of the seat around Moruya and Batemans Bay (i.e. overlapping the seat of Gilmore) was stronger than in the south around Bega and Merimbula. Of course, this was Michael Holland’s (and Constance’s) home turf but this makes it all the more harder for Andrew Constance to try and win back Gilmore from Labor in a declining Morrison government and as Ed Husic had said, his popularity has waned since the bushfires and voters will question the need for him to try and jump from state to federal politics.

    Kristy McBain won because of the swing to her in the Bega Valley around her homebase of Merimbula. Local representation matters in seats like Bega, Monaro or Eden-Monaro.


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