Strathfield by-election, 2022

Cause of by-election
Sitting Labor MP Jodi McKay announced her retirement from parliament in October 2021, following her loss of the Labor leadership in May 2021.

MarginALP 5.0%

Geography
Inner West Sydney. Strathfield covers parts of Ashfield, Burwood, Canada Bay, Canterbury and Strathfield local government areas, specifically the suburbs of Croydon, Burwood, Enfield, Homebush and Strathfield.

History
The electoral district of Strathfield has existed since 1988. The seat was held until 1999 by the Liberal Party, and by Labor from 1999 to 2011, when the Liberal Party won it back.

It was first won in 1988 by Paul Zammit. He had won the seat of Burwood in 1984, holding it for one term before it was abolished. Burwood had been held by conservative candidates for close to a century before the ALP won it in 1978.

Zammit served as a junior minister in the Coalition state government from 1991 to 1995. In 1996, he resigned from Strathfield and won the federal seat of Lowe. He only held it for one term, as he resigned from the Liberal Party in 1998 in protest over aircraft noise. He ran as an independent in Lowe at the 1998 federal election, losing to the ALP’s John Murphy.

The 1996 Strathfield by-election was won by the Liberal Party’s Bruce McCarthy.

Prior to the 1999 election, Strathfield was redrawn to take in parts of the abolished Labor seat of Ashfield, cutting back McCarthy’s margin.

At the 1999 election, McCarthy lost to the ALP’s Paul Whelan, the sitting Member for Ashfield. Whelan had held Ashfield since the 1976 election. He had served as a minister in the Wran Labor government from 1981 to 1984. He served as Minister for Police from 1995 to 2001, and as Leader of the House until 2003, when he retired.

Whelan was succeeded by Strathfield mayor Virginia Judge in 2003. She was re-elected in 2007, and served as a minister in the Labor government from 2008 to 2011.

In 2011, Judge lost to Liberal candidate Charles Casuscelli.

Casuscelli held Strathfield for one term, losing in 2015 to Labor candidate Jodi McKay. McKay had previously represented Newcastle from 2007 until 2011, and had served as a minister from 2008 until 2011. She went straight back to the frontbench after returning to parliament in 2015, and was elected Labor leader after the 2019 election. McKay resigned the Labor leadership in May 2021 and stepped down from Strathfield in October 2021.

Candidates

  • Ellie Robertson (Sustainable Australia)
  • Jason Yat-Sen Li (Labor)
  • Elizabeth Farrelly (Independent)
  • Rohan Laxmanalal (Animal Justice)
  • Courtney Buckley (Greens)
  • Bridget Sakr (Liberal)

Assessment
Strathfield is a reasonably marginal seat, but it seems unlikely the Liberal Party could win this by-election.

2019 result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Jodi McKayLabor20,47544.3+2.0
Philip MadirazzaLiberal17,97238.9-3.8
Crisetta MacleodGreens4,0618.80.0
Vinay OrekondyKeep Sydney Open1,4433.1+3.1
Jack LiangConservatives1,2372.7+2.7
Simon FletcherAnimal Justice1,0292.2+2.2
InformalInformal1,4373.0

2019 two-party-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Jodi McKayLabor23,51955.0+3.2
Philip MadirazzaLiberal19,24545.0-3.2

Booth breakdown

Booths in Strathfield have been split into three parts: east, south and west.

Labor won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all three areas, ranging from 52.5% in the west to 56.9% in the east.

Voter groupGRN primALP 2PPTotal votes% of votes
West7.152.511,16724.2
South7.654.29,28420.1
East10.356.98,71818.9
Pre-poll6.057.06,49114.0
Other votes12.155.610,55722.8

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

Become a Patron!

114 COMMENTS

  1. The media for some reason is Showing Bias to Bridget Sakr. I don’t why they’re doing it but I know one thing, They need to stop.

  2. @WestSydPol it was the 2 year anniversary of her daughter’s tragic death at the hands of a drugged driver. She launched a national i4Give Day for victim’s families to assist with the healing/grieving process.
    Perhaps that’s why the media is covering her.
    She also gave a rather dignified response to the theft of her posters, and didn’t assign blame to anyone.
    In my opinion Jason is the one who has had the dream run- various interviews on ABC and ABS, a Fin Review and Daily Telegraph write-up. And a seemingly bottomless pit of mail outs (received 3 already).
    Plus Burwood has been swamped by red shirts and nearly half of the Labor State and Federal caucus. He was in nearly every photo with Burwood Mayor John Faker at the Citizenship Ceremony on Australia Day, and has been interviewed by Local Media for Chinese New Year.
    I think Jason is doing alright media coverage and presence wise (I don’t think the media is ignoring his candidacy). Maybe overdoing it slightly.
    Will be interesting to see when I go to pre-poll today.
    Both are good candidates, I have my reservations about Jason but there could be worse. Bridget is extremely approachable and competent.
    I don’t think it will be the last we see of either of them, post-election and both will end up in Parliament in some way, shape or form.

  3. I obviously expect the media to cover her because of i4give day, that’s a no brainer. But when the media covers her when strangers taking down her signs at the dead of night Like really, That happens every election. I have seen 0 news coverage of Jason Yat-Sen Li and sure I expected more coverage of Bridget Sakr when she announced her candidacy for obvious reasons but c’mon, having coverage of “sign stealing” for Sakr and having absolutely 0 news for Yat Sen Li simply isn’t right.

  4. On NSWEC website, it has Allawah for Jason Li’s locality but in the SMH today it says he lives in Cremorne. Can somebody please explain where the Allawah comes from?

  5. @Redistributed- Allawah comes from his candidate declaration
    https://www.elections.nsw.gov.au/Elections/State-government-elections/Strathfield-By-election/nominated-candidates
    Long story short, he wants to get into Federal politics. The Senate was a last-ditch effort, he fell short in Bennelong, looked at running for Banks but lost pre-selection and Banks became too Liberal, Reid also became an option but too Liberal now, and Barton is one of the safer Labor seats in Sydney that he has a chance of winning preselection.

    Jason, like many Labor hopefuls, was sniffing around waiting for Linda Burney to retire to then run for Barton, hence the Allawah address. Noting state Upper House member Rose Jackson and her husband, former Reid candidate, Sam Crosby have moved to the area. The numbers are controlled by NSW power broker Shaqouett Moselmane, who administers a lot of the branches in the FEC. Interestingly, the area would fall under the right normally but Burney herself is a member of the Left.
    However, he also resides mainly in Cremorne. Neither of which have anything to do with Strathfield. He is somewhat of a political nomad moving around until he can eventually get into parliament, which I don’t think is the optimum start for any politician.

    Strathfield became an option because Labor needed a quick fix and also many in head office are still somewhat suspicious of Jason, and this would be a true test of his political character. If he can’t win a relatively Labor seat, I would assume his political aspirations in the short to mid term would be halted. Then he’d have to be looking at Local Government or just squeaking into the Upper House.

  6. @LJ Davidson. Thanks for reminding me! Labor hope people forget about Shaqouett Moselmane and Murnains Aldi bag Chinese developer scandal. Funny How the worm turns in Labor politics. Former labor leader and member for Strathfield Jodi McKay was the person who fought hard to Reinstate Shaqouett Moselmane to his power broker position after the AFP investigated him and raided his offices with allegations of accepting bribes from Chinese developers and so called “Chinese friends of Labor”. Strange how The same power broker was also responsible for her leadership spill and demise from the Labor party and selection of Labor’s Strathfield candidate

  7. Looked at the booth by booth breakdown and compared it with the corresponding booths in the federal electorate of Reid. Interestingly enough state Labor in 2019 did much better than Federal Labor did only a few weeks later. McKay won the 2PP at the booth at Strathfield Girls High 53-47. Fiona Martin won it 53-47. The Liberals narrowly won the 2PP at the Concord booth, McKay won it pretty comfortably.

  8. In the Age, it’s reported that Elizabeth Farrelly tried to seek ALP preselection for Newtown. Obviously, things must not have worked out. I don’t know whether she tried to seek preselection for this seat as well but I really don’t get what’s her reasoning in running here other than just out of spite. She would honestly get more votes running in the Willoughby by-election than here.

  9. @JS She used to live in Redfern (in the Newtown electorate), she moved to Homebush last year and attempted unsuccessfully to get Labor preselection, so she is now an Independent candidate. There would be no chance of her winning in Newtown as it is now by far a safe Green seat. Seems like Strathfield would have been a more realistic way for her to get into Parliament.

  10. My two cents on the three main candidates: Labor seem to assume Jason Li will appeal to the ‘ethnic vote’ (speaking as one in the area) – his Bennelong run should have shown how unsafe this assumption is. Longer term residents in the area will still remember the Unity Party that he started – which managed to win quite a few council seats in this area on an anti-One Nation platform, but turned out to be just another front for developers, and a few of them got arrested for corruption. Even without that, its questionable whether the professionals, small business owners and students who make up the Asian population of this area will necessarily find a North Shore hedge fund guy that endearing. On the other hand, there is real resentment against the Liberal government for classifying Burwood and Strathfield as LGAs of concern on flimsy grounds, and Sakr suffers from having no positive messages to draw in voters who are not rusted on Liberal or Maronite. Her campaign material seems to say she will fight for more roads, and is passionate about selling mortgages – which are not the best of drawcards. Farrelly’s strategy is to appeal only to the house owners who resent overdevelopment. Unfortunately, while it is an acute issue for the area, that population is ever dwindling – she will have zero appeal to house owners who want development, or renters. So overall, I think a Labor hold, but perhaps tighter than they anticipated.

  11. i was pleased about Jason’s election night speech when he denounced the racism that Asian Australians have recently including being accused of dual loyalty and the patriotism of political opponents has been questioned for short term political gain. This is the benefit of having diversity in parliament regardless of political party.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here