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%

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.

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.


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

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

2019 result

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

2019 two-party-preferred result

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
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.

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  1. The recent trendings around this seat has been pretty consistent. Once a Liberal stronghold, this is becoming more and more friendly for Labor, driven by the growth around Burwood.

    I went over the last 3 elections in the seat and there is a clear divide. The divide was helped along by McKay’s strong performances over the last 2 elections in this seat.

    With McKay now gone, Labor does lose that personal vote, plus the added benefit of having the leader in the seat. This would probably drop the TPP margin to something closer to 51-49 naturally.

    Having said that, with the way the government is going at this stage and given that it is a by-election, I’d expect a harder bounce up in favour of Labor, at least maintaining that margin.

    At this stage, a very early call but, pending candidate announcements, I’d expect a Labor hold around the same or a slightly higher margin.

    Don’t be surprised if LIB goes on the attack here though. I’m more fascinated to see who gets thrown up as candidates

  2. Agree, that Burwood is a suburb that the Liberals are under performing both at a state and federal level. Burwood is still a middle class and desirable area although not as affluent as Strathfield. Appian Way has lovely Federation era houses. I would compare this to the suburb of Mount Waverley (VIC), which while often is won by the Liberal party it is only marginally won. While Homebush and Flemington are more industrial.
    Both Strathfield and Burwood has a large Asian (Chinese and Korean) community and the overall result would depend on the ability of the Liberal party to reach out to these community. I would think Scott Yung who ran for the Liberals in Kogarah last time and did well would be an excellent candidate

  3. Scott Yung wouldn’t be a bad shout for the seat. Not sure if he lives in the area or not there but, given the proximity of Kogarah to Strathfield, it wouldn’t be the biggest stretch.

  4. Kogarah is the most marginal Labor seat, held by the new leader… would Minns have to resign Kogarah to contest Strathfield?

  5. winediamond October 19, 2021 at 1:50 pm
    Sun Tzu is often quoted “he who defends all protects nothing”. A COUNTERPOINT would be “She who attacks everything penetrates nothing”. Mckay was hyper adversarial, & aggressively opposed everything from a fundamentally popular (but nonethelessless flawed) govt, & leader. Her lack of judgement, & discrimination was “scrutinised” by Minns. Who was (proven to be ) right ? Eventually ?
    Her hysterical accusations of being “undermined” & act of revenge in forcing an unnecessary by election say it all.
    IT amuses me that most contributors pour abuse,& scorn, on Latham, Barnaby, Pauline, Lambie ETC (challenger personality types) for their aggression, & are completely blind to the same performance from McKay.
    Likewise the same blindness to all the preaching, lecturing perfectionists in the Greens,& the left generally. THEN when a more functional, rational, restrained version of the same (personality type) appears in the form of Chris Minns, The obvious contrast is unrecognised. Minns has performed brilliantly, & he is judged to be (USEESS, & “Other than that the guy’s been a complete waste of space”). >>
    Furtive Lawngnome
    NO. Minns has refused to engage in reflexive hyper critical obstructionism. He has been constructive, & positive at any opportunity, & extremely reserved & focused in his criticisms. He has no choice but to contest Strathfield, however what exactly does he gain from contesting the other (4) seats ?. Would Labor be able to hold them at the next election ?>>> Unlikely .Could a better strategy be to give an independent a chance to sandbag themselves into a coalition seat ?

    If Minns fails to become Premier, then he may well be the next Labor Prime Minister. He is certainly more talented than any of the current contenders .

  6. By-election hasn’t been set yet as the seat isn’t vacant. I assume that Jodi’s resignation is from the end of the current sitting session of Parliament – 26 November.

    List of current members can be found on
    Any by-election info can be found on

  7. According to the Daily Telegraph, Mum of one of the children killed in the Oatlands Crash last year, Bridget Sakr, has nominated for liberal preselection here.

  8. Ben, this seat is marginal and demographic changes in the Inner west have changed both Strathfield and neighboring Drummoyne from safe Labor/Labor leaning seats to swing districts.

  9. Yoh An Tee – you have it backwards. Strathfield has never been a safe Labor seat. Known as Burwood prior to 1988, it’s a seat with a long Liberal history; usually only won by Labor at big election wins. Jodi McKay is the first Labor MP to hold the seat in opposition.

  10. Yes, you are right David Walsh. I was only looking at recent elections when the seat was held by Virginia Judge. Surprisingly this is a marginal seat that can become safe when an entrenched incumbent occupies it. It was safe for both Liberal Paul Zammit and Labor’s Virginia Judge. Former Liberal member Charles Casuscelli could have retained the seat in 2015 had Jodi McKay not chosen to nominate.

  11. Strathfield, before the Harbour Bridge was constructed was one of the most affluent part of Sydney. The presence of private schools such as Trinity, MLC, PLC, Meridian etc in the Inner West highlights this. In the 90s this area became more ethnically diverse and Labor started to do better. Note the Federal seat of Lowe was held comfortably for most of the Howard years. The area of Drummoyne until recently was Labor leaning and more a bit lower middle class traditionally (large Italian-Australian community) with some industrial areas closer to the waterfront which have now been redeveloped. Drummoyne has gentrified and hence the Liberal vote has increased (similar to East Hils and Carrum in Victoria). Even when the Libs won it in 2010 the TPP in Strathfield was less than their overall TPP vote. If the Libs want to do well in this seat they need to connect with the large East Asian community and improve their vote in the suburb of Burwood like i mentioned in my earlier comment.

  12. @Yoh An, Drummoyne is not in play for Labor, and won’t be for a very long time. Like Reid, it may suffer swings around the edges but once the Libs won it, I can’t see Labor wrestling it back.
    Strathfield is a different story, and due to parts of Burwood and Croydon it has become a stable Labor seat. However, is more at risk at being lost by the Labor party than Drummoyne is by the Liberal party (approximate 5% vs 15% margin)

    Also Charles Casuscelli was never going to retain the seat, regardless of who Labor nominated- noting popular Mayor John Faker was pushed aside by Luke Foley for Jodi McKay.
    Casuscelli was an absent member and thought he didn’t need to worry about campaigning. Interestingly, he only went for Strathfield after he missed out on the more prized Drummoyne (even though he lived in that electorate). I believe O’Farrell had suggested Casuscelli run for Strathfield.
    Even minimal work would’ve kept Strathfield Liberal held but when an MP’s ambition overtakes their ability, and they start thinking like a Minister they lose touch with the electorate.
    There should be a rule that no first-term MPs should be allowed to become Ministers.

    This is John Faker’s to lose. Incredibly popular Mayor of Burwood, who was just elected with a massive swing, and has been in the area for 20 years. He also gifts the Labor party a majority run Council even if he quits. If Labor screw this up and don’t nominate him, they risk creating another Angelo Tsirekas.

  13. Agree LJ Davidson that MP’s as backbenchers are more sympathetic to the community. I previously lived in the Bennelong district and John Alexander never sought a ministerial position, preferring to retain focus on committee work and was quite visible in the community throughout his time as MP.

  14. tsereckas won in 2016 for labor and lost to laundie facker might be a good choice he has the backing of mckkay herself which helps

  15. The contrasting results between the Burwood/Ashfield area and the Canada Bay suburbs (Drummoyne, Concord and Rhodes) might explain why council mergers in the Sydney area weren’t as popular.

    The fact that both of these suburb groups are in the same region (Inner west) is surprising and shows the different vote patterns in cultural communities. In contrast, Brisbane has suburbs which are more homogeneous, and vote patterns are generally the same within a whole region (one example being the Kenmore/Indooroopilly area which is always conservative leaning – it covers the same area as the entire Inner West suburbs of Sydney).

  16. Kenmore’s a fair bit more conservative than Indooroopilly, which is overall pretty left-leaning overall (actually quite divided between what passes for the patrician class in Brisbane and UQ whipper snappers). I agree that there’s more homogeneity per square kilometre in Brisbane, but there’s a yawning divide between, for example, Ascot and Inala. The real problem is that, while I don’t think the new boundaries were deliberately gerrymandered, the LNP are massively over-represented compared to their share of the vote- they control 3/4 of the wards despite getting just 56% of the TPP.

    Anyway the city is just way too big. Literally the biggest in the country. I’d probably vote for a demerger tbh

  17. @Yoh An part of the reason for the anti- Burwood/Strathfield/Canada Bay merger, was debt and merger weariness. Canada Bay itself had already gone through a merger in 2000 when Concord and Drummoyne Councils merged. In retrospect this was a bad decision due to the exponential population growth of Rhodes, and creation of newer suburbs Breakfast Point and Liberty Grove.
    It would be wise for Labor/Greens to advocate de-merging Canada Bay, or at the very least creating wards. For many residents in Concord/Concord West/North Strathfield the merger has seen a decline in services, favouring the eastern part of the council’s area and Rhodes.
    Burwood Council was and still is deeply in debt- Strathfield which is more affluent, was against the merger for both this reason and demographics as well. There is a very strong Independent base, at least at a local government level, in Strathfield which has continued to elect 2 independent councillors each election for decades. Given that the council is only 7 members- this is quite significant. Compared to Burwood and Canada Bay which prior to this election barely got 1.
    Whilst there is crossover between all 3 council areas: they’re all in Reid, most residents shop at either Burwood Westfield, Rhodes Shopping Centre or Strathfield Plaza there are many other factors that distinguish the suburbs and eliminate homogeneity.
    The now 3rd and 4th generation Italian and Greek Australian communities have now become relatively more wealth, send their children to a handful of private schools in the area (St Pats, Santa Sabina, Meriden, MLC, Rosebank and Trinity) and have seen their asset wealth grow, particularly those that live along the waterfront from Cabarita/Mortlake all the way to Rodd Point/Drummoyne.
    Strathfield is also old money, it was the homesteads for many of the early settlers who would build their residences there while they farmed in Parramatta. It continues to be largely conservative due to Korean and HK demographic increases; this is evidenced through the churches which now have gone through cultural renovations as is the case with moving with modern time.
    At one point Strathfield had a large Jewish community, and a Synagogue, however by the mid 90s this community had largely moved to the North Shore and the Synagogue closed.
    Burwood is more cosmopolitan, working class and more populated (due to high rises). There is also more crime, the LAC and district courts are based in Burwood.
    The reason why Reid, I think is lost to the Labor party for at least in the mid-term, is because of the reasons above. Strathfield, however, remains in play for Labor because Burwood makes up a larger portion of the seat. Having said that, if the Liberals were to nominate a dynamic Korean or Chinese-Australian candidate, Labor could be in trouble.
    There is also the Indian/Sri Lankan community in Flemington and Homebush which often gets overlooked. Far from monolithic, this group has often favoured Labor but due to the conservative nature of parts of the community can swing to the Liberal party (this community also contributed to the tightening of the same sex marriage plebiscite a few years back). Jodi McKay, was very active with this community and it proved a reliable voting block for her.
    I think Ben could potentially delve into this more, and how often, particularly in Sydney, if you favour one group you risk alienating or driving another to another party.
    This is another issue with Sally Sitou’s federal candidacy, who I think is putting too many eggs in the Chinese-Australian basket, and risks turning off many of the other groups.
    Labor probably retains, primarily due to Perrottet not willing to commit to resources for the by-election

  18. Agree LJ Davidson, Sydney has many multicultural communities and the Inner West has Asian (Chinese and Korean), Greek and Italian communities all grouped in their own suburbs. Much different from the Brisbane metropolitan area, although Brisbane has small pockets of multicultural communities (Sunnybank/Runcorn as well as Darra/Richlands).

    Furtive, I was referring to particular areas of the greater Brisbane metropolitan area, like the Inner West region of Sydney rather than Brisbane City Council as a whole. But agree BCC is too large and should be broken up into several smaller council areas, each one centred on a major suburb. I would prefer BCC contract to cover only the CBD and suburbs bounded by Indooroopilly in the west, Windsor/Clayfield in the north and Greenslopes/Coorparoo in the south. Then have new councils centred on Chermside, Mitchelton/Ferny Grove, Carindale, Mt Gravatt/Runcorn, Darra/Richlands, Kenmore and Sandgate.

  19. Why do Strathfield, Burwood, and Canada Bay still exist when Bankstown and Canterbury were amalgamated to produce the largest LGA in all of NSW?

    Once again shows how Western Sydney and low-SES Sydneysiders are treated like second-class citizens.

    Also bothers me that there’s an “Inner West Council” that only covers half of the Inner West. I guess they didn’t want “Inner Inner West” and “Outer Inner West”, or “Inner West East” and “Inner West West”. Australians are incredibly uncreative when it comes to place names.

  20. Agree Nicholas that it tends to be conservative governments that like to implicitly segregate people on class lines. In Brisbane City Council there are some complaints about the incumbent LNP administration favouring conservative leaning suburbs over those that are Labor leaning in terms of funding and services.

    In contrast the Queensland state Labor government treated communities equally, particularly with lockdown restrictions applied uniformly across the entire Brisbane metropolitan area and surrounding regional areas. Unlike in NSW with highly targeted restrictions that should have at least been applied equally across the Sydney metropolitan area.

  21. Nicholas, i would add to why do Hunters Hill and Mosman exists? Mosman does not consist of more than one suburb. At the most recent council amalgamation the poorer Woodville ward of Parramatta LGA was given to Cumberlan LGA in Exchange for the more affluent areas around Sydney Olympic Park

    Also in Victoria back in the 1990s the Borough of Queenscliffe was retained by the Kennant Government.

  22. @Nimalan

    Yes, Hunters Hill and Mosman are the most egregious examples!

    Maybe I’m cynical, but the changes to Parramatta Council looked like an attempt by the Liberals to solidify their control over Parramatta CBD. Parramatta LGA is not centred on Parramatta CBD, and aside from the CBD just takes in the most Liberal-friendly areas in the vicinity. Sydney Olympic Park does not belong in Parramatta, it should have been transferred to Canada Bay or Strathfield. Also, the way they cut off a piece of North Rocks and then isolated North Epping is unforgivable.

    I could rant all day about LGA boundaries…

  23. I mostly agree about Parra. You could fix a lot by merging Parramatta with Cumberland and then handing Sydney Olympic Park and Wentworth Point to Canada Bay.

  24. Incidentally if you added the Olympic Park peninsula to Canada Bay it would easily cross the 100k line to be one of the councils I analyse (it’ll probably happen anyway by 2024).

  25. I also think Parramatta council has odd boundaries. In addition to the Olympic Park precinct being transferred out, all of North Epping and Epping should be combined with Eastwood in Ryde council, North Rocks back into the Hills shire, reunite Beecroft into Hornsby Shire and then the remainder merged with Cumberland council as a better fit demographically.

  26. I tend to think the boundary between Cumberland and Parramatta should set to the Parramatta River and Toongabbie Creek. Cumberland becomes Parramatta (having absorbed Parramatta CBD) and Parramatta becomes North Parramatta. (“Cumberland” is such a silly name – historically it refers to what is now most of Greater Sydney!) You could even merge this North Parramatta into Ryde…

  27. I believe the Parramatta council boundaries tried to follow major roads (M2) rather than suburb boundaries. I believe council boundaries should be matched/aligned to suburb boundaries. If that is not desirable, then suburb boundaries should be realigned to match the major roads (eg the bit of North Rocks lying north of M2 could be moved into Baulkham Hills).

  28. It’d be weird to cut the suburb of North Parramatta out of Parramatta council though. The Parra CBD should be relatively close to the middle of the council. At the moment it’s at the southern end, for the new council you’re proposing Nicholas it would be right at the northern end.

  29. Yes, although having lived in Carlingford, I would contend there’s a stronger community of interest between Parramatta CBD and its south and west. I’d also be happy with Yoh An’s idea (I’ve had the same thought about transferring Epping to Ryde) combined with expanding The Hills southward into Carlingford, North Rocks, and Winston Hills – which are considered to be part of the Hills District.

  30. There seems to be a deliberate intention to disassociate Parramatta, which is an important economic powerhouse and second CBD, with some of the poorest, lower socio-economic areas of Sydney to the south of it. Could be some economic benefit to encourage investment or something to not have Parramatta associated with the negative stigma that surrounds Merrylands, Guildford etc Not that there is anything wrong with those places or the people that live there. Parramatta is definitely much more middle class than areas south of the M4.

    The southern boundary between Cumberland and Parramatta should be the M4, rather than the railway line, I think. Doesn’t make sense for Westmead, Wentworthville, Toongabbie to be split in half. Those suburbs are also much more similar demographically to Parramatta than they are to Merrylands, Granville, Auburn.

    There is a clear demographic and economic split between Auburn, Granville, Merrylands, Guildford compared to Parramatta, Harris Park, Westmead, Wentworthville, Pendle Hill and Toongabbie.

  31. Agree with Yoh Anh and others about aligning suburb boundaries and LGA. In Sydney, there seems to so many examples of this for example there is a tiny part of Baulkham Hills south of M2 in Parramatta LGA. There is a small part of Fairfield in Cumberland LGA. In Melbourne while there are some examples of divided suburbs such as Bundoora (Split between 3 LGAs, Greenborough (Banyule and Nilumbik) and Cheltenham (Kingston/Bayside) there are less common. Usually, we have a geographical qualifier (Bayswater North in Maroondah, Lysterfield South in Casey and Warrandyte North in Nilumbik). Kellyville Ridge in Blacktown is a good example where this can be used. There is are also examples where the local councils fixed this for example Hampton East used to Moroabbin and Camberwell was extended to Warringal Road to match LGA boundaries.

  32. Those in the Strathfield electorate who talk of the benefits of Amalgamation do not know, nor have they experienced the results of what’s happened in certain suburbs in the Canterbury/Bankstown marriage. If you need a perfect example of what an amalgamated council looks just look at the footpaths and areas in the “2023” redistribution whilst entering Belfield or Campsie from neighbouring Burwood and Strathfield.
    The NSW Liberal party may have held the shotgun and forced the council marriage but it’s the labor party council who is the abusive partner.
    The Canterbury ward council area affected by the redistribution and boundary change taking effect in 2023 is purposefully being turned into a slum. It has been orchestrated by the Bankstown labor councillors to benefit the labor party vote turning the area into a run down welfare-dependent low-cost social housing area.
    Services have deliberately been cut to the old Canterbury council area.
    People need to know The Strathfield By-election will most likely be won by Labor, particularly if Faker is their elected candidate. In the 2023 state election, the seat of Strathfield may just end up being safe labor and no longer a non-marginal seat because of the “work” surreptitiously being done by labor to garnish their vote to their south.

  33. @Nimalan

    I do get a little triggered whenever I see Hughesdale in Monash. Why must they ruin what would have been a beautiful rectangle? xD

  34. @CantWard

    The Liberal Party also had the gall to suggest that the electoral district of Canterbury should be abolished because the amalgamation demonstrates that residents of Canterbury wanted to be made part of Bankstown.

  35. Nicholas, excellent point about Hughesdale in Monash. Hughesdale is some respects feels more like the Glen Eira suburbs the housing and the fact that there shops on both sides of Poath Road and the housing looks similar. On the other hand, Hughesdale has a large Greek community and Oakleigh Grammar and the Oakleigh Greek Orthodox church is in Hughesdale. So it is a bit tough choice IMHO. Warrigal Road is a major divide between the inner ring and middle ring suburbs in East/SE Melbourne. It is only East of Warrigal Road the Monash and Dingley Bypass social class divide commences.

  36. Libs/Perrottet have just nominated Bridget Sakr, the mother of Oatlands car crash victim, as their candidate for the by-election.
    There seems to have not been a pre-selection, and given the proximity to the next state election this may be a one-and-done candidacy. I think a candidate of Korean or Indian/Sri Lankan descent would’ve garnered a better vote but maybe they are keeping their powder dry for 2023

  37. Jason Yatsen-Li, Labor’s 3rd candidate on the NSW Senate Ticket has just won pre-selection to be the ALP’s candidate for Strathfield.
    Optics will be interesting on this one, given that long-time mayor, John Faker, has been overlooked again.
    If Faker was overruled by Sussex Street, this may also spawn a potential independent candidacy, as well as a defection with the Mayoralty (similarly to what has happened in Canada Bay).
    Faker may also have decided not run given his several near misses with ICAC, and may also be exhausted by the prospect of running another election campaign in such a quick turnaround.
    Yatsen-Li, has been shopping around for a seat for several years ever since being courted by Kevin Rudd to run for Bennelong in 2013. Prior to this he was a long time member of the Australian Democrats.
    He had also been rumoured/floated interested in Banks, Barton and Reid but never fully committed to moving to the areas of either. Interestingly, has never demonstrated an interest in state issues prior to this announcement.
    JYL is also a prolific fundraiser and is well connected in the banking and financial services industries both here and abroad, will definitely be able to provide some more established bona fides for Labor in this area, and culturally reflects the demographics of the Strathfield electorate. Although was probably more suited to the Federal sphere.
    Not sure what will be the broader impact on the Senate ticket, as the timing of both the By-Election and the Federal Election have not yet been confirmed.
    Given his enthusiasm to run for state politics, this should give many an insight into internal polling from Labor that the 3rd Senate seat is unwinnable in NSW

  38. I am tipping a win for Jason Yat Sen Li with at least the same margin as the 2019 election result for Strathfield if not more. He is very well regarded within Asian-Australian communities and is certainly more well known than Bridget Sakr. But of course if John Faker runs as an independent then there is the risk of splitting the left vote and letting the Liberals win on first preferences.

  39. @John Smith – definitely that is where the money is.
    Highly improbable for governments to win by-elections from the opposition but not impossible.
    Also telling that Yat-Sen Li, is willing to forego a potential Senate seat, with what many would consider a sure thing, in a very winnable seat. Having a chat to people within the party, and there is certainty of him taking a senior shadow portfolio in either Finance, Trade/Investment or Treasury upon election. State Labor has not had a coherent or contingent economic narrative since going into opposition in 2011.
    This will not be too much of a stretch given the relative anonymity and lightweights currently occupying these roles.
    On the flip side, Sakr pathway to victory is slimmer but is still viable due to her standing in the Lebanese Maronite community in Strathfield, South Strathfield and Enfield.
    JYL will also need to ensure that he maintains a continual presence with the Indian and Sri Lankan communities in Flemington and Homebush, this is building on the goodwill already established by the outgoing member.
    Sakr’s other avenue to Macquarie Street is campaigning heavily with the Korean community in Strathfield and Burwood. Largely socially conservative and small business owners- this is probably her best bet, along with peeling away votes from other groups on the periphery.
    Not dismissing 2 other important groups/factors: seniors and gender.
    There is also the notion of representational balance, and given the decisive victory by Labor in the Burwood Council election, and the growth of Labor’s representation on Strathfield Council (due to Libs not running candidates)- voters may see worth in having a Labor run Council and a Liberal State MP but no guarantees there.

  40. I do think Jason is better off in federal politics though since he has quite a lot of international experience and is a lot more vocal on federal issues than state issues. He may try to use his time in state politics to catapult himself to federal parliament in the future like Andrew Constance for example.

  41. “Also telling that Yat-Sen Li, is willing to forego a potential Senate seat, with what many would consider a sure thing, in a very winnable seat.”

    Wasn’t he running for the #3 Labor seat in the Senate? The odds of him winning were pretty small. Certainly not a “sure thing”.

  42. Jason Li will be turning 50 this year so Strathfield wil be a better bet at launching a parliamentary career than a most unlikely #3 senate spot. He probably can’t afford to wait much longer. A few of the NSW Labor hard heads might see him as a better leadership candidate than Chris Minns. As John Smith has said – he might see this also as a Canberra springboard in future. Does he have any connection with Strathfield?

  43. @Ben Strathfield is the sure thing, compared to the Senate. Correct, he had a minimal chance of winning the third Senate spot- internal Labor polling has confirmed this (probably should’ve worded that better initially). There were also some other issues related to Li’s enthusiasm for this seat which does not include aspirations for Reid.
    By the time Reid becomes winnable for Labor (if ever), he would be well into his 60s and the field for Reid would be a lot larger. The move is more of an opportunistic one to the Bear Pit given the lack of depth on the front bench- big fish/small pond, the Bob Carr theory.

    @Redistributed no he has no connection at all to Strathfield which is slightly problematic, I believe he still lives in the North Shore. Same went for the Federal Candidate for Reid, Sally Sitou who only moved into the area 12 months ago and couldn’t vote in the pre-selection.
    What may also be disheartening for local branch members was the surprise, parachuting of Yat-Sen Li’s candidacy- as he avoided a pre-selection battle, similarly to his Bennelong nomination in 2013.
    Goes to the core question of the value of party membership, if party leadership centrally overrule the wish of the rank and file, and pre-selections no longer occur.

    Further to this, there has been greater discussion as to why John Faker was not the nominated candidate.
    Firstly, there is a possible deal he may have been offered an Upper House spot at the next election in exchange for stepping aside.
    Also the fact that he was only just re-elected (last month) to the Burwood Mayoralty and this would be deemed somewhat too clever by halves and off-putting to voters, who only just put him in the position.
    There is also general voter fatigue for a candidate who would be looking down the barrel of 3 elections in a 12 month period.
    If JYL is unsuccessful, Faker could run in 2023 avoiding the aforementioned scrutiny under the cover of a general election.

    The other aspect would’ve been the split in the Lebanese Maronite community, had he nominated both he and the Liberal candidate Bridget Sakr (also Lebanese Maronite) would’ve split the base vote. This has been a reliable base for Faker but given Sakr’s personal history there is a groundswell of support for her candidacy in that community.

    On closer inspection this could be a closer race than expected given the Liberal candidate’s own personal story, as well as Yat-Sen Li’s own history in supporting the Belt and Road initiative, as well as ICAC’s recent Operation Aero.

    Labor will be banking on Perrottet’s unpopularity, whilst Liberals will be looking at making this a personality contest which is heightened more during a by-election.


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