Willoughby by-election, 2022

Cause of by-election
Sitting Liberal MP Gladys Berejiklian resigned as NSW premier and flagged her upcoming resignation from parliament on 1 October 2021 after the Independent Commission Against Corruption announced an investigation into her.

MarginLIB 21.0%

Geography
Lower North Shore of Sydney. The seat covers most of the City of Willoughby and small parts of North Sydney local government area. The seat covers the suburbs of Chatswood, Willoughby, Middle Cove, Northbridge, Naremburn, Crows Nest and Cammeray.

History

The seat of Willoughby was first created in 1894. It was abolished for three elections in the 1920s and again for the 1988 election, but has existed at every other election. The seat has been dominated by the Liberal Party and its predecessors.

The seat was won in 1927 by Edward Sanders, an independent Nationalist. He joined the Nationalist Party and then the United Australia Party, and held the seat until his death in 1943.

The 1943 by-election was won by George Brain. He held the seat until his retirement in 1968.

Laurie McGinty won Willoughby for the Liberal Party in 1968. He served as a minister from 1973 to 1976. McGinty was defeated for preselection in 1978 by Nick Greiner. McGinty ran as an independent, and directed preferences to the ALP. The seat was won by Labor candidate Eddie Britt.

Britt was defeated in 1981 by the Liberal Party’s Peter Collins. He was re-elected in 1984. In 1988, Willoughby was renamed “Middle Harbour”, and Collins won the renamed seat. He became a minister following the 1988 election, moving up in the ranks to become Treasurer in 1993. In 1991, Middle Harbour was renamed Willoughby again.

When the Coalition lost power in 1995, Collins was elected Leader of the Opposition. He did not lead his party to an election, being replaced by Kerry Chikarovski in December 1998. He was re-elected to Willoughby in 1999 and retired in 2003.

Willoughby was won in 2003 by Gladys Berejiklian. She defeated independent Willoughby mayor Pat Reilly by only 144 votes. She was re-elected in 2007, 2011 and 2015.

Berejiklian became Transport Minister when the Coalition took power in 2011. She became deputy Liberal leader in 2014, and Treasurer in 2015.

Berejiklian became Premier and Liberal leader in January 2017. She led the government to a third term in 2019 and continued in her role until October 2021.

Candidates

  • William Bourke (Sustainable Australia)
  • Larissa Penn (Independent)
  • Samuel Gunning (Liberal Democrats)
  • Lynne Saville (Greens)
  • Tim James (Liberal)
  • Penny Hackett (Reason)

Assessment
Willoughby is not a competitive seat when it comes to Liberal vs Labor contests. It is a relatively strong area for the Greens, who could come second, but won’t be in a position to win. A strong independent could potentially challenge here, but that candidate has not yet emerged.

2019 result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Gladys BerejiklianLiberal27,29257.0-6.5
Justin ReissLabor6,87514.4-1.5
Daniel KeoghGreens5,34211.2-4.7
Larissa PennIndependent4,7429.9+9.9
Tom CrowleyKeep Sydney Open1,4032.9+2.9
Emma BennettAnimal Justice1,0402.2+2.2
Greg GrahamSustainable Australia7791.6+1.6
Meow-Ludo Meow-MeowFlux3840.8+0.8
Informal9341.9

2019 two-party-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Gladys BerejiklianLiberal29,14271.0-3.4
Justin ReissLabor11,88529.0+3.4

Booth breakdown

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

The Liberal Party won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all three areas, ranging from 70.4% in the west to 73.6% in the north-east.

Voter groupGRN primIND primLIB 2PPTotal votes% of votes
South-East10.416.470.613,61828.5
West13.16.770.49,14219.1
North-East10.98.773.68,68718.2
Pre-poll8.97.672.95,09810.7
Other votes11.76.769.111,31223.6

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

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161 COMMENTS

  1. I was only kidding about this being close, but blimey. Imagine if Larissa Penn/Labor/Greens had actually tried.

    Zimmerman will be updating his CV in short order.

  2. I wasn’t expecting this seat to be this interesting on election night but the poor result for Liberals, but a win nevertheless, can be put down to poor candidate selection in Tim James and the loss of Gladys’ personal vote. This a moderate seat and a conservative would have expected to have done poorly.

    Had she campaigned more with him apart from that hostage video the result would have not been so close. Under OPV and with Greens not directing preferences, he was assured an easy victory. I also think the corflutes with Gladys endorsing Tim looked confusing and it did not look like she was endorsing him but more like they were running together or something. This would have created more voter confusion.

    That said, Penn has a real chance in the 2023 state election if the Liberal brand continues to be on the nose in NSW and the Teals do well in the federal election. Also with Tim James being elected, his views and worldview can be more closely scrutinized.

  3. What would the Teals run on at a NSW election? Climate change? Matt Kean has that covered. Integrity Commission? ICAC has been there for 30 years. Or will Simon Holmes A’court bankroll the NSW Libs?

  4. If it came to an election the left leaning independents and Greens could not back the libs and get reelected.

  5. This was the hardest election Tim will ever face as MP for Willoughby. There will be a Labor candidate at the election (but no real campaign) in order to help the LC vote and collect public funding monies, which will further splinter/exhaust the progressive vote and they will get enough of the primary vote (20%) to be in the 2PP. On a straight Lib/ALP basis, it’s an easy Liberal win. In fact you could argue its a better win for the Liberals than Gladys Berejiklian’s win over Pat Reilly in 2003.

    Genuinely surprised how poorly Hackett has done, particularly at Willoughby Public. She was P&C president there a few years ago and had a number of signs on houses in the area.

    Note how well Tim James did at the Concourse – the big Chinese community broke for the Libs. His job now is to campaign hard in the harbourside suburbs and around the freeway where Penn did best.

  6. @redistributed – as stated previously the is a mortgage belt in Willoughby that is based on apartments. It is not the traditional sandbelt seat but there is overcrowding of the schools, over crowding of area and there are big issues in this region. So the teals could run on this. Something tells me the lower North Shore will see the biggest swings of the Commonwealth Election.

  7. @Redistributed The proposed Northern Beaches tunnel was a sore point for the Libs and Penn had campaigned on this for the second election and increased her vote substantially especially around the booths that would have been affected.

  8. I would have thought that Voices, not greens and labor, would be who the Libs need to be worried about. Sure this was Tim’s first election which should be his hardest but he was up against no one, living in the electorate I saw more promotion for Tink than any of the independents actually running (and no one comes remotely close to the money spencley threw at the local elections). Reality is that if GGG was the candidate it would return to being a very safe seat but with Tim it’s always going to be at risk to a reasonable profile, well funded independent. Honestly this is a terrible result for the Libs which will give a lot of people a lot of motivation to contest the state election.

  9. @GregC a lot of people contesting is what will secure the seat for the Libs. OPV will result in too many of the anti-lib votes exhausting.

  10. @LeoT Yep, understood. The thing is in this election thee was basically no opposition with most candidates not being known until 2 weeks before so very easy in a safe seat to get your nice letter from Gladys, not think about it and just vote 1 Liberal. And particularly around Chatswood I’d say that is exactly what happened (as predicted on this thread). But without campaigning Penn has gone from 10% to 30%+ with those votes coming from liberal. Given the money that is sloshing about for moderate women in moderate seats facing conservative men, and the fact that this time Penn has the time to campaign and an increased profile I can see the next election being a lot more difficult.

  11. The Liberals may yet hang on to this seat, but is another warning that they cannot sneak more conservative candidates into these affluent, relatively socially progressive leafy electorates, without some pushback. James might get out of jail because of the Greens failing to preference Penn, and a very short campaign. But the Liberals should take heed of what has happened here.

    One would think Trent Zimmerman would also be a bit nervous.

  12. According to Antony Green the polling place data is consistently showing a nearly 20% swing against the Libs. Maybe postal votes might bring that swing back a tad but unlikely by much.

    Extrapolate these results out to the federal election, and it’s looking like inner-city Libs are just about facing extermination.

  13. Another interesting tidbit from Antony Green’s blog is that almost half of all preferences from the losing parties are exhausting, with Larissa Penn getting roughly 4/5 of the preferences that didn’t. The Greens could have potentially toppled this government if they bothered to recommend preferences to Penn (or if Labor had bothered to campaign at all).

  14. At this rate, Labor won’t even need to pick up seats at the Federal and NSW elections if Libs keep losing them (potentially).
    Zimmerman will have great difficulty as James did. The only hope being if the independents split and don’t preference one another. In retrospect, both James and Zimmerman were the wrong choices for these seats. Safe seats should always be held by higher profile candidates.

    If I was Labor I wouldn’t even bother running in these Northern Sydney seats- divert resources elsewhere. More damaging to the government that they don’t run, as Libs don’t have the electoral bogeyman to campaign against.

    One short-fall I do see with the preferential system is that there is no advantage to winning on First Preferences. Perhaps there could some sort of weighted-average in the instant run-off put on the candidate who wins on plurality.

  15. LJ Davidson, I see that there shouldn’t really be any advantage if you lead on first preferences, unless the lead candidate can capture >50% first preference vote. That would indicate an absolute majority of voters support the candidate and their party directly.

    If the lead candidate is <50%, it is a sign that the vote is split and preferences help to determine who is the most 'liked' candidate overall. I do see the value in like minded parties spreading out and only contesting seats where they have a chance of making the top 2 or 3, like in the UK where there was an informal alliance between Greens and Lib Dems to avoid vote splitting in a FPTP system.

  16. Greens have serious egg on their face. Despite having a good candidate (a popular former councillor), they ran dead, announced 4 weeks beforehand and didn’t recommend preferences.

    This seat was loseable for the Liberals and I wouldn’t want to be Trent Zimmerman right now.

  17. In many ways this result is good for Zimmerman because it’s likely made it very difficult for a right wing candidate to win pre selection as that would be just giving the seat away. Certainly Zimmerman is worried and I assume that was a major driver last week to cross the floor for the amendments to the religious freedom bill, he needed to get some votes in that were different to Barnaby.

    North Sydney for the Feds will be interesting, in the area fed liberal is noticeably less popular than state liberal so it will be interesting to see how much of an impact the local candidate makes, my gut feel is at least in these inner city moderate right leaning electorates it’s becoming a much bigger deal than the parties realise.

  18. First batch of postals counted today – Tim back up to 52.8% 2CP.

    For the benefit of people on this thread who are not members of the Liberal Party, I repeat- Tim isn’t particularly “hard right” in his worldview or personal values. That term is lazy journalese for the part of the NSW Liberal Right that Tim belongs to. It simply marks out a sub-faction that refuses to do deals with the moderates for party positions or preselections. That’s all.

  19. The idea of a major party not running is very safe seats of the other party is idiotic – what point would there be in being a local branch member? And as WD says, there is the Upper Houser vote to think about, in all jurisdictions but QLD.

    Anyway, North Sydney is no longer a Very safe seat. Antony Green rates is as Safe Liberal – 9.3% margin. Much less safe than the seats to the north.

  20. I’d question the point of being a branch member in the Labor Party (having been one before) at the best of times; I’d be extremely quizzical about the real purpose of being one in a safe Liberal electorate even more so. Especially when the major parties are just foisting candidates on to members without a rank and file vote in an increasing number of seats. That’s why many branches in SECs and FECs across Sydney barely make quorum and have had to merge.
    Independents have a better chance in these seats, and if I was still a member of a party, I’d be more concerned with the strategic use of member funds going toward winnable seats than pissing it away on vanity candidates with no chance of winning and in some instances not even being in 2PP.
    The impact one electorate would have on a Senate or Upper House vote is questionable, and overly ambitious. Besides there is nothing stopping a party from putting a few posters up but not manning booths. Minor parties like Greens, One Nation, Shooters and CDP seem to have done ok over the last dozen electorates without a physical presence at booths or indeed candidates on the lower house ballot.
    The results speak for themselves, had Labor run, the result wouldn’t have been as close due to a higher level of exhausted votes, in particular from Labor voters who would not have preferenced a relatively unknown Independent candidate, and vice versa.
    I think Sussex Street knew that there presence would’ve been a greater impediment than benefit in decreasing the Liberal primary vote.

  21. The problem with Labor not standing candidates…is it weakens the local party organisation. If people just assumed we cannot do much in Epping ward of Parra council then we would not have elected 2 councillors at the most recent election

  22. New England/ Northern Tablelands is a case in point. The state seat of Northern Tablelands was Labor from the Wranslide of 1978 until 1988. Armidale had been a Country Party seat before that but margins hadn’t been very big. In the 1980s, the Nat margin in New England was down to 53 or 54%. Post Tony Windsor in New England and Richard Torbay in Northern Tablelands the ALP has been destroyed – squeezed right out so that the Nats hold both seats by huge margins and only possibly an independent could challenge. And other parts of inland regional NSW are similar. The ALP were never competitive on the North Shore but are now forced into total irrelevance behind the Greens or any Indy that pops up. If you were a local ALP member, why would you stick around?

  23. Redistributed: You make a good point but it’s more to do with the damage that occurs to the 2nd party wehn an IND wins – the area then becomes a lost cause for them until that era passes and then they need to rebuild.
    However, your summary of the current status of the North Shore is a bit dated. Yes, the Greens did beat Labor in a few North Shire seats in 2011, but not many in 2019. The Greens came second in Willoughby in 2015 but ALP in 2019 beat both the Green and Penn. The ALP vote in North Sydney federal electorate in 2019 was 25% – almost double the Green vote, the ALP vote in 2016 was higher than the IND that came second in the 2015 by election. There is also a Labor Mayor of Lane Cove and 2 ALP Councillors on North Sydney Council.

  24. @LJ Davidson
    Your logic infers that Labor voters voted for Penn but would not have preferenced her if they had a Labor HTV in their hands recommending they should??
    The exhaustion rate for the 25% of votes that didn’t go to James or Penn on the first vote, is 50% – not sure how confident you can be that a Labor presence would have made it any higher. There is a common theory that in such instances it is better for the major party top stand, under OPV.
    The reason they didn’t stand to me seems to be purely resources – Bega and Strathfield were the much higher priorities.

  25. High street, I think what LJ Davidson is saying is that there were over 50% of people voting pre poll or postal at the by election. These voters generally will cast a ballot without receiveing a htv card.

    Therefore whether a party recommends preferences or not will make little difference to the result.

  26. Mick quinlivan, Epping ward in Parramatta council had a smaller field of candidates, only labor and Lorraine Wearne’s group of independents. Had there been more groups, labor would not have won 2 seats.

  27. Based on the 2pp of 55.5% to LIB in the postals counted so far, I estimate that Tim James will finish up with a 2CP of around 53.8%.

    This means a 2CP swing against LIB in Willoughby of around 17% – comparable for other northern Sydney by-elections in recent decades.

    Tim will have a year to campaign like crazy and gather up some of that “sophomore swing” to help buffer himself in 2023. Let’s see how he goes.

  28. Perhaps a comparison could be the North Shore by-election 2017. In that situation, Felicity Wilson won narrowly against a local independent, Carolyn Corrigan (winning margin was 4-5%, comparable with Tim James’ 53-54% two party vote).

    In the subsequent general election (2019), Felicity Wilson increased her margin up to about 10%, still safe but not as strong as the 15-20% margin normally recorded for that seat.

  29. A very reasonable analogy Yoh An – with the only variable being that 2023 could be a change-of-government election in NSW. The change will either be 2023 or 2027.

  30. @Nicholas, another asinine comment? Seriously? Give it a rest.

    One thing that Tim James has done is outperform Gladys at the first attempt at the seat. Back in 2003, when Gladys took over as Liberal Candidate after the retirement of Peter Collins, she went within 144 votes of losing the seat to Pat Reilly. At this stage, he has already outperformed that result substantially. Furthermore, Tim James has outperformed Gladys in 2003 on FPV % and is within a thousand votes of outperforming her FPV.

    It should be noted that the very next election saw normality return with Gladys earning a 13.5 FPV Swing, meaning that she won the seat on Primaries.

    It was always going to a case of getting through the first vote and now that the result looks all but over, the question will then be what kind of swing will Tim James achieve at the election next year.

  31. How is that an “asinine” comment? You are so sensitive about your own partisan interests that you cannot even see the point I am making.

    It is acknowledged even by those within the Liberal Party that candidate choice was a factor in the large swing. This was not a factor in the North Shore by-election, despite a similar result there. It is to the credit of the Liberal Party, or perhaps to the discredit of other candidates, that the result in Willoughby was not worse than that in North Shore despite the preselection issues. This result for the Liberal Party is not as bad as many are making it out to be.

  32. Good point Nicholas. It would appear that Hawkeye’s favourite word is ‘asinine” as he referred to a comment from John T as asinine as well. He is a very biased commentator.

  33. Gladys was facing a popular high profile local independent in her first election, Tim James faced no one. I don’t think people outside the electorate realise just how non existent the campaign was. Penn more than tripled her vote without doing a thing and the issue she’s campaigning on hasn’t changed since the last election. A quarter of the electorate didn’t just wake up and think ‘wow, that tunnel, it’s really bad’.

    In the full state election Penn will have a lot more budget and now has a much higher profile so she can actually run a campaign. More importantly, she now knows that she actually can win so she has a year to broaden her platform and appeal to get the attention of the voters in the north of the electorate. Tim James however has to win over larges chunks of an electorate that fundamentally doesn’t like him and doesn’t believe he represents their views, I think that’s going to be a much harder sell.

  34. I would agree somewhat with Nicholas and Greg C, Larissa Penn wasn’t a high profile independent compared to Pat Reilly or Carolyn Corrigan, who were both mayors or long serving local councillors when they ran as candidates. A better comparison would be to Gail Gidney, another long serving local mayor.

    I dont agree with Toppo’s point that Hawkeye is biased. He and hughie are probably well versed in the outgoings of local Liberal branches and can better read the actual feel of candidates compared to what is published in media sources. I noticed from some sources that Perrottet, whilst he hails from the religious right faction, actually tried to persuade PM Morrison to drop the controversial Religious Discrimination bill, or at least postpone it until after the election.

  35. GregC

    “”Tim James however has to win over larges chunks of an electorate that fundamentally doesn’t like him and doesn’t believe he represents their views, I think that’s going to be a much harder sell.””

    This comment is PURE conjecture, Hyperbola, speculation. I am a Willoughby voter & their is virtually no evidence for your statement . OTH i suspect that a great deal of sectarian & other prejudices underly your views,. Try to do better than this lad

    Yoh AN
    Wonderful incisive comment
    well done
    cheers wd

  36. As always, Yoh An is on the money here. It’s great to see there are some people here who can see with what is going on.

    @Toppo – I use it where it applies and yours is another one to add to the collection. If you want to accuse someone of blatant partisanship, go right ahead. But as Yoh An has demonstrated, I bring strong understanding of Liberal Process and rumblings into this discussion with a basis of making it directly relevant. You, on the other hand, have contributed nothing.

    @Nicholas – IMO, Felicity Wilson should consider herself lucky to still be the member for North Shore, given that she held on by 1 vote in the round of preselections leading up to the 2019 State Election against Tim James, after it was found that she falsified her Stat Dec about where she lived. I don’t even think the results are that bad either. I think Tim James did ok, all things considered. Granted, the profile of the Independents weren’t that high compared to Pat Reilly but these are by-elections. Strange things always happen in by-elections.

    @GregC – I don’t know how many times this has to be re-iterated but Tim James won a primary-style pre-selection, not a started pre-selection made up of a local and a central component. This was 100% local preselection where every local member had a vote. Given this is a safe seat, it is a pretty good indication of where it was going to go. Your hammering about Tim James not being “A Local” and not being liked in the community is laughable, given that he grew up in Artarmon and currently lives in Mosman, a block away from the border. As WD said, what do you base your opinion on? FYI, I’m not a Willoughby Voter but live on the other side of Roseville Bridge from Willoughby and worked in the area as well.

    Regardless of which, the result has been essentially called. It is highly unlikely he loses from here.

  37. Hawkeye, I see that the preselection contest for Willoughby could be considered as a ‘closed’ primary. In the US, only registered party members are able to vote in these primary elections.

    If the contest was conducted as an ‘open’ primary, where both registered party members and the general public (regardless of party registration) could vote, then Gail Gidney would be favoured to win as she was considered more popular among the general public compared to just those who are registered Liberals.

    Still, this preselection contest was fairer than having a candidate unilaterally endorsed by just the party executive.

  38. @hawkeye
    I have not ever said that Tim isn’t a local nor have I said anything about the validity of his preselection. I haven’t said anything about that as he’s clearly local enough, for example he’s more local than Gladys was, and I’m aware that the pre selection was run entirely properly and was a vote by the local members. So you’re welcome to disagree with me but please give me the courtesy of disagreeing with something I’ve actually written, not something that you’re imagining.

    @winediamond
    I’m basing my view that Tim James isn’t popular on two things. First is the dog park conversations with locals, fair or not generally people have a negative opinion of him. The second thing would be the big swing against him in the election even though he didn’t actually face any opposition and the general view is that the state liberals have done a decent job over the last couple of years. I was quite surprised with the size of the swing against him, it was much bigger than what I expected and I think says a lot about about how the electorate views him.

    But basically my point is that I disagree that this was his toughest election, I expect next years full state election will be harder because he will actually face competition.

  39. GregC
    Thank for your reply
    1/ I think your “dog park” conversations are founded on the basis that he is replacing a much respected long term member. There would always be doubt, negativity, & apprehension, about anyone new.
    2/ As has been pointed out frequently the result is similar to Glady’s in 2003. I would mention that i NEVER voted for Gladys. This area is quite volatile like that. Has something to do with the above average intelligence of the residents !!.
    3/ I think you are quite wrong about liberal prospects in 2023, although i would like Chris Minns as the next premier.
    cheers wd

  40. If you compare this by election to Wentworth, where the electorate were hopping mad at the Liberal Party, and Sharma faced a well funded and very well publicized and serious independent campaign, the swing was about 19%. Here, with an independent nobody knows who barely campaigned, the swing was 17%. Sharma barely won it back on a nationwide swing to the Libs, and he’s certainly in hot water now. Far be it from me to coax the Liberal Party out of complacency but I’d be pretty worried if I were Tim James.

  41. @GregC – As WD correctly pointed out, he is replacing a relatively popular local member, who would have built up a strong personal vote. Furthermore, your “Dog Park” Conversations are annecdotal, at best and shows that you do suffer from a strong Confirmation Bias. I also believe that, using 2007 as an example of when Pat Reilly ran against Gladys the 2nd time around, her Primary Vote bounced back to where it was when Peter Collins was the member. Tim James won’t have as much time and the Liberal Party is not on the ascendancy, unlike in 2007. But he should, on paper, receive a bounce.

    @FL – Comparing Wentworth to Willoughby is not a good comparison for a number of reasons:
    1. Demographics – Wentworth is not the safe seat that it used to be anymore and you can see that with the performance of the relative State Seats. Vaucluse is still uber safe but Coogee is a swing seat, leaning Labor and Sydney has been held by left-leaning independents for around 30 years. For the Liberal Party to continue winning Wentworth, they need to absolutely run a number up in the Vaucluse Section and then pick off the swing sections through to Bondi and Paddington
    2. Look at the situation – Turnbull was driven out by his own party at a Federal Level as leader, while Gladys was forced to resign as a result of ICAC. Both liable to result with electors coming out with baseball bats but I daresay that there would be a bigger backlash to Turnbull being driven out by his own party as opposed to Gladys falling on her sword.
    3. Where did the candidates come from – David Sharma was originally North Shore and then moved into the Eastern Suburbs, whilst Tim James is Born-And-Bred North Shore. The parachuting of Sharma into Eastern Suburbs isn’t on the same basis as when the Liberal Party attempted to run Paul Nicoulau in Pittwater (who was based in Lane Cove) after the resignation of John Brogden, but it isn’t exactly the best look either.

    There is a 2nd round of postal vote counting to occur today, with the last one scheduled for this Monday. On these trends, Tim James will likely end up at 55% TCP.

  42. Hi everyone – fascinating reading. Love the WD comment about the “above average intelligence of the residents !!”. But sorry Hawkeye_au – across the Roseville bridge doesn’t count!!!

    Do any of the Liberal party insiders here give credence to the theory that GGG already has the numbers lined up to topple James in the next pre-selection? Surprised everyone on here is assuming Tim James will win when they line up to do it all again.

    On the by election result, Penn did well, but lets remember the ALP did not stand – it would seem about half of them switched to Penn with the rest scattering to Reason and Sustainable Australia. The Greens on the other hand, have gone no where – and their result doesn’t justify any theories that they are now the natural home of non LIB voters on the North Shore

  43. This is interesting stuff and I will try to continue to add value to the conversation.

    First, my understanding is that this swing on 2pp is very much in line with other north shore state seats over recent decades, when the Liberals don’t face the ALP in a by-election and it’s just Greens and independents.

    The difference at the election will be, I imagine, facing a Labor candidate. Labor will run a candidate for the LC vote and to pick up the public funding that comes from its usual 15% of the vote. That will affect Penn’s share of the vote in 2023 and dilute the preference flow via exhaustion.

    Second, Tim is one of the most focused, driven people I have ever come across in politics. He’s a bit like a cross between the Terminator and a Duracell bunny (does that date me?) He never lets go, and never lets up. I think this is why when his critics see him on the Drum consistently sticking closely to the Liberal line (remember, he has worked for a thinktank affiliated to the Liberal Party) they interpret that as ideological intensity, whereas really he is just sticking to the script.

    This will manifest itself with him now as the MP, by going to the opening of an envelope over the next twelve months and will be everywhere, with everyone. I think this will help him earn something of a sophomore swing.

    The local Party has no real expectations of what Tim will be like as the local MP – it has no real memory of its MP not being a very senior frontbencher (Collins, then Berejiklian) so the wood will be on him to demonstrate his value as a first-term backbencher.

  44. The key point here is Willoughby is not guaranteed for the liberals so they need to expend resources which would have been better used elsewhere eg the 6% margin seats. The teals realise that a win is possible so they will try harder.

  45. I would be astonished if Gail Giles-Gidney sought Liberal preselection again for Willoughby. Tim James has of course offered a precedent for her to do so, given he challenged Felicity Wilson for preselection in North Shore prior to the 2019 state election. Nonetheless, I think she found the contest very different and much harder than she thought it would be. Local government is different.

    The preselection ballot was also the first vote she has lost in politics. Often, operatives lose a ballot, are blooded and learn lessons, and come back again for more. I doubt Gail will want to do that. She’s at a different life stage, and wants for nothing. She won’t want to submit to it.

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