Bayside council election, 2017

Bayside Council covers suburbs immediately to the south-west of the Sydney city centre. The council is bounded by Botany Bay to the east, the Georges River to the south and the Cooks River to the north. The council covers the suburbs of Arncliffe, Banksmeadow, Bexley, Botany, Eastgardens, Mascot, Pagewood, Rockdale and Sans Souci. The new council had a population of about 153,000 as of 2014.

Council amalgamations
Bayside Council replaced the former Botany Bay and Rockdale councils. These two former councils were separated by the Cooks River and Sydney Airport.

Rockdale Council covered the western half of the new council, to the west of the Cooks River. Rockdale Council had a population of 108,000 as of 2014.

Botany Bay Council covers the eastern half of the new council, to the east of the Cooks River, covering suburbs on the northern shore of Botany Bay, including Port Botany. Botany Bay Council had a population of 45,000 as of 2014.

Bayside is divided into five wards, with each ward electing three councillors.

Bexley ward covers western parts of the council, including parts of Bexley, Kogarah and Carlton.

Botany Bay ward covers those suburbs along the western shoreline of Botany Bay, including Sans Souci and Brighton-le-Sands.

Mascot ward straddles the centre of the council, covering Arncliffe, Mascot and Sydney Airport.

Port Botany ward covers the eastern edge of the council, including Botany, Banksmeadow, Pagewood and Eastmeadows.

Rockdale ward covers the north-western corner of the council, including Bexley North, Bardwell Park and parts of Bexley and Rockdale.

History – Botany Bay
Botany Bay Council has been historically dominated by Labor. As a small council, Botany Bay remained under total Labor domination long after Greens, independents and Liberals began to chip away at Labor’s power in other inner-city councils.

Ron Hoenig served as the Labor mayor of Botany Bay for over thirty years from 1981 until 2012, when he stepped down to run successfully for the state seat of Heffron. Hoenig was unopposed in his last few mayoral election campaigns. The data is not available to know if he faced opposition in earlier campaigns.

Prior to 2012, Botany Bay council was elected to represent three wards, with each ward electing two councillors. The election law of the time required a special voting system to be used for two-member wards. Rather than proportional representation, the voting system used preferences to reallocate the votes of the winning candidate to remaining candidates at full value to decide who would fill the second seat. In practice this meant both seats would go to candidates on the same ticket.

In 2004, Labor won all six seats on the council, as well as the mayoralty. The mayoral election, and one of the ward elections, were unopposed.

There was no opposition to Labor in 2008, and they won all seven seats.

An election law change prior to the 2012 election mandated that two-member wards would be elected using proportional representation – which would have meant a party polling one-third of the total would have won half the seats in a ward, significantly disadvantaging the majority Labor faction. The council changed the system so that the council consisted of six one-member wards, and thus ensuring that majority vote would decide every seat. This was the last remaining council in Sydney elected using single-member wards.

There was more opposition to Labor in 2012 – they faced a contested ballot for four of six wards, as well as the mayoralty, but they won every seat easily. The mayoralty went to Ben Keneally, husband of former NSW premier Kristina Keneally. This council continued until the council was abolished in 2016.

History – Rockdale
Like many suburban councils, Rockdale council has traditionally elected Labor mayors but without the sort of domination seen in Botany Bay council. Prior to the council’s abolition, it consisted of 15 councillors, elected to represent five three-member wards.

The 2004 election produced a result of 5 Liberal, 5 Labor, 4 independents and one Green. The mayoralty in the 2004-2008 term was shared between Labor’s Shaoquett Moselmane and Bill Saravinovski and the Liberal Party’s John Flowers.

The 2008 election produced a repeat result. Labor monopolised the mayoralty in that term, with Saravinovski serving three terms and Moselmane serving one.

The Liberal Party gained ground in 2012, winning a sixth seat in the Fifth Ward off an independent, while another independent replaced the Greens councillor in the Third Ward. Despite holding six seats, the Liberal Party was unable to take power. Three of the four independents sided with Labor, electing Labor’s Shane O’Brien as mayor with independent Liz Barlow as deputy.

O’Brien was re-elected in 2013 and 2014, with Bill Saravinovski elected as the final mayor of Rockdale in 2015.

Candidate summary
The Labor and Liberal parties are both running full tickets across the Bayside council.

Three of Labor’s lead candidates were members of the former councils: former Rockdale councillors Joe Awada and Bill Saravinovski are running in the Bexley and Rockdale wards, while former Botany Bay councillor Christina Curry is running in Port Botany ward. Ed McDougall and Tarek Ibrahim are leading the Labor teams in the Botany Bay and Mascot wards.

Former Rockdale councillors Ron Bezic, Michael Nagi, Paul Sedrak and Petros Kalligas are leading the Liberal teams in their respective wards, while Vicki Poulos is leading the Liberal team in the Botany Bay ward.

The three other independent Rockdale councillors are all running for re-election. Liz Barlow and Mark Hanna are running as a team in Bexley ward, while James Macdonald is running in Botany Bay ward.

Two other independent teams are running: Louis Tzortzis in Botany Bay and Andrew Tsouni in Rockdale.

The Greens are running teams in two wards, led by Greta Werner in Mascot ward and Peter Strong in Rockdale ward.

There are no grouped independents running in the Mascot ward, and no grouped independents or Greens in Port Botany ward.

The full candidate list is at the bottom of this guide.

Even when you account for the lack of serious opposition in the Botany Bay council area, Labor is the dominant party in this new council, and are likely to lead the new council.

Labor and Liberal should win at least one seat in every ward. The remaining seat will be a contest between the two major parties, independents and Greens.

There is no minor party challenger in Port Botany ward, so one of the major parties (likely Labor) will win that seat, in the most Labor-friendly ward. There is also no independent running in the Mascot ward. While there’s a small chance the Greens could win that seat, it seems likely Labor will also win that seat.

That gives Labor seven out of fifteen seats, so they would need to win a second seat in one of the three western wards to get a majority.

Sitting independents are running in the Bexley and Botany Bay wards, and the Liberal Party also stands a decent chance of winning a second seat in Botany Bay ward. The third-party challenge is weakest in the Rockdale ward, with both major parties in with a shot of winning the third seat.

2012 council result

PartyVotes%% where contested
Labor 25,61240.740.7
Liberal 18,09828.836.8
Botany Bay independents3,2645.231.1
Liz Barlow2,6714.228.4
Greens 2,6624.216.7
Michael Nagi2,3563.723.0
Mark Hanna2,2013.522.5
James Macdonald2,0183.220.9
Vesna Tenodi1,2051.911.8
Prem Singh9081.49.6
Rami Abdallah8441.38.4
Kerry Koliadis7351.27.8
George Saravinovski3310.53.3

Ward breakdown – federal
The former Botany Bay council never had properly competitive elections. The ALP was unopposed in two wards, and in the other four only faced opposition from Greens or independents. So the federal results can give a better sense of support across the new council when there is a full ticket of candidates.

Labor polled a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in four out of five areas in 2016, polling 56-8% in Bexley and Rockdale to 63-64% in Mascot and Port Botany. The Liberal Party won just over 54% in Botany Bay.

On a primary-vote basis, both parties polled easily enough to win one seat in each ward. Labor topped the poll in four out of five wards.

2013 federal election

Botany Bay44.636.648.45.29.8
Port Botany55.747.

2016 federal election

Botany Bay45.737.547.26.39.0
Port Botany63.655.

Ward breakdown – 2012 council results
I have also broken down 2012 council election results by ward. As mentioned above, there was no voting in wards 1 and 5 of Botany Bay council. Ward 1 is now contained in the Port Botany ward, while Ward 5 is split between Mascot and Port Botany. In the remainder of Botany Bay council, Labor only faced opposition from independents or Greens, with no Liberal candidates.

Labor was the only party to run across the entire council area. The Greens contested two Botany Bay wards and one Rockdale ward, while the Liberal Party contested every ward in Rockdale but no wards in Botany Bay.

The vote for Labor varied widely from 30% in Bexley to over 67% in Port Botany (in places only opposed by a single independent). The Liberal vote peaked at 45.8% in Botany Bay.

Botany Bay31.945.85.3217.0
Port Botany67.30.00.2232.5

1 The Liberal Party did not stand for Botany Bay Council, and polled 31.2% in those parts of the new Mascot ward previously contained in Rockdale Council.
2 The Greens only stood candidates in three out of nine contested wards across the two councils. Counting only votes in parts of each ward which the Greens contested, they polled 12.4% in Bexley, 14.4% in Botany Bay, 18.5% in Mascot, 11.5% in (a tiny part of) Port Botany and 14.2% in Rockdale.

Election results in Bayside at the 2012 council election
Click on the ‘visible layers’ box to toggle between primary votes for the Labor and Liberal parties.

Candidates – Bexley ward

  • A – Independent
    1. Liz Barlow
    2. Mark Hanna
    3. Ying Xu
  • B – Labor
    1. Joe Awada
    2. Nada Haidar
    3. Kelly Sakr
  • C – Liberal
    1. Ron Bezic
    2. David D’Amato
    3. Louise Fraser

Candidates – Botany Bay ward

  • A – Labor
    1. Ed McDougall
    2. Eva Millington
    3. Chris Donovan
  • B – Independent
    1. James Macdonald
    2. Sallianne Faulkner
    3. Andrew Pandelis
  • C – Independent
    1. Louis Tzortzis
    2. Stephen Borg
    3. Barbara Martin
  • D – Liberal
    1. Vicki Poulos
    2. Dorette Varvaris
    3. Nada Abdallah

Candidates – Mascot ward

  • A – Labor
    1. Tarek Ibrahim
    2. Dorothy Rapisardi
    3. Greg Mitchell
  • B – Greens
    1. Greta Werner
    2. Bec Dean
    3. Scott Yandell
  • C – Liberal
    1. Michael Nagi
    2. Ali Jaafar
    3. Keer (Amy) Xu
  • Ungrouped
    • Allan Warren

Candidates – Port Botany ward

  • A – Labor
    1. Christina Curry
    2. Scott Morrissey
    3. Jo Jansyn
  • B – Liberal
    1. Paul Sedrak
    2. Janette Brennan
    3. Patricia Kalligas
  • Ungrouped
    • John Heffernan

Candidates – Rockdale ward

  • A – Independent
    1. Andrew Tsouni
    2. Carla Cascio
    3. Joe Russo
  • B – Liberal
    1. Petros Kalligas
    2. Vinko Bezic
    3. Ritsa Bezic
  • C – Greens
    • Peter Strong
    • Ruby Werner
    • Judith Fritsche
  • D – Labor
    1. Bill Saravinovski
    2. Louay Moustapha
    3. Susan Gough


  1. Great analysis of the old and new councils!

    It was a close Rockdale election in 2012. Labor got 5, Libs 6 and Ind 4. As you say, 3 of the IND – Barlow, Nagi and MacDonald sided with Labor who gained control of council. MacDonald was elected only by 78 votes over the Libs, after preferences, in the old Rockdale fifth ward. If Libs had won two positions in this fifth ward then Hanna probably would have sided with Libs who would have gained council control.

    For this 2017 Bayside election, my forecast is as follows:

    Botany Bay ward – 1 or 2 Libs and 1 Labor and 0 or 1 IND
    Rockdale ward – 1 Lib, 1 Labor and 1 IND Hanna
    Bexley ward – 1 Lib, 1 Labor and 1 IND Barlow
    Mascot ward – 1 Lib, 1 Labor and 1 IND (Nagi or other)
    Port Botany ward – 1 Lib, 1 Labor and 1 IND

    That gives 5 Lib, 5 Lab and 5 IND or
    6 Lib, 5 Lab and 4 IND

    The odds are that Lab will form a coalition with the INDs again but if Libs win 6 again and they can get two IND on side then Lib will gain council control.

    The Liberal and Labor parties are not popular and good quality independent candidates could secure 5 councillor positions.

    The recent resignation of Randwick Mayor Noel D’Souza from the Labor Party could make it difficult for Labor to get more than 1 councillor position in the Port Botany ward. Noel will be running as an IND for Randwick council elections.

    Noel will probably run in the South Ward of Randwick adjacent to Bayside’s Port Botany ward. He may even encourage a strong independent to run in Port Botany ward.

  2. Given that ICAC has just found the old Botany Bay Council acted corruptly issuing $5m in bogus invoices, I’m not sure that Labor will remain dominant on the new Bayside Council. “Local Government Minister Gabrielle Upton laid the blame for the council’s mismanagement at the feet of the Labor party which held a political stranglehold on the since-merged council for decades.”

  3. Thanks for a great summary!

    Our group is non-partisan, though most of our members are Labor supporters. We just wanted to post to counter a claim from an earlier poster. While the actions of a few employees of our Council were appalling, most of our community understands that the conduct of a few criminals doesn’t represent the otherwise fine record of an institution that stood for more than a hundred years. For us in Botany Bay the single biggest issue is this amalgamation which – as you pointed out – united two areas with nothing in common. Our view and that of our supporters is that committing to de-amalgamation is the first and only yardstick for measuring potential candidates. Since the amalgamation our community has also been mistreated – with false claims made about our former Council by a Liberal appointed administrator, a massive reduction in services, relocation of local employees, sale of assets and proposed sale of local properties, etc. Most people in our area have come to see this is a Rockdale takeover with services being run out of Rockdale by Rockdale people.

    At this point, it looks like some – though not all – Labor candidates are willing to endorse that position. The Greens have also endorsed that position – though all of their candidates come from the Rockdale side so its hard for us to endorse them.

    All in all, our community has been mistreated appallingly. It’s difficult to imagine the Liberals, who haven’t even bothered to endorse a *single* local, will do very well in either Ward.

  4. I find no party appealing, at least in the Port Botany Ward.

    The previous local council was [potentially defamatory accusations deleted]. It was that council which also approved mass development of Mascot and may be on it’s way into Botany. So there are pretty significant mixed messages coming out of the Labor party.

    I find the obsession with de-amalgamation bizarre. The state of the local area was terrible beforehand and I have found the amalgamation has made the area better with services returning to better than what they were before once the teething problems were sorted out. I do find it troubling that not one of the Liberal candidates even reside in the area. Presumably they knew it wasn’t even going to be a contest so they didn’t even bother.

    Upsetting that a Greens candidate couldn’t be found and we have one independent.

    All in all it’s rather pathetic.

    At least the amalgamations seems to be working.

  5. It IS a takeover by Rockdale. It is appalling that there appear to be no candidates representing Mascot ward or Port Botany ward that actually live here. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    As for removing the fence at Mascot Oval – that is stupid. Leave the fence intact and simply open the existing gates during daylight hours. Lock it at night (say after 8pm) to reduce anti-social behaviour. And make the oval a dog-friendly, off-lead area, safely enclosed by the existing fences to service the rapidly growing numbers of dogs that are otherwise locked in the many new units being built.


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