Inner West council election, 2017

The Inner West council covers suburbs immediately to the west of the Sydney city centre. The council is bounded by the Cooks River in the south and is bounded by Sydney Harbour and the Parramatta River in the north, on the shoreline of the Balmain peninsula. The council covers the suburbs of Annandale, Ashfield, Balmain, Dulwich Hill, Enmore, Haberfield, Leichhardt, Lilyfield, Marrickville, Petersham, Rozelle, Stanmore, St Peters, Summer Hill, Sydenham, Tempe and parts of Croydon, Camperdown and Newtown. The council as a whole has a population of about 186,000 as of 2014.

Council amalgamations
The Inner West Council replaced the former Ashfield, Marrickville and Leichhardt councils.

Marrickville Council covered those suburbs in the south-eastern corner of the new council, bounded by Parramatta Road to the north and Old Canterbury Road to the west. Marrickville Council had a population of about 83,000 as of 2014.

Leichhardt Council covers those suburbs in the north-eastern corner of the new council, including the Balmain peninsula and bounded by Parramatta Road to the south. Leichhardt Council had a population of about 58,000 as of 2014.

Ashfield Council covers those suburbs in the west of the new council, and had a population of about 44,000 in 2014.

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

Ashfield ward covers the south-western corner of the council, including Dulwich Hill, Summer Hill and southern parts of Ashfield. The ward is bounded by Wardell Road to the south-east, by the light rail line and Parramatta Road to the north-east, and the north-eastern boundary (which divides the suburb of Ashfield) runs along the railway line.

Balmain ward covers the northernmost part of the council, including all of the peninsula of the same name. The ward covers the suburbs of Balmain, Rozelle, Lilyfield and the northern parts of Annandale. The ward’s southern boundary runs along Booth St, Moore St, Balmain Road and the City West Link.

Leichhardt ward covers those suburbs on the north side of Parramatta Road, as well as northern parts of Ashfield. The ward covers the suburbs of Haberfield, Leichhardt and parts of Ashfield and Annandale. The border runs through Annandale along Moore St and Booth St, while Ashfield is split along the railway line.

Marrickville ward covers the south-eastern corner of the council, including Marrickville, St Peters, Sydenham and Tempe. The ward is bounded by Wardell Road to the west, Newington Road to the north and Edgware Road and Wells St to the north-east.

Stanmore ward covers the the centre of the council, and its eastern edge. The ward covers the suburbs of Enmore, Lewisham, Petersham, Stanmore and those parts of Camperdown and Newtown to the west of King Street.

History – Ashfield
Ashfield council was traditionally dominated by Labor, but since the 1990s the party has suffered losses. Labor held the mayoralty continuously from 1972 until 1991, and again from 1997 until 2006.

Labor held five seats at the 1999 election, and they worked with three independents to run the council in that term.

The 2004 election saw Labor hold on to four seats – one in each ward. The Greens won three seats, and the Liberal Party won two. Three independents were re-elected – Ted Cassidy, Caroline Stott and Monica Wangmann.

Labor’s Rae Desmond Jones held the mayoralty for the first two years of that term, and handed over in 2006 to independent Ted Cassidy.

The 2008 election saw a repeat result, with the parties holding their numbers and the three independents winning re-election. Cassidy continued as mayor for five straight years until 2011, when he was succeeded by the Greens’ Lyall Kennedy.

The 2012 election saw a shift. Greens councillor Marc Rerceretnam and Liberal councillor Morris Mansour both ran as independents – Mansour was elected, Rerceretnam was not. The Greens lost all of their seats, while Labor and Liberal won four seats each. Mansour was the fourth independent elected, alongside the three who were elected in 2004 and 2008.

Mansour became mayor immediately after the 2012 election, despite opposition from his former party. In 2013, Mansour was succeeded by Labor’s Lucille McKenna, who held the mayoralty until the council was sacked in 2016.

History – Leichhardt
Leichhardt, like its neighbours, was traditionally dominated by the Labor Party, but at a local level the ALP was usually under threat from centre-left competitors. This included Nick Origlass, who served as mayor in the early 1970s and late 1980s, and Larry Hand, who held the mayoralty for an entire council term from 1991 to 1995. Hand’s mayoralty was captured in the documentary ‘Rats in the Ranks’, and both Hand and Origlass were former ALP members.

After Hand’s four-year term as mayor, community independent Maire Sheehan served as mayor from 1995 until 1996, followed by Labor’s Kris Cruden from 1996 until 1999. Sheehan held the mayoralty for the entirety of the 1999-2004 term.

The 2004 election saw a boom in support for the Greens. Labor and the Greens each won four seats (one in each ward) along with two Liberals and two independents: Carolyn Allen and Maire Sheehan. Labor, Liberal and the independents shared power during the 2004-2008 term, with Labor’s Alice Murphy serving two terms, and the Liberal Party’s Nick Dyer serving as the council’s first Liberal mayor from 2005 to 2006 and independent Carolyn Allen serving as mayor from 2007 until the 2008 election.

The Greens gained further ground at the 2008 election, winning six out of twelve seats on the council, thanks to second seats won in the Annandale and Leichhardt wards. Greens-friendly independent John Stamolis was elected in the Balmain ward, giving the Greens a stable working majority on the council. There were also two Labor councillors and three Liberal councillors.

The Greens’ Jamie Parker became mayor in 2008, and held the role until he resigned in 2011 after his election as state member for Balmain. He was succeeded by Rochelle Porteous.

There was a swing back to Labor and Liberal in 2012. The three main parties each won four seats, with each ward splitting three ways between Labor, Greens and Liberal. A Labor-Liberal alliance locked the Greens out of power in the first year of the term, with Labor’s Darcy Byrne becoming mayor, but after that first year Labor and the Greens agreed to share the mayoralty. Byrne served as mayor for a second year, with Porteous returning as mayor for a year from 2014 to 2015. Darcy Byrne returned to the mayoralty in 2015 and held the position until the council was sacked in 2016.

Liberal councillor Melinda Manikas, who represented the Balmain area, died in early 2014, triggering a by-election. The by-election was won by returning independent councillor John Stamolis.

History – Marrickville
Labor had traditionally dominated Marrickville council, holding the mayoralty from the early 1950s until 2004. Most recently, the mayoralty was held by Barry Cotter from 1991 until 2004.

The 1999 election elected seven Labor councillors, alongside two Greens councillors, one No Aircraft Noise councillor and two independents: Dmitri Thanos and Morris Hanna. The council was divided into three wards, with four councillors elected per ward. That No Aircraft Noise councillor (Sylvia Hale) went on to join the Greens while sitting on council and ended up sitting as a Greens member of the upper house.

Prior to the 2004 election, the Labor council majority changed the voting system so that the council was divided into four wards, with three councillors elected per ward, seemingly with the expectation that this would make it harder for the Greens to win second seats in any wards.

The 2004 election instead saw Labor lose ground to the Greens and independents. The Greens won five seats (thanks to a second seat in the Newtown-based North ward) and Labor won only four. The remaining three were won by independents Thanos, Hanna and Victor Macri.

The Greens and independents formed a governing alliance in 2004, with Morris Hanna becoming mayor. He was succeeded in 2005 by Greens mayor Sam Byrne.

This governing alliance soon broke down, with independents Hanna and Macri siding with Labor over the Greens and Dimitri Thanos. This produced a 6-6 split on the council, which would result in the mayoralty being decided by names being drawn out of a box (hat-draw).

Hanna became mayor in 2006 with the support of Labor, defeating Thanos (supported by the Greens) by hat-draw. Thanos came back and won the mayoralty in 2007.

The 2008 election saw a repeat result, with the Greens holding their five seats, Labor holding four, and the three independents winning re-election. The random hat-draw continued to decide the mayoralty until 2012, with Labor’s Sam Iskandar winning for two years, followed by the Greens’ Fiona Byrne and finally independent Morris Hanna.

The 2012 election was a strong result for the Liberal Party, who won two seats. Independent councillor Dimitri Thanos retired, and the Greens lost their fifth seat.

An alliance of Labor, Liberal and independent councillors decided the mayoralty, which first went to independent Victor Macri, followed by Labor’s Jo Haylen. In the third year, the mayoralty went to Mark Gardiner, a former member of the Liberal Party who had become an independent, and finally Labor’s Sam Iskandar returned to the mayoralty in late 2015, holding the position until the council was abolished in 2016.

Labor councillor Emanuel Tsardoulias died in 2014, and his seat was filled at a by-election by Labor’s Daniel Barbar.

Candidate summary
Labor, the Greens and the Liberal Party are all running full tickets across the five wards.

Four of Labor’s five lead candidates were members of the councils right up until they were sacked last year: Mark Drury in Ashfield, Darcy Byrne in Balmain, Lucille McKenna in Leichhardt and Sam Iskandar in Marrickville. Three of these councillors served as the last mayors of their respective councils.

Only one of the Greens’ five lead candidates was a member of the previous councils: Rochelle Porteous in Balmain. Marrickville candidate Colin Hesse served on the council of the same name from 2004 to 2008.

Former Ashfield councillors Julie Passas and Vittoria Raciti are heading the Liberal teams in the Ashfield and Leichhardt wards.

At least one independent team is running in each ward – most can be classified as being clearly left-leaning or right-leaning. Right-leaning former independent councillors Morris Mansour and Vic Macri are running for the Ashfield and Marrickville wards respectively.

Left-leaning former Leichhardt councillor John Stamolis is leading a team in the Balmain ward. Left-leaning independent Victoria Pye is running in the Marrickville ward, while left-leaning independent Pauline Lockie (prominent in the anti-Westconnex campaign) is running in the Stanmore ward. I haven’t found much information about independent James Gilronan, who is running in Stanmore ward.

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

The Inner West election will primarily be a contest between Labor and the Greens. The Liberal Party came a close third in 2012 thanks to a surge in support across the council area, but that vote is likely to slip backwards.

Labor and the Greens are likely to win one seat each in the five wards, with the five remaining seats up for grabs. The Greens are strongest in Balmain and Stanmore and may have ambitions of winning additional seats in those areas. Labor’s best chance for a sixth seat would likely come in Ashfield or Marrickville. The Liberal Party did best in Ashfield, Leichhardt and Balmain and may well win a seat in those wards.

Independents held numerous seats on the former councils: two were elected in Marrickville in 2012, alongside four in Ashfield, while independent John Stamolis represented Balmain from 2008 to 2012 and from 2014 to 2016.

The dynamics of the Marrickville and Leichhardt councils will likely dictate the dynamics of the new council – Labor and the Greens will form opposing major parties and control of the council will depend on who else is elected. Former independent councillors Mansour and Macri will definitely side with Labor, while Stamolis traditionally sided with the Greens. It would be unwise to predict how independents Pauline Lockie, Victoria Pye and John Lozano would side on a new council, but they seem more open to working with the Greens than most recent independents at least in the Marrickville ward.

This campaign can be defined by who is in contention for the third seat in each ward.

Ashfield ward is the weakest part of the council for the Greens, but they should still win a seat. If so, the last seat will be a race between right-wing independent Morris Mansour, Liberal Julie Passas and second Labor candidate Chrisanthi Giotis.

Balmain ward is a strong area for the Greens. The area is relatively strong for the Liberal Party, and they may well pick up enough votes to win the third seat. Their main competition will likely come from left-leaning independent John Stamolis.

Leichhardt ward is another strong area for the Liberal Party, covering conservative Haberfield. The most likely outcome is one seat each for Labor, Liberal and Greens, although independent John Lozano is untested and could win if he can get ahead of the Liberal candidate.

Marrickville is a very weak area for the Liberal Party and they are unlikely to be a threat – the conservative vote should favour former independent mayor Vic Macri. This ward is very strong for Labor and they could potentially win a second seat, and there’s a small chance that left-leaning independent Victoria Pye could poll well and win the seat.

Stanmore ward is the strongest part of the council for the Greens. The third seat will likely fall to left-leaning independent Pauline Lockie or the second Greens candidate. Lockie occupies a lot of the same space as the Greens and may well take away votes that would otherwise go to the Greens. There is a chance that the final seat could fall to the second Labor candidate.

2012 council result

PartyVotes%% where contested
Labor 28,75630.730.7
Greens 25,72527.529.0
Liberal 20,84522.322.3
Marrickville independents4,6104.922.6
John Stamolis1,5991.724.8
Ted Cassidy1,5731.730.5
Morris Mansour1,3841.513.5
Monica Wangmann1,3791.526.6
Caroline Stott1,2391.324.7
Marc Rerceretnam9311.018.5
Sergio Redegalli5700.65.7
Socialist Alliance3910.43.9

Ward breakdown – federal
Since there are different factors in each local council election, I’ve included the results of the 2013 and 2016 federal elections to give a sense of underlying support.

Labor won the two-party-preferred vote (against the Liberal Party) in all five areas in 2016, ranging from 66% in Balmain to almost 77% in Stanmore.

Labor’s primary vote follows a similar pattern – lowest in Balmain and Leichhardt, and highest in Marrickville.

The Liberal vote peaked at 29.5% in Balmain, and was under 19% in Stanmore.

The Greens polled best in Stanmore (26%) and Marrickville (22.7%), with only 18% in Ashfield. It’s worth noting that the results would look wildly different if state election results were used, with the Greens polling well over 30% in the Balmain area.

2013 federal election


2016 federal election


Ward breakdown – 2012 council results
I have also broken down 2012 council election results by ward.

The Labor vote ranged from 37% in Marrickville down to only 26.6% in Leichhardt. Labor topped the poll in the Ashfield and Marrickville wards.

The Greens vote ranged from only 25% in Ashfield (and that includes votes for disendorsed councillor Marc Rerceretnam in South ward of Ashfield council) to 36% in Stanmore. The Greens vote in Balmain was second-best in 2012, while it was the worst area for the Greens at the 2013 federal election. The Greens topped the poll in Balmain and Stanmore.

The Liberal vote ranged from 16% in Marrickville to almost 30% in Leichhardt, where they outpolled both Labor and Greens.


1 No Greens candidate stood in the South ward of Ashfield council, but incumbent Greens councillor Marc Rerceretnam stood as an independent, and his votes have been credited to the Greens in this table and the following map.

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

Candidates – Ashfield ward

  • A – Independent
    1. Morris Mansour
    2. Ghassan Zakkour
    3. Cronia Mansour
  • B – Greens
    1. Tom Kiat
    2. Marc Rerceretnam
    3. Brigitte Garozzo
  • C – Liberal
    1. Julie Passas
    2. Thomas Carrie
    3. Mercedes Jones
  • D – Labor
    1. Mark Drury
    2. Chrisanthi Giotis
    3. Alex Lofts
  • Ungrouped
    • Susan Price (Socialist Alliance)
    • Simon Henderson (Liberal Democrats)

Candidates – Balmain ward

  • A – Labor
    1. Darcy Byrne
    2. Linda Kelly
    3. John Roper
  • B – Independent
    1. John Stamolis
    2. Kath Hacking
    3. Tracey Brooks
  • C – Liberal
    1. Stephen Meates
    2. Wenjie Zhang
    3. Elizabeth Levy
  • D – Greens
    1. Rochelle Porteous
    2. Matthew Thompson
    3. Pauline Jensen

Candidates – Leichhardt ward

  • A – Liberal
    1. Vittoria Raciti
    2. Albert D’Onofrio
    3. Michelle Cunich
  • B – Independent
    1. John Lozano
    2. Duncan Baxter
    3. Kelly Brittain
  • C – Greens
    1. Marghanita da Cruz
    2. Michelle Calvert-Kilburn
    3. Cassi Plate
  • D – Labor
    1. Lucille McKenna
    2. Simon Emsley
    3. Leon Fry-Kontaxis
  • Ungrouped
    • Blaid Vidakovich (Socialist Alliance)

Candidates – Marrickville ward

  • A – Independent
    1. Victor Macri
    2. Melanee Mak
    3. Elise Hawthorne
  • B – Independent
    1. Victoria Pye
    2. Fiona Magee
    3. Katrina Byrne
  • C – Liberal
    1. George Andrade
    2. Harry Dickson
    3. Rosemary Henderson
  • D – Greens
    1. Colin Hesse
    2. Madeline Williams
    3. Jonathan Farry
  • E – Labor
    1. Sam Iskandar
    2. Mat Howard
    3. Yunmei (Jeanette) Wang

Candidates – Stanmore ward

  • A – Independent
    1. James Gilronan
    2. Suzanne Artiss
    3. Emily Stokes
  • B – Liberal
    1. Ken Henderson
    2. Simone Khachan
    3. Shane Carroll
  • C – Greens
    1. Louise Steer
    2. Alex Van Vucht
    3. Robert Shield
  • D – Independent
    1. Pauline Lockie
    2. Ben Gaudin
    3. Jason Mountney
  • E – Labor
    1. Anna York
    2. Chris Woods
    3. Syed Kazmi
  • Ungrouped
    • Pip Hinman (Socialist Alliance)


  1. Ben.

    In your estimation, how many votes would an Independent candidate need to gain a seat on council in the new wards?


  2. Approximately 18,000 votes were cast in each IWC ward at the 2012 election. If we round that up to 20,000, you’d need about 5,000 votes after preferences to win a seat. Maybe you could get elected with about 3,000 votes if preferences went your way.

  3. Thanks Ben

    I think it would be shame if true local independents don’t play a role on the new council. I suspect this is perhaps by design.

  4. Hi Ben,

    Thanks so much for that Analysis. It’s really helpful and I know for a fact there is at least one true , local, progressive Independent fighting it out for Marrickville Ward.

  5. With regards to the potted history of Leichhardt, I am fairly certain the 2008 result was 3 Liberal, 2 Labor (not the other way around). Most embarrassing for Labor, to be outnumbered on Leichhardt Council by the Liberals!

  6. Hi Ben,

    Thanks so much for updating the site.
    If you would like you could link to my website ( as you have done with the some of the others 🙂 – no problem if its a big hassle.

    Great article too!

  7. Hi Ben. Thank you so much for this post, I’ve found it really helpful.

    Would you mind updating this to reflect the fact that I’m running as an independent in the Stanmore ward? My website is

    John Stamolis is definitely running as an independent in Balmain. He doesn’t have a website, but if you need his contact details to confirm, drop me an email and I’ll be happy to put you both in touch with each other.

    Thanks again.

  8. Things are starting to warm up. I spotted John Stamolis campaigning outside Balmain Woolies on Saturday. We’ve also received more material in the mail from Darcy Byrne. His paperwork describes him as candidate for Mayor, which I find a bit odd as we don’t have a direct vote for Mayor. Greens I’ve only seen in the Inner West Courier, and nothing at all from Libs or others.

  9. Hi Ben, this site is invaluable.. thank you!

    When you get a chance could you please add that John Lozano is running as an independent in the Leichhardt Ward?


  10. Hi Kelly,
    The AEC website quotes your website (and Duncan Baxter’s) as being John Lozano’s. But I see no reference to either of you at that website. Is AEC right? What about emails, can I reach you both through John’s?

  11. Hello Ben, Thank you for all this excellent, invaluable information. I am not contesting the 2017 Inner West Council elections. Could you please amend the stats above? Former independent Councillor Stott and I share many common political platforms and interests, however we are not a team. We are two very separate independents who happened to both be elected for the first time in 1999 and were both reelected for 3 more terms until 2016 when the Council was placed in the hands of an administrator 18 months ago, by the NSW State Government.

  12. Hello Again Ben, Suggested correction :

    re “History – Ashfield Prior to 2004, Ashfield council was usually dominated by Labor. Labor held the mayoralty continuously from 1972 until 1991, and again from 1997 until 2006.”

    The ALP only held 5 out of 12 seats in Ashfield from 1999.

    In reality, ******they (the ALP) did not dominate Council after 1998******. They needed to work with 3 true independents Emma Brooks Maher, Caroline Stott and myself who were all elected for the first time in 1999, opposing over-development and the sale of our public assets. Rampant land up-zoning of land and sales of public parks ceased by 1999.

    re “The 2004 election saw Labor hold on to four seats – one in each ward. The Greens won three seats, and the Liberal Party won two. Three independents were elected – Ted Cassidy, Caroline Stott and Monica Wangmann.” The 3 independents were ****re-elected*****.

    Kind regards Monica

  13. As far as campaigning is concerned, in Balmain Ward there are only two candidates: Darcy Byrne and John Stamolis. They are literally the only candidates campaigning: posters, street meets, letterboxing. I think I might have had one Greens leaflet, and absolutely nothing from anyone else. Before the election I would have assumed a Greens/ALP/Lib result, but I think Stamolis will win a seat through a combination of his actually making an effort versus the Liberals not even trying. Makes you wonder why they even bothered nominating candidates! Is it a similar story in other wards?

  14. GNav, there are now posters for the Greens (and Darcy of course) up around Rozelle school. And under the door of one of the local businesses this morning, I noticed a flyer for the Libs. Strangely, it was for their no. 2 on the ticket, Wenjie Zhang. At first glance I thought it was a real estate flyer, someone flogging high rise investment properties off the plan somewhere further west like Burwood. And strange choice of candidates for the Libs (or any party) in Balmain, which is one of the whitest, richest and most development-averse parts of Sydney. If there’s anything that the good people of Balmain DON’T want to be reminded of, its that Asians have more money than they do, and a lot of them want to park it in the Sydney property market. But not in this backyard, no sir!

    Earlier in the week down at Leichhardt Town Hall outside the wind-blasted pre-polling centre on a cold and decidedly unpleasant day, all three majors were busy – way more party workers than actual voters. I was walking past by accident, and Stamolis tried to give me a HTV (he wouldn’t have if he’d recognised me). But what was he doing down in Leichhardt? Oh yeah, i guess its the only place you can vote early at. But you’re right on that one GNav, he’s working hard…

    I still think the Libs will win a spot in Balmain. Its just demography, its more and more like Mosman every day… Stamolis (who votes with the Greens anyway) may even pip Rochelle.

  15. The Liberals were finally out in force, campaigning in Balmain today. Left their run a bit late, I think. On the other hand, Teddy, you are probably correct in that demographics and a base vote will likely hand the Libs a seat in the Balmain ward. As it is a lot bigger than Stamolis’ old ward, he will have to work a lot harder to build recognition beyond his immediate neighbourhood. And, as you say, he is chasing the Greens segment of the market.

  16. Hi Ben – Monica Wangmann’s info is spot-on.Based on my experience re the old Ashfield Council, here are a few observations that may be of interest to people voting in the wider Leichhardt Ward.

    As a candidate, Victoria Raciti might look pretty-face in her Liberal-party poster-pics, but she’s a long-time puppet of Julie Passas. However, unlike that notoriously vocal (and litigious) ex-Cr, the Raciti record is for NOTHING. Total silence. In fact, I gather there’s no record that she ever said a word at former Council meetings – for years, nix. Not a whisper – no motions, no suggestions, no input. Waste of space and waste of vote, other than for Passas politicking.

    Waste of ratepayer $$’s too – as a Cr she’s taken the money, but done zilch for Haberfield, so isn’t likely to lift a finger for Leichhardt either.


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