Hornsby council election, 2021

Hornsby covers northern parts of Sydney. The council covers the suburbs of Beecroft, Cheltenham, North Epping, Pennant Hills, Thornleigh, Cherrybrook, Westleigh, Normanhurst, Hornsby, Asquith, Hornsby, Mount Colah, Mount Ku-ring-gai, Berowra and Brooklyn.

The council has a population of about 152,000 as of 2019.

Hornsby is divided into three wards, with each ward electing three councillors. There is also a directly-elected mayor.

A ward is the northernmost ward, and covers the majority of the council’s land area. It stretches from the Hawkesbury to the Hornsby city centre, and covers Hornsby Heights, Mount Colah, Mount Ku-ring-gai, Berowra and Brooklyn.

B ward covers the centre of the council, including Westleigh, Normanhurst, Thornleigh and parts of Asquith and Hornsby.

C ward covers the southern end of the council, including Beecroft, North Epping, Cheltenham and Cherrybrook.

Incumbent mayor
Philip Ruddock (Liberal)

Incumbent councillors

Ward A Mick Marr (Labor) Nathan Tilbury (Liberal) Warren Waddell (Lib)
Ward B Robert Browne (Liberal) Janelle McIntosh (Labor) Joseph Nicita (Greens)
Ward C Vince Del Gallego (Ind) Emma Heyde (Greens) Michael Hutchence (Lib)

The Liberal Party has long dominated state and federal elections in Hornsby Shire, but until recently did not run official candidates for council elections.

At the 2004 election, three Labor councillors were elected, along with five independents and one Greens councillor. Independent candidate Nick Berman was elected as mayor, with one of the five independents elected on his ticket in his ward. Berman had links with the Liberal Party, and went on to stand for Liberal preselection for the 2011 state election.

At the 2008 election, Labor lost two of their seats to the Greens, for a total of three seats going to the two parties of the left. The remaining six seats went to independents, four of whom had various links to the Liberal Party. Berman was also re-elected as mayor.

Berman’s relationship with the Liberal Party broke down before the 2011 state election. After losing preselection for the state seat of Hornsby, Berman resigned from the party and ran for Hornsby as an independent. Berman polled 22% of the primary vote and 37% after preferences, missing out on the seat.

The Liberal Party first ran official Liberal candidates for Hornsby Council in 2012. The Liberal Party’s Steve Russell challenged Berman for the mayoralty, and narrowly won by a 1331-vote margin, with 50.85% of the vote after preferences were distributed.

The Liberal Party won two seats in each ward, for a total of six councillors (plus the mayor). Independents Nick Berman, Bernadette Azizi and Mick Gallagher all won seats on the council, while Labor and the Greens missed out on winning any seats.

There was a proposal to amalgamate Hornsby and Ku-ring-gai as part of the 2016-17 council amalgamation process. Hornsby supported the merger, but Ku-ring-gai opposed the merger and it eventually failed. Hornsby Shire did however lose part of Epping to the City of Parramatta, and this change did proceed.

The 2017 election saw almost every seat go to a member of one of the three bigger parties. Former federal MP Philip Ruddock, who had retired after over forty years in federal parliament, ran as the Liberal candidate for mayor and won easily. He also brought in another four Liberals with him.

Labor and the Greens returned to the council, winning two seats each. Vince Del Gallego was also elected as an independent.

Since 2017, Ruddock has generally been able to put together a working majority, sometimes with the support of Del Gallego or with one of the Labor councillors.

Candidate summary
The Liberal Party and the Greens are both running full tickets, including mayoral candidates.

Three of five Liberal councillors are running for re-election, including mayor Phillip Ruddock.

Greens councillor Emma Heyde is running for mayor and for re-election in C Ward, with new candidates in the other two wards.

Both Labor incumbents are running for re-election, with Labor sitting out the race in C Ward.

Independent councillor Vince Del Gallego is running for re-election in C Ward with Greens councillor Joe Nicita running as his support candidate.

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

Hornsby has always been a conservative area. That makes it surprising to see that Labor and the Greens have consistently won 3-4 seats on the council between the two of them, with the exception of a wipe-out in 2012 when the Liberal Party first ran. It seems most likely the Liberal Party will retain the mayoralty and remain in power but achieving a majority may be tough for them.

2017 council election result

Party Votes % Swing Seats won
Liberal 34,954 43.96 -1.1 4
Independents 16,030 20.16 -17.2 1
Greens 15,121 19.02 +5.1 2
Labor 13,400 16.85 +16.9 2
Informal 5,492 6.46

2017 mayoral election result – primary votes

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Philip Ruddock Liberal 39,325 47.76 +4.9
Emma Heyde The Greens 15,140 18.39 +18.4
Janelle McIntosh Labor 12,385 15.04 +15.0
Christine Berman Independent 8,357 10.15 +10.2
Mick Gallagher Independent 7,126 8.66 +8.7
Informal 2,560 3.02

2017 mayoral election result – after distribution of preferences

Candidate Party Votes %
Philip Ruddock Liberal 40,143 50.92
Emma Heyde The Greens 15,839 20.09
Janelle McIntosh Labor 13,022 16.52
Christine Berman Independent 9,824 12.46
Exhausted 3,621

Vote breakdown by ward
The following tables show the vote in each ward for council and for mayor.

The Liberal Party easily topped the poll in all three wards, with a vote ranging from just under 42% in the B and C wards up to 48% in Ward A.

The Greens came second, with over 20% in Ward B and Ward C, and 15.7% in Ward A.

The Labor vote ranged from 14.9% in Ward C to 18.7% in Ward B.

While the Liberal council vote was highest in Ward A, Ruddock’s mayoral vote peaked at the other end of the council, with over 50% in Ward C.

Council results by ward

Ward LIB % GRN % ALP % OTH %
Ward A 48.2 15.7 17.0 19.1
Ward B 41.9 21.1 18.7 18.3
Ward C 41.8 20.3 14.9 23.0

Mayoral results by ward

Ward LIB % GRN % ALP % Berman %
Ward A 46.4 15.8 14.7 10.0
Ward B 45.5 17.6 16.0 13.1
Ward C 51.3 21.8 14.4 7.4

Election results at the 2017 Hornsby Shire election
Toggle between primary votes for the Liberal Party, independent candidates, Labor and the Greens.

Election results at the 2017 Hornsby Shire mayoral election
Toggle between primary votes for Philip Ruddock, Emma Heyde, Janelle McIntosh, Christine Berman and Mick Gallagher.

Candidates – Mayor

Candidates – Ward A

  • A – Independent
    1. Benjamin Caswell
    2. Elizabeth Cardelli
    3. James Rowland
  • B – Labor
    1. Cr Mick Marr
    2. Joseph Von Bornemann
    3. Warren Soos
  • C – Greens
    1. Tania Salitra
    2. Ran Fuchs
    3. Daniel Burkhardt
  • D – Liberal
    1. Cr Nathan Tilbury
    2. Cr Warren Waddell
    3. Anthea Kilch

Candidates – Ward B

  • A – Greens
    1. Monika Ball
    2. Dana Hatley
    3. Matthew Ting
  • B – Labor
    1. Cr Janelle McIntosh
    2. Shannen Potter
    3. Jason Donald
  • C – Liberal
    1. Sallianne McClelland
    2. Martin Dargan
    3. Daniel Drummer

Candidates – Ward C

  • A – Greens
    1. Cr Emma Heyde
    2. Tamanna Shah
    3. Fareeza Khan
  • B – Independent
    1. Cr Vincent Del Gallego
    2. Cr Joe Nicita
    3. Craig Sutton
  • C – Liberal
    1. Verity Greenwood
    2. Sreeni Pillamarri
    3. Andrea Calilhanna

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  1. One bit of context here: the mayor votes with other councillors, and if there’s a 5-5 tie, the mayor then gets a tie-breaking vote.

    So the Liberals get a working majority if they win 4 of the 9 regular seats plus the mayoralty, as occurred in 2017.

  2. Thanks Nicholas, you actually identified a bug in my code that merged all the votes for independent mayoral candidates together and had caused a problem on five different councils. Will be fixed today!

  3. Liberal Candidates have been announced (according to the local paper, Bush Telegraph)

    Ward A: Cr Tilbury, Cr Waddell, Anthea Kilch (nee Roache) – unchanged from last time
    Ward B: Sallianne McClelland, Martin Dargan, Daniel Dummer
    Ward C: Verity Greenwood, Sreeni Pillamarri, Andrea Calilhanna

    The Liberals going for complete changes in Ward B/C, with current Cr Brown and Cr Hutchence making way, although these two have already served two terms are Liberal Councillors (although served before that as IND since 1999 and 2008 respectively).

    I can’t see Ward C changing it’s representation with Vince and Emma both having high profiles, and with the Liberals going in with a clean slate, it’ll be hard to get 2. Predict Ward C – 1 IND, 1 LIB, 1 GRN (caveat that not all candidates have announced, nor yet has the nomination period opened, but reckon that will affect other wards more so than here)

    Ward B I’d lock in Janelle (ALP) and 1 Lib. The greens have chosen a new lead candidate, and I’m not sure if their current Councillor is being relegated to 2nd/3rd spot or not running. Predict Ward B – 1 ALP 1 LIB with 3rd seat for 2nd LIB/1 GRN.

    Ward A I’d lock in Nathan (LIB) as has high profile in the area (and had Mayoral ambitions, possible successor to Ruddock when he decides to go). The next two seats really could fall in a combination of 2 LIB/1 ALP, 2 LIB/1 IND, 1 ALP/1 IND, 2 LIB/1 GRN. It really depends if that Liberal vote holds up that high and how spread out the others vote is.

  4. Ben – Phillip Ruddock

    I know it was last month but with interest across Ku-ring-gai & Northern Beaches, election for Deputy Mayor here was done in September and was voted thus: (Mayor Ruddock was away and didn’t vote)
    Hutchence (5) – Brown (Lib), Hutchence (Lib), McIntosh (Alp), Tilbury (Lib), Waddell (Lib)
    Nicita (4) – Del Gallego (Ind), Heyde (Grn), Marr (Alp), Nicita (Grn)

    Interesting that McIntosh voted with the Libs and not with the other grouping, but nothing else really to see here.

  5. Why is Phillip Ruddock running again? I thought he was retired from politics. He will be 82 by the end of his 2nd term as mayor if he wins. You would think he would pass the torch to a younger generation of Liberals. (Like he did in Berowa in 2016)

    The council, earlier in the year I would have dared to say a Liberal majority but due to recent events and appointment of a conservative premier and the slow vaccine rollout which has picked up now but still voters are angry that it wasn’t completed sooner. as a result I predict status quo with a very slight swing to the left which could result in a centre-left minority with the support of an independent.

    The question is if there is gains for the left who will get that extra seat. the Greens or Labor? Ward A is the strongest for the Liberals and is ancestrally a very strong area for them so I’m not sure if there is much room for a gain there, In the other 2 wards there is room for Green growth but will this come in expense of Labor or Liberal? I suspect the Liberal vote will drop the real question is will it be enough to translate in a loss of seats for them and if so could produce a centre-left minority (ALP+GRN+IND only makes 5 seats) so 1 more seat would give them a majority.

    I am not sure of the political leanings of the independent but the Liberals would want his/her back after the election if they haven’t got it already. It would be embarrassing for the party if they lost this council which contains Berowa (whom Ruddock formally held)

  6. After looking at Ku-ring-gai, I thought I’d take a look at some nearby councils.
    It looks like Labor and Liberal have finalised their listings, with a couple of independent candidates as well (Ward A has one so far, Benjamin Caswell and Ward B also has one so far, Jack Liu). *EDIT: I see Labor hasn’t registered Ward C yet, so will be interesting to see the final list. Also note that while Greens aren’t registered yet, they are running as their lead candidate for each Ward has been campaigning. Another note: Ward A was the most contested last time with groups, so will see how much that expands. I expect an appearance by Mick Gallagher. Also curious is Vince del Gallego hasn’t registered yet for Ward C (Current Independent Councillor).

    Ward A:
    Group: Labor
    Candidates: Mick Marr (Councillor), Jospeh Von Bornemann, Warren Soos
    Group: Liberal
    Candidates: Nathan Tilbury (Councillor), Warren Waddell (Councillor), Anthea Kilch
    ** Greens (Tania Salitra)

    No Group: Benjamin Caswell

    Ward B:
    Group: Labor
    Candidates: Janelle McIntosh (Councillor), Shannen Potter, Jason Donald
    Group: Liberal
    Candidates: Sallianne Mcclelland, Martin Dargan, Daniel Dummer
    ** Greens (Monika Ball)

    No Group: Jack Liu

    Ward C:
    Group: Liberal
    Candidates: Verity Greenwood, Sreeni Pillamarri, Andrea Calilhanna
    ** Greens (Emma Heyde [Councillor])

    Andrew Isaac
    Phillip Ruddock (Mayor) – Liberal

  7. Nominations Day 1:
    Like the Hills, Green are off the block with their nominations sorted mostly (8 out of 9 candidates) and 1 Liberal sorted (Ward C – Andrew). Will be interesting to see in the next week, besides the majors (Lib/Lab/Grn) of which independents arise and if they are in groups (Ward A – Caswell and possibly Gallagher, Ward B – Liu). I assume Del Gallego will be in a group in Ward C. Ward A has historically had the most groups due to diversity and size of the Ward.

  8. Nominations Day 5:

    Ward A:
    Green Group nomination confirmed. No other candidates or groups officially nominated yet.

    Ward B:
    Green Group nomination confirmed. No other candidates or groups officially nominated yet.

    Ward C:
    No groups finalised yet but all Liberal Candidates nominated, 2 Greens and Independent Vince Del Gallego with I assume running mate Craig Sutton. Sreeni has quite an interesting website for a candidate second in the group, so it seems Liberals might be pushing hard here.

  9. Nominations Day 6: Well here’s something I didn’t see coming. Joe Nicita (Current Greens Councillor) is now running in Ward C as an Independent under Vince Del Gallego’s group!

    Ward C:
    Liberal, Green and Independent [Vince Del Gallego] groups have been finalised.

  10. Very strange from Joe Nicita as there’s absolutely no mention of his independent run on any of his social media, and he’s still listed as a Green councillor (for ward B) on The Greens website and his own social media.

    Probably a classic case of a councillor losing preselection but wanting to run again, however the ward change is baffling. Or maybe he was fed up with the Greens but felt obliged to continue in the role he was elected for. Whatever the case, quite interesting.

  11. @John either answer makes sense. It bolsters Vince Del Gallego’s chance of staying elected by having another name recognition, but the Greens are already strong here with Emma Heyde so I don’t see them dropping a seat. I expected Ward C to be a status quo of 1 IND (Del Gallego), 1 GRN (Emma Heyde) and 1 LIB (Verity Greenwood).

    Am really surprised he didn’t stay on and fight in Ward B as an Independent. Ward A already has an independent (Benjamin Caswell) and Ward C (Vince Del Gallego) so there was room to cultivate some independent vote in Ward B. I had 1 ALP (Janelle McIntosh) and 1 Lib (Sallianne McClelland) with the 3rd Seat a shoot-out between 2nd Lib and 1st Grn. But really can see the firming possibility of 1 ALP/2 LIB depending how the votes break. Janelle is quite well known and I see she’s been in a few photos with Ruddock pushing initiatives in the local rag, so I don’t see her seat falling. With no incumbent green, and plenty of independent vote from last time to go between the 3 parties, this is one seat to watch. [*side note: It would be an absolute upset if this Ward went 2 Lib, 1 Grn but I just don’t see it happening.]

  12. Post Nomination and Ballot Draw:

    A point to make is that there are no un-grouped candidates which is oddly enough, the same as 2017.
    Other points to make:
    1) Like it seems generally across northern Sydney councils, there has been a reduction in candidates, with Hornsby loosing mainly Independent groupings compared to last time. 2 of these were Berman related groups which ends their running in elections for council after several years (at least since 2004). Also, serial candidate Mick Gallagher isn’t contesting for what seems the first election in ages.
    2) Like The Hills and Northern Beaches, Labor is pulling out of running in all wards, with Labor pulling out of Ward C in Hornsby.
    3) The Mayoral election only has 2 candidates here! This was compared to last time with 5 (1 LIB, 1 GRN, 1 LAB, 2 IND). To note Heyde and Ruddock both ran in 2017, while the Labor candidate for Mayor in 2017 is still running as a Councillor this election.

    Ballot Draw:
    Greens pull top in Mayoral (but it’s only 2 candidates so no biggie :P) and Group A in Ward B & C.
    Benjamin Caswell (Independent) gets Group A in Ward A

    Group numbers compared from 2017 to 2021.
    Ward A 6 > 4 (-2)
    Ward B 4 > 3 (-1)
    Ward C 5 > 3 (-2)

  13. Can confirm the following Candidates will be participating in the Meet the Candidates Session on Tuesday Night:
    *Ben Caswell (Ind)
    *Warren Waddell (LIB)
    *Philip Ruddock (LIB)
    *Sallianne McClelland (LIB)
    *Verity Greenwood (LIB)
    *Emma Hyde (Greens)
    *Mick Marr (LAB)
    *Janelle McIntosh (LAB)

    There are seats still available.

  14. @Hawkeye_au thanks for that. I actually noticed HK Post had put a FB Post up with it! That’s a very strong Liberal contingent! Surprised the Greens didn’t role out their lead candidates in Ward’s A & B and also surprised Vince Del Gallego (IND) didn’t turn up. Unless he think his seat is safe? (Why not get Joe to go in his place?) Interesting to see how it all goes, considering all party dominated except for Benjamin Caswell (IND). Actually just noticed Warren Waddell is going instead of Nathan Tilbury… wonder what is up with that. Perhaps raise profile to try to keep that second seat? Looking forward to this meeting as well as the Ku-ring-gai one!

  15. Why is the name of Monika Ball that actually gets to the site spelling out her intentions if she gets elected? None of the others seem to be able to be opened???

  16. Jennifer, the Greens are the only candidates I found links for. They make it much easier than other candidates. I’ve linked to plenty of other candidates but not in Hornsby.

  17. Quick mention of the preferences for Hornsby Council and it is a pretty straight-forward affair, with everyone running a “Just Vote 1” campaign (from what has been confirmed).

    Interestingly, The Greens have had none of their election day material approved by NSW EC.

  18. So, I’ve done a calculator for each of the Wards here and tried to predict what will happen with the changing tickets and where the quotas would be on the current tickets based on the last election. These assumptions are based on where the prefernces split from the last election (excluding exhaustion, since exhaustion won’t apply with candidates not running).

    I’m not bothering with this for the Mayoralty because that is a straight-out 2CP vote.

    Ward A Primary Vote Assumption Splits:
    *Gallagher Group splits 25% Everywhere
    *Smart Group splits 40% Ind 30% Lib 20% Lab 10% Grns
    *Jordan Group Splits 50% Ind 20% Lab 20% Grn 10% Lib
    Ward A Result – Libs retain 2 quotas, with a preferance race between Labor and Greens for the last seat. There is a real chance that Labor could lose that seat to the Greens

    Ward B Primary Vote Assumption Splits:
    This one was much more straight forward. 1/3 each for Lab, Greens and Lib
    Ward B Result – Libs and Greens get a Quota in their own right. The last seat, I’d tip Labor to get in on Greens Preferences. This retains the Status Quo

    Ward C Primary Vote Assumption Splits:
    *Labor Vote splits 60% Greens, 25% Del Gallego, 15% Ind
    *Mitchell Group splits 50% Del Gallego, 30% Lib, 20% Grn
    Ward C Result – Lib and Greens retain their Quota, Del Gallego under a quota but expected to carry over after preferences.

    So overall, barring a complete collapse in votes, I expect the seats to largely remain the same, except for the 3rd Seat in Ward A, which is a straight fight between Labor and Greens

  19. @Hawkeye_Au thanks for your predictions.

    Ward A: This group is way more open than at first glance. Votes of 48.2% (Lib), 15.7% (Grn), 17.0% (Alp) and 19.1% (IND Total) makes this interesting. With only one IND group, it’s quite possible the IND vote will coalesce here (and if stays above Grn & Lab has a real chance). Also possible Lib vote drops from high and splits among rest. 1st Lib is absolutely locked in. The 2nd and 3rd seat I really can’t pick between 2nd Lib, 1st IND, 1st Grn and 1st Lab. Various combinations are possible and this will be the Ward to watch come Saturday night.

    Ward B: You agree with my original assessment of 1 Lib, 1 Grn, 1 Lab. Although re-looking at the Ind Vote, which was the Berman group, they tend to be more Liberal voters. I think 1 Lib and 1 Lab is locked in (Janelle McIntosh-ALP) and really do think it’s the Grn Seat as risk as no incumbent running. Final seat is a shoot-out of 2nd Lib and 1 Grn.

    Ward C: You agree with my assessment of 1 Lib, 1 Grn, 1 Ind. I am unchanged on this and would be really surprised if Del Gallego doesn’t get up. The Libs did choose their lead candidate well here and would be a very outside chance of pulling the 2 if vote goes up and rest exhaust, but Vince has campaigned well so prediction: Unchanged.

  20. I’d agree that Ward A is the most open of all the Wards and it is an unusual ward at that. The further north from Hornsby you go (especially along the M1), the more volatile the vote gets. This will be a Ward to watch on the night

  21. Bit of a shock, these results so far, for one party.
    Mayoralty – Ruddock comfortably wins 57-43.
    Ward A – Liberal retain their 2 seats, Labor has lost their seat to the Greens
    Ward B – Liberal and Greens retain their seats. The Final seat is currently within a margin of 100 votes between Labor and a 2nd Liberal
    Ward C – Liberal have gained a 2nd seat (Del Gallego is gone) while the Greens retain their seat.

    Currently, council will be:
    Liberal – 5 + Mayoralty
    Greens – 2
    Labor – 0
    In Doubt 1 (Either Liberal or Labor)


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