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 has a population of about 201,000 as of 2019.
- Incumbent councillors
- Candidate summary
- 2017 results
- Vote breakdown by ward
- Results maps
Ashfield-Djarrawunang 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-Baludarri 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-Gulgadya 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-Midjuburi 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-Damun 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.
No changes were made to the boundaries of wards, but the names were changed. The wards were previously named after suburbs, but they are now co-named with local Aboriginal words, specifically:
- Ashfield – Djarrawunang (Magpie)
- Balmain – Baludarri (Leather Jacket)
- Leichhardt – Gulgadya (Grass Tree)
- Marrickville – Midjuburi (Lillypilly)
- Stanmore – Damun (Port Jackson Fig)
|Ashfield-Djarrawunang||Mark Drury (Labor)||Tom Kiat (Greens)||Julie Passas (Liberal)|
|Balmain-Baludarri||Darcy Byrne (Labor)||Rochelle Porteous (Greens)||John Stamolis (Independent)|
|Leichhardt-Gulgadya||Marghanita Da Cruz (Greens)||Lucille Mckenna (Labor)||Vittoria Raciti (Liberal)|
|Marrickville-Midjuburi||Colin Hesse (Greens)||Sam Iskandar (Labor)||Victor Macri (Independent)|
|Stanmore-Damun||Pauline Lockie (Independent)||Louise Steer (Greens)||Anna York (Labor)|
Inner West Council was created out of a merger of Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville councils in 2016. The 2017 guide covers the previous history of these three councils and how much of the new council came from its predecessors.
These three councils had a long history of being governed singlehandedly by Labor, but by the 1990s that hold was starting to slip. Marrickville and Leichhardt in particular were strongholds for the Greens, although the Greens also did well on occasion in Ashfield.
In 2004, the Greens won five seats in Marrickville, four in Leichhardt and three in Ashfield.
Around this time, Labor, the Liberal Party and local independents began to forge anti-Greens alliances. Alliances like this one led Leichhardt throughout the term and led Marrickville for part of the term, with a Greens/independent alliance alternating in power depending on the draw of the hat. The first Liberal mayor of Leichhardt took the reins in 2005, serving between two Labor mayoral terms. The draw of the hat saw the first Greens mayor of Marrickville in 2005.
An alliance of Labor and independents also ran Ashfield, but without such a clear anti-Greens positioning.
The 2008 election was status quo in Ashfield and Marrickville, while the Greens won six out of twelve seats in Leichhardt, giving them a working majority. The Greens’ Jamie Parker took the mayoralty until he was elected as the state MP for Balmain in 2011, when he was succeeded by Rochelle Porteous.
The 2012 election was a good one for the right and a bad one for the Greens across the three councils. The Greens were reduced to four seats each in Leichhardt and Marrickville, and were wiped out in Ashfield. The first Liberals were elected in Marrickville, and a Labor/Liberal/independent coalition had a clear majority in Marrickville.
Labor and the Greens formed an alliance in Leichhardt, with Labor’s Darcy Byrne and the Greens’ Rochelle Porteous alternating in the mayoralty.
The Liberals were also strengthened in Ashfield but remained in opposition, with a governing alliance of Labor and independents still running the show.
The three councils were amalgamated to form the Inner West Council in 2016.
The first Inner West Council election in 2017 saw both Labor and Greens win five seats each, along with two Liberals and three independents. Those three independents included Vic Macri, a conservative councillor who had previously allied with Labor in Marrickville, John Stamolis, a centre-left councillor who had previously allied with the Greens in Leichhardt, and Pauline Lockie, a first-time left-wing independent councillor.
This gave an alliance of Labor, Liberal and Vic Macri an 8-7 majority in the first mayoral and deputy mayoral election. Labor’s Darcy Byrne has served as mayor for the last four years, with Liberals (Julie Passas and Vittoria Raciti) taking the deputy mayoralty for two years, and independent Vic Macri taking the mayoralty in the other year.
The 8-7 majority has not remained entirely solid. John Stamolis, who supported the Greens over Labor in 2017, has chosen to abstain on occasion and voted for Macri for deputy mayor in 2020.
Labor and the Greens are running full tickets across the council. Just one of the five incumbent Greens councillors are running for re-election in a winnable spot. Just two of the five Labor councillors are doing the same.
The Liberal Party is not running officially. Both incumbent Liberal councillors are running for re-election as independents. Vera-Ann Hannaford, a former Liberal councillor on the former Leichhardt council, is challenging incumbent Liberal councillor Vittoria Raciti in the Leichhardt ward.
All three independent councillors are running for re-election in their wards.
Another four independent tickets are running, in addition to those mentioned above. That includes former Ashfield councillor Morris Mansour.
The Animal Justice Party and Socialist Alliance are each running in one ward.
The full candidate list is at the end of this guide.
It would not take much to upset this alliance. The Labor/Liberal/Macri alliance won three out of five seats in the Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville wards. The final count in Marrickville was particularly close, with Macri defeating fellow independent Victoria Pye by 162 votes (0.8% of the total formal vote). While Pye was an untested candidate, she would have almost certainly been more open to working with the Greens. There would not have been a solid eight-vote anti-Greens majority.
So Macri’s seat could be in play, but the absence of a progressive independent in his ward makes his position more secure. There is no prospect of a gain for the Greens or a friendly independent in Ashfield ward, but there may be a prospect of gaining a seat off the Liberals in Leichhardt.
There may be prospects for other change within the coalitions.
Labor’s second candidate came within 1465 votes of defeating Liberal Julie Passas in the Ashfield ward. Passas has been a controversial councillor and could be vulnerable to replacement by the second Labor candidate or by conservative independent Morris Mansour.
There is an intra-Liberal fight for the final seat in Leichhardt ward, but it could conceivably fall to Labor or the Greens.
The Greens could theoretically pick up enough votes to win a second seat in Stanmore ward at the expense of progressive independent Pauline Lockie, but it doesn’t seem like the Greens have much reason to try and take that seat and I think Lockie is probably safe.
It is very hard to see Labor or the Greens dropping below five seats, or reaching the eight seats necessary for a single-party majority.
If the current majority coalition drops below eight, this may result in a Greens/independent coalition taking over, but it could also lead to a power-sharing deal between Labor and the Greens, as occurred in Leichhardt between 2012 and 2016.
Labor topped the primary vote in four wards, with a vote ranging from 29.4% in Stanmore to 42.9% in Balmain.
The Greens topped the primary vote in Stanmore, with a vote ranging from 22.3% in Balmain to 33.6% in Stanmore.
The Liberal primary vote ranged from 9.3% in Marrickville to 27.5% in Leichhardt. The Liberals won two seats in the Ashfield and Leichhardt wards.
I have also identified six independents who polled a substantial part of the vote. Two of these independents are clearly of the right: Morris Mansour in Ashfield and Vic Macri in Marrickville. The other four are generally more willing to work with the Greens, or seemed so in 2017: John Stamolis in Balmain, John Lozano in Leichhardt, Victoria Pye in Marrickville and Pauline Lockie in Stanmore.
Each of these candidates polled over 10% in their ward, with those polling over 16% winning a seat.
|Voter group||ALP %||GRN %||LIB %||L_I %||R_I %|
Toggle between primary votes for Labor, the Greens, the Liberal Party, and various independent candidates.
Candidates – Ashfield-Djarrawunang
- A – Independent
- Morris Mansour
- Cronia Mansour
- Michael Becher
- B – Greens
- Dylan Griffiths
- Shilpa Rajkumar
- Cr Thomas Kiat
- C – Independent
- Peter Dixon
- Cheryl Borsak
- Faye Flint
- D – Labor
- Cr Mark Drury
- Jessica D’Arienzo
- Christopher Payne
- E – Independent Liberal
- Cr Julie Passas
- Philip Allison
- Bill Passas
Candidates – Balmain-Baludarri
- A – Independent
- Wenjie Zhang
- Funing Guo
- Jie Yao
- B – Independent
- Cr John Stamolis
- Tracey Brooks
- Kathleen Hacking
- C – Greens
- Kobi Shetty
- Michael Davis
- Jenny Barron
- D – Labor
- Cr Darcy Byrne
- Adele Tahan
- Jack Whitney
- E – Independent
- Jack Robertson
- Nav Brah
- Graeme McDowell
Candidates – Leichhardt-Galgadya
- A – Greens
- Cr Marghanita Da Cruz
- Timothy Suttie
- Brooke Richards
- B – Labor
- Philippa Scott
- Timothy Stephens
- Helen Gibson
- C – Independent Liberal
- Cr Vittoria Raciti
- Vivian Fezzuoglio
- Adamo Raciti
- D – Independent
- Vera-Ann Hannaford
- Ken Hannaford
- Craig Bleifnick
- E – Animal Justice
- Michael Dello-Iacovo
- Teresa Romanovsky
- Linda Paull
Candidates – Marrickville-Midjuburi
- A – Labor
- Mat Howard
- Zoi Tsardoulias
- Katherine Hudson
- B – Greens
- Justine Langford
- Marika Kontellis
- Cr Colin Hesse
- C – Independent
- Cr Victor Macri
- Melinda Dimitriades
- Vincent Randazzo
Candidates – Stanmore-Damun
- A – Independent
- Cr Pauline Lockie
- Sandra Triulzi
- Jason Mountney
- B – Greens
- Liz Atkins
- Rob Shield
- Alex van Vucht
- C – Labor
- Chloe Smith
- Sarah Hunt
- Jemima Tilly
- D – Socialist Alliance
- Pip Hinman
- Markela Panegyres
- Steffi Leedham
- Daniel Ribarovski (Independent)