North Sydney – Australia 2022

LIB 9.3%

Incumbent MP
Trent Zimmerman, since 2015.

Geography
Lower North Shore of Sydney. The seat covers the north shore of Sydney Harbour from Hunters Hill to Kirribilli and extends as far north as Chatswood. Main suburbs are North Sydney, Willoughby, Lane Cove, Chatswood and Hunters Hill.

The seat covers the entirety of Hunters Hill and Lane Cove local government areas, almost all of Willoughby (except for Castle Cove and parts of Chatswood) and a majority of the City of North Sydney (except for Neutral Bay).

History

North Sydney is an original federation electorate, and has never been held by the ALP, being held by the Liberal Party and its predecessors with the exception of two terms when it was held by an independent.

The seat originally extended much further than the immediate lower north shore of Sydney. The original seat covered all of the north shore and extended further north to cover the Central Coast and reached Morisset on Lake Macquarie. The seat rapidly retreated back to Pittwater by the 1906 redistribution. The 1922 redistribution saw the creation of Mackellar covering Manly and the Northern Beaches, and North Sydney retreated to most of the area it covers today around North Sydney, Chatswood and Lane Cove.

The seat was first won by Dugald Thompson, originally of the Free Trade Party and then the Commonwealth Liberal Party. Thompson served as a minister in George Reid’s government from 1904 to 1905, and retired in 1910. The seat was won in 1910 by George Edwards, who, like Thompson, had moved from the Free Trade party to the Liberal party. Edwards had previously held the seat of South Sydney from 1901 to 1906.

Edwards died in 1911, and the seat was won by Granville Ryrie (LIB). Ryrie was a Boer War veteran, and was promoted to Brigadier-General at the beginning of the First World War and served in battle at Gallipoli and in Sinai and Palestine. Ryrie continued to serve as Member for North Sydney and became a minister under Billy Hughes in 1920. Ryrie moved to the new seat of Warringah in 1922 and remained in Parliament until 1927.

North Sydney was won in 1922 by then-Prime Minister Billy Hughes. Hughes had previously served as Labor member for West Sydney from 1901 to 1917, when he became the Nationalist member for Bendigo. Hughes had become Prime Minister in 1915 and had left the ALP in 1916 over the issue of conscription, and created the new Nationalist party with the support of fellow ALP defectors and his former conservative opponents.

At the same election when Hughes moved to North Sydney, his party lost its overall majority in the House of Representatives. The Country Party decided to support the Nationalists, but animosity between Hughes and Country Party leader Earle Page saw Hughes resign as Prime Minister and Stanley Bruce take over.

Hughes went to the backbenches and remained there until 1929, when he crossed the floor and brought down the Bruce government. He served as an independent for two years before joining with his former party and another group of Labor rebels, led by Joseph Lyons, to form the United Australia Party.

Hughes served as a minister once more from 1934 to 1937, after first becoming a minister in 1904. He became leader of the United Australia Party in 1941 and led the party, barely, into the 1943 election. Hughes held the seat of North Sydney until the 1949 election, when he moved to the new seat of Bradfield, and stayed in Parliament until his death in 1952.

The ensuing by-election was won by William Jack, who remained a low-profile, yet locally popular, backbencher until his retirement in 1966.

The seat was won in 1966 by Bill Graham, another Liberal who had previously held the marginal seat of St George from 1949 to 1954 and from 1955 to 1958. Graham remained in North Sydney until 1980.

Graham was succeeded by John Spender, who was defeated at the 1990 election by Ted Mack, an independent who had previously been Mayor of North Sydney and member for the state seat of North Shore. Mack had previously been a member of state Parliament from 1981 until 1988, when he resigned just before he qualified for a parliamentary pension in protest against excesses of public office. He retired at the 1996 election for similar reasons.

The seat was won in 1996 by Joe Hockey, and he held the seat for the next nineteen years. Hockey was a junior minister in the Howard government from 1998 to January 2007, when he was elevated to Cabinet as Minister for Workplace Relations.

Hockey became a senior member of the Opposition frontbench following the 2007 election and became Shadow Treasurer in February 2009. Hockey served as Treasurer from 2013 until 2015. Hockey moved to the backbench when Tony Abbott was replaced as Prime Minister, and resigned from Parliament soon after.

The 2015 by-election was won by Liberal candidate Trent Zimmerman, and he was re-elected in 2016 and 2019.

Candidates

Assessment
This seat appears to be under threat from two candidates: independent Kylea Tink and Labor’s Catherine Renshaw. It seems likely that Tink will do better from Renshaw’s preferences than Renshaw would do from Tink’s preferences, but some polling suggests Renshaw could still win.

2019 result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Trent Zimmerman Liberal 50,31952.0+0.5
Brett Stone Labor 24,28925.1+8.3
Daniel Keogh Greens 13,19313.6+0.6
Arthur Chesterfield-EvansIndependent4,2954.4+4.4
Greg GrahamSustainable Australia1,8311.9+1.9
David VernonChristian Democratic Party1,6601.7-0.3
Peter VaggUnited Australia Party1,2491.3+1.3
Informal4,0774.0-0.7

2019 two-party-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Trent Zimmerman Liberal 57,39859.3-4.3
Brett Stone Labor 39,43840.7+4.3

Booth breakdown

Polling places have been split into four areas, in line with the local government areas.

The Liberal Party won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all four areas, ranging from 54.4% in North Sydney to 64.6% in Hunters Hill.

The Greens came third, with a primary vote ranging from 9.8% in Hunters Hill to 16.2% in North Sydney.

Voter groupGRN prim %LIB 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Willoughby13.958.521,32222.0
North Sydney16.254.418,70819.3
Lane Cove13.658.113,28313.7
Hunters Hill9.864.65,9016.1
Pre-poll12.161.323,72524.5
Other votes14.062.313,89714.4

Election results in North Sydney at the 2019 federal election
Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and primary votes for the Liberal Party, Labor and the Greens.

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235 COMMENTS

  1. Lane Cove (small Council notwithstanding) also has a Green Councillor, one decidedly progressive IND and one very centrist IND, with 3 Liberals. The Council votes for Mayoralty were 6-3. North Sydney Council split 6 to the non Liberal identified and 4 to the Liberal identified.

    The risk for the IND in North Sydney is failing to get into 2nd. I think she picked the wrong seat, though I see reference to a Voices IND candidate in Bradfield. That could be in play too as less trouble getting 2nd there.

  2. The Libs get in trouble when their primsry vote is near 45%. Trent Zimmerman has 6% to lose, Paul Fletcher has 15% to lose. Zimmerman may lose some votes but there is no way that the Libs in Bradfield will be anywhere near 45%. The Voices candidates often draw more votes from the Greens and Labor than the Libs. In Flinders in 2019, Julia Banks 13% was basically 3% Lib, 5% Labor and 5% Green.

  3. Hi High Street, yes I’m here – I’ll respond re: Nth Sydney here.

    The Liberal Party apparently has two candidates who have nominated to challenge Trent Zimmerman (the cutoff for nominations was a while ago so this is not news). More can be found here: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/may/25/scott-morrison-facing-preselection-headache-with-sitting-liberal-mps-in-the-firing-line

    It’s one thing to have an unexpected result in a competitive ballot, it’s another to turn it into successfully defeating an incumbent seeking re-endorsement. Trent will be feeling exposed and vulnerable (and hurt after his candidate lost in Willoughby) but I think it will be harder to dislodge him as the Liberal candidate.

    The election will be sometime in the next 3-4 months. If either rival is to successfully challenge Trent for Liberal preselection, they have a lot of work to do. Beyond that, though, I claim no confidence in what will happen.

  4. Thanks Hughie,

    Would love to hear what WineDiamond thinks of the personality types and various attributes (assuming he thinks there are some) of each of the candidates that are now arrayed before him for his electorate of North Sydney. Perhaps he could assume Trent will be pre-selected, but then also crystal ball gaze about the possible Liberal replacements that the story linked above refers to.

    Cheers!

  5. So UComms poll reported in AFR today has Tink well ahead of LIBS on TPP, but miles off coming second of the the last three. The poll then doesn’t calculate a TPP pf Liberal vs Labor, which on my reckoning would be extremely close.

    Seems the most bizarre use of an opinion poll in along time – play up the chances of the candidate coming third of winning the seat but ignore the chances of the candidate coming 2nd.

  6. If they didn’t ask the 2PP they didn’t ask the 2PP. You’ve gotta pick these questions in advance and UComms don’t really give advice on question structure, they ask whatever you put to them.

    Having said that, that’s not an uncommon problem and demonstrates the value of tactical voting in these sorts of situations. I suspect if we see more reporting of that scenario we’ll see Labor voters switch to Tink.

  7. High Street
    Thanks for your invitation. I’ll start with the three main players. That’s assuming that TRENT survives a challenge. The barrister Stitt looks a solid prospect ITR. My instinct however is that Trent will survive like the cockroach that he is ! Also that the libs lack the judgement, will, & direction to cull such an ineffectual player.

    Because Trent is such a vacuous, inconsequential, & invisible member, it’s actually quite difficult to identify his personality type. He just so much lacks any real presence, convictions, or beliefs !. My best guess is that he is an ACHIEVER/PERFORMER Personality type 3 self preservation subtype, because of his only remarkable, or obvious quality – shallowness, & his clear resistance to (genuine) emotionality. More functional examples (but not by a lot !) might be Littleproud, & Mathew Guy. Perhaps the best illustration of Zimmerman’s effect he makes the PM look deep, considered, thoughtful, modest & sensitive !!!!!!!!.
    Mrs WD will pick him in a NY minute intuitively, i have only plodding instinct.
    I’ll ask for her view when she is better disposed toward me …..!

    Catherine Renshaw holds no such complexity . All she did was talk about herself, her goals, objectives, Her potential achievements which were the same as the people of N Sydney. Like she knows !. All the things she thinks are important, & that, are (in fact !) about her ! It was unclear whether she had ever made any genuine inquiries of others views, or had any interest in doing so ? Maybe we could have a conversation …!!!! Pretty sure that would be an education for (” basically I’m a teacher”). The faux humility (in her statement) , & obvious vanity were very revealing, & nauseating . She is a freaking professor for Christ’s sake !!

    i was left in no doubt that being a fed MP would be insufficient. Minister, or Senator would only suffice for starters. She is no tuck shop mum.
    Renshaw is an ACHIEVER/PERFORMER Personality type 3 wing 2 social subtype
    eg Reece witherspoon, Katy Allen, Kristy McBain, Dan ANDREWS , the PM. The real question WRT Renshaw is what could be the appeal of a woman who is exactly the SAME personality type as the PM (out of 57 possible permutations ) to any wavering lib, or swinging voters ?. Especially given the obvious difficulty these folk are having with the PM’s propagandising ,self congratulatory & suffocating vanity.
    My final comment is that the last thing this country needs is representatives that are highly fixated, & particularly the growing monoculture of this particular variety. Whose primary focus is always endless striving to be the best(at all costs) & glorification of themselves to prove they are worthy. They are addicts to the illusion, or image of success, not the substance.
    I’ll continue
    cheers wd

  8. Hi Ben,

    Sorry, you’ve lost me. What scenario are you talking about?

    Why would Labor (or Green) voters switch to Tink now there are polls out there showing her clearly 3rd. Do you subscribe to the theory that all left leaning voters in Liberal seats are really just protest votes?

  9. Firstly, let’s not worry about the precise primary votes. These polls aren’t super accurate and this poll has Labor on 22.9% and Tink on 20%. It’s basically a tie.

    Secondly, they may switch to Tink because she has a better chance of winning the final count. These polls didn’t ask for a Liberal vs Labor 2PP, but I’m fairly confident Labor would do worst than Tink in 2CP counts against the Liberal. That’s because pretty much all Labor and Greens voters will preference the independent over the Liberal and you can’t say the same for independent voters preferencing Labor (or Greens) over Liberal. I’ll do a blog post about this dilemma closer to the election. It became a topic of conversation in the Wentworth by-election and contributed to a last-minute swing to Phelps and away from Labor.

  10. Indeed they might – we will see. But its normally where the IND is a clear 2nd and they swing behind them.

    By clearly 3rd I meant at that last exclusion – with a combined 34% ALP and Green first preferences – and I can’t see Green voters preferencing Tink ahead of ALP – Tink will struggle for 2nd.

  11. Most Greens I know view Voices/Labor fairly ambivalently, if not favoring Voices. If it was me voting, I’d probably figure what the hell and throw her a preference at least.

  12. …And of course an awful lot of Greens voters actually favor climate independents to the Greens themselves anyway.

  13. You can’t assume Greens voters will reliably preference Labor over Tink. I’m Wentworth in 2018 about half of Greens votes flowed to Labor, 43% to Phelps, 7% to Sharma.

  14. And this equation is only relevant when 2nd and 3rd are close. If they’re not, you should just preference according to your real preferred order. So it’s only relevant when they are close. And in Wentworth in 2018 it hurt Labor’s vote in the last week. If you’re looking at polls where one candidate is winning 57-43 and the other is 51-49 or actually losing, you’d want the former to make the final count.

  15. Courtesy of the PollBludger:
    “In North Sydney, the poll shows Liberal member Trent Zimmerman trailing independent 59-41 and Labor 58-42, suggesting he would lose to whichever of the two finished ahead at the second last count. When results for the two primary vote questions are combined as appropriate, the second being a forced-response follow-up for the initially decided, Zimmerman is on 35.5%, Labor candidate Catherine Renshaw is on 23.1%, and Tink is on 21.3%, and the Greens are on 11.3%.”

    There are three curious aspects of this:
    – the ALP and Greens votes are holding up surprisingly well when Voices candidates drag lots of votes away from them.
    – it was a robopoll, I have been robopolled twice for Higgins – which was not apparent at the start of the survey that it was seat specific. I don’t live in Higgins but my office is in Higgins. At no time was I asked if I was enrolled in Higgins. There are a lot of people who work in the North Sydney area but don’t live there so how seriously can this poll be taken?
    – how rigorous are the age demographics in robopolls? In North Sydney, there would be a lot of older people who would hang up or be wary.

  16. redistributed
    Really a top post from you. I particularly appreciated the personal references to being polled.Your ” three curious aspects of this:” were excellent.
    cheers wd

  17. redistributed

    The Voices backed candidate in North Sydney has stated she has always voted Liberal and generally agrees with Liberal Party principles – grew up supporting them. Not the usual messaging to court ALP and GRN voters. Perhaps Voices candidates should not be seen as a monolithic block. Also ALP now had 5 local Councillors in the electorate and there’s a Green in Lane Cove too (the Green in Willoughby didn’t recontest) and numerous progress IND Councillors. The ALP and GRN primaries are down about 9% based on this poll.

    Also, as Pollbudger profile indicates, North Sydney actually doesn’t have a lot of old people (not sure how you define “older”) – its underweight in every every group from 50+. People don’t retire TO North Sydney. They either stay here or move away (normally to Bowral!)

  18. I don’t think anyone seriously thinks Labor is ahead 58-42 here, but Albo was in the seat recently with their candidate. Maybe they have internal polling suggesting it’s close?

  19. What’s the proportion of people who rent in North Sydney? It’s anecdotal, but I have a lot of friends (20s and 30s) who live in medium-high density apartments around Lane Cove and Atarmon. While this may be a wealthier type of renter vis-a-vis elsewhere in Sydney, I doubt it would be conducive to Liberal voting patterns.

    Still, hard to see North Sydney actually falling. Maybe in a few cycles perhaps.

  20. This is only going to fall to Labor if Tink comes third (or fourth if she really tanks) and if Tink’s preferences actually favour Labor strongly. The poll indicates that they will, but in reality, there’s a likelihood they’ll only favour Labor by a small margin (see Warringah ’19 2PP) which won’t get Renshaw over the line.

  21. Per Pollbludger profile (again) – North Sydney % of mortgages is only 27.3 (as a percentage of dwellings) – national average is 34.5%.
    So that’s either indicative of a lot of renters, or a lot of affluent home owners with no debt – not sure which… I’m neither.

    I did rent in two different locations in North Sydney before hand though.

  22. Surely you would only do tactical voting if your preferred candidate has no hope at all? If those polls are saying Labor aren’t a complete impossibility, then why would a Labor supporter tactically vote for a Liberal-leaning independent ahead of Labor? Especially given the minimal difference between that Liberal-leaning independent and the moderate Liberal who holds the seat? You would take your chances on actually trying to get Labor up and if that fails, console yourself that at least there’s one more moderate on the Liberal benches.

  23. I wonder how comparable the suburbs in this district are with the Bulimba area of Brisbane (the eastern part of Griffith federal district). Bulimba and the suburbs between South Brisbane and Carindale are generally Labor leaning but I am not sure if this area is also fairly affluent as well.

  24. As per Pollbludger (again, again) the demographics look pretty similar – across the entire electorates, so talking averages here. Not quite as affluent – but not many are.

  25. In the late 70s I handed out for Labor here I think the liberal leader lost then ..looking round Lavender Bay… I thought this will never be a Labor seat. This area has more renters and lots of couples with no kids. I would have thought this would be ideal area for a Ted Mack type candidate . Maybe this explains why despite solid liberal areas being shifted here from Bennelong to here John Howard never shifted electorates.
    .

  26. @Ben Raue – further to our blog conversation on Sat 29 Jan.

    It appears the recent UComms poll of North Sydney did ask for a LIB vs ALP preference.
    https://ucommsapc.info/auspolling-council-1/f/australian-polling-council—24-january-2022-1

    Thus TAI must have asked for it. Which makes me very intrigued as to why their website does not disclose the result of LIB vs ALP, but only LIB vs IND. Are they receiving funding from sources to push forward only data that would make it appear a better bet to vote for an IND?

  27. As Kevin Bonham noted seems likely this poll way under sampled Liberal voters. With the political vibe rather like 2007 I can see Labor getting a large swing & actually getting closer than they did in 2007-like 2007 they have a high profile candidate.

  28. What has happened to Victor Kline and the New Liberals? Are they going to have any traction?
    Is it just me or do the New Liberals just seem like a vanity project? Their policies seem very little different to the Greens. Do people set up these parties just because they want to be a big fish in a small pond rather than a new fish in an existing pond?

  29. The New Liberals aren’t even a party at the moment after they got deregistered bc of their name. They absolutely seem like a vanity project, mainly because all their supporters online are bots, and they’ve had a huge turnover of exclusively female candidates, including Vania Holt, who’s now running as an independent in Robertson. Their policies are uninspiring at best, and their platform contains a number of falsehoods about the extent to which the Greens’ policies will actually go, especially regarding a federal ICAC. They won’t win anything because their possible votes are all going to go to the indies anyway. The 1.5-1.6% of people who said they’d vote for him in this poll seems like a bit of a stretch.

  30. @Ryan Spencer
    I’m not going to disagree with you on that point about Zimmerman vs Abbott. So the preferences may not flow to Labor has much as they did to Warringah in 2019 – but they may not have to. Something around 60/40 would still be more than “a small margin”. Anything in the 60’s % could make it close on these sort of primaries.

  31. If Kylea Tink sets herself up as a sort of Liberal Lite candidate, it would seem that she would not get preferences before Labor from the Greens or say Animal Justice. She would need to be along way ahead of the ALP so that she was not overtaken should she come second.
    It is also interesting to note that the Greens or Greens + Democrat votes in this seat have been consistently in the 13 -15% range for decades except 2010 when they were above and 2007 when they were below.

  32. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I really don’t think most Green voters care one way or the other. Whoever appears higher on the HTV will get the majority of their preferences.

  33. The first reference to the Liberals being worried about North Sydney. Unclear who they see as the bigger threat though – from media reports today of the federal intervention in NSW:

    “I guess it’s a win for the moderates because Trent is now able to get out and campaign in North Sydney, and we are a bit worried about that seat,” said one moderate who was not authorised to speak openly.

  34. I would assume they’re worried about Tink. When she was first announced I thought it was a bit of a joke but she’s campaigning very visibly atm and the inability of the liberals to be able to do anything is quite noticeable. I still think liberals favourite but Tink appears a much better chance than what I thought a few months ago. The pre selection delays have really hurt the liberals across many seats.

  35. I think the current member for North Sydney – Trent Zimmerman should be very worried, whether it is a Labor victory or an Independent victory – I think this will be a seat to watch on election day.

  36. Yeah they’ve had albo and other senior labor members campaigning here. The fact Frydenburg is in North Sydney too makes me think their internal polling shows it’s in danger of falling. Shocking to think North Sydney could be a Labor seat

  37. I think Trent Zimmermann will hold on here, only because he seems like a decent person, and an actual moderate Liberal that represents their seat.

  38. I think that Josh is: (a) helping campaign in ares where Morrison is on the nose; and (b) help moderates in the party get re-elected so that they support him in the leadership of the opposition ballot v Dutton (assuming they lose).

    Last week Josh’s image was also in an advertisement in the Penrith free weekly newspaper with the member for Lindsay. Not many Kooyong votes in Penrith! No sign of Scomo….

    For what it is worth I think Trent will win and can confirm Malcolm’s view, based on my dealings with him, Trent is indeed a decent person and an actual moderate Liberal.

    One thing about Trent is that he always thinks he is going to lose (bit paranoid I suppose) and he will be chasing the last vote to the last minute in the campaign.

    PS: live on the boarder or Warringah / North Syd (used to be in NS until they moved the boundary).

    Best

    Pollster

  39. The always chasing the last vote is a good thing. It means he is not complacent. The effort needs to go in at the right time.

  40. @Pollster – got a prediction for Primary Votes results? Presume you live in North Sydney Council?

  41. My problem with the hypothesis that Frydenberg is campaigning for Zimmerman to get his support in a leadership ballot is that, if Zimmerman is so moderate and reasonable, there’s no way he’d vote for Dutton over Frydenberg anyway.

    It’s definitely an odd decision. I mean, it could conceivably be purely an opportunistic decision – Frydenberg was in the area, and Zimmerman suggested it as a way to try to boost Frydenberg’s visibility in preparation for challenging. But even then, why choose there, instead of, say, Reid, or Bennelong, or Warringah, all of which are more marginal than North Sydney and are more reasonable places to put resources if they didn’t specifically have fears for North Sydney.

    This does feel a little bit like sandbagging. And I get it – Frydenberg is clearly on the moderate side, and because moderates tend to be in moderate seats, a big swing could result in a wipeout of the moderate wing of the Liberal party.

  42. Gez – tough audience @High Street – estimate of the primany vote…. guess only – be down a little – maybe 48-50%.

    I think that Tink will do well but a lot of her support will come from non-liberal voters. The labour candidate in Warringah got 6.6% of the vote last election.

    The four seats that have been won by “independents” off the liberals, namly – Wentworth, Indi, Mayo and Warringah all had “objectionable” liberal candidates (hard core conservatives – Mirrabella in Indi, Abbot in Warringah, and Briggs in Mayo had got up to no good in Hong Kong) and Wentworth was a unique by-election after Turnbull resigned.

    I don’t see the same circumstances at this election in Wentworth, North Sydney, Higgins, Kooyong, Goldstein or Flinders that would result in an independent having enough traction to win. And I don’t know enough about Curtain and Mackeller to have any real view on the independent’s chances.

    I have noted over on the Warringah thread that at the last federal election when Abbot lost, the senate vote for the coalition decreased by 1%. Abbot lost Warringah not the coalition.

    And yes live in the North Sydney Council area.

    Best

    Pollster

  43. Tom – yes, that’s my point. It can’t be about winning Zimmerman’s support, so the most logical conclusion is that it’s about concerns that Zimmerman might not win the seat.

  44. Glen, Frydenberg’s not there because he thinks Trent Zimmerman would ever vote for Dutton. He’s doing it because he thinks Zimmerman’s going to lose his seat. It’s true that NS isn’t as marginal on paper but it is expected to have a much larger swing than Reid and Bennelong nonetheless. And chances are Frydenberg will make an appearance in those seats anyway.

    I don’t know if he’ll bother with Warringah, the candidate there doesn’t sound particularly friendly to him. But he still might anyway.

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