Reid – Australia 2022

LIB 3.2%

Incumbent MP
Fiona Martin, since 2019.

Geography
Inner Western Sydney. Reid covers suburbs along the southern shore of Parramatta River from Drummoyne to Homebush Bay. It covers the City of Canada Bay and parts of Auburn, Burwood and Strathfield council areas. Major suburbs are Drummoyne, Five Dock, Croydon, Homebush, Strathfield and Burwood.

History
The seat of Reid was created for the 1922 election, while Lowe was created as part of the expansion of the Parliament in 1949. Reid had been held by either the ALP or Jack Lang’s Labor breakaway parties for its entire history, while Lowe had a history of alternating between the ALP and Liberal Party. Since the two seats were effectively merged in 2010, Reid has gone to the party of government.

The seat of Reid was first won in 1922 by Labor candidate Percy Coleman. Coleman was re-elected in 1925, 1928 and 1929, but at the 1931 election he was defeated by Joseph Gander, candidate for Jack Lang’s breakaway NSW Labor Party. Gander was re-elected as a Lang Labor candidate in 1934 before rejoining the ALP when Jack Lang reconciled with the federal ALP.

Gander was re-elected as an official ALP candidate in 1937, but in 1940 Jack Lang again split away from the ALP, but with less of his former supporters in NSW following him. Gander followed Lang out of the ALP, but lost at the 1940 election to official ALP candidate Charles Morgan.

Morgan held the seat until the 1946 election, when Jack Lang himself ran in Reid and defeated Morgan. Lang was a former NSW Premier who had led a breakaway Labor party in NSW on a number of occasions.

The 1949 election saw the creation of the new seat of Blaxland, and Lang ran in that seat unsuccessfully. Morgan regained Reid in 1949, holding it until 1958.

Charles Morgan was defeated for ALP preselection by Tom Uren before the 1958 election. Morgan ran as an independent, but was defeated comfortably by Uren.

Uren served as Minister for Urban and Regional Development in the Whitlam government. He served as a Deputy Leader of the ALP from 1976 to 1977, and became the leading figure in the ALP’s left in the late 1970s. He opposed Bob Hawke’s leadership and thus was excluded from Cabinet when Hawke was elected Prime Minister in 1983. He served as a junior minister for four years before moving to the backbench in 1987.

Uren retired at the 1990 election, and was succeeded by Laurie Ferguson, who had been the state member for Granville since 1984. Ferguson has held Reid since 1990.

Lowe was first created for the 1949 election, when it was won by William McMahon (LIB). McMahon was elevated to Robert Menzies’ ministry in 1951, serving in a variety of portfolios over the next fifteen years. Upon Menzies’ retirement in 1966 McMahon became Treasurer in Harold Holt’s cabinet.

When Harold Holt disappeared in December 1967 McMahon was the presumptive successor, but Country Party leader John McEwen refused to serve with McMahon as Prime Minister. McMahon withdrew and Senator John Gorton was elected leader and moved to the House of Representatives.

McMahon served as Gorton’s Foreign Minister, but challenged Gorton for the leadership following the 1969 election unsuccessfully. In 1971 McEwen retired and Gorton’s leadership was undermined by the resignation of Malcolm Fraser from the cabinet. Gorton called a party meeting, and the ballot was tied between Gorton and McMahon, which led to Gorton’s resignation and McMahon’s election as leader and Prime Minister.

McMahon led the Coalition into the 1972 election, and was defeated by Gough Whitlam’s Labor Party. McMahon served in Billy Snedden’s shadow cabinet up to the 1974 election, and then served as a backbencher until his retirement in 1982.

Lowe had been marginal for most elections during McMahon’s service, particularly since the 1961 election. He had only held the seat with a 1.1% margin at the 1980 election, and a swing of 9.4% swing saw Labor candidate Michael Maher win the seat at the 1982 by-election, one year before Bob Hawke defeated Malcolm Fraser at the 1983 election. Maher was a state MP for Drummoyne from 1973 until the 1982 by-election.

Maher was reelected in 1983 and 1984, but was defeated in 1987 by Bob Woods (LIB). Woods was reelected in 1990, and defeated in 1993 by Mary Easson (ALP). Woods was appointed to the Senate in 1994 and served as a Parliamentary Secretary in the Howard government’s first year before resigning from the Senate in 1997 following allegations of abuse of parliamentary privilege.

Easson only held Lowe for one term, losing her seat in the 1996 landslide to Liberal candidate Paul Zammit, who had been a state MP for first Burwood and then Strathfield from 1984 until 1996. Zammit resigned from the Liberal Party in protest at aircraft noise in 1998 and contested the 1998 election as an independent, polling 15%. The seat was won in 1998 by the ALP’s John Murphy, who held the seat until 2010.

In 2010, John Murphy was re-elected in the redrawn seat of Reid, while former Member for Reid Laurie Ferguson moved to the seat of Werriwa.

Murphy lost to Liberal candidate Craig Laundy in 2013 with a 3.5% swing. Laundy was re-elected in 2016, and retired in 2019.

Liberal candidate Fiona Martin won Reid in 2019.

Candidates

  • Sally Sitou (Labor)
  • Sahar Khalili-Naghadeh (Fusion)
  • Edward Walters (One Nation)
  • Natalie Baini (Independent)
  • Andrew Cameron (Liberal Democrats)
  • Fiona Martin (Liberal)
  • Jamal Daoud (United Australia)
  • Charles Jago (Greens)
  • Assessment
    Reid is a very marginal seat, although Martin as a first-term MP will likely benefit from a new personal vote.

    2019 result

    CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
    Fiona Martin Liberal 45,28848.3-0.5
    Sam Crosby Labor 34,87237.2+0.9
    Charles Jago Greens 7,5758.1-0.4
    Keith PiperChristian Democratic Party2,3352.5-1.6
    Rohan LaxmanalalAnimal Justice1,8612.0+2.0
    Young LeeUnited Australia Party1,7971.9+1.9
    Informal6,1196.1+1.2

    2019 two-party-preferred result

    CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
    Fiona Martin Liberal 49,84453.2-1.5
    Sam Crosby Labor 43,88446.8+1.5

    Booth breakdown

    Booths in Reid have been split into three parts. “East” covers booths in the former Drummoyne council area. “South” covers booths in the Burwood, Strathfield, Cumberland and Inner West council areas. “North-West” covers booths in the former Concord council area and the Parramatta council area.

    The Liberal Party won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in the north-east (54.3%) and the north-west (54.4%) while Labor won 51.2% in the south.

    Voter groupGRN prim %LIB 2PP %Total votes% of votes
    North-West7.354.422,11223.6
    South7.748.820,43621.8
    North-East8.754.316,88218.0
    Pre-poll7.854.822,15323.6
    Other votes9.853.912,14513.0

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

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    167 COMMENTS

    1. Good points above.

      I watched that infamous 2GB debate. It might just end Fiona Martin’s career in federal politics. She sounded condescending and entitled by emphasising that she grew up in the electorate and sternly asking “Where did you grow up?”. Nobody chooses where they grew up.

    2. @Al Agreed it’s a mistake to try to analyse Reid by ethnicity. Other than Fiona Martin mistaking a Laotian-Chinese woman for a Vietnamese woman, on most issues the “[insert ethnicity] community” is unlikely to vote as a bloc. The key differentiator in Reid is whether a voter lives in a unit or a house. Aside from the bit of Lidcombe and Auburn, everywhere across the electorate houses are in the $2-5m range (sometimes more): whether you are looking at the $2.5m median end (eg Homebush or Concord) or $3m+ median end (Drummoyne or Strathfield) of the table. The families who own (or rent) those houses are not going to be poor working class no matter what ethnicity they are. These tend to be successful tradies, medical and legal professionals and business owners. They will either be deep-blue Liberal voters or at best slightly Rose-coloured Labor who are not too difficult to flip. HOWEVER, in the very same suburbs, units are much much cheaper. Your average unit dweller is much more likely to be a new immigrant or young worker in a technical or industrial job. The geographical analysis therefore closely follows density. To take the southwestern corner of the electorate as an example, Flemington/Homebush West will inevitably be strongly Labor because it is a suburb with very few houses. Neighbouring Homebush will inevitably split north-south, with the multimillion dollar house owners in the south voting Liberal and the highrise unit dwellers in the north voting Labor. Strathfield will see overwhelming Liberal majorities in the low density south and west, but a stronger Labor vote from the highrises around the station. Whether it’s Labor or Liberal, the key to winning the electorate is winning the support of the economically well-off, but ideologically progressive upper middle class voter in between the two demographics. Judging by the number of “Climate Change Now” signs hanging on the ornate gates of houses in the area, the Coalition is losing a big portion of that middle.

    3. I don’t think first generation Asian Australians would be particularly offended by it since the ones I’ve spoken to simply dismissed it as white ppl being dumb. It’s mainly ABCs and second generation Asian Australians who would be outraged.

    4. @Al From the affluence perspective, the apartment dwellers of Wentworth Point simply aren’t going to be at the top of the Coalition’s demographic target list when the overall electorate is one where $2m barely gets you an entry level house in suburbs like Homebush, Concord or Ashfield, which would be considered pretty “marginal” areas (in terms of prestige) in this electorate. The house owners in more blue ribbon suburbs like Strathfield or Cabarita or Drummoyne can easily be sitting on a literal $5m pile – and are more likely to have a degree of influence, at least at the local political level. Wentworth Point and Olympic Park may be more affluent than say the average household in western Sydney, but simply because of the housing type in those suburbs, they are relative demographic anomalies in this electorate. From the perspective of residents of WP and OP, they are more likely to have more influence / receive more pork barrelling if they were in the old Reid, where they would be some of the most affluent suburbs, rather than in the new Reid where they are (relatively speaking) at the other end of the spectrum.

    5. Comment from 1st gen migrant in Western Sydney: “We mostly ask our kids who we should vote for, they’re better educated about it than we are.”

      On another topic, I notice Sally Sitou calls herself Sally Chen in Chinese social media (陈莎莉), is that her maiden name? Sitou is also a Chinese surname (司徒), albeit uncommon.

    6. Do you think the Liberals have written off Reid or put it in the too-hard basket?

      There was a 11% difference in primary vote in 2019 (Lib vs Lab).

    7. If Labor can’t win this seat, Scott Morrison will remain Prime Minister, possibly even in a majority government.

    8. @Expat – not obviously. Her husband’s surname is Yi. Her parents are from Laos though. Just speculating here, but the “Sitou” here may well not be the Chinese surname you mention but a different Laotian surname? It’s not uncommon for ethnic Chinese people from southeast Asian countries to have a surname in the local language which is different to their Chinese surname.

    9. True, could be. Sitou doesn’t look obviously Laotian either though. Not that it’s the most critical detail we could be discussing right now.

      It’s interesting though, I remember a lot of my international students not knowing who “Kevin Rudd” was, but they did know who 陆克文 was and even interacted with him on social media!

    10. Well… That was quite a swing, wasn’t it? The polling booth results are very interesting – Rhodes and Wentworth Point swung far more violently than I thought they would. Chiswick and Abbotsford were the opposite. The analysis of seats like this will be fascinating, I just hope it isn’t limited to the ‘Chinese etc’ narrative.

    11. @Anton it probably would be a huge part of the analysis since Menzies could possibly fall to Labor for the first time in it’s history and no one saw it coming. The most obvious thing linking it to the other seats that swung violently against the Liberals like Chisholm, Reid, Moreton, Tangney, Bennelong is the large Chinese Australian population. It was also discussed as a factor in the analysis of the 2021 Canadian election.

    12. Anton, the huge swings in Rhodes/Wentworth Point may be indicative of Dan M’s analysis, that suburbs with large Chinese populations swung more heavily to Labor.

      I think Chiswick and Abbotsford are more mixed suburbs with low Chinese/Asian populations, instead featuring more voters of Anglo or European background who didn’t really buy the anti China rhetoric.

    13. The ethnic Chinese was important as was in Bennelong. The swing size correlated with the ethnic Chinese population. Not only that, Fiona Martin (Lib) was just a dud MP. Her party and staffers all deserted her. Scott Morrison didn’t even visit the seat. A local ex-Liberal ran as an indepedent.

    14. @Votante: I wonder if it is the existing affluent Chinese middle class deserting the Liberals? Or is it demographic change due to new migrants and students moving into places like Wentworth Point, which didn’t even exist as a residential suburb two elections ago? Of course I have no doubt in Martin’s specific case the radio performance did not help win support from minority ethnic voters of any socioeconomic background

    15. There were big swings to Labor in seats with large Chinese populations e.g. Bennelong, Reid, Chisholm and to some extent in Banks and Deakin. Correlation may not mean causation. AEC’s tally room shows that the biggest swings in Reid (>10%) were those in the central and western parts like in Burwood, Strathfield, Rhodes etc. that have more Chinese people.

      On the ABC on election night, they said something about Peter Dutton’s “drums of war” rhetoric affecting their vote.

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