Cook by-election, 2024

Cause of by-election
Sitting Liberal MP Scott Morrison has flagged that he will resign his seat at the end of February.

Margin – LIB 12.4%

Geography
Southern Sydney, Cook covers parts of the Sutherland Shire and the St George area. Suburbs in Sutherland include Cronulla, Sylvania, Miranda, Gymea, Caringbah and Taren Point. Suburbs in the St George area include Sans Souci, Ramsgate, Sandringham, Monterey, Beverley Park, Kogarah Bay, Kyle Bay and Blakehurst.

History

Cook was first created for the 1969 election. The suburbs around the current seat of Cook were first included in the seat of Illawarra from federation until the 1922 election, when it was transferred to Werriwa, when Werriwa was a large rural seat covering areas south of Sydney. The seat of Hughes was created in 1955, which was the first seat based in Sutherland. Cook was then created in 1969. This used the same name as an earlier seat based in inner Sydney, which had been a safe Labor seat before its abolition in 1955.

For the previous sixty years the seat covering Sutherland had been mostly held by the Labor Party, although Hughes was lost to Liberal candidate Don Dobie in 1966, and Cook has been held by the Liberals for most of its existence.

Dobie transferred to Cook in 1969, but was defeated by Labor’s Ray Thorburn in 1972. Thorburn was defeated by Dobie in 1975 and Dobie held the seat until his retirement in 1996.

Dobie was succeeded by Stephen Mutch, a member of the NSW upper house, in 1996, and Mutch was defeated for preselection by Bruce Baird in 1998. Baird had previously been a state MP and Minister for Transport from 1988 to 1995, as well as taking charge of Sydney’s Olympic big up to 1993.

Baird held the seat for nine years, during which time he developed a reputation as an independent-minded Liberal backbencher who was occasionally critical of the Howard government.

Baird announced his retirement at the 2007 election, and the Liberal preselection was originally won by Michael Towke. Towke’s preselection was overturned amid allegations of branch stacking in a controversial contest, and he was replaced by the former director of the NSW Liberal Party, Scott Morrison.

Morrison won the seat in 2007, and was re-elected five times. Morrison served as a senior minister in the coalition government from 2013 until he became Prime Minister in 2018. He then led the government to victory at the 2019 election.

Morrison continued to serve as Prime Minister until his government’s defeat the 2022 federal election.

Candidates
No information.

Assessment
The Liberal Party should retain this seat at the by-election.

2022 result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Scott Morrison Liberal 54,322 55.5 -8.2
Simon Earle Labor 24,444 25.0 +1.9
Catherine Dyson Greens 9,685 9.9 +3.1
Gaye Cameron One Nation 4,985 5.1 +1.6
Jacqueline Guinane United Australia 4,381 4.5 +3.3
Informal 4,498 4.4 FALSE

2022 two-party-preferred result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Scott Morrison Liberal 61,080 62.4 -6.6
Simon Earle Labor 36,737 37.6 +6.6

Booth breakdown

Booths have been divided into five parts named after key suburbs. All of the booths in the St George area have been grouped as “Sans Souci”. Those in the Sutherland Shire have been split between Sylvania in the north, Cronulla in the east, Gymea-Miranda in the south-west and Caringbah in the centre.

The Liberal Party won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all five areas, ranging from 60.1% in Sans Souci to 68.2% in Sylvania.

The Greens came third, with a primary vote ranging from 10.9% in the south to 17.3% in the north-east.

Voter group GRN prim % LIB 2PP % Total votes % of votes
Sans Souci 7.8 60.1 14,956 15.3
Gymea-Miranda 10.8 60.9 11,260 11.5
Caringbah 10.9 65.6 10,562 10.8
Cronulla 13.2 62.0 10,139 10.4
Sylvania 6.5 68.2 6,059 6.2
Pre-poll 9.5 62.7 31,673 32.4
Other votes 10.6 61.1 13,168 13.5

Election results in Cook at the 2022 federal election
Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and primary votes for the Liberal Party, Labor and the Greens.

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59 COMMENTS

  1. Simon Earle seems personally keen to run, he has a grassroots following. and Labor would be able to recycle materials from the 2022 election. I think Labor should run despite it being quite futile.

    If Labor chooses not to field a candidate Simon Earle would be able get a decent showing running as an independent.

  2. @ John you will still need to print HTV Cards. They Can re-use corflutes. However, this is not Aston and is a much harder seat to win. Even if Labor manages to win i doubt they would be able to hold it at a general election. I would say it is better to save every cent for 2025 to use in neighbouring Banks.

  3. I think if Albo is saying that Labor still haven’t decided, then they might actually run.

    A significant portion of the electorate will probably be in a notionally Labor electorate after the re-distribution (assuming the Committee wants to undo the crossing of the Georges’s River) and I don’t think they will want the punters in that part of the seat to think Labor does not care about them – it’s a damaging view for the public to hold regarding a political party.

    If Dunkley had been close or a loss, then I don’t think it would happen. Morrison had an 8% swing against him last time and although some of that went to UAP and ON, some came to Labor on preferences for a 6.6% swing. So perhaps there is an underlying current of discontent agaist the right that can be fermented.

    Despite him being a blow in himself (and Bruce Baird before him!) Morrison had built up a personal vote on account of being the PM – the people of Cook had never had a senior Minister as MP and I think that has helped move this seat so far in Liberal direction, especially vs other coastal Sydney seats. With that factor now gone, and yet another blow in preselected, and yet another bloke, the protest vote against the Liberal’s might offset the expected by election protest vote against the Government.

    It would also be a statement of intent from Labor that they intend to compete in a wide range of seat at the next federal election and not just defend held marginals.

  4. Labor ran in Fadden and failed, as expected. And the same would happen here. But it’s still odd that they aren’t running in Cook, however I can see why they’re hesitant.

  5. @high street i would argur it would be marginal even possibly notionally liberal given the areas of cook and banks are strong liberal vote

  6. @ John, i was responding to the other John to say that i dont think it is worthwhile for Labor to run for the seat of Cook.

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