Parramatta – NSW 2023

LIB 6.3%

Incumbent MP
Geoff Lee, since 2011.

Geography
Western Sydney. Parramatta covers suburbs around the Parramatta CBD, including Clyde, Dundas, Ermington, Harris Park, Rydalmere and parts of Mays Hill, North Parramatta and Westmead. Parramatta also covers Newington, Silverwater and Wentworth Point on the Olympic Park peninsula. The electorate is almost entirely contained within the City of Parramatta.

Redistribution
Parramatta gained Silverwater, Newington, Wentworth Point and Sydney Olympic Park from Auburn, Clyde and part of Mays Hill from Granville, and Westmead from Seven Hills. In exchange, Parramatta lost Carlingford, Oatlands, Telopea and Dundas Valley to Epping. These changes cut the Liberal margin from 10.6% to 6.3%.

History
The electoral district of Parramatta has existed continuously since the first Legislative Assembly in 1856. The seat was first a two-member district until 1880, when it became a single-member district. It expanded in 1920 to become a three-member district, before becoming a single-member district in 1927. The seat was dominated by conservative parties in the early 20th century, but since the 1950s it has been dominated by the ALP, who won all but one election between 1959 and 2011.

Parramatta was won in a 1916 by-election by Liberal candidate Albert Bruntnell. Over the previous decade he had twice served in the Legislative Assembly, representing Surry Hills and Annandale. He served as Member for Parramatta continuously until his death in 1929. When Parramatta expanded in 1920 it took over the previous seat of Granville, and the former Member for Granville, Jack Lang, was elected as a member for Parramatta. He twice served as Premier, and when single-member districts were restored in 1927, he was elected in Auburn.

The 1929 by-election was won by senior military officer Herbert Lloyd, running as a Nationalist. He lost in 1930, but later held Mosman from 1932 to 1941.

Parramatta was won in 1930 by the ALP’s Joseph Byrne. He held the seat until 1932, when an election was triggered by the Governor’s removal of Lang as Premier. Byrne was one of many casualties of the ensuing landslide.

George Gollan won Parramatta in 1932 for the United Australia Party. He served as a minister in UAP governments from 1938 to 1941. He held the seat until the 1953 election, when a redistribution made the seat stronger for the ALP. He retired and was succeeded by the ALP’s Kevin Morgan.

Morgan held the seat for one term, losing in 1956 to Jim Clough of the Liberal Party. Clough himself lost in 1959. He later held the seat of Eastwood from 1965 to 1988. He served as a minister for the final four months of the Liberal government in 1976.

Parramatta was won in 1959 by the ALP’s Dan Mahoney. He held the seat until his retirement in 1976. Barry Wilde, also of the ALP, held the seat from 1976 to 1988.

The Liberal Party’s John Books won Parramatta in 1988 by 268 votes. In 1991, the redistribution made the seat notionally Labor, and Books lost to the ALP’s Andrew Ziolkowski.

Ziolkowski was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus in 1993, and died in 1994. The ensuing by-election was won by his wife Gabrielle Harrison. Harrison served as Minister for Sport and Recreation in the first term of the Carr government from 1995 to 1999.

Prior to the 2003 election, Harrison faced a preselection challenge from Tanya Gadiel, an advisor to Police Minister Michael Costa. In the face of the challenge she stepped down, and Gadiel won the seat in 2003.

Gadiel was re-elected in 2007 and became a parliamentary secretary shortly after. She left that post in 2008 to serve as Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, and she retired in 2011.

Liberal candidate Geoff Lee won Parramatta at the 2011 election, and he was re-elected in 2015 and 2019.

Candidates
No information.

Assessment
Geoff Lee has built up a strong position in Parramatta, but the redistribution removed his best part of the seat, and this seat could change hands if Labor does well.

2019 result

CandidatePartyVotes%SwingRedist
Geoff Lee Liberal 26,32254.0+0.249.9
Liz Scully Labor 14,73630.2+1.534.1
Phil Bradley Greens 3,6377.5-0.98.0
Michelle GarrardIndependent1,9554.0+0.82.8
Samuel BellwoodKeep Sydney Open1,0232.1+2.12.4
Jasmina MoltterSustainable Australia7011.4+1.41.2
Susan PriceSocialist Alliance3540.7+0.70.6
Others1.1
Informal1,6213.2

2019 two-party-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%SwingRedist
Geoff Lee Liberal 27,33060.6-2.256.3
Liz Scully Labor 17,73339.4+2.243.7

Booth breakdown

Booths in Parramatta have been split into three parts: east, south-west and west.

The Liberal Party won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all three areas, ranging from 53.5% in the south-west to 59.8% in the east.

Voter groupGRN prim %LIB 2PP %Total votes% of votes
East8.259.813,20429.8
West7.855.17,63217.2
South-West7.353.55,51412.5
Other votes9.254.611,78126.6
Pre-poll6.556.16,14013.9

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

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10 COMMENTS

  1. This seat is likely one of the more exciting ones. Redistribution took out Geoff Lee’s base in Carlingford and Dundas and replaced them with Olympic Park which swung 19% to Labor in the election which would make the Libs pretty nervous.

  2. The redistribution panel adopted my idea of using James Ruse Drive and Kissing Point Road as the boundary between Parramatta and Epping, and reorienting both districts east-west.

    Understandably, the Liberals were not happy with this. They tried to push back against the changes in the objections phase with some spurious justifications, which I refuted in the comments on objections phase.

    Funnily enough, if the panel had fully adopted my suggestion, there’d be a new “Pennant Hills” district to the north of Epping, which would’ve (at least partly) solved the Liberals’ predicament – Lee could’ve transferred to Epping, and Perrottet to Pennant Hills, and both MPs would still live in their electorates.

    My suggestion did not include the Olympic Park area, and instead included more of Northmead, Westmead, Wentworthville, and Mays Hill. I wonder what the margin would have been on my boundaries? But based on federal results, it’s possible the panel’s inclusion of Olympic Park instead of areas further west doesn’t work out to be in the Liberals’ favour.

  3. @Nicholas – Correct me if I am wrong but Wentworth Point and Newington were both part of Auburn prior to the redistribution. If that was true, then LIB did well there considering it is a Labor stronghold.

    We have seen bigger margins get run down in the past, but it is difficult to see which section of Parramatta swings to deliver the seat to Labor. The best chance would be a swing based around Parramatta Central.

  4. Hawkeye, you are right that both Wentworth Point and Newington were part of Auburn state district prior to the redistribution. I think these areas were generally more conservative leaning due to their proximity to Rhodes and having a higher concentration of Asian voters.

    However, that part did see a double digit swing to Labor based on Federal booth results in Reid, although that could have been due to voters not being supportive of anti China rhetoric from the Coalition nationally and a weak incumbent in Fiona Martin.

  5. If you look at the 2PP map in this blog post, you’ll see that most of those Parramatta booths were red at the federal election. Around 60% 2PP on the Olympic Park peninsula. That won’t be replicated but it looks like there’s plenty of room for Labor to grow.

  6. Geoff Lee is a very strong MP who has a significant personal vote which is why you can see the disparity between the Lib vote in the existing areas in the seat like Parramatta CBD and the newly added areas like Westmead. Will be intresting to see whether that flows onto newly added Wentworth Point and Westmead. Rapidly growing Wentworth Point swung viciously to Labor which will make the Libs really nervous.

  7. The factors that made the western part of Reid (Wentworth Point and Newington) swing hard to Labor won’t be there. There was a dud local Liberal MP, a strong Labor campaigner with Chinese heritage and pro-Labor swing in Chinese-Australian communities nationwide. The latter factor also helped Labor get a swing in the eastern part of the federal seat of Parramatta (Ermington and Rydalmere).

    I agree that Geoff Lee has a strong local profile. Despite having a seat that sits on top of federal Labor seats, he still managed to increase his primary vote each time and even in 2015 when there was a big statewide swing to Labor.

  8. The Olympic Park suburbs voted 59% liberal here last state election. 2019 federal election alp vote there was in low 50%s.. now 2022 election federal…. was at least 59% alp. This area will make the 6% margin much less all by itself. I suspect there will all things being equal.. be a swing here to Labor.
    Ignoring the Olympic part suburbs.. close alp result ,?

  9. You can clearly see which areas are redistributed into Parramatta and which ones were already part of it based on the strength of the Liberal vote particularly in the west of the seat. Goes to show the impact of Geoff Lee’s strong personal vote and the significant attention the seat has gotten from the state government over the past 2 elections.

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