Willoughby by-election, 2022

Cause of by-election
Sitting Liberal MP Gladys Berejiklian resigned as NSW premier and flagged her upcoming resignation from parliament on 1 October 2021 after the Independent Commission Against Corruption announced an investigation into her.

MarginLIB 21.0%

Geography
Lower North Shore of Sydney. The seat covers most of the City of Willoughby and small parts of North Sydney local government area. The seat covers the suburbs of Chatswood, Willoughby, Middle Cove, Northbridge, Naremburn, Crows Nest and Cammeray.

History

The seat of Willoughby was first created in 1894. It was abolished for three elections in the 1920s and again for the 1988 election, but has existed at every other election. The seat has been dominated by the Liberal Party and its predecessors.

The seat was won in 1927 by Edward Sanders, an independent Nationalist. He joined the Nationalist Party and then the United Australia Party, and held the seat until his death in 1943.

The 1943 by-election was won by George Brain. He held the seat until his retirement in 1968.

Laurie McGinty won Willoughby for the Liberal Party in 1968. He served as a minister from 1973 to 1976. McGinty was defeated for preselection in 1978 by Nick Greiner. McGinty ran as an independent, and directed preferences to the ALP. The seat was won by Labor candidate Eddie Britt.

Britt was defeated in 1981 by the Liberal Party’s Peter Collins. He was re-elected in 1984. In 1988, Willoughby was renamed “Middle Harbour”, and Collins won the renamed seat. He became a minister following the 1988 election, moving up in the ranks to become Treasurer in 1993. In 1991, Middle Harbour was renamed Willoughby again.

When the Coalition lost power in 1995, Collins was elected Leader of the Opposition. He did not lead his party to an election, being replaced by Kerry Chikarovski in December 1998. He was re-elected to Willoughby in 1999 and retired in 2003.

Willoughby was won in 2003 by Gladys Berejiklian. She defeated independent Willoughby mayor Pat Reilly by only 144 votes. She was re-elected in 2007, 2011 and 2015.

Berejiklian became Transport Minister when the Coalition took power in 2011. She became deputy Liberal leader in 2014, and Treasurer in 2015.

Berejiklian became Premier and Liberal leader in January 2017. She led the government to a third term in 2019 and continued in her role until October 2021.

Candidates
No information.

Assessment
Willoughby is not a competitive seat when it comes to Liberal vs Labor contests. It is a relatively strong area for the Greens, who could come second, but won’t be in a position to win. A strong independent could potentially challenge here, but that candidate has not yet emerged.

2019 result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Gladys BerejiklianLiberal27,29257.0-6.5
Justin ReissLabor6,87514.4-1.5
Daniel KeoghGreens5,34211.2-4.7
Larissa PennIndependent4,7429.9+9.9
Tom CrowleyKeep Sydney Open1,4032.9+2.9
Emma BennettAnimal Justice1,0402.2+2.2
Greg GrahamSustainable Australia7791.6+1.6
Meow-Ludo Meow-MeowFlux3840.8+0.8
Informal9341.9

2019 two-party-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Gladys BerejiklianLiberal29,14271.0-3.4
Justin ReissLabor11,88529.0+3.4

Booth breakdown

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

The Liberal Party won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all three areas, ranging from 70.4% in the west to 73.6% in the north-east.

Voter groupGRN primIND primLIB 2PPTotal votes% of votes
South-East10.416.470.613,61828.5
West13.16.770.49,14219.1
North-East10.98.773.68,68718.2
Pre-poll8.97.672.95,09810.7
Other votes11.76.769.111,31223.6

Election results in Willoughby at the 2019 NSW state election
Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and primary votes for the Liberal Party, Labor, the Greens and independent candidate Larissa Penn.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Depends on whether the beaches tunnel goes ahead (apparently the new premier is not a fan). If it does, then Larissa Penn will run again and probably poll very well, at least in the bottom half of the seat. Hard to see what independent could challenge the Libs without that issue.

  2. Frontrunner for Liberal preselection is the Mayor of Willoughby Council, who’s also relatively popular. If she’s pre-selected she’ll win very comfortably in this safe Liberal seat.

  3. Honestly if I was a liberal supporter with political aspirations living there I would go for it…safe seat and has great potential for anyone thinking of entering politics

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