Blacktown council election, 2021

The City of Blacktown covers parts of north-western Sydney, including the Blacktown and Mount Druitt urban centres and the suburbs of Quakers Hill, Kings Langley, Seven Hills, Rooty Hill, Doonside, Shalvey, Whalan, Kellyville Ridge, Schofields and Riverstone.

Blacktown has a population of approximately 374,000 people (as of 2019), which makes it the fifth-largest council in Australia. Until recently, Blacktown was the most populous council in New South Wales, but was overtaken by the new Canterbury-Bankstown Council in 2016.

Wards
Blacktown is divided up into five wards, with each ward electing three councillors.

The five wards are numbered from Ward 1 to Ward 5. The wards are numbered in a clockwise direction, starting with Ward 1 in northern parts of the council.

Ward 1 covers north-eastern parts of the electorate, mostly covering newly-developing suburbs and less developed parts of the council, including the suburbs of Kellyville Ridge, Stanhope Gardens, Parklea and eastern parts of Schofields and Riverstone.

Ward 2 covers eastern areas including Kings Langley, Glenwood, Marayong, Lalor Park and parts of Blacktown, Seven Hills and Quakers Hill.

Ward 3 covers the south-east of the council, including Prospect, Arndell Park, Huntingwood, most of Blacktown and parts of Seven Hills.

Ward 4 covers the south-west of the council, including Mount Druitt, Rooty Hill, Minchinbury, Doonside and Glendenning.

Ward 5 covers the north-west of the council, including Tregear, Shalvey, Whalan and parts of Plumpton and Oakhurst.

Redistribution
Ward 1, in the north-east of the council area, was well over quota so had to shed substantial parts of its territory, which had knock-on effects for every ward in the council.

Ward 1 shed suburbs on the western side of the Richmond railway line to Ward 5, including western parts of Schofields and Riverstone, as well as the remainder of Marsden Park. The suburb of Colebee was moved into Ward 4.

Ward 2 experienced the least change, slightly expanded to the west to take in slightly more of Quakers Hill.

Ward 3 expanded westward all the way to Eastern Creek, taking in Arndell Park, Huntingwood and Bungarribee.

Ward 4 shrunk, losing its eastern edge to wards 2 and 3, but took in parts of Plumpton and Oakhurst from Ward 5 and Colebee from Ward 1.

Ward 5 maintained most of its territory, just losing a small area around Plumpton from Ward 4, but also expanded substantially to take those parts of Ward 1 to the west of the railway line.

Incumbent councillors

Ward 1 Jess Diaz (Liberal) Chris Quilkey (Labor) Moninder Singh (Labor)
Ward 2 Jaymes Diaz (Liberal) Kevin Gillies (Labor)1 Julie Griffiths (Labor)
Ward 3 Susai Benjamin (Labor) Frederick Brillo (Liberal) Kathie Collins (Labor)
Ward 4 Carol Israel (Labor) Linda Santos (Liberal) Vacant (Labor)2
Ward 5 Tony Bleasdale (Labor) Brad Bunting (Labor) Peter Camilleri (Liberal)

1 Kevin Gillies was elected at a by-election on 8 April 2017 after the death of Labor councillor Leo Kelly.
2 Stephen Bali resigned from council in October 2019 after being elected as the state member for Blacktown in 2017.

History
Labor has dominated Blacktown council for decades with the exception of the 2012-2016 term, when their majority was broken.

In 2004, Labor won ten out of fifteen seats. The Liberal Party won the third seat in four wards, with independent Russ Dickens winning the final seat.

Labor managed to hold on to a narrow majority in 2008, holding on to eight of their seats. The Liberal Party won a seat in all five wards. In Ward 1, sitting Liberal councillor Allan Green was deselected, but he was re-elected as an independent. Independent Russ Dickens was also re-elected.

Labor lost its majority on Blacktown council at the 2012 election, retaining seven seats. The Liberal Party gained second seats in two wards, giving them a total of seven seats (including one taken from Allan Green), with Russ Dickens holding the balance of power.

Dickens sided with the Liberal Party in the 2012 mayoral vote, ending a lengthy period of Labor holding the Blacktown mayoralty. The Liberal Party’s Len Robinson was elected mayor, and was re-elected in 2013.

After two years of Liberal mayors, Labor regained the mayoralty in 2014. The election was conducted by secret ballot, and one of the seven Liberal councillors apparently cast their vote for Labor mayoral candidate Stephen Bali, giving him a majority. Bali defeated Liberal candidate Jess Diaz, who was slated to replace his party colleague Robinson.

When the time came to choose a mayor in 2015, Liberal councillor Jacqueline Donaldson decided to quit the Liberal Party. Donaldson supported Bali for a second term as mayor, and was supported by the Labor councillors as deputy mayor.

Labor regained a dominant position at the 2016 election, winning ten out of fifteen seats, with the other five going to the Liberal Party. Dickens and Donaldson both lost their seats running as independents.

Candidate summary
Watch this space.

Assessment
Labor is in a pretty solid position in Blacktown. There would need to be a sizeable swing across at least half of the council to have them lose their majority.

There isn’t much of a third party movement in Blacktown. There is no crossbench on the council at the moment. Two independent councillors (one an ex-Liberal, the other with a long history of running as an independent) lost their seats in 2016. A stronger independent presence would make it harder for Labor to hold their majority.

2016 results

PartyVotes%SwingSeats won
Labor 80,17251.75+8.510
Liberal 41,33426.68-11.05
Independents20,36413.14-1.5
Greens 7,8975.10+2.6
Christian Democrats2,6441.71+0.3
Australia First2,5251.63+1.0
Informal10,0866.11

Vote breakdown by ward
The following two tables show the vote in each ward before and after the recent redistribution.

The Labor vote ranged from 63% in Ward 4 to just 43% in Ward 1 at the last election, while the Liberal vote ranged from 21.9% in Ward 3 to almost 40% in Ward 1.

The redistribution didn’t do much to the Labor votes in each ward, although it slightly lowered their vote in Ward 1. Similarly the Liberal vote didn’t budge much.

Labor is in most danger of losing a second seat in Ward 1, but to lose their majority they would need to lose three seats and that would likely require losses in wards 1, 2 and 3, which would be a lot.

Pre-redistribution vote numbers

WardALP %LIB %IND %GRN %
Ward 143.039.617.50.0
Ward 245.926.89.69.4
Ward 349.221.921.47.5
Ward 462.923.912.31.0
Ward 559.519.14.58.3

Post-redistribution vote numbers

WardALP %LIB %Others %GRN %
Ward 142.939.817.30.0
Ward 246.226.817.89.2
Ward 350.121.820.87.2
Ward 461.524.612.51.4
Ward 558.520.313.67.6

Election results at the 2016 City of Blacktown election
Toggle between primary votes for Labor, the Liberal Party and independent candidates.

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