Campbelltown council election, 2021

The City of Campbelltown covers suburbs in the outer south-west of Sydney, including Campbelltown, Glenfield, Macquarie Fields, Ingleburn, Minto, St Andrews, Raby, Eagle Vale, Kearns, Claymore, Woodbine, Leumeah, Glen Alpine, Bradbury, Ambarvale and Rosemeadow.

The City of Campbelltown has a population of approximately 170,000 people (as of 2019), which makes it the seventeenth most populous council in New South Wales.

Wards
The City of Campbelltown has no wards.

Incumbent councillors

George Brticevic (Labor) George Greiss (Liberal) Ben Moroney (Greens)
Margaret Chivers (Labor) Karen Hunt (Labor) Warren Morrison (Ind)
Masood Chowdhury (Labor) Paul Lake (Independent) Meg Oates (Labor)
Ralph George (Liberal) Darcy Lound (Labor) Ted Rowell (Liberal)
Ben Gilholme (Labor)1 Rey Manoto (Labor) Bob Thompson (Ind)

1Ben Gilholme was elected at a by-election on 18 March 2017 after the death of independent councillor Fred Borg.

History
The City of Campbelltown has traditionally leaned towards Labor, but the voting system has made it impossible for Labor to win majorities in recent decades. A council of 15 members with no wards means that the quota is approximately 6.25%, and this has allowed a number of independents to hold seats over a long period with a low vote spread across the council area. From at least 1991 until 2012, Labor shared the mayoralty with a small group of independents.

In the 1991-1995 term, Labor’s Meg Oates held the mayoralty for one term, with three other independents each having the mayoralty for a year. One of these councillors was Russell Matheson, a former local Australian rules football star who had been elected on the ticket of Jim Kremmer, an independent with a history in the Labor Party.

Oates served as mayor for two years in the 1995-1999 term, with independents Matheson and Paul Sinclair each holding the job for one year.

The 1999 election produced a result of five Labor councillors, one Liberal, one Green and one One Nation, along with seven independents. Labor’s Meg Oates held the mayoralty from 1999 until 2000, followed by independent Jim Kremmer, and then Russell Matheson. Labor’s Brenton Banfield became mayor in late 2002, with the election postponed until early 2004. During this term, the Greens’ David Hawkins left the party, while pro-environment independent councillor Verlie Fowler joined the Greens.

At the 2004 election, Labor’s position improved substantially, winning seven seats. The Liberal Party, led by Jai Rowell, won two seats. The Greens’ Julie Bourke won one seat, while the other five seats were won by independents.

Jim Kremmer retired, and Russell Matheson’s Community First ticket won enough votes to elect his running mate Paul Lake. The other three seats were won by independents running on their own tickets. Bob Thompson (formerly of One Nation) won a second term, while longstanding councillors Fred Borg and Sue Dobson were re-elected.

Labor’s dominant position let them hold the mayoralty for all but one year in that 2004-2008 term. Banfield served until September 2005, retiring after three years (and after an aborted push to move him into the federal seat of Werriwa). Matheson held the mayoralty until 2006, when he was succeeded by Labor’s Aaron Rule.

Rule held the mayoralty for two years, until the 2008 election.

Labor went backwards in 2008, losing their seventh seat. The Liberal Party won a third seat. The Greens held their one seat, and the Matheson/Lake ticket maintained their two seats, with the three other independents Borg, Dobson and Thompson all holding on. The existing alliance was maintained, with Russell Matheson serving his final term as mayor from 2008 until 2009, followed by one last term for Aaron Rule.

Matheson was preselected as the Liberal candidate for the federal seat of Macarthur in 2010, and went on to win the seat, although he continued to sit as an independent on the council. His ally Paul Lake became mayor in 2010, followed in 2011 by Anoulack Chanthivong.

The 2012 election saw a break to the long-term pattern of Labor governing in alliance with independents. Labor lost another seat, dropping to five seats, while the Liberal Party won four seats. The Greens did not stand in the election, while the Liberal Democratic Party won a seat. Fred Borg’s Totally Locally Committed party won two seats, while independents Lake, Dobson and Thompson were re-elected.

The LDP’s Clinton Mead, along with independents Lake, Dobson and Thompson, all sided with the Liberal Party to form a new governing alliance, while Borg and his ally Lound sided with Labor. Lound joined the ALP before the next election. Sue Dobson took the mayoralty in the first year, followed by Mead from 2013 until 2014. Lake was mayor from 2014 until 2015, and the Liberal Party’s Paul Hawker became the first Liberal mayor of Campbelltown in recent history in 2015.

Labor surged back in 2016, winning a sixth and seventh seat. The Greens also returned to council with a single seat. The Liberal Party dropped one seat. Liberal allies Dobson (IND) and Mead (LDP) were both defeated, while Lake and Thompson were re-elected.

Fred Borg was re-elected along with Warren Morrison, the running mate on his Totally Locally Committed Party. Borg leaned towards supporting Labor, as did the Greens, giving ten votes for a working majority.

This arrangement was very brief, however, as Borg died in December 2016. The subsequent by-election in March 2017 was a vote of the entire council area and Labor easily won the vacant seat, giving Labor an absolute majority on the council. Labor’s George Brticevic has led the council as mayor since the 2016 election.

Candidate summary
The Totally Locally Committed party (formerly led by the late Fred Borg) has announced their two lead candidates:

  1. Cr Warren Morrison
  2. Kevin Dillon

Assessment
Labor is very strong in the City of Campbelltown but the electoral system makes it hard for a single ticket to win a majority – Labor would need close to 50% of the vote to win eight seats. But they have won seven at a general election twice in the last two decades – in 2004 and 2016 – so it is possible that a slightly higher vote could give them an eighth seat.

Regardless of whether Labor can win a majority, they are in a strong position to be the dominant party and have a working majority, with the Greens usually winning one seat and some other small parties winning seats. One factor that may shake things up is the absence of Fred Borg, who died shortly after the 2016 election. Borg generally allied with Labor and won two seats at the last two elections, polling 9.9% at each election. It seems unlikely that his party can do anywhere near as well in his absence, and some of that vote may flow back to Labor in such a way that opens the door to an eighth seat.

2016 election result

PartyVotes%SwingSeats won
Labor 34,25443.29+12.67
Liberal 13,01916.45-11.13
Totally Locally Committed7,8659.94+0.02
Community First7,0498.91+1.71
Greens 3,8924.92+4.91
Bob Thompson Team3,8914.92-0.71
Christian Democrats2,8423.59+0.4
Other independents2,2722.87-2.7
Sue Dobson Team2,1522.72-2.6
Liberal Democrats1,8852.38-2.4
Informal6,6977.80

Booth breakdown

Since there are no wards in the City of Campbelltown, I have split booths into five arbitrary divisions:

  • Central – Leumeah, Woodbine, Campbelltown, Ruse, Airds, Kentlyn and Bradbury
  • North – Macquarie Fields and Glenfield
  • North Central – Minto and Ingleburn
  • South – Rosemeadow, St Helens Park, Ambarvale and Glen Alpine
  • West – Raby, St Andrews, Kearns, Eagle Vale, Eschol Park and Claymore

Labor topped the primary vote in every area, ranging from 39% in the south to 52% in the north.

The Liberal Party came second in each area, with a vote ranging from 15% in North Central to 17.6% in the south.

Fred Borg’s vote was highest in the centre and south, while Paul Lake’s vote was highest in the south and west.

Voter groupALP %LIB %Borg %Lake %Formal votes
Central40.315.312.58.516,379
South38.917.612.410.613,143
West44.116.48.89.712,160
North Central49.915.07.35.710,156
North51.817.54.96.08,938
Pre-poll40.116.511.311.714,152
Other votes43.518.58.08.04,193

Election results at the 2016 City of Campbelltown election
Toggle between primary votes for Labor, the Liberal Party, Totally Locally Committed and Community First.

Become a Patron!

2 COMMENTS

  1. This is the Ipswich of QLD. Safe Labor won’t flip outside of landslide years. Classic working class town nothing much to see here other than Labor will need to cobble together an agreement because they won’t reach majority status

  2. Interesting to see Lake poll so highly in the South. I would have thought his base would be around Ingleburn. Expect a higher Green presence this time around – with Koalas becoming a bigger issue in the public sphere.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here