Hornsby council election, 2021

Hornsby covers northern parts of Sydney. The council covers the suburbs of Beecroft, Cheltenham, North Epping, Pennant Hills, Thornleigh, Cherrybrook, Westleigh, Normanhurst, Hornsby, Asquith, Hornsby, Mount Colah, Mount Ku-ring-gai, Berowra and Brooklyn.

The council has a population of about 152,000 as of 2019.

Hornsby is divided into three wards, with each ward electing three councillors. There is also a directly-elected mayor.

A ward is the northernmost ward, and covers the majority of the council’s land area. It stretches from the Hawkesbury to the Hornsby city centre, and covers Hornsby Heights, Mount Colah, Mount Ku-ring-gai, Berowra and Brooklyn.

B ward covers the centre of the council, including Westleigh, Normanhurst, Thornleigh and parts of Asquith and Hornsby.

C ward covers the southern end of the council, including Beecroft, North Epping, Cheltenham and Cherrybrook.

Incumbent mayor
Philip Ruddock (Liberal)

Incumbent councillors

Ward A Mick Marr (Labor) Nathan Tilbury (Liberal) Warren Waddell (Lib)
Ward B Robert Browne (Liberal) Janelle McIntosh (Labor) Joseph Nicita (Greens)
Ward C Vince Del Gallego (Ind) Emma Heyde (Greens) Michael Hutchence (Lib)

The Liberal Party has long dominated state and federal elections in Hornsby Shire, but until recently did not run official candidates for council elections.

At the 2004 election, three Labor councillors were elected, along with five independents and one Greens councillor. Independent candidate Nick Berman was elected as mayor, with one of the five independents elected on his ticket in his ward. Berman had links with the Liberal Party, and went on to stand for Liberal preselection for the 2011 state election.

At the 2008 election, Labor lost two of their seats to the Greens, for a total of three seats going to the two parties of the left. The remaining six seats went to independents, four of whom had various links to the Liberal Party. Berman was also re-elected as mayor.

Berman’s relationship with the Liberal Party broke down before the 2011 state election. After losing preselection for the state seat of Hornsby, Berman resigned from the party and ran for Hornsby as an independent. Berman polled 22% of the primary vote and 37% after preferences, missing out on the seat.

The Liberal Party first ran official Liberal candidates for Hornsby Council in 2012. The Liberal Party’s Steve Russell challenged Berman for the mayoralty, and narrowly won by a 1331-vote margin, with 50.85% of the vote after preferences were distributed.

The Liberal Party won two seats in each ward, for a total of six councillors (plus the mayor). Independents Nick Berman, Bernadette Azizi and Mick Gallagher all won seats on the council, while Labor and the Greens missed out on winning any seats.

There was a proposal to amalgamate Hornsby and Ku-ring-gai as part of the 2016-17 council amalgamation process. Hornsby supported the merger, but Ku-ring-gai opposed the merger and it eventually failed. Hornsby Shire did however lose part of Epping to the City of Parramatta, and this change did proceed.

The 2017 election saw almost every seat go to a member of one of the three bigger parties. Former federal MP Philip Ruddock, who had retired after over forty years in federal parliament, ran as the Liberal candidate for mayor and won easily. He also brought in another four Liberals with him.

Labor and the Greens returned to the council, winning two seats each. Vince Del Gallego was also elected as an independent.

Since 2017, Ruddock has generally been able to put together a working majority, sometimes with the support of Del Gallego or with one of the Labor councillors.

Candidate summary
The Greens have announced lead candidates in all three wards:

Hornsby has always been a conservative area. That makes it surprising to see that Labor and the Greens have consistently won 3-4 seats on the council between the two of them, with the exception of a wipe-out in 2012 when the Liberal Party first run. It seems most likely the Liberal Party will retain the mayoralty and remain in power but achieving a majority may be tough for them.

2017 council election result

PartyVotes%SwingSeats won
Liberal 34,95443.96-1.14
Greens 15,12119.02+5.12
Labor 13,40016.85+16.92

2017 mayoral election result – primary votes

Philip Ruddock Liberal 39,32547.76+4.9
Emma Heyde The Greens 15,14018.39+18.4
Janelle McIntosh Labor 12,38515.04+15.0
Christine BermanIndependent8,35710.15+10.2
Mick GallagherIndependent7,1268.66+8.7

2017 mayoral election result – after distribution of preferences

Philip Ruddock Liberal 40,14350.92
Emma Heyde The Greens 15,83920.09
Janelle McIntosh Labor 13,02216.52
Christine BermanIndependent9,82412.46

Vote breakdown by ward
The following tables show the vote in each ward for council and for mayor.

The Liberal Party easily topped the poll in all three wards, with a vote ranging from just under 42% in the B and C wards up to 48% in Ward A.

The Greens came second, with over 20% in Ward B and Ward C, and 15.7% in Ward A.

The Labor vote ranged from 14.9% in Ward C to 18.7% in Ward B.

While the Liberal council vote was highest in Ward A, Ruddock’s mayoral vote peaked at the other end of the council, with over 50% in Ward C.

Council results by ward

Ward A48.215.717.019.1
Ward B41.921.118.718.3
Ward C41.820.314.923.0

Mayoral results by ward

WardLIB %GRN %ALP %Berman %
Ward A46.415.814.710.0
Ward B45.517.616.013.1
Ward C51.321.814.47.4

Election results at the 2017 Hornsby Shire election
Toggle between primary votes for the Liberal Party, independent candidates, Labor and the Greens.

Election results at the 2017 Hornsby Shire mayoral election
Toggle between primary votes for Philip Ruddock, Emma Heyde, Janelle McIntosh, Christine Berman and Mick Gallagher.

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  1. One bit of context here: the mayor votes with other councillors, and if there’s a 5-5 tie, the mayor then gets a tie-breaking vote.

    So the Liberals get a working majority if they win 4 of the 9 regular seats plus the mayoralty, as occurred in 2017.

  2. Thanks Nicholas, you actually identified a bug in my code that merged all the votes for independent mayoral candidates together and had caused a problem on five different councils. Will be fixed today!

  3. Liberal Candidates have been announced (according to the local paper, Bush Telegraph)

    Ward A: Cr Tilbury, Cr Waddell, Anthea Kilch (nee Roache) – unchanged from last time
    Ward B: Sallianne McClelland, Martin Dargan, Daniel Dummer
    Ward C: Verity Greenwood, Sreeni Pillamarri, Andrea Calilhanna

    The Liberals going for complete changes in Ward B/C, with current Cr Brown and Cr Hutchence making way, although these two have already served two terms are Liberal Councillors (although served before that as IND since 1999 and 2008 respectively).

    I can’t see Ward C changing it’s representation with Vince and Emma both having high profiles, and with the Liberals going in with a clean slate, it’ll be hard to get 2. Predict Ward C – 1 IND, 1 LIB, 1 GRN (caveat that not all candidates have announced, nor yet has the nomination period opened, but reckon that will affect other wards more so than here)

    Ward B I’d lock in Janelle (ALP) and 1 Lib. The greens have chosen a new lead candidate, and I’m not sure if their current Councillor is being relegated to 2nd/3rd spot or not running. Predict Ward B – 1 ALP 1 LIB with 3rd seat for 2nd LIB/1 GRN.

    Ward A I’d lock in Nathan (LIB) as has high profile in the area (and had Mayoral ambitions, possible successor to Ruddock when he decides to go). The next two seats really could fall in a combination of 2 LIB/1 ALP, 2 LIB/1 IND, 1 ALP/1 IND, 2 LIB/1 GRN. It really depends if that Liberal vote holds up that high and how spread out the others vote is.


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