Ku-ring-gai council election, 2021

Ku-ring-gai council covers the upper north shore of Sydney, including the suburbs of Roseville, Lindfield, Killara, Gordon, Pymble, Turramurra, St Ives, Warrawee and Wahroonga.

The council has a population of about 127,000 people as of 2019.

Ku-ring-gai council is divided into five wards, with each ward electing two councillors.

Comenarra ward covers north-western parts of the council, including West Pymble, South Turramurra, and parts of Turramurra, Warrawee and Wahroonga. The ward’s north-eastern boundary follows the railway line through Turraumurra, Warrawee and Wahroonga.

Gordon ward covers central parts of the council, including Killara, Gordon and East Killara.

Roseville ward covers the southern end of the council, including Lindfield, Roseville, East Lindfield and Roseville Chase.

St Ives ward covers north-eastern parts of the council, including St Ives, St Ives Chase and the centre of Pymble.

Wahroonga ward covers eastern parts of Wahroonga, Turramurra and Warrawee, as well as North Turramurra and North Wahroonga.

Incumbent councillors

Comenarra Callum Clarke Jeff Pettett
Gordon Peter Kelly Cheryl Szatow
Roseville Jennifer Anderson Sam Ngai
St Ives Christine Kay1 Martin Smith
Wahroonga Donna Greenfield Cedric Spencer

1Christine Kay was elected at a by-election on 31 October 2018 after the resignation of David Citer.

The Ku-ring-gai area is very strong for the Liberal Party in state and federal elections, but the council is dominated by independents, with no major parties contesting local elections.

Each ward of Ku-ring-gai council elects two councillors. Prior to the 2012 election, these councillors were elected with a non-proportional system, where each candidate required a majority of the vote, and the votes of the first candidate were recycled to elect the second candidate. This produced a result where the two seats in each ward usually went to candidates running on the same ticket.

At the 2004 election, all five wards elected both candidates from the same ticket.

Adrienne Ryan was elected mayor in 2004, with Maureen Shelley elected as deputy mayor.

Elaine Malicki and Nick Ebbeck took over the council’s leadership in 2005, followed by Nick Ebbeck and Anita Andrew in 2006 and 2007. Over the course of the council term, councillors from four ward teams served as mayor or deputy mayor, with no candidate from St Ives team serving in a leadership role.

In 2008, all five wards elected a unified team. Elaine Malicki and Tony Hall were re-elected with new running mates in Comenarra and St Ives wards, while Nick Ebbeck and Tony Cross were re-elected in Wahroonga ward.

The incumbent councillors in Roseville ward retired, while Adrienne Ryan and Michael Lane were defeated for re-election.

In the 2008-2012 council, the mayoralty and deputy mayoralty were held exclusively by the councillors from the Comenarra, Roseville and Wahroonga wards. Elaine Malicki served as mayor from 2008 until 2010, followed by Ian Cross in 2010 and Jennifer Anderson in 2011. The deputy mayoralty was held by Jennifer Anderson and Elaine Malicki.

On the 2012-2017 council, the leadership was shared amongst five councillors, each of whom represents a different ward. Elaine Malicki was elected mayor in 2012 and deputy mayor in 2013. Cheryl Szatow was deputy mayor in 2012 and mayor in 2015. Jennifer Anderson was mayor in 2013, 2014 and 2016. Chantelle Fomari-Orsmond was deputy mayor in 2014, and David Ossip was deputy mayor in 2015 and 2016.

Only four councillors were re-elected in 2017. Pettett, Szatow and Anderson retained their seats, while David Citer shifted from Gordon to St Ives.

Citer stepped down in 2018 and the by-election was won by Christine Kay.

Jennifer Anderson defeated Cheryl Szatow for mayor in 2017, while Callum Clarke won a tied ballot against Jeff Pettett for deputy mayor. Pettett defeated Clarke 5-4 in 2018.

Anderson and Clarke were elected unopposed to the leadership in 2019.

The deputy mayoral election in 2020 was a tie between Cedric Spencer and Clarke, with the tie broken for Spencer.

Candidate summary
Watch this space.

No parties seriously contest Ku-ring-gai council. Not only are there no parties, but I have not been able to find information about stable “teams” that exist across more than one ward. It is possible that some of the current councillors are allied, but if so I have not found evidence for that.

The electoral system change before the 2012 election shook up how Ku-ring-gai council elections work. Prior to this time, unified tickets would win both seats in a ward. Now, a ticket cannot win more than one seat, which means that each team in each ward can only win one seat.

2017 results – Comenarra Ward

Jeff Pettett6,80956.181.6854
Callum Clarke5,31043.821.3144

2017 results – Gordon Ward

Cheryl Szatow4,33835.551.0661
Peter Kelly3,57929.330.8796
Greg Cook2,35419.290.5785
Rakesh Duncombe1,93315.840.4751

2017 results – Roseville Ward

Sam Ngai5,04341.341.2400
Jennifer Anderson3,08325.270.7581
David Armstrong2,52920.730.6218
Chiming Shea8667.100.2129

2017 results – St Ives Ward

David Citer4,50735.461.0635
Martin Smith4,43434.881.0462
Christine Kay2,91022.890.6866

2017 results – Wahroonga Ward

Donna Greenfield5,71145.961.3785
Cedric Spencer3,78030.420.9124
John Cronly2,93623.630.7087

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  1. Why doesn’t the Liberal Party contest here? With two-member wards, their state and federal performance would have them winning 100% of the seats! (Of course I know the dynamic with independents is very different at a local level, but still.)


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