Northern Beaches council election, 2021

Northern Beaches council covers the north-eastern corner of Sydney, including suburbs along the coast from Manly to Palm Beach. The council covers the entire Manly peninsula, and is bounded at its northern end by Broken Bay.

The council covers the suburbs of Avalon Beach, Bayview, Newport, Mona Vale, Warriewood, Terrey Hills, Ingleside, Elanora Heights, Collaroy, Narrabeen, Belrose, Frenchs Forest, Beacon Hill, Dee Why, Cromer, Brookvale, Curl Curl, Freshwater, Manly Vale, Balgowlah, Seaforth, Fairlight and Manly.

The council has a population of about 273,000 as of 2019.

Northern Beaches is divided into five wards, with each ward electing three councillors.

Curl Curl ward covers south-central parts of the council, including Dee Why, Curl Curl, North Manly and Brookvale.

Frenchs Forest ward covers inland parts of the council, including Allambie Heights, Davidson, Frenchs Forest, Belrose, Killarney Heights and Forestville.

Manly ward covers the southern end of the council, including Balgowlah, Fairlight, Manly, Manly Vale and Seaforth. The former Manly council is entirely contained in the new Manly ward.

Narrabeen ward covers north-central parts of the council, including Collaroy, Narrabeen, Ingleside and Elanore Heights.

Pittwater ward covers the northern end of the council, including Terrey Hills, Mona Vale, Bayview, Newport, Bilgola, Avalon Beach, Whale Beach and Palm Beach.

Incumbent councillors

Curl Curl Michael Regan (YNB) David Walton (Liberal) Natalie Warren (Grn)
Frenchs Forest Roslyn Harrison (YNB) Penny Philpott (YNB) Stuart Sprott (Lib)
Manly Candy Bingham (Good For Manly) Pat Daley (Liberal) Sarah Grattan (Your Northern Beaches)
Narrabeen Rory Amon (Liberal) Vincent De Luca (Ind) Sue Heins (YNB)
Pittwater Kylie Ferguson (Lib) Alex McTaggart (Ind) Ian White (YNB)

Northern Beaches Council was created out of a merger of Manly, Pittwater and Warringah councils in 2016. The 2017 guide covers the previous history of these councils and how much of the new council came from its predecessors.

Manly Council had been mainly a battle between the Liberal Party and the Manly Independents party since former state MP Peter Macdonald won the mayoralty in 2004. The Liberal Party regained the mayoralty in 2008, and won a majority on the council in 2012.

Warringah Council was not contested by Labor or Liberal, but rather was a contest between various local groups. The council was sacked in 2003 and did not face election again until 2008.

The Wake Up Warringah team won three out of nine council seats in 2008, and their leader Michael Regan won the mayoralty.

Regan led a new Your Warringah ticket in 2012, winning five out of nine council seats along with an easy victory for the mayoralty.

Pittwater Council was dominated by independents, without much evidence of independents forming tickets across multiple wards.

The three councils were amalgamated to form the Northern Beaches Council in 2016.

Michael Regan formed a new Your Northern Beaches ticket, while the Liberal Party also decided to run for the new council (which was their first intervention north of Manly).

These two parties each won about the same vote – 31% for the Liberal Party and 29.6% for YNB. YNB won six seats while the Liberals won five.

The Greens also won a seat along with three independents: former Manly councillor Candy Bingham, former Pittwater councillor Alex McTaggart and former Warringah councillor Vincent De Luca.

Michael Regan was elected mayor following the 2017 election and has held the office ever since. There has been a stable majority, featuring the YNB bloc and Candy Bingham. Regan, Bingham or one of Regan’s allies has won every leadership vote. Meanwhile the Liberal Party or Alex McTaggart has unsuccessfully contested every leadership vote during this term. It appear that the Greens’ Natalie Warren votes with YNB and Vincent De Luca votes with the Liberals, for a stable 8-7 split on the council.

Candidate summary
The lead Liberal candidates for each ward are:

  • David Walton (Curl Curl)
  • Stuart Sprott (Frenchs Forest)
  • Georgia Ryburn (Manly)
  • Bianca Crvelin (Narrabeen)
  • Rory Amon (Pittwater)

The Northern Beaches are a conservative area, dominated by the Liberal Party at a state and federal level. Labor and the Greens are not major factors on the council, but the party system has evolved an opponent for the Liberal Party who are currently in government.

A single seat flipping from YNB to the Liberal Party may be enough to disrupt the balance of power, with two conservative independents sitting in opposition to Regan’s team.

2017 results

PartyVotes%SwingSeats won
Liberal 42,65130.96+23.25
Your Northern Beaches40,82829.64+1.96
Other independents21,96315.94+15.92
Labor 12,6549.19+7.9
Greens 11,6178.43-3.41
Good For Manly8,0455.84+3.41

Vote breakdown by ward

The Liberal Party topped the primary vote, but only came first in three wards. Their vote ranged from 25.6% in Curl Curl to 36.7% in Frenchs Forest.

Your Northern Beaches polled slightly less than the Liberal Party, but their vote was very uneven, ranging from 14.8% in Pittwater to 52.3% in Frenchs Forest. They outpolled the Liberal Party in Curl Curl and Frenchs Forest.

Independents (including Good For Manly) polled well in three wards, with 28.8% in Narrabeen (including De Luca), 30.3% in Manly (including Bingham) and 38.3% in Pittwater (including McTaggart).

Curl Curl25.632.
Frenchs Forest36.752.

Election results at the 2017 Northern Beaches Council election
Toggle between primary votes for the Liberal Party, Your Northern Beaches, independent candidates, Labor and the Greens.

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  1. My Home council and expect this to get a bit more fired up next time around, given how close the Liberal Party were to taking the Council over at the last election.

    Curl Curl – YNB and LIB each got a full quota, with the Greens managing to get over the line at the 15th Count on the back of Preferences from YNB
    Frenches Forest – This is YNB’s big strength area and it showed, getting 2 Quotas on Primaries, with LIB getting the 3rd on Primaries.

    Manly Ward – Often the Wild Card of the Council Area (as shown from its very rich history with Independents at all 3 levels), GFM and LIB took a quota each on Primaries, before the leftover votes from GFM and Labor got YNB over for 3rd place

    Narrabeen Ward – LIB and YNB won a quota each on Primary, with De Luca taking 3rd place after preferences from LIB

    Pittwater – LIB were the only party to win on Primary Vote. The rest was a complete scramble between the 4 independent groups (one of which was McTaggart, who got elected at the 24th count), LAB, GRN and YNB (who got up at the 24th count along with McTaggart). This got triggered at the exclusion of Group C Independents

  2. Confirmation of Liberal Party Head-line Candidates:
    Pittwater Ward – Rory Amon (Moving from Narrabeen Ward, replacing Kylie Ferguson, who is stepping down)
    Narrabeen Ward – Bianca Crvelin (Replacing Rory Amon)
    Frenches Forest Ward – Stuart Sprott (No Change)
    Curl Curl Ward – David Walton (No Change)
    Manly Ward – Georgia Ryburn (Replacing Pat Daley, who is stepping down)

    The early rumour is that Labor is pulling out of having endorsed candidates. From what I understand as well, Bob Giltinen’s Group (Curl Curl) and 1-2 of the local Independent tickets in Pittwater won’t be running as well.

    Word as well that Michael Regan is moving from Curl Curl to Frenches Forest Ward to defend their two seats in that ward, which is crucial to YNB holding their minority control of NBC.

    This will be fascinating to watch

  3. This council proves a strong independent could win Mackellar in the future. This isn’t as safe as it was for the Liberals when Bishop (who was despised by her own party which lead to her dumping as candidate for Mackellar in 2016) It would be interesting to see if YNB actually contest Mackellar in near future. they could easily pull a 10-15% of the vote and if they direct them away from the coalition it could create a close contest here.

    This is your classic ”Lower-L” Liberal seat and shouldn’t be taken for granted by any conservative party. They shouldn’t take this council for granted either because this is supposedly ”Blue Ribbon” territory for the Liberals.

    Realistically the Libs will need maybe 35% of the primary vote to have a fighting chance but anything above 35% likely almost assures they get some sort of control whether it’s minority or a small majority. Anything below 35% they are in trouble and would produce a similar result to last time.

    Labor vote could decrease in favour for YNB cancelling out any swing away from YNB to the Liberals.

    Too close to call.

  4. Daniel, I find it amazing that you can simply “characterise a seat” over someone with actual local knowledge.

    First off, I can categorically tell you that the seat varies signficiantly between Conservative and small-l liberal, depending on where you go.

    For example, the strongest conservative areas is around Forestville and Killarney Heights, into Seaforth and Balgowlah and also around the big ethnic centres of Narraweena and Warriewood (although that is shifting quickly for the latter).

    The Small-l areas are the further North you head up the Peninsula (towards Palm Beach), around Dee Why and around Manly itself.

    I can tell as well that you ignored what I wrote beforehand because I clearly stated that Labor is rumoured to be pulling out altogether. I expect this vote to split between YNB and Greens.

    Along with that, the drop of Bob Giltinan is significant because his voters have traditionally been Liberal-leaning and this would be a boost to the party itself.

    I expect this election to be a further consolidation between YNB and Liberal. To what extent that consolidation occurs depends mainly on Pittwater and Manly Ward, given that these are the two wards where YNB had to rely on preferences to get a seat.

  5. Your Northern Beaches Independents has been announced and some very significant announcements:

    Curl Curl – Michael Regan is moving Wards to Frenches Forest. The Number 1 Ticket Spot will be taken by Sue Heins, who moves across from Narrabeen Ward. 2nd position is former Zali Steggal advisor Louise Hislop, with 3rd place held by Ben Gozier

    Frenches Forest – With Michael Regan moving into Frenches Forest from Curl Curl, there has been a significant shuffle. Penny Philpott will be stepping down and Roslyn Harrison has been bumped down the ticket, behind Sarah Baker. The big surpise here is Jose Menano-Pires taking Position 2. The reason why this is a surprise is that Jose, a former Councillor, had a leading role within one of the biggest branches of the Liberal Party. Jose and his branch played critical roles in getting Andrew Humpherson and then Jonathan O’Dea pre-selected for Davidson and had been one of Falinski’s biggest supporters. This move will guarantee that Jose will be banned for 10 years.

    Manly Ward – Sarah Grattan retains her position, ahead of Chris Jackson and Piper Harrison

    Narrabeen Ward – With Sue Heins moving to Curl Curl, Ruth Robins now takes the Number 1 position, ahead of Matt Adderton and Sean Moran

    Pittwater Ward – Ian White is running again but I think he has been dropped to Position 3, with Position 1 taken by Michael Gencher, with Sarah Turnbull taking Position 2

    My thoughts on this: This is a clear play from YNB to sweep their significant strong-hold of the Frenches Forest Ward and the pick-up of Jose will only increase their vote further. They may be doing so as well to counter the risk they they currently have, which is losing a seat in Pittwater or Manly.

  6. @Hawkeye What a wild take. You claim to have local knowledge but don’t appear to realise there are two different seats on the Northern Beaches. You state Seaforth and Balgowlah Heights are some of the “strongest conservative areas” in the “seat” but Daniel was talking about Mackellar and yet both of those suburbs are smack bang in Warringah. Warringah recorded one of the strongest votes in favour of same-sex marriage in the country and both Balgowlah Heights and Seaforth backed Steggall over Abbott.

    You also name Narraweena as another of the supposedly most conservative areas despite the fact both booths in Narraweena delivered Falinski some of his lowest votes in 2019 – and that was with the Labor candidate being a teenage uni student (much lower than the supposedly small-l liberal Palm Beach).

    You name Warriewood as a “big ethnic centre”. This is a suburb with 70% born in Australia and the other top countries being England, New Zealand and South Africa (whites).

    Regards to Dee Why being “small-l liberal” Dee Why is more favourable to Labor and less to the Liberals because it has a decent working class and ethnic minority element; very, very different to wealthier Greens-friendly areas like Avalon Beach.

    Don’t claim “local knowledge” and then proceed to talk a load of complete rubbish.

  7. @Jarrod – Classy post, especially when you don’t have any context what-so-ever about what has been going on here. Let’s deliver something for you.

    First off, Daniel is very well known in these traps for making wildly outlandish comments and calls, with the vast majority of them being wrong and he did it again with Mackellar. He attempted to compare Mackellar to Warringah, hence the significant correction on my behalf and an attempt to talk about Northern Beaches Council, not Mackellar. I don’t know where he was going with it but your defence on that talking point is, frankly, laughable. This is suppose to be about Local Council and their wards and his attempts to talk federal trends is ridiculous.

    You fell into the same trap when it came to mentionion Abbott vs Steggall, which was very much an across-the-seat rejection of Abbott and not indicative of the conservative vs Small L liberal voting. Indeed, if you look at the trends from the 2019 State Election, the Liberal Party’s strongest vote (and, indeed, the 2017 Council Election) was in Balgowlah and Seaforth. So your attempted comparison is a joke.

    Have you been around Narraweena? I take it you have, given that I actually have a pretty good idea about whom I am talking with. The biggest ethnic community there are conservative Italians. Without giving my identity away here (here’s a hint, probably not a good idea to use your real name), I think I have a pretty good idea of it, given where I lived for half my life. Falinski is a Small-L Liberal (he is part of the left faction and a personal supporter of Turnbull) and that would explain some of the swing against him. Again, I question why you would use federal comparison as well, given that the politics between federal and local council are so far apart, they are effectively meaningless.

    Warriewood and Mona Vale do have a strong ethnic centering. Just because they were born in Australia doesn’t mean that they don’t have an ethnic background. That line there is, honestly, a touch racist as well. So Bravo.

    Finally, did you conveniently ignore my comment of rumoured to be pulling out altogther? They had been so quiet, its not funny. I note that they are running in Narrabeen and Curl Curl but I haven’t heard anything else. Honestly, I think they are wasting their time, especially as they recorded single digits in Pittwater, Frenches Forest and Manly. I wouldn’t be surprised if the rumours are partially true, given how pitiful their numbers were in 2017.

  8. @Hawkeye: Firstly let’s address your bizarre and vaguely threatening comments and remember this is a politics board and if you think you know me and have something to say, feel free to send me a DM on Facebook. I won’t be holding my breath.

    Why don’t you admit you got it wrong and apparently thought “the seat” (in response to Daniel’s comments about Mackellar) included as you say “Forestville and Killarney Heights, Seaforth and Balgowlah and ….Narraweena and Warriewood”.

    I know Narraweena, Mona Vale and Warriewood very well. You said the biggest ethnic group in Narraweena is “conservative Italians”. That isn’t what an ethnic group is. Your assumptions that ethnic minority groups vote as some kind of conservative bloc is, itself, a touch racist and actually at odds with federal voting patterns in seats across the country. Around 1 in 10 people in Narraweena report Italian ancestry, (just 4.3% were Italian-born; with more people born in England living in Narraweena). Meanwhile more than a quarter report English ancestry. What makes an Australian-born person an “ethnic” in your books? I personally have Italian ancestry but I think of myself as any other white Australian, not as some “conservative ethnic”. You’re obviously playing on some outdated stereotype of the conservative Catholic Nonna.

    The top census-reported ancestries in Warriewood are English 29.1%, Australian 23.5%, Irish 8.6%, Scottish 6.8% and Italian 3.5%. This makes Warriewood less ethnically diverse than average. Mona Vale is even less diverse: English 31.5%, Australian 24.4%, Irish 8.9%, Scottish 7.6% and German 2.9%.
    I think your definition of “strong ethnic centering” (Irish instead of English, perhaps?) might be rather different to mine.

    I don’t think you understand the voting intention of people in places like Balgowlah Heights. The median weekly household income in 2016 was $3,726; these are low-tax, less regulation but socially progressive small-l Liberal voters with high levels of education (48.7% with at least a Bachelor’s degree). Of course someone like James Griffin, a textbook small-l Liberal, would perform well (nevertheless his main opponent was the Greens, who achieved a large 11.6% swing). So much for that big-c conservatism. The comparison with Abbott v Steggall in 2019 is completely valid. Abbott won the Forestville booth in 2019 (52.88 vs 47.12) yet in Seaforth Steggall won 57.98 to 42.02.

    Your comment Labor was rumoured to be pulling out was made after Labor announced candidates. So please don’t spread ill-informed, lazy rumours which are so easy to disprove.

  9. Putting your casual racism aside for a moment especially claiming that Italians are not an ethnic minority, you have clearly come on here to pick a fight. I have never seen you come on here before but you have certainly made your intentions clear.

    First off, this whole thing is not about politics. It’s Psephology. There will be politics as insights discussed from it but you have clearly come here to pick a fight. So ace the attitude up.

    Secondly your definition of ethnic minority is ridiculous. All the classifications you have made there are either “australian” or “anglo-saxon” heritage, which are clearly the two Majority segments. Key word – majority. The fact you try to show the anglo-saxon segment as some sort of ethnic minority is, in itself, racist, because you are deliberately devaluing the standings of other ethnic groups.

    Finally, with regards to Abbott v Steggall, nice attempt to cherry pick but you failed to recognize what happened to Abbott in Mosman, an area with a strong reputation for fairly conservative politics, that voted in droves against Abbott. I maintain that this was a seat-wide rejection of Abbott and your comments demonstrate but the level of partisan hackery I would expect from someone actively involved in student politics.

    Do us all a favour and drop off.

  10. So far, I have only seen announcements from Labor for 2 wards. Unsurprisingly, they are the two wards where they stood the best chance of winning a seat at the last election.
    Narrabeen – Paula Goodman will head the ticket up
    Curl Curl – Brandt Clifford heads the ticket up

    I haven’t seen any other announcements yet for Pittwater, Frenches Forest and Manly. Given they only recorded 5-6% in both Pittwater and Manly, along with 11% in a very narrow field in Frenches Forest, I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t run at all or run dead in those three wards and direct their votes elsewhere.

  11. I think the days of the ALP having a real presence on the Northern beaches are over.
    The demographic shifts happening are significant. The “old” ALP sympatheic areas such as Curl Curl, DY and Narraweena are $2 million entry point suburbs – for a knock down. Its cashed up tradies (who listen to 2GB) who have taken over.

    The shift to the left on the Northern beaches/North Shore has happened in the very affluent suburbs such as Balgowlah heights, Clontarf, Seaforth, Manly Eastern Hill and Mosman. But this shift has not benefited the ALP (franking credits killed that stone dead) – its the Greens and Zali who are the real beneficiaries here.

    So there’s really no market for the ALP to pitch to.

  12. @Moderate – Agreed to an extent. There is still the Conservative element that exists within the western end of the Manly Ward (given the better performance for Abbott in that area). But yes, that is gentrifying quickly. We have always known Manly to act a bit more independently, should the candidate not fit. To me, I still think the move was such a seismic shock that you can’t make any other ascercion about that Federal Vote being anything but an anti-Abbott Vote. The extent of which that shift left has occured will be more evident in the next election.

    But yes, definitely agree with the old ALP areas of Dee Why, Curl Curl and Narraweena not fitting that mold anymore. At a state level, Labor barely hang on to 2nd place over the Greens in the Wakehurst areas, while they still run 3rd in Manly, Pittwater and Davidson.

    To be honest, at a council level, I don’t get why they still run. It’s not like NSW or Federal, where there are still Upper House seats to mop up. They would be better off pulling out of endorsement and through everything behind YNB.

  13. Hawkeye-au – sorry to be contrary but the facts just don’t support that analysis. Abbott’s performance at the “western end” of Manly – by this I assume you mean Seaforth, was some of the worst in the whole electorate. He “achieved” well under 40% of 2PP vote, and on average 23% worse than a much lesser known Griffin achieved 6 weeks earlier.
    As they are the polar opposites of the same Party (Abbott and Griffin) I think the argument that the whole of Manly is now small l liberal v green/Indy territory is well made. No room for hard right Lib figures (all of Abbott’s people) or the ALP here.

  14. @Hawkeye: I genuinely have no clue what you’re talking about. I’m not a student and I have never been involved in student politics in my life or even a member of any parties; I view both parties with a healthy level of distrust.

    I came to this site as a first time reader to read about the Northern Beaches Council election. I personally have an Italian background so again, not sure what you’re talking about accusing me of being racist against my own background. You are the one attempting to paint a whole community as conservative “ethnics”. As white people of European descent in a country with a majority being white people of European descent, I don’t classify myself as an ethnic minority. To do so does a disservice to genuine ethnic minorities such as Asian and African Australians.

    I am absolutely dumb-founded by your claim I said Anglo-Saxons were a minority. I literally said the exact opposite. You completely missed the point. My point was how your claims about Warriewood and Mona Vale being “strong ethnic centres” was a complete fabrication; the census statistics prove they are Anglo-Saxon dominated areas to a much larger extent than average, especially in Sydney. I have lived and worked in this area my entire life. I know the demographic well and I’m also relying on statistics from the census. You’re stuck in the 1980s when Chinese farmers owned glasshouses at Warriewood and Seaforth voters were big-c conservatives in ex-war housing.

    I have no idea why you are so rude and confrontational. Putting that aside, your claims about Labor being finished in Dee Why is another fabrication. The Dee Why booths have been trending towards Labor over the last couple of elections. Bronwyn Bishop won 60% at Dee Why Public School back in 2013, by 2019 it had slipped to under 55%. Labor actually won the Dee Why PCYC booth 51.93% – 48.07% in 2019 on a 10% swing. The Liberal Party didn’t manage better than 55% at any of the four booths in Dee Why. This was with an utterly non-existent Labor campaign and a teenager running for them.

    @moderate is absolutely right. It seems your “analysis” is more based on feelings rather than facts and a lack of awareness of how things change over many years. Seaforth gave Steggall a higher vote share than elecorate-wide. Steggall won in North Balgowlah, for example, on primaries alone and 64% 2CP.

  15. Hahahaha one comment on here really cracked me up….Mona Vale being a big ethnic area. I used to live in Revesby but moved to the beaches for work (I deal with customers all day), this has to be one of the most ethnically homogeneous areas in Sydney. Some people really don’t get out much.

  16. @Moderate – I’m just being cautious about making that call at this stage Re Abbott-Griffith. I doubt doubt that it is happening but I think the confirmation would occur at the next election, especially as the Liberal Party toss up candidates for the seat, as to the extent of how much it has shifted. The candidates lining up are more moderate than Abbott (let’s face it, most people would be more moderate than Abbott) but the question will be, to what extent. The early rumours are Tim James, Natalie Ward and Alex Dore going for pre-selection. Of them, Tim James would be the most conservative of the lot, although a lot more moderate than Abbott. The issue here would be that Tim is from Mosman and I daresay you would need someone more entrenched in the Northern Beaches.

    The independents will play a crucial role in 3 of the wards. Two of them are well entrenched (McTaggart in Pittwater and De Luca in Narrabeen). Pittwater had 2 other independent tickets running around issues (I think) for Newport and Avalon respectively. This dilution of votes will mean that voter exhaustion becomes an issue in Pittwater.

    A lot will depend on what tickets are announced when the deadline is reached.

  17. I think you’ll find the potential Warringah candidates might be wider than the range suggested, and at least in one case the candidate you listed won’t be a candidate.
    The challenge in COVID times will be finding somewhere to enable 1100 people get together and pre-select.


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