- Division of Bennelong
Australian House of Representatives Division
Division of Bennelong (green) in New South Wales
Created: 1949 MP: John Alexander Party: Liberal Namesake: Bennelong Area: 58 km² (22 sq mi) Demographic: Inner Metropolitan
The Division of Bennelong is an Australian electorate in New South Wales. The division was created in 1949 and is named for Bennelong, an Aboriginal man befriended by the first Governor of New South Wales, Arthur Phillip. Bennelong is based in Northern Sydney, including the suburbs of Eastwood, Carlingford, Epping and Ryde, and was held by the Liberal Party from its creation until its swing to Labor in the 2007 election. The Liberal Party regained the seat at the 2010 election.
When the Division of Bennelong was created in 1949, it covered mainly the suburbs of Ryde, Hunters Hill and Lane Cove, all of which were (and still are) relatively affluent areas, and as such it has historically been a "safe" Liberal seat.
Over the years Bennelong has evolved into a marginal seat, and this has been attributed to two factors. Firstly, the electoral boundary of Bennelong has been redrawn ("redistributed") numerous times, to exclude the wealthy Lane Cove and Hunters Hill in the East, and to incorporate Eastwood, Epping, Carlingford and working class Ermington in the North and West. Secondly, the demographic has changed as well: since the early 1990s, Eastwood and surrounding suburbs have seen an influx of migrants from China, Hong Kong, South Korea and India, who are relatively affluent and conservative, but are sensitive towards political policies on immigration and multiculturalism.
The two-party preferred vote for the Liberals declined 3.4% in the 2004 election, contrary to a strong national trend to the coalition (and a particularly strong one to the Coalition in outer-suburban metropolitan seats), making Bennelong a marginal seat at that time, with a margin of just 4.3%. The 2006 redistribution pushed this margin slightly further into Labor territory, due to the inclusion of the predominantly working class and public housing suburb of Ermington in Bennelong's boundaries. The Greens increased their vote at this election by 12.34% to 16.37% at this election due to the preselection of the high-profile Andrew Wilkie.
In the 2007 election, the incumbent Member for Bennelong, then-Prime Minister John Howard, lost the seat to Labor candidate Maxine McKew, after holding it for 33 years. This was only the second time in Australian history that an incumbent Prime Minister had been defeated in their own electorate, the first being Stanley Bruce in 1929. The election marked the first time a Labor candidate won, and also the first time a woman won the seat.
In his national address conceding the election, Howard had admitted that it was "very likely" that he had lost the seat. Following initial reluctance to officially call the outcome (despite confidence of success), McKew declared victory officially on December 1. At that time, the Australian Electoral Commission showed McKew ahead on a two candidate preferred basis, 43,272 votes to 41,159; however, pre-poll, postal and absent votes were still being counted and could possibly have affected the outcome.
Howard formally conceded defeat in Bennelong on December 12. The Electoral Commission has declared the seat, with 44,685 votes for McKew to 42,251 for Howard; voter turnout in Bennelong was 95%.
Bennelong – Two-party-preferred Date Poller Coalition Labor 3 October 1998 1998 election 56.03% 43.97% 4–5 April 2001 Roy Morgan 57% 43% 10 November 2001 2001 election 57.70% 42.30% 9 October 2004 2004 election 54.33% 45.67% 14–15 February 2007 Roy Morgan 45% 55% 9–10 May 2007 Galaxy 48% 52% 8–9 August 2007 Galaxy 47% 53%
For the 2010 Federal election, the Liberal Party pre-selected former tennis professional and tennis commentator John Alexander to contest the marginal seat. McKew recontested the seat for Labor. After a long and high profile campaign in the former Prime Minister's seat, Alexander and the Liberals attained the seat from Labor and increased both their two party preferred and primary vote for the first time since 2001 and the largest swing towards the Liberals since 1996. Alexander defeated McKew with a 2PP swing of 4.52%, contributing to the Gillard Governments loss of its parliamentary majority.
Member Party Term John Cramer Liberal 1949—1974 John Howard Liberal 1974—2007 Maxine McKew Labor 2007—2010 John Alexander Liberal 2010—present
Australian federal election, 2010: Bennelong Party Candidate Votes % ±% Liberal John Alexander 41,582 48.53 +3.04 Labor Maxine McKew 31,803 37.12 -8.21 Greens Lindsay Peters 6,808 7.95 +2.42 Christian Democrats Julie Worsley 1,824 2.13 +0.84 Sex Party Sue Raye 1,105 1.29 +1.29 One Nation Victor Waterson 725 0.85 +0.55 Family First Stephen Chavura 570 0.67 +0.34 Carers Alliance Mary Mockler 478 0.56 +0.56 Liberal Democrats Terje Petersen 344 0.40 +0.30 Climate Sceptics Bill Pounder 275 0.32 +0.32 Building Australia Martin Levine 170 0.20 +0.20 Total formal votes 85,684 92.63 -1.15 Informal votes 6,820 7.37 +1.15 Turnout 92,504 93.53 -1.47 Two-candidate preferred result Liberal John Alexander 45,518 53.12 +4.52 Labor Maxine McKew 40,166 46.88 -4.52 Liberal gain from Labor Swing +4.52
- ^ The Battle for Bennelong: The adventures of Maxine McKew, aged 50something by Margot Saville, Melbourne University Press, 2007
- ^ "Archive for the 'Federal Redistributions' Category". The Poll Bludger. 2006-09-13. http://www.pollbludger.com/category/federal-redistributions/. Retrieved 2007-11-25.
- ^ "Defeated Howard thanks Australia". ABC News. 2007-11-25. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/11/24/2100335.htm. Retrieved 2007-11-25.
- ^ "McKew refuses to call Bennelong". News.com.au. 2007-11-25. http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,22817782-29277,00.html. Retrieved 2007-12-01.
- ^ "McKew confident but can wait to declare". The Australian. 2007-11-26. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,22820642-5013871,00.html. Retrieved 2007-12-01.
- ^ "McKew declares victory in Bennelong". ABC News. 2007-12-01. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/12/01/2106949.htm. Retrieved 2007-12-01.
- ^ "Maxine McKew claims victory in Bennelong". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2007-12-01. http://www.smh.com.au/news/National/Maxine-McKew-claims-victory-in-Bennelong/2007/12/01/1196394663899.html. Retrieved 2007-12-01.
- ^ "House of Representatives Division First Preferences". Australian Electoral Commission. 2007-11-30. http://results.aec.gov.au/13745/website/HouseDivisionFirstPrefs-13745-105.htm. Retrieved 2007-12-01.
- ^ "Finally, Howard admits McKew has it". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2007-12-12. http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/finally-howard-admits-mckew-has-it/2007/12/12/1197135541910.html. Retrieved 2007-12-13.
- ^ "House of Representatives Division First Preferences". Australian Electoral Commission. 2007-12-11. http://results.aec.gov.au/13745/website/HouseDivisionFirstPrefs-13745-105.htm. Retrieved 2007-12-13.
- ^ "House of Representatives – Two Party Preferred Statistics by Division (1998)". Australian Electoral Commission. 2007-08-09. http://www.aec.gov.au/Elections/federal_elections/1998/hor/two_party.htm. Retrieved 2007-11-25.
- ^ ""Safe" Liberal Seats Not So Safe According To Latest Bulletin-Morgan Poll.". Roy Morgan Research. 2001-04-17. http://www.roymorgan.com/news/polls/2001/3394/. Retrieved 2007-11-25.
- ^ "House of Representatives: Divisional Results". Australian Electoral Commission. http://www.aec.gov.au/Elections/federal_elections/2001/results/NSWBENN.htm. Retrieved 2007-11-25.
- ^ "Bennelong – Divisional Profiles". Australian Electoral Commission. 2007-10-15. http://www.aec.gov.au/profiles/b/bennelong.htm. Retrieved 2007-11-25.
- ^ "Special Crikey Morgan Poll: Howard Would Lose Bennelong". Roy Morgan Research. 2007-02-19. http://www.roymorgan.com/news/polls/2007/4139/. Retrieved 2007-11-25.
- ^ http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/11/20/2749259.htm | Retrieved 2010-02-28
- ^ http://vtr.aec.gov.au/HouseDivisionFirstPrefs-15508-105.htm
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