Psephos - Adam Carr's Election Archive

Albania, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Britain, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burma, Cambodia, Canada, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Latvia, Lebanon, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Macedonia, Madagascar, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Samoa, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, Senegal, Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, the United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Australian federal election, 2019
Division of Wentworth, New South Wales
Wentworth by-election, 20 October 2018

< Watson previous seat | next seat Werriwa >
Return to alphabetical list of seats

Eastern Sydney: Bondi, Paddington, Vaucluse, Waverley, Woollahra
State seats: All of Vaucluse, parts of Coogee, Heffron and Sydney
Local government areas: All of Waverley and Woollahra, parts of Randwick and Sydney

Sitting member: None

2007 Liberal majority over Labor: 3.8%
2010 Liberal majority over Labor: 14.9%
2013 Liberal majority over Labor: 17.7%
2016 Liberal majority over Labor: 17.7%

Status: Very safe Liberal

Best Liberal booths, two-party vote: Vaucluse (91.2), Rose Bay Central (86.5), Bellevue Hill South (85.2), Dover Heights (81.1), Darling Point (81.0)
Best Labor booths, two-party vote: Surry Hills East (55.7), Kings Cross (54.6), Kings Cross Central (48.9), Clovelly Beach (47.9), Elizabeth Bay (47.7)
  • 2016 results
  • Statistics and history

  • By-election candidates:

    David Barrow
    Ben Forsyth
    Derryn Hinch Justice Party
    Sam Gunning
    Liberal Democratic Party
    Licia Heath
    Shayne Higson
    Voluntary Euthanasia Party
    Dr Angela Leong
    Science Party
    Tim Murray
    Australian Labor Party
    Dr Kerryn Phelps AM
    Dave Sharma
    Liberal Party
    Angela Vithoulkas
    Small Business Party
    Dominic Wy Kanak
    Australian Greens

    Candidate websites:

    David Barrow
    Sam Gunning
    Shayne Higson
    Tim Murray
    Dr Kerryn Phelps AM
    Dave Sharma
    Angela Vithoulkas
    Dominic Wy Kanak

    Division of Wentworth

    Wentworth has existed since Federation, and has always covered Sydney's eastern harborside suburbs, one of the wealthiest areas in Australia. Before 1949 Wentworth extended as far south as Maroubra, and in 1943 Labor came quite close to winning it, but after 1949, when it was cut back to the Harbouside eastern suburbs, it was one of the safest of Liberal seats. Since 1984, however, successive redistributions have extended Wentworth to the south, taking in Bondi and Waverley, making the seat slightly less blue-ribbon Liberal. Despite this, the seat still has higher levels of median family income and of people in professional occupations than almost any other seat.

    Wentworth's fairly high proportion of people born in non English speaking countries largely reflects the European birthplaces of many people in the electorate's large Jewish community. The very low proportion of families with dependent children and of dwellings being purchased reflects the many affluent flat-dwelling singles in the seat, which has a large gay and lesbian community at the western end.

    Wentworth is a traditional "leadership seat" for the conservative parties. Members have included Liberal ministers Sir Eric Harrison, Leslie Bury and Robert Ellicott, and Opposition Leader Dr John Hewson. Peter King won the seat in 2001, but was bundled out in 2004 to make way for Malcolm Turnbull, a millionaire banker and former leader of the Australian Republican Movement. The 2006 redistribution cut the Liberal majority to only 2.6%, and for a while in 2007 it seemed possible that Turnbull would be defeated, but he survived, and since then he has restored Wentworth's status as a safe Liberal seat.

    Malcolm Turnbull

    Malcolm Turnbull, a barrister and journalist, made his name in defending Peter Wright in the "Spycatcher" case in 1986. Later he went into merchant banking and was a pioneer of intenet services in Australia. His various business activities made him a multi-millionaire. In 1993 Turnbull became chairman of the Australian Republican Movement, and led the campaign for an Australian republic until the defeat of the 1999 referendum.

    In 2004 Turnbull spent freely to secure the Liberal nomination for Wentworth. Prime Minister Howard made him Minister for the Environment and Water Resources. After the 2007 election defeat, he contested the Liberal leadership, but was narrowly defeated by Dr Brendan Nelson, and became Shadow Treasurer. In September 2008 he rolled the hapless Nelson and became Liberal leader. But in late 2009 he created a crisis in the Liberal Party by agreeing to support Labor's emissions trading scheme legislation. The right wing of the party, led by Tony Abbott, revolted, and in December 2009 Abbott replaced Turnbull as leader.

    After the 2013 election, Abbott appointed Turnbull Minister for Communications. By 2015 the Abbott government was floundering, and in September Turnbull mounted a party-room challenge and became Prime Minister. He had an initial surge of popularity, but by April 2016 his government's support had fallen back to 50% in most polls. The 2016 election saw a sharp swing against the government, particularly in NSW, which reduced Turnbull's government to a one-seat majority. This opened him up to a campaign of sniping from Abbott and his supporters. By mid 2018 he had trailled in the opinion polls for over a year, although his personal standing remained strong, and he was unable to get his key policy initiatives, the National Energy Guarantee and a major cut in the corporate tax rate, through the Senate.

    In August 2018 it was obvious that the conservative faction, backed by the Murdoch media, was planning a strike against Turnbull. He sought to pre-empt them by calling on a party-room ballot, but only narrowly defeated the conservative challenger, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton. Dutton then resigned, followed by a string of his supporters. This led to a demand for a second party meeting, at which Turnbull resigned, throwing his support behind the Treasurer, Scott Morrison, who comfortably defeated Dutton.

    Wentworth By-election

    Within a few days of leaving office, Turnbull resigned from Parliament, triggering a by-election on 20 October, and a fierce contest for the Liberal candidacy. The Liberal majority of 17.7% includes a large personal vote for Turnbull, and much of this may be lost at the by-election, particularly given the circumstances of Turnbull's departure.

    The Liberal candidate will be Dave Sharma, former Ambassador to Israel (who is not Jewish but is popular in the Jewish community). He was endorsed by Turnbull, and was chosen despite Prime Minister Morrison's stated preference for a female candidate. While it is hard to see Labor winning the seat, Labor has a strong candidate in Tim Murray, a businessman who is currently Managing Partner at J Capital Research. The Greens candidate will be Dominic Wy Kanak, a Waverley Councillor.

    The most serious threat to the Liberals comes from independent candidate Dr Kerryn Phelps, Adjunct Professor at Sydney Medical School, Conjoint Professor at the University of New South Wales Medical Faculty and former president of the AMA. Phelps is a lesbian and is a convert to Judaism, in a seat with a large gay and lesbian community and the highest proportion of Jews of any electorate.

    Several other candidates have announced they will stand: Melbourne lawyer David Barrow (Independent, but a former Family First candidate), Ben Forsyth (Derryn Hinch Justice Party), North Sydney Councillor Sam Gunning (Liberal Democrats), education activist Licia Heath (Independent), photographer Shayne Higson (Voluntary Euthanasia Party), microbiologist Dr Andrea Leong (Science Party), and Sydney City Councillor Angela Vithoulkas (Small Business Party).


    Median weekly household income: $2,380 (Australia $1,438)
    People over 65: 15.3% (Australia 15.8%)
    Australian born: 54.4% (Australia 66.7%)
    Non-English-speaking households: 22.2% (Australia 22.2%)
    Catholics 20.1% (Australia 22.6%)
    Jewish religion: 12.5%
    No religion 33.0% (Australia 29.6%)
    University graduates: 46.8% (Australia 22.0%)
    Professional and managerial employment: 61.5% (Australia 35.2%)
    Employed in manufacturing and construction: 11.4% (Australia 22.9%)
    Paying a mortgage: 23.6% (Australia 34.5%)
    Renting: 44.2% (Australia 30.9%)
    Traditional families: 25.3% (Australia 32.8%)


    Hon Sir William McMillan (FT) 1901-03
    Hon William Kelly (FT, AS, Lib, Nat) 1903-19
    Walter Marks (Nat, Ind, UAP) 1919-31
    Rt Hon Sir Eric Harrison (UAP, Lib) 1931-56
    Hon Leslie Bury (Lib) 1956b-74
    Hon Robert Ellicott (Lib) 1974-81
    Peter Coleman (Lib) 1981b-87
    Dr John Hewson (Lib) 1987-95
    Hon Andrew Thomson (Lib) 1995b-2001
    Peter King (Lib) 2001-04
    Hon Malcolm Turnbull (Lib) 2004-18

    Boundaries following 2016 redistribution:

  • Back to main page