Cause of by-election
Sitting Labor MP Noreen Hay resigned from the state parliament in August 2016.
Margin – ALP 8.9% vs IND
Wollongong covers the Wollongong city centre, as well as surrounding suburbs including Berkeley, Lake Heights, Port Kembla and Unanderra.
The current electoral district of Wollongong has existed since 1968. Previous districts with the name of Wollongong existed from 1904 to 1920 and from 1927 to 1930. The current district has been dominated by the ALP, who have won the seat at all but three elections.
Wollongong was created in 1968 when the seat of Wollongong-Kembla was split between Wollongong and Kembla. Wollongong-Kembla had been held by the ALP continuously from its creation in 1941 until 1965, when it was won by the Liberal Party’s Jack Hough. Hough won the renamed seat of Wollongong in 1968, but lost in 1971.
Eric Ramsay won Wollongong in 1971. He held the seat safely throughout the 1970s, narrowly defeating independent Wollongong mayor Frank Arkell.
In 1984, Ramsay retired, and Arkell won the seat. He was re-elected in 1988, but lost the seat with a swing to the ALP in 1991. Arkell was murdered in 1998.
Wollongong was won in 1991 by the ALP’s Gerry Sullivan. He held the seat until 1999, when the ALP gave preselection in Wollongong to Col Markham, who had held the neighbouring seat of Keira since 1988.
Markham was defeated for Labor preselection in 2003 by Noreen Hay. She served as a parliamentary secretary from 2007 to 2008.
At the 2011 election, independent candidate Gordon Bradbery challenged Hay, and came within 700 votes of winning. Bradbery was elected Lord Mayor of Wollongong in 2012.
Hay was challenged in 2015 by another independent, Arthur Rorris, who was leader of the Illawarra trade union council. Rorris didn’t do quite as well as Bradbery. Rorris was narrowly outpolled by the Liberal Party’s Cameron Walters, although Rorris overtook Walters on preferences and finished up on 41.1% after preferences.
Wednesday, 26 October 12.00 noon Close of nominations for Registered Political Parties at NSWEC Head Office
Thursday, 27 October 12.00 noon Close of nominations at Returning Officer’s Office 12.00 noon Registration of candidates closes 2.00pm Ballot paper draw Registration of Electoral Materials commences
Monday, 31 October 8.00am iVote voting opens 8.00am Pre-poll voting opens
Friday, 4 November 12.00 noon Registration of Third-party campaigners closes 5.00pm Registration of Electoral Material closes
Saturday, 5 November 9.00am – 5.00pm Pre-poll voting
Monday, 7 November Declared Institution (DI) voting starts 6.00pm Postal vote applications (outside Australia) closes
Wednesday, 9 November 6.00pm Postal Vote applications (within Australia) closes
Friday, 11 November DI voting ends 6.00pm Pre-poll voting closes
Saturday, 12 November 8.00am – 6.00pm Election Day
Pre-poll voting at Wollongong Town Hall 2015
At the moment there are three candidates:
- Cath Blakey (Greens)
- Gordon Bradbery (Independent)
- Paul Scully (Labor)
The by-election for the Central Western NSW seat of Orange (held on the same day) is the one to watch though. The NSW government’s Coalition partner, the Nationals, could lose.