Electorates

Wentworth

Seat fit for a PM, but not everyone agrees

Jun 10, 2016 Don Le, Victoria Ticha and Grace Parsons
Wentworth hugs Sydney Harbour/ Photo by Alex Proimos
Sitting Member:
Turnbull, M (LP)
Since:
2004
Size of electorate:
38 sq. Km

Redistribution details:

Wentworth retained all of the suburb of Paddington due to community opposition to the change, however parts of the suburbs Potts Point and Darlinghurst were moved into the electorate of Sydney .

Key Comments

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's Wentworth electorate is home to one of the largest LGBT communities in Australia, meaning gay rights and marriage equality are important local issues. Wentworth also has very affluent suburbs so financial and tax issues are also important.

Electorate Profile

For a rock-solid Liberal seat, the electorate of Wentworth in Sydney's wealthy east is getting more than its fair share of attention in this election.  

Like the current sitting member, Malcolm Turnbull, a descendant of John Turnbull who supported William Bligh of 'Mutiny on the Bounty' fame, Wentworth has a noteworthy pedigree. It is named after the 18th century colonial conservative William Charles Wentworth, who championed self-government for New South Wales. Today it's one of the safest Liberal seats in the country. It's also one of Australia's smallest and most densely populated electorates, covering just 38 square kilometres. According to realestate.com.au, of the 10 most expensive suburbs in Australia, six are in Wentworth.

Mr Turnbull, who was previously a student of Sydney Grammar and Sydney University, lives in what Domain describes as a “vast waterfront estate” in Point Piper, similar to a nearby mansion which sold for $52 million. 

Mr Turnbull secured almost two-thirds of the popular vote in Wentworth in 2013, and his recognition factor can only have grown since he challenged and defeated Prime Minister Tony Abbott last September. Having seized the top job in a party room coup, Mr Turnbull now wants Australian voters to endorse his leadership.

Turnbull's challenger Evan Hughes has a tough job. Labor hasn't won the seat in 115 years. Hughes is a 30-year old Cambridge University art history graduate and is campaigning on the #Imissmalcolm hashtag to appeal to voters' concerns about climate change and marriage equality. 

In an interview with the Australian Financial Review, Hughes said Mr Turnbull's Liberal Party is dominated by hardline conservatives.

"Everyone seems to understand and accept that Malcolm's not allowed to actually be the leader until maybe he gets a moderate Liberal Party in there, which is no guarantee,"' he said.

Labor leader Bill Shorten's campaign bus pulled in at Bondi Beach in week three of the campaign to back Hughes. He flagged Labor’s plans for new ways of reducing discrimination against people who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and/or Inter-sex (LGBTI). A Wentworth survey profiled on Turnbull's website, found a "clear majority" in the electorate favoured marriage equality. 

The Greens candidate, Dejay Toborek is an HIV-positive gay man who's been waiting more than a decade to marry his partner. He's hopeful of beating Labor into second place in the seat. Among others throwing their hats into Wentworth's crowded electoral ring is Christian Democratic Party member Beresford Thomas, who also ran for the seat in 2013, polling poorly.

It's not cheap to live in Wentworth, so voters, whatever their financial status, will be comparing the major parties' economic plans to see how best to secure their personal finances and job prospects into the future.

2013 Election Results

Candidate Party Votes % Swing(%)
SMITH, Di Labor 17840 19.37 -1.7
FOXMAN, Marsha Palmer United Party 998 1.08 +1.08
TURNBULL, MalcolmElected Liberal 58306 63.32 +3.75
THOMAS, Beresford Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group) 431 0.47 +0.47
SHEIL, Pat Independent 1054 1.14 +0.55
ROBERTSON, Matthew The Greens 13455 14.61 -2.83
...... Carers Alliance 0 0 -0.45
...... Secular Party of Australia 0 0 -0.32
...... Other 0 0 -0.56

Author

Don Le, Victoria Ticha and Grace Parsons

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