2002 Cunningham by-election

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Cunningham (dark) within New South Wales Cunningham electoral division.png
Cunningham (dark) within New South Wales

The 2002 Cunningham by-election was held in the Australian electorate of Cunningham in New South Wales on 19 October 2002. The by-election was triggered by the resignation of the sitting member, the Australian Labor Party's Stephen Martin on 16 August 2002. The writ for the by-election was issued on 16 September 2002.

Australia Country in Oceania

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide.

Division of Cunningham Australian federal electoral division

The Division of Cunningham is an Australian electoral division in the state of New South Wales. The division was created in 1949 and is named for Allan Cunningham, a 19th-century explorer of New South Wales and Queensland.

New South Wales State of Australia

New South Wales is a state on the east coast of Australia. It borders Queensland to the north, Victoria to the south, and South Australia to the west. Its coast borders the Tasman Sea to the east. The Australian Capital Territory is an enclave within the state. New South Wales' state capital is Sydney, which is also Australia's most populous city. In September 2018, the population of New South Wales was over 8 million, making it Australia's most populous state. Just under two-thirds of the state's population, 5.1 million, live in the Greater Sydney area. Inhabitants of New South Wales are referred to as New South Welshmen.


The by-election was notable as it was won by Michael Organ, the candidate for the Australian Greens, making Cunningham the first seat in the Australian House of Representatives to be won by a minor party since Jack Lang won Reid for his Lang Labor party in 1946, and the first seat in the House won by the Greens.

Michael Organ Australian politician

Michael Keith Organ is a former Australian politician. He was an Australian Greens member of the Australian House of Representatives between 2002 and 2004, representing the Division of Cunningham, New South Wales. He was the first member of the Greens to win a seat in the House of Representatives, having won a by-election which the Liberal Party did not contest.

Australian Greens Australian political party

The Australian Greens, commonly known as The Greens, are a green political party in Australia.

Jack Lang (Australian politician) Australian politician and Premier of New South Wales

John Thomas Lang, usually referred to as J. T. Lang during his career and familiarly known as "Jack" and nicknamed "The Big Fella", was an Australian politician who twice served as the 23rd Premier of New South Wales from 1925 to 1927 and again from 1930 to 1932. He was dismissed by the Governor of New South Wales, Sir Philip Game, at the climax of the 1932 constitutional crisis and resoundingly lost the resulting election and subsequent elections as Leader of the Opposition. He later formed Lang Labor and was briefly a member of the Australian House of Representatives.


Cunningham had been held by Labor since its creation 52 years previously, but a recent local government election for Lord Mayor of Wollongong had seen the Labor candidate lose to an independent, Alex Darling, causing concern in the ALP about their ability to hold the seat given the expectation of a significant protest vote against them. [1] The ALP candidate preselected to replace Martin was Sharon Bird.

Lord mayor is a title of a mayor of what is usually a major city in the United Kingdom or Commonwealth realm, with special recognition bestowed by the sovereign. However, the title or an equivalent is present in countries outside such realms, including forms such as "high mayor".

City of Wollongong Local government area in New South Wales, Australia

The City of Wollongong is a local government area in the Illawarra region of New South Wales, Australia. The area is situated adjacent to the Tasman Sea, the Southern Freeway and the South Coast railway line.

Sharon Leah Bird is an Australian politician. Bird is an Australian Labor Party member of the Australian House of Representatives, representing the Division of Cunningham in New South Wales since the 2004 election. Bird has been the Shadow Minister for Vocational Education since October 2013.

The Liberal Party of Australia received 28 percent of the primary vote at the previous election, they chose not to run a candidate in the by-election. Independent candidate David Moulds held Liberal Party membership. [2]

Liberal Party of Australia Australian political party

The Liberal Party of Australia is a major centre-right political party in Australia, one of the two major parties in Australian politics, along with the centre-left Australian Labor Party (ALP). It was founded in 1944 as the successor to the United Australia Party (UAP).


Cunningham by-election, 2002
Labor Sharon Bird 25,67138.13−6.06
Greens Michael Organ 15,50523.03+16.39
Independent David Moulds9,14713.59+13.59
Independent Peter Wilson7,10710.56+10.56
One Nation Geoff Crocker2,6964.00−0.63
Christian Democrats Owen Nannelli2,5663.81+1.32
Democrats Linda Chapman1,5142.25−4.92
AAFI David Hughes8891.32+1.32
Independent Meg Sampson6711.00+1.00
Non-Custodial Parents John Flanagan5560.83+0.83
Independent James Keene4830.72+0.72
Socialist Alliance Chris Williams3990.59+0.59
CEC Hal A Johnson1200.18+0.18
Total formal votes67,32492.26−2.90
Informal votes5,6477.74+2.90
Turnout 72,97189.51−5.91
Two-candidate-preferred result
Greens Michael Organ 35,16052.23+52.23
Labor Sharon Bird 32,16447.77−12.88
Greens gain from Labor Swing N/A


Although Labor received the highest primary vote, the Australian Greens candidate, Michael Organ, won the by-election on a 52.2 percent two-candidate preferred (2CP) vote. Asymmetrical preference flows in the absence of an official Liberal candidate contributed to Labor losing the seat, with their 2CP being reduced by 12.9 percent. Labor, Liberal and Green all contested Cunningham in the 2004 federal election, Labor won the seat back with a two-party preferred (2PP) vote of over 60 percent. Another example is the 2008 Mayo by-election. However, other factors attributed by some to the loss include Martin's premature departure, a messy preselection process for Bird, and discontent from the NSW Labor branch towards federal leader Simon Crean. [3]

Two-party-preferred vote

In Australian politics, the two-party-preferred vote is the result of an election or opinion poll after preferences have been distributed to the highest two candidates, who in some cases can be independents. For the purposes of TPP, the Liberal/National Coalition is usually considered a single party, with Labor being the other major party. Typically the TPP is expressed as the percentages of votes attracted by each of the two major parties, e.g. "Coalition 45%, Labor 55%", where the values include both primary votes and preferences. The TPP is an indicator of how much swing has been attained/is required to change the result, taking into consideration preferences, which may have a significant effect on the result.

2004 Australian federal election

Federal elections were held in Australia on 9 October 2004. All 150 seats in the House of Representatives and 40 seats in the 76-member Senate were up for election. The incumbent Liberal Party of Australia led by Prime Minister of Australia John Howard and coalition partner the National Party of Australia led by John Anderson defeated the opposition Australian Labor Party led by Mark Latham.

2008 Mayo by-election Australian federal by-election

The 2008 Mayo by-election was held for the Australian House of Representatives seat of Mayo, located in Adelaide, South Australia, on 6 September 2008, following the retirement of Liberal Party MP and former Liberal leader Alexander Downer. The by-election was held on the same day as the Lyne by-election, and the Western Australian state election.

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