Division of Parramatta

Australian House of Representatives Division
Division of Parramatta in New South Wales, as of the 2016 federal election.
Created 1901
MP Julie Owens
Party Labor
Namesake Parramatta, New South Wales
Electors 101,538 (2016)
Area 57 km2 (22.0 sq mi)
Demographic Inner Metropolitan

The Division of Parramatta is an Australian electoral division in the state of New South Wales. The division was created in 1900 and was one of the original 65 divisions contested at the first federal election. It is named for the locality of Parramatta. The name Parramatta has been sourced to an Aboriginal word for the area. The Darug people had lived in the area for many generations, and regarded the area as a food bowl, rich in food from the river and forests. They called the area Baramada or Burramatta ('Parramatta') which means "the place where the eels lie down".[1]

The division is based in the western suburbs of Sydney. Besides Parramatta, it includes Camellia, Clyde, Constitution Hill, Dundas Valley, Granville, Harris Park, Holroyd, Mays Hill, North Parramatta, Oatlands, Rosehill, Rydalmere, Telopea, Wentworthville, Westmead; and parts of Carlingford, Dundas, Ermington, Guildford, Merrylands, North Rocks, Northmead, Old Toongabbie, Pendle Hill, South Granville, South Wentworthville, and Toongabbie.

The current Member for the Division of Parramatta, since the 2004 federal election, is Julie Owens, a member of the Australian Labor Party.


As originally created, it covered the outer northwestern suburbs of Sydney, though that city's dramatic growth made it an entirely urban seat after World War II. For most of the first seven decades after Federation, it included a large amount of conservative-leaning territory that usually swamped Parramatta itself, which has historically been a working-class area. As a result, the seat was held by the Liberals and their predecessors for all but one term from Federation until 1977.

A redistribution ahead of the 1977 election split Parramatta almost in half. Most of the wealthier eastern half became the comfortably safe Liberal seat of Dundas. Most of the western half, including the bulk of the Parramatta LGA, became the core of a marginal Labor seat that retained the Parramatta name, as per Australian Electoral Commission guidelines that require the names of original Federation electorates to be preserved where possible.[2][3] However, the reconfigured Parramatta was anchored in traditionally pro-Labor territory in western Sydney. Parramatta's Liberal incumbent, Phillip Ruddock, opted to follow most of his base into Dundas, allowing his 1975 challenger, John Brown to become only the second Labor member ever to win Parramatta.

Since then, it has been located between Labor's traditional heartland of western Sydney and the traditional Liberal stronghold of the North Shore. As a result, whenever the seat is redistributed, a shift of a few kilometres to the west or east can radically alter its political landscape.[4]

Most recently, the 2006 redistribution shifted Parramatta from marginally Labor to notionally marginally Liberal (as defined by the Australian Electoral Commission). Nevertheless, as was widely expected[5] at the 2007 federal election, the incumbent Labor member, Julie Owens, held the seat ahead of Liberal candidate Colin Robinson, a member of the Electrical Trades Union,[5] with an increased majority.

Owens has subsequently been re-elected at the 2010, 2013 and 2016 elections. The latter victory came as Labor lost government, marking the second time (her 2004 win being the first) that the Liberals and their predecessors have been in government without holding Parramatta.

Prominent members of Parramatta over the years have included (Sir) Joseph Cook, a former Prime Minister; (Sir) Garfield Barwick and Nigel Bowen, both of whom served as Attorney-General before moving to senior judicial position, Barwick as Chief Justice of the High Court. Ruddock, a former Attorney-General and Immigration Minister also represented the seat (though he was the member for Berowra by then); as did Brown, a former Sports Minister.[4]


  (Sir) Joseph Cook Free Trade, Anti-Socialist 1901–1909
  Commonwealth Liberal 1909–1917
  Nationalist 1917–1921
  Herbert Pratten Nationalist 1921–1922
  Eric Bowden Nationalist 1922–1929
  Albert Rowe Labor 1929–1931
  (Sir) Frederick Stewart United Australia 1931–1945
  Liberal 1945–1946
  Howard Beale Liberal 1946–1958
  Sir Garfield Barwick Liberal 1958–1964
  Nigel Bowen Liberal 1964–1973
  Philip Ruddock Liberal 1973–1977
  John Brown Labor 1977–1990
  Paul Elliott Labor 1990–1996
  Ross Cameron Liberal 1996–2004
  Julie Owens Labor 2004–present

Election results

Australian federal election, 2016: Parramatta[6]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labor Julie Owens 38,109 46.46 +4.31
Liberal Michael Beckwith 28,194 34.37 −9.15
Greens Phil Bradley 5,640 6.88 +1.67
Christian Democrats Keith Piper 4,347 5.30 +2.83
Independent Mahesh Raj 2,048 2.50 +2.50
Liberal Democrats Mark Guest 2,013 2.45 +2.45
Family First Mikaela Wu 1,202 1.47 +1.47
Online Direct Democracy Andrew Driessen 469 0.57 +0.57
Total formal votes 82,022 90.74 +1.19
Informal votes 8,367 9.26 −1.19
Turnout 90,389 89.02 −3.55
Two-party-preferred result
Labor Julie Owens 47,300 57.67 +6.35
Liberal Michael Beckwith 34,722 42.33 −6.35
Labor hold Swing +6.35


  1. Troy, Jakelin. "The Sydney Language". Macquarie Aboriginal Words. Sydney: Macquarie Library. p. 76.
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 May 2017. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 May 2017. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  4. 1 2 Green, Antony (2010). "Parramattta". Australia votes 2010. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 7 February 2012.
  5. 1 2 Carr, Adam (2007). "Division of Parramatta". Guide to the 2007 Federal Election. Archived from the original on 13 September 2007. Retrieved 22 September 2007.
  6. Parramatta, NSW Archived 19 September 2016 at the Wayback Machine., Virtual Tally Room 2016, Australian Electoral Commission.

Coordinates: 33°48′32″S 151°00′40″E / 33.809°S 151.011°E / -33.809; 151.011

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