The seats Liberal leader Peter Dutton really needs

One of the most visible manifestations of the seismic shift wrought by the 2022 general election was aptly topographic: the Liberal Party can no longer boast a parliamentary seat with sweeping views of Sydney Harbour.

Not only are they among the wealthiest constituencies in the country, three of those seats were of course formerly held by recent Liberal Prime Ministers John Howard, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull. Throw in Bronwyn Bishop’s old bailiwick of Mackellar, which was lost by a Liberal candidate in last year’s election for the first time in the seat’s history, and the party’s coastal issue stretches even further north, to Barrenjoey Lighthouse in Palm Beach.

Once the Liberal heartland, Peter Dutton cannot hope to become prime minister without retaking key seats on Sydney Harbour.

Once the Liberal heartland, Peter Dutton cannot hope to become prime minister without retaking key seats on Sydney Harbour.Credit:KenJames

It’s hard to imagine the Liberal Party coming back to power without retaking at least some of those former conservative citadels. So in order to go from opposition leader to prime minister, Peter Dutton will almost certainly have to pass the so-called Sydney Harbor Test.

Six out of eight of these coastal seats are occupied by women. They speak of the gender gap that liberals have long struggled to bridge. The blue-green revolution was primarily a female phenomenon. At the national level, a majority of women in every age group preferred Labor to the Liberals. Women between the ages of 35 and 54 are the most likely to leave the party. As the Liberal post-mortem election showed, the party holds only three of the top 30 seats in districts with a large number of female career voters. It used to be able to count 15.

Dutton has made a name for himself as a politically tough man. His demeanor and approach always reminded me of that old Thatcher right winger Norman Tebbit, who was one of the most bloodthirsty politicians of a particularly bloodthirsty era. So it’s difficult to see working women warm to Dutton in large numbers, no matter how hard the former cop tries to smooth the edges of his image.


Sydney’s beach seats remind us of the greening of Australian politics and how a driving force behind the blue-green revolution was a determination to preserve its stunning natural beauty. Again, this is not political terrain on which Dutton will succeed. Opposing the Albanian government’s 43 percent emissions reduction target, he appeared determined to prolong climate wars rather than seek a ceasefire.

Divisions like North Sydney, Wentworth and Warringah were also ground zero for the “kitchen table,” community-based activism that has become such a hallmark of both local and national politics since the coronavirus lockdowns.

Many of the volunteers who donned teal shirts want not only more responsive federal policy, but also more constructive federal policy. They were fed up with culture warriors like Scott Morrison, whose prime concern seemed to be winning for the sake of winning, and tired of fabricated wedge issues trying to pit Australians against Australians. Here, too, Dutton defies the zeitgeist. Throughout his career he has embodied the politics of polarization. The seats Liberal leader Peter Dutton really needs

Callan Tansill

InternetCloning is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button