Division of Cunningham

This article is about the Australian federal electorate. For the former Queensland state electorate, see Electoral district of Cunningham.
Australian House of Representatives Division

Division of Cunningham in New South Wales, as of the 2016 federal election.
Created 1949
MP Sharon Bird
Party Labor
Namesake Allan Cunningham
Electors 111,395 (2016)
Area 519 km2 (200.4 sq mi)
Demographic Provincial

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.

The division is located on the coast of New South Wales between southern Sydney and Wollongong. It takes in the northern portion of Wollongong, including Corrimal, Figtree and Unanderra. It also includes several of Sydney's outer southern suburbs, including Heathcote and Bundeena. The division covers areas east of the Illawarra escarpment and is bounded by the Tasman Sea to the east. It is bounded to the north by the Royal National Park and to the south by the Wollongong suburbs of Figtree, Cordeaux Heights and Coniston. Although the region is primarily rural, the vast majority of the population is located in the northern outskirts of Wollongong and along the eastern seaboard. The main products and means of livelihood in the area are tourism, tertiary education, steel production, coal mining, brick manufacturing, textiles and dairy farming.

The sitting member, since the 2004 federal election, is Sharon Bird, a member of the Australian Labor Party.


The division has always been represented by the Australian Labor Party, except following the 2002 by-election when the Greens won the seat; being the first time that the Greens held a seat in the House of Representatives. Labor recovered the seat at the 2004 federal election. The Illawarra is one of the few non-metropolitan regions where Labor has consistently done well.

Its most prominent members have been Rex Connor, a senior minister in the Whitlam government, and Stephen Martin, who was Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives from 1993–1996, during the last term of the Keating government.

Cunningham is Labor's safest non-metropolitan seat, with a nine percent swing needed for the Liberals to win it.


  Billy Davies Labor 1949–1956
  Victor Kearney Labor 1956–1963
  Rex Connor Labor 1963–1977
  Stewart West Labor 1977–1993
  Stephen Martin Labor 1993–2002
  Michael Organ Greens 2002–2004
  Sharon Bird Labor 2004–present

Election results

Australian federal election, 2016: Cunningham[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labor Sharon Bird 46,414 47.89 +0.89
Liberal Michelle Blicavs 28,263 29.16 −2.81
Greens Cath Blakey 14,200 14.65 +3.30
Christian Democrats Michelle Ryan 3,939 4.06 +1.74
Science Nathan Waters 2,526 2.61 +2.61
Non-Custodial Parents John Flanagan 1,582 1.63 +0.67
Total formal votes 96,924 95.16 +2.20
Informal votes 4,933 4.84 −2.20
Turnout 101,857 91.44 −1.75
Two-party-preferred result
Labor Sharon Bird 61,377 63.32 +2.03
Liberal Michelle Blicavs 35,547 36.68 −2.03
Labor hold Swing +2.03


  1. Cunningham, NSW, Virtual Tally Room 2016, Australian Electoral Commission.

External links

Coordinates: 34°15′32″S 150°54′58″E / 34.259°S 150.916°E / -34.259; 150.916

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