Local government elections: Clover returned despite swing against her

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore celebrating her election win last night. Photo: Lord Mayor Clover Moore/Facebook.


Clover Moore has been returned as Lord Mayor of the City of Sydney for a historic fifth term.

The 76-year-old leviathan of local politics has now been voted in as Lord Mayor across three separate decades: the ’00s, 2010s and 2020s.

First elected to the position in 2004, she was returned to the role by voters at the elections of 2008, 2012, 2016 and in yesterday’s election, which was twice rescheduled due to Covid-19.

Declaring victory last night, the Lord Mayor thanked her constituents for the result.

“A huge thank you to the Sydney community for supporting the continuation of our independent, progressive and community-led city government,” Moore said on social media.

At her election party in Darlinghurst, where she claimed victory just after 9pm, Moore spoke to her 500 election day volunteers.

“This is an election that was put off twice, and we were told we couldn’t hand out [how to vote cards] at polling booths. I just wondered if people would remember [what to do]. But clearly they did and it’s a fantastic result,” she said.

Swing against Clover

Despite the jubilation, there has been a significant swing against Moore and it is clear the Clover Moore Independent Team will not achieve the “eight-seat super-majority” touted by her campaign manager, the independent Member for Sydney, Alex Greenwich.

Moore’s team won six of the council’s ten seats in the 2016 local government elections – and at time of writing appears on track to win five seats this time around.

At 9.30pm last night, Moore had attracted 42.9 per cent of the more than 27,000 formal votes so far counted – a swing of almost 15 per cent away from her 58 per cent landslide win in 2016.

A significant swing towards Labor has emerged, with the ALP’s Linda Scott almost doubling her vote, attracting 16.4 per cent of the votes counted so far.

The City’s first Indigenous candidate for Lord Mayor, Yvonne Weldon, also polled strongly, equalling Scott’s 16.4 per cent.

City of Sydney Labor candidate, Linda Scott (middle), pictured on the campaign trail with federal Member for Sydney Tanya Plibersek (left) and City of Sydney Council Labor candidate Ian Roberts (right). Photo: Councillor Linda Scott/Facebook.

Other candidates

With Scott set to be returned as a councillor and Weldon set to join her, questions as to who else will make up the ten City of Sydney councillors remain just that.

However, early voting trends indicate the Greens’ Sylvie Ellsmore is highly likely to secure a council seat, as is the Liberals’ Shauna Jarrett, despite a swing away from the Liberals, while the Small Business Party’s Angela Vithoulkas appears to have a reasonable chance of securing a third term.

Significant changes to voting patterns could still occur, however, with the majority of physical votes yet to be counted.

Counting of online votes through the iVote system is yet to commence. while the deadline for postal votes to be received by the NSW Electoral Commission is still several days away (17 December).

Peter Hackney is the editor-in-chief of the Sydney Sentinel.

Tileah Dobson is the news editor of the Sydney Sentinel.