Illawarra residents showed their true colours at the weekend as election results from polling places up and down the coast show a region divided by red, blue and green.
Nowhere was this split more evident than in the vast Throsby electorate, where Labor and Liberal supporters are neatly divided by the escarpment.
In the wealthy Southern Highlands areas such as Bowral, Sutton Forest and Kangaloon, residents’ blood runs dark blue, giving Liberal Party candidate Larissa Mallinson the majority in all 18 booths west of the mountains except for New Berrima.
Illawarra suburbs such as Cringila, Warrawong, Berkeley and Port Kembla remained staunchly red, securing Stephen Jones nearly 80 per cent of the vote in these areas on a two-party preferred basis.
However, even in these heartland booths support for Labor dipped, with swings away from the party of between 5 to 8 per cent in key areas like Berkeley, Windang and Warilla.
The Nationals’ Angry Anderson emerged as the third most popular candidate overall in Throsby, as he almost doubled the Nationals’ first preference votes to eclipse Greens candidate Peter Moran.
Following National Party tradition, Mr Anderson gained the most votes in Southern Highlands farming communities such as New Berrima, Glenquarry and Avoca, but after a strong grassroots campaign he also gained good ground in many working-class Illawarra suburbs.
In Horsley South, Albion Park and Brownsville votes swung up to 9 per cent towards Mr Anderson, giving him around 12-14 per cent of the first preference vote in those areas.
The Cunningham electorate remains faithful to Labor on a two-party preferred basis, despite a 3 per cent swing away from Sharon Bird in overall first preferences.
Ms Bird claimed all but three of her seat’s 57 booths after preferences, with Liberal candidate Philip Clifford winning the Sutherland Shire seats of Waterfall, Heathcote and Heathcote East.
But in the northern suburbs like Austinmer, Thirroul, Coledale and Wombarra there are still strong tinges of green, with Greens candidate Helen Wilson overtaking or approaching Mr Clifford’s vote despite a national fall in support for the party.
The Labor and Liberal divide is least prominent in the Illawarra’s southernmost seat of Gilmore, which is now one of the most marginal seats in the Abbott government.
More than half the electorate’s 67 booths are held by margins of less than 5 per cent.
Top 5 Labor booths across Cunningham, Throsby and Gilmore (two-party preferred)
1 Warilla (Gilmore) 79.3 per cent
2 Bellambi (Cunningham) 79.21 per cent
3 Warrawong (Throsby) 79.2 per cent
4 Cringila (Throsby) 79.1 per cent
5 Warilla North (Throsby) 78 per cent
Top 5 Coalition booths across Cunningham, Throsby and Gilmore (two-party preferred)
1 Sutton Forest (Throsby) 74.8 per cent
2 Bowral East (Throsby) 72 per cent
3 Kangaloon (Throsby) 70.8 per cent
4 Burrawang (Throsby) 69 per cent
5 Glenquarry (Throsby) 68.4 per cent
Throsby’s ‘‘Angriest’’ National Party suburbs (first preferences)
1 New Berrima 28.08 per cent
2 Glenquarry 24.21 per cent
3 Avoca 24.04 per cent
4 Moss Vale 18.13 per cent
5 Moss Vale Centre 18.04 per cent
Cunningham’s Greenest polling places (first preferences)
1 Austinmer 30.09 per cent
2 Wombarra 26.63 per cent
3 Otford 26.36 per cent
4 Coledale 25.51 per cent
5 Stanwell Park 23.74 per cent