Pittwater state by-election, 2005

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A by-election was staged in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly district of Pittwater on 26 November 2005. It was triggered by the resignation of sitting member and former Liberal Party leader John Brogden.

The by-election resulted in the Liberal Party losing the seat to independent candidate Alex McTaggart.


John Brogden was elected leader of the state Liberal Party in March 2002, and thus became Leader of the Opposition. He led the party to its third consecutive defeat at the 2003 state election but remained leader of the party thereafter. In August 2005, it was reported that at an evening function on 29 July, a drunken Brogden had sexually harassed at least one female reporter and uttered a racist slur against Helena Carr, the Malaysian-born wife of outgoing Premier Bob Carr.[1] Brogden owned up to his behaviour on the morning of the 29 August, although it was not until the afternoon of the same day that he announced his resignation as leader of the party.[2]

When he stepped down as leader, Brogden announced that he would remain a member of parliament, describing his future role as that of a "middle-bencher".[3] The following day however, the episode took a whole new turn when Brogden was rushed to hospital after a suicide attempt.[4] A month later, on 28 September 2005, Brogden announced his resignation from parliament, citing the need for further treatment.[5]

Whilst Pittwater is typically a safe Liberal Party seat, a strong challenge was presented in the form of Pittwater Council Mayor Alex McTaggart. At the by-election, McTaggart defeated Liberal candidate Paul Nicolaou, and sat as an independent in state parliament.


Pittwater by-election, 2005[6]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Independent Alex McTaggart 15,052 39.23 +39.23
Liberal Paul Nicolaou 14,622 38.11 −22.16
Christian Democrats Patricia Giles 3,208 8.36 +5.54
Greens Natalie Stevens 2,819 7.35 −6.73
Independent Robert Dunn 2,316 6.04 +6.04
Democrats Mario Nicotra 348 0.91 −1.29
Total formal votes 38,365 98.13 +0.06
Informal votes 730 1.87 −0.06
Turnout 39,095 85.20 −5.98
Two-candidate-preferred result
Independent Alex McTaggart 19,683 55.36 +55.36
Liberal Paul Nicolaou 15,869 44.64 −25.47
Independent gain from Liberal Swing N/A


Alex McTaggart was defeated at the 2007 state election when the seat returned to the Liberal Party fold but Paul Nicholau was not renominated for the seat. The successful Liberal candidate was instead Rob Stokes.


  1. ^ "Brogden quits NSW parliament". Sydney Morning Herald. 28 September 2005. 
  2. ^ "Brogden quits over 'mail-order bride' slur". The Age. 29 August 2005. 
  3. ^ "BROGDEN RESIGNS: "I Acted Dishonourably And Now Is The Time To Act Honourably"". australianpolitics.com. 29 August 2005. 
  4. ^ "Shattered Brogden's suicide bid". Sydney Morning Herald. 31 August 2005. 
  5. ^ "Ill Brogden quits politics". ABC. 28 September 2005. 
  6. ^ Pittwater 2005 By-election Results