Scott Morrison’s Resignation Will Trigger A By-Election In Cook, So Here’s What To Expect

Scott Morrison‘s resignation announcement means a by-election must be held in his southern Sydney seat of Cook, so here’s what to expect from the arena of political drama.

Morrison first won the seat in 2007, and has retained it ever since. Currently, he holds it by a comfortable margin of 12.4%, despite suffering a two-party swing against him of 6.6% at the 2022 election. As he will leave parliament at the end of February, a by-election would likely be held no earlier than April.

Would a Cook by-election change the government?

If the seat swung to Labor, the makeup of government would not drastically change, but it would be a headache for Liberal leader Peter Dutton.

Dutton would be under pressure to retain the seat after the party suffered a shock loss in the Victorian seat of Aston in April last year. The party had expected the once-safe Liberal seat to remain in their hands, but lost it to Labor in what was dubbed at the time as a “historic upset”.

Cook is however a stronger seat than Aston, sitting about 10 percentage points higher, so in theory would be easier for the party to retain. Further, sitting governments do not often win seats from opposition in by-elections, the Aston swing last year being the first example in more than a century.

Who might replace him?

As for who from the Liberal party could replace Morrison, it is not yet clear. Options rumoured are Carmelo Pesce, the current mayor of Sutherland Shire, or Simon Kennedy, the Liberal candidate for Bennelong in 2022.

Morrison not leaving parliament until the end of February will give the party plenty of time to decide. Although he will not be appointing anyone, he has in the past signalled a preference for a female replacement.

The former Prime Minister is still considered popular in his electorate, and is likely to campaign with whoever replaces him.