Barker – Australia 2019

LIB 4.2% vs NXT

Incumbent MP
Tony Pasin, since 2013.

Barker covers southeastern parts of South Australia. It stretches from Mount Gambier in the southeastern corner of the state up to the Murray River and the Barossa Valley.

Barker expanded in its north-western corner, taking in Springton and Mount Pleasant from Mayo and Freeling, Kapunda and Williamstown from Wakefield.

The seat of Barker was first created for the 1903 election, and has been a seat that has consistently voted for Conservative parties. Apart from two terms of the Country Party, the seat has been held by the main non-Labor party since its creation.

It was first won in 1903 by John Langdon Bonython, a Protectionist MP first elected as a member for South Australia at-large in 1901. Bonython retired in 1906 and was replaced by Anti-Socialist candidate John Livingston. Livingston held the seat as a member of the Liberal Party and Nationalist Party before his retirement in 1922.

The seat was won in 1922 by Malcolm Cameron, who was elected as a member of the breakaway Liberal Party, who opposed the leadership of Billy Hughes, but returned to the Nationalists after Hughes deposition. He held the seat until 1934.

The seat was won in 1934 by the Country Party’s Archie Cameron. He served as a minister in the Lyons government from 1937 until Lyons’ death in 1939. After Earle Page refused to serve in government with Robert Menzies, the Country Party replaced Page with Cameron as their leader, and Cameron led the party back into government.

Cameron, however, was replaced by Arthur Fadden as Country Party leader in 1940, and Cameron resigned from the Country Party and joined the United Australia Party. Cameron joined Menzies’ new Liberal Party in 1945 and was elected Speaker of the House in 1949. Cameron remained Speaker and Member for Barker until his death in 1956.

The ensuing by-election was won by Liberal candidate Jim Forbes. He served as a minister in the Liberal government from 1963 until the election of the Whitlam government in 1972.

Forbes retired at the 1975 election, and was replaced by James Porter, who held the seat for fifteen years. He was replaced in 1990 by Ian McLachlan, a former president of the National Farmers Federation. McLachlan served as Minister for Defence for the first term of the Howard government, retiring in 1998.

The seat was won in 1998 by the Liberal Party’s Patrick Secker. He held Barker for the next five terms, retiring in 2013.

Liberal candidate Tony Pasin won Barker in 2013, and was re-elected in 2016.


Barker was traditionally considered safe and was only close in 2016 due to the Nick Xenophon Team. It’s hard to know if the Centre Alliance will challenge in this seat again.

2016 result

Tony Pasin Liberal 44,00146.6-6.045.6
James StaceyNick Xenophon Team27,45229.1+29.128.6
Mat O’Brien Labor 14,36315.2-3.216.3
Yvonne ZeppelFamily First5,4585.8-2.25.7
Mark Keough Greens 3,1713.4-2.33.6

2016 two-candidate-preferred result

Tony Pasin Liberal 51,69854.754.2
James StaceyNick Xenophon Team42,74745.345.8

2016 two-party-preferred result

Tony Pasin Liberal 61,56665.2-1.463.9
Mat O’Brien Labor 32,87934.8+1.436.1

Booth breakdown

Booths have been divided into five areas. Polling places in the southern city of Mount Gambier have been grouped together. The remainder of the seat has been split into four strips that stretch across the electorate. From north to south, these are North, Murray Mallee, Upper South East and Lower South East.

The Liberal Party won a majority of the two-candidate-preferred vote in four out of five areas, ranging from 52.2% in the north to 66.5% in the upper south-east. The Nick Xenophon Team won 54.7% in Mount Gambier.

The Labor primary vote ranged from 9.7% in the upper south-east to 20.2% in Mount Gambier.

Voter groupALP prim %LIB 2CP %Total votes% of votes
Murray Mallee17.957.110,89010.4
Lower South-East14.153.810,0159.6
Upper South-East9.766.59,4829.1
Mount Gambier20.245.38,4668.1
Other votes17.153.212,40111.9

Election results in Barker at the 2016 federal election
Toggle between two-candidate-preferred votes (LNP vs NXT) and Labor primary votes.

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  1. I don’t see the CA doing as well, now that they don’t have a well known figure as their leader. Their party was entirely Xenophon and that was all. Libs hold this easily.

  2. I doubt Center Alliance will be very successful, they’d be lucky to hold Mayo next federal election provided Nick Xenephon doesn’t have a sudden change of heart or if the Libs make the same mistake of pre-selecting Georgina Downer.

    Barker will be an easy Liberal hold.

  3. I wouldn’t quite rule out Barker. Centre Alliance will lose votes but so will the Liberals. I’ve ruled out Liberals losing Grey as Labor will move up to 2nd, but I can’t see that happening here.

    Something like 44 LNP, 26 CA, 20 ALP, 5 GRN, 5 Other could clinch it. Centre Alliance would be right to target this seat.

  4. Ca will be lucky to come second anywhere besides Mayo……all the rural areas have been placed in this seat and Grey …..which will cement lib wins there

  5. Pasin’s name was all over the Dutton coup as a hard right conservative, if there was ever any doubt.

    If Centre Alliance can seize the momentum of the Liberals lurching right (which Morrison does represent, as the coming weeks will reveal), then this seat really is marginal and Pasin might not be safe.

  6. The Wagga byelection boosts the chances of Centre Alliance. They’ll need a good candidate and a formal preference deal with Labor, but the results in the state election are promising. Troy Bell getting reelected was a shock that suggests to me this area isn’t interested in major parties any more.

  7. It is speculated Tony Pasin isn’t running (not confirmed) But if he does not run would this increase the chance of a Centre alliance pickup providing the Liberals do even worse than 2016 nationally?

  8. Where did you hear that Daniel?

    After it quick google it looks like Pasin was endorsed as the candidate on August 17 – the week before the Dutton coup – but no announcements made since then.

    So far the only post-coup retirements are Turnbull himself and Julia Banks. None of the conservatives have made announcements. Of the list of alleged “bullies”/”numbers men” for Dutton, Sukkar lost his assistant ministry but Seselja didn’t (the rest weren’t even on the radar).

    I could have seen Pasin joining Australian Conservatives until that project crashed and burned as they failed to pick up a seat in the SA state election.

    Pasin is unlikely to be an asset electorally at any rate; the question comes down to whether anyone can get the momentum that saw this seat become marginal vs Nick Xenophon Team.

  9. Tony Pasin is a dead man walking, Hes not going to be re-elected, Centre Alliance GAIN, You only have to look at how unpopular the Marshall Government is, He is quite unpopular and will be defeated at the next state election. I think This and Gray goes to the Centre Alliance despite the poor showing at the state election, there has been no polls in this electorate However a state poll released a few weeks ago had Labor ahead 54-46 TPP in the state, ReachTel i think

  10. The newly branded Centre Alliance will not be gaining a thing. The party’s popularity rested solely on Xenophon’s profile and will surely go backwards everywhere outside Mayo.

    As for Steven Marshall, never bet against a first term government. There were Liberal supporters here predicting the demise of Daniel Andrews halfway through his government’s term and we know how that turned out. With the dreadful Morrison government probably long gone, the electoral environment in 2022 will be very different to today.

  11. If your trying to imply he will win in 2022 idk what sort of pills your on, He wasn’t even favoured to win this years election, It was the Evil/Liberal Redistribution/Gerrymander that aided him, The fact that Labor got a swing to them in the TPP vote. He has also been raising power prices not reducing them. He doesn’t care about carbon emissions. So he will be certainly defeated come 2022, Only Chapman can save the government since SA has never had a Woman premier (shes more moderate than marshall)

  12. I make no firm predictions about the next South Australian election. Though I do think the government more likely than not to be re-elected.

    One thing is for sure though. To declare Marshall “will be certainly defeated” in an election more than three years away is hopelessly speculative puerile nonsense.

  13. Pasin is gone if Centre Alliance can stay in 2nd, but it’s hard to tell how they’ll go. Can’t get a read on the CA candidate. Troy Bell being reelected in Mt Gambler despite scandal is a positive sign for them.

    Pasin was a major part of the Dutton coup but I don’t think it will hurt him the way it will hurt other Liberals – I’m surprised this seat isn’t held by Nats.

  14. Daniel,

    You call it what happened in SA an ‘evil’, but when you consider the fact that the Liberals have won the 2PP vote in 6/7 of the last elections (2006 being the exception), I’m not sure how you can imply that they obtained government through illegitimate means.

  15. National’s Could do well here, If they come 2nd, and every other party preferences against Pasin, That would shake things up

  16. Don’t read anything into Troy Bell being re-elected in the SA state election as being the demise of the Liberal vote in Barker. Firstly, the state electorate does not cover all of Barker, and his electorate has a recent history of voting independent in state elections. Secondly, he was re-elected because of personal loyalty, and people do not believe he is guilty because he is such a nice guy.
    Barker will go back to Pasin. Barker will return to being a very safe Liberal seat.

  17. Having supported Liberal for nearly 60 years, Tony Pasin’s treacherous behaviour in the Malcolm Turnbull coup leaves me looking for an alternative. I can not bring myself to vote Labor.

  18. @roger, what about the Nats Miles Hannemann?

    I wonder if there will be a few who leave Pasin and opt for either the Nats or Centre Alliance as an alternative.

  19. Despite Pasin’s involvement in the Turnbull saga and unpopularity within the electorate, he’ll be easily reelected and my bets are on for a margin than 2016 given the “Xenophon Factor” is long gone. What would have been Pasin’s biggest challenge is Centre Alliance, and they are running dead with Gladigau. She did o.k. in the state election on the coat tails of the X factor, but the name change as well as Xenophon not inundating the media landscape,she will be lucky to get 5pc. You would think Barker would traditionally fall to the Nationals in circumstances like this, but the party has all been killed since former Chaffey MP Karlene Maywald formed an alliance with Labor amd took on the River Murray and Water portfolio through the millennial drought. People have long memories. Barker best bet and biggest threat to Pasin would be a independent Liberal, much like Troy Bell.I agree with @Kate. Bell bled votes from the Liberal candidate in 2018


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