Barton – Australia 2019

ALP 8.3%

Incumbent MP
Linda Burney, since 2016. Previously Member for Canterbury (NSW), 2003-2016.

Parts of the St George and inner west districts of Sydney. Barton covers a majority of the Rockdale council area and parts of Hurstville, Kogarah, Canterbury and Marrickville council areas. The main suburbs include Rockdale, Bexley, Kogarah, Kingsgrove, Brighton-le-Sands, Tempe and parts of Marrickville, Dulwich Hill, Hurstville, Beverly Hills and Carlton.

Barton was created for the 1922 election, and has always covered parts of the St George district. The seat was traditionally a marginal seat between the ALP and the major conservative party. After leaning towards Labor for much of the last twenty years, the Liberal Party regained the seat in 2013.

The seat was originally a notionally Nationalist seat, but was won in 1922 by ALP candidate Frederick McDonald, who defeated Hector Lamond, the sitting Nationalist Member for Illawarra since 1917. The seat of Illawarra had been abolished before the 1922 election.

McDonald lost to Nationalist candidate Thomas Ley at the 1925 election by a bare 60 votes. McDonald challenged the result in court, before he disappeared in mysterious circumstances. It is believed that Ley was responsible for McDonald’s presumed murder.

Ley, who had been a state MP for Hurstville 1917-20 and St George 1920-25, held the seat for one term before losing to ALP candidate James Tully in 1928. Ley went on to move back to England and in 1945 was convicted of killing a barman who he suspected of having an affair with his mistress, and ended up spending the rest of his life in an insane asylum. While it was never proven, he was suspected in the death of McDonald and Hyman Goldstein, who was a rival of Ley’s and state member for Coogee when he fell to his death in 1927.

Tully held the seat for the ALP with a massive margin in 1929. In 1931 Tully was challenged by John Eldridge, the sitting member for the neighbouring seat of Martin. Eldridge had been an ALP member but had joined Jack Lang’s breakaway party. Both Tully and Eldridge lost to UAP candidate Albert Lane.

Lane was reelected in 1934 and 1937, but never by comfortable margins. In 1940, he was defeated by former High Court judge H.V. Evatt, who retired from the judiciary at the age of 46 to run for federal politics. He was elected with a massive majority, which he maintained at the 1943 and 1946 elections.

Evatt served as a minister in the Curtin and Chifley governments, including as Minister for External Affairs. He played a significant role in the creation of the United Nations and served as President of the UN General Assembly in 1948-9.

Evatt held the seat at the 1949 election, when the Liberal Party defeated the Chifley Labor government, and Evatt became Leader of the Opposition. Evatt held Barton by slim margins in 1949, 1951, 1954 and 1955 elections, and moved to the safer seat of Hunter at the 1958 election, which was his last as Labor leader, retiring in 1960.

ALP candidate Leonard Reynolds won Barton in 1958, never holding it by large margins. He lost the seat to Liberal candidate William Arthur in 1966, but won it back in 1969. Reynolds held the seat until his retirement in 1975.

In 1975 the seat was won by James Bradfield (LIB), who held the seat for the entirety of the Fraser government, losing to ALP candidate Gary Punch in 1983.

Punch joined the Hawke ministry in 1988 before resigning from Cabinet in 1989 at protest over decisions about Sydney Airport. He returned to the ministry after the 1993 election, when he increased his margin to 9.4%.

Punch retired in 1996, and was succeeded by Robert McClelland. McClelland held Barton for the next seventeen years, serving as a frontbencher from 1998 to 2012.

McClelland retired in 2013, and Liberal candidate Nickolas Varvaris won the seat in a very tight contest.

The redistribution prior to the 2016 election pulled Barton north into more Labor-friendly areas, making the seat a notional Labor seat. Linda Burney, a Labor state MP and deputy leader of the state party, defeated Varvaris at the 2016 election.


Barton, with its current boundaries, is a reasonably safe Labor seat.

2016 result

Linda Burney Labor 41,87847.8+4.1
Nickolas Varvaris Liberal 31,03835.4-2.9
Brent Heber Greens 7,7418.8+1.0
Sonny SusiloChristian Democratic Party3,7144.2+2.2
Rasmus TorkelIndependent2,2362.5+2.6
Harry TsoukalasOnline Direct Democracy1,0951.2+1.3

2016 two-party-preferred result

Linda Burney Labor 51,13158.3+3.9
Nickolas Varvaris Liberal 36,57141.7-3.9

Booth breakdown

Booths have been divided into three parts. The north covers booths in the Canterbury and Marrickville council area, while the remainder is split into east and west.

Labor won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all three areas, ranging from 54.3% in the west to 64.1% in the north.

The primary vote for the Greens ranged from 5.7% in the west to 12.4% in the north.

Voter groupGRN prim %ALP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes11.858.111,86413.5

Election results in Barton at the 2016 federal election
Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and Greens primary votes.

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  1. Thought i’d repost from 2016

    winediamond May 21, 2016 at 10:41 am
    With all the attention on poor little Nikki, no one has noticed Linda Burney.

    I have high hopes for this lady. I suspect she left state labor, because she had reached her peak ( deputy leader).
    Knowing that she would not get the leadership, Linda then moved on.

    I’m confident Linda will receive a shadow ministry, & then maintain a constructive, & conciliatory tone. Making a contribution in this way towards better outcomes, makes a stark contrast to the usual adversarial rubbish we see.

    Well i was completely wrong.

    What has happened with Burney is that she has embraced the position of being the lead, ALP mud chucker. A pity, she could have accomplished far more. I’d expect her to continue prolifically for another term.
    The electoral relevance is that she may be then vulnerable to a strong opponent targeting her record, & personally.

    Yes i know, boundaries will be all important However the expected redistribution may have some surprises.
    Certain Labor hold. However the voting trends in some areas will be of interest

  2. Linda Burney has to be the most annoying person from the NSW Labor in Federal Government. Winedimond is 100%. She has re-engaged her mud-slinging persona from NSW Parliament. It’s a shame, especially as I have met other members from NSW Labor during my times out campaigning for the Liberal Party and there are genuinely authentic and respectful members out there. Ed Husic comes to mind.

    Despite all that, she will win this seat hands down and the Liberal Party had need to pray that the redistribution sends this seat back towards San Souci.


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