Calare – Australia 2019

NAT 11.8%

Incumbent MP
Andrew Gee, since 2016. Previously Member for Orange (NSW), 2011-2016.

Central West NSW. Calare covers the towns of Bathurst, Lithgow, Blayney, Orange, Oberon, Mudgee and Wellington, as well as other areas around those towns.

Calare was first created for the 1906 election, replacing the abolished seat of Canobolas. The seat has been held by all political parties over the last century.

The seat was first won by Thomas Brown (ALP) in 1906. Brown had previously held Canobolas since 1901, and he held the seat until he was defeated in 1913 by Henry Pigott of the Commonwealth Liberal Party. He held the seat for the Liberals and the Nationalists until he was defeated by Thomas Lavelle (ALP) in 1919.

Lavelle was defeated in 1922 by Major General Neville Howse, who won the seat for the Nationalists. Pigott had also contested the seat unsuccessfully for the new Country Party. Howse won a Victoria Cross during the Boer War and went on to serve as a senior officer in the First World War.

Howse served as a minister in the Stanley Bruce government before losing his seat in 1929 to George Gibbons (ALP), who was defeated by Harold Thorby of the Country Party at the next election. Thorby had previously been a state minister and went on to serve as a minister in Joseph Lyons’ federal government.

Thorby was defeated by John Breen (ALP) in 1940, and Breen held the seat until his defeat in 1946 by John Howse (LIB), the son of the former member for the seat Neville Howse.

Howse junior held the seat until his resignation in 1960. John England of the Country Party won the seat in the following by-election, and held it until the 1975 election. The seat was then won by Sandy Mackenzie.

Sandy Mackenzie lost the seat to David Simmons (ALP) in 1983. Simmons served as a federal minister from 1989 to 1993, and retired at the 1996 election.

The seat was won in 1996 by former television journalist Peter Andren, running as an independent. Andren won the seat on a 29% primary vote in 1996, with the ALP, Nationals and Liberals all polling less. Andren won 63% of the two-party preferred vote against the Nationals.

Andren set out an independent path, pursuing progressive politics while promoting regional interests. He was re-elected in 1998, 2001 and 2004 with over 70% of the two-party preferred vote.

The 2007 election saw the seat of Calare effectively abolished in its existing form, and Andren announced plans to run for the Senate in New South Wales. However, he was diagnosed with cancer and cancelled his plans to run for the Senate and decided to retire. Andren died of cancer in early November 2007, and the seat was won by John Cobb (NAT), then a junior minister in the Howard government and Member for Parkes.

In 2010, Calare was recreated in its previous form, losing areas in the northwest of the state gained in 2007, and regaining those areas lost to Macquarie in 2007. Cobb increased his margin from 53.5% to 60.7%. He was re-elected again with a larger margin in 2013.

Cobb retired in 2016, and was succeeded by Nationals state MP Andrew Gee.


Calare is a safe Nationals seat.

2016 result

Andrew Gee Nationals 47,71747.6-9.0
Jess Jennings Labor 27,13227.1+0.8
Delanie Sky Greens 7,2387.2+2.2
Glen DavisLiberal Democrats6,5576.5+6.5
Rod BloomfieldNick Xenophon Team5,4125.4+5.4
Anthony Gerard CraigIndependent3,8363.8+3.8
Bernie GeslingChristian Democratic Party2,3862.4+0.5

2016 two-party-preferred result

Andrew Gee Nationals 61,97861.8-3.2
Jess Jennings Labor 38,30038.2+3.2

Booth breakdown

Booths have been divided into six parts. Polling places in the three main towns, Orange, Bathurst and Lithgow, have been grouped together. The remaining booths have been split into north, south-east and south-west.

The Nationals won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in five out of six areas, ranging from 52.9% in Bathurst to 72.2% in the south-west. Labor won 54.7% in Lithgow.

Voter groupNAT 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes59.97,7667.7

Two-party-preferred votes in Calare at the 2016 federal election

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  1. That 2006 NSW redistribution is like that one bad album by your favourite band….the weird artistic detour that was immediately reversed the next time around and never spoken of again.

    When you consider that Labor held the seat through the whole Hawke/Keating era on basically these boundaries, you can really see how much this area has changed politically. The Coalition might be vulnerable to an independent or right-wing minor party, but it doesn’t seem like Labor are much of a factor here anymore.

  2. Mark Mulcair
    Absolutely right. Once upon a time Bathurst was a Labor town. It was also a lot smaller until recently.

    Haven’t the Nats been pushing for the Blue Mountains to be re included in Calare ?. Btw wouldn’t that make Calare very marginal ?

  3. Just a minor issue Ben

    The colour for the NAT margin at the top of the page seems to be blue, not green.

  4. WD I believe it was the Liberals who tried to squash Calare up into the Blue Mountains.

    I guess the logic was that Calare is safe enough for the Coalition that the Labor votes in the upper mountains would be “wasted” there. Presumably the main motivation was to boost the Liberal margin in Macquarie….when you get these sorts of odd proposals from major parties, it’s almost always a pretty blatant partisan grab.

  5. The key to an alp win here is 70% lithgow.a majority in Bathurst maybe 55% and Orange 40%….. but this is not happening at either state or Federal level ….. this is what happened in Hawke/Keating years ….not impossible…would have been so in 2007

  6. The seat could flip if the Shooters mount a strong campaign in Orange and the smaller towns, and preference Labor over Nats (like they did in the Cootamundra and Murray byelections), while Labor tries to win back Bathurst and Lithgow. I expect Labor to have well targeted messages for regional centres considering the Queensland marginals they’re hoping to pick up.

    However it’s probably not worth it for Labor to put in the major effort it would take to win this seat.

  7. This Probably would have been Lost last time if John Cobb had ran, One of the reasons he retired was because the National’s didn’t want him, And they wanted someone Younger and Fresh to run for the seat, John Cobb Was despised here, despite winning large in 2013, It was considered an upset when this was gained in 2007, Considering That year the coalition was expected to lose seats, not gain, even though this was IND vs Nat

  8. This has just gotten interesting with SFFP in the mix.

    My prediction is they’ll come second but will fall short, even with Labor preferences.

    It’ll be a much tighter seat than normally and the Nationals will now have to put resources into holding it.

  9. Yeah SFF have made usually boring seats like Calare and Parkes more interesting this time if they do run


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