Lyne – Australia 2019

NAT 11.6%

Incumbent MP
David Gillespie, since 2013.

North coast of NSW. Lyne covers parts of the mid-north coast, including Taree, Forster-Tuncurry and Dungog. Lyne stretches from just south of Port Macquarie to the north shore of Port Stephens and northern Maitland.

Lyne was created as part of the expansion of the House of Representatives at the 1949 election. It was won by the Country/National Party at every election from its creation until the 2007 election. The Nationals lost the seat at a 2008 by-election, but won it back in 2013.

The seat was first won in 1949 by Country Party candidate James Eggins. Four Country candidates stood for Lyne in 1949, with Eggins polling first on primary votes, followed by the ALP candidate, and he comfortably won the seat on the preferences from his Country Party colleagues. He was re-elected in 1951, but died in 1952, triggering a by-election.

The 1952 Lyne by-election was won by the Country Party’s Philip Lucock. Lucock was the second-highest polling Country Party candidate at the 1949 election. Two Country Party candidates stood in 1952, one polling 30.2% and the other 29.2%, and Lucock overtook the Labor candidate on preferences.

Lucock served as Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives under the Menzies, Holt, Gorton, McMahon and Fraser government, but never achieved ministerial office before he retired at the 1980 election.

The seat was won in 1980 by the National Country Party’s Bruce Cowan. Cowan had held the state seat of Oxley since 1965 and served as a minister in the last year of the Coalition state government from 1975 to 1976. Cowan held Lyne until 1993, and is the father-in-law of NSW Liberal leader Barry O’Farrell.

In 1993, the seat was won by Nationals candidate Mark Vaile, a Greater Taree councillor and former Deputy Mayor. Vaile joined the Howard government’s ministry in 1997 as Minister for Transport, adding a role as Minister for Agriculture in 1998 and became Minister for Trade in 1999. He became Deputy Prime Minister in 2005 upon the retirement of John Anderson, and continued in the Howard government’s cabinet until its defeat.

Vaile moved to the backbench upon the Howard government’s defeat in 2007, before retiring from Parliament in 2008, triggering a by-election.

The by-election was won by independent candidate Rob Oakeshott with a massive majority, winning almost 74% of the two-candidate-preferred vote. Oakeshott had previously held the state seat of Port Macquarie since 1996. He had originally been elected for the National Party at a 1996 by-election and was re-elected in 1999. During his second term he became disenchanted with the Nationals and resigned from the party in 2002. He managed to win re-election to Port Macquarie as an independent at the 2003 and 2007 state elections.

Rob Oakeshott was re-elected at the 2010 federal election. Following the federal election, he decided to support the Labor minority government.

Oakeshott retired at the 2013 elections, and the Nationals’ David Gillespie won the seat back. Gillespie was re-elected in 2016.


Lyne, in the absence of Rob Oakeshott since the seat shifted south of Port Macquarie, is a safe Nationals seat.

2016 result

David Gillespie Nationals 49,39949.6+19.4
Peter Alley Labor 26,47026.6+2.6
Julie Lyford Greens 9,4069.4+3.1
Brad ChristensenIndependent9,2279.3+9.3
Elaine CarterChristian Democratic Party3,0263.0+0.8
Rodger John RiachIndependent2,1262.1+2.1

2016 two-party-preferred result

David Gillespie Nationals 61,41661.6-1.9
Peter Alley Labor 38,23838.4+1.9

Booth breakdown

Booths have been divided into five parts:

  • Central – Greater Taree and Gloucester council areas, except for the Taree urban area
  • North – Port Macquarie-Hastings council area, including Wauchope
  • South-East – Great Lakes council area, including Forster and Tuncurry
  • South-West – Dungog and Maitland council areas
  • Taree – Taree urban area

The Nationals won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all five areas, ranging from 55.9% in the south-west to 66.2% in the north.

Voter groupNAT 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes59.710,51310.5

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

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  1. It seems the AEC may have messed up the enrolment projections here, since all the North Coast seats are over quota and growing. It looks like all the big changes from last time will need to be reversed, with Port Macquarie going back into Lyne. That will be fun to work out….

  2. Mark Mulcair
    They sure did. It was utterly predictable too. It really is a classic case of the solution being worse than the cure !. The antidote being more toxic than the disease !

    The big issue was always putting Port, with Coffs, in Cowper. Everyone screamed Nooooooo ! The AEC did what they wanted, & predictably got it horribly wrong !.

    Looks like we are going to have that ( “inevitable “) debate again about Page going over the great divide eh Mark ?


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