New England – Australia 2019

NAT 8.5% vs IND

Incumbent MP
Barnaby Joyce, since 2013. Previously Senator for Queensland 2005-2013.

The New England region of northern NSW. The main towns include Tamworth, Armidale and Glen Innes. New England covers Armidale Dumaresq, Glen Innes Severn, Guyra, Inverell, Liverpool Plains, Tamworth, Tenterfield, Upper Hunter, Uralla and Walcha council areas, and southern parts of the Gwydir council area.

New England is an original federation electorate, and has been mostly won by conservative parties. The seat was held by the Country Party and National Party from 1920 until 2001, when it was won by independent Tony Windsor.

The seat was first won in 1901 by Protectionist candidate William Sawers, who had previously been a state MP since 1885. In 1903 he was defeated by Free Trade candidate Edmund Lonsdale, who himself was defeated in 1906 by ALP candidate Francis Foster.

Foster is the only Labor candidate to ever win New England, and was reelected in 1910 before losing the seat in 1913 to Liberal candidate Percy Abbott. Abbott was a serving AIF officer at the time, and served as a Lieutenant Colonel at Gallipoli in 1915 while serving as a member of the House of Representatives. He retired from the House of Representatives in 1919. He later ran for the Senate for the Country Party in 1922 and held a Senate seat from 1925 to 1929.

The seat was won in 1919 by Alexander Hay. Like Abbott, Hay was supported by the Farmers and Settlers Association, and when they formed the Country Party in 1920 he became one of their first MPs. Hay’s time with the Country Party was unhappy and he was expelled in 1922 for voting against the party. He stood at the 1922 election as an independent, losing to official Country Party candidate Victor Thompson.

Thompson held New England for a long period, serving as a minister in conservative federal governments from 1937 to 1940, but lost his seat at the 1940 election, when he was challenged by two other Country Party candidates, and was defeated by Joe Abbott.

Joe Abbott served as a minister in Robert Menzies and Arthur Fadden’s wartime governments, and held the seat until his retirement in 1949. He was succeeded by David Drummond, who had been a state MP since 1920. He held the seat until his retirement in 1963.

The seat was won in 1963 by Ian Sinclair. Sinclair joined Robert Menzies’ ministry in 1965 and served as a minister right up until the election of the Whitlam government in 1972. He returned to the ministry in 1975 and served for the entirety of the Fraser government, barring a period in 1979 and 1980 when he stepped down due to allegations of forgery in relation to his father’s will.

Following the defeat of the Fraser government National Country Party leader Doug Anthony resigned in 1984, and Sinclair succeeded him. In 1989, he was replaced as leader by Charles Blunt, and he went to the backbench. He remained there until 1998, when he served briefly as Speaker in the final months of the first term of the Howard government, before retiring in 1998.

In 1998, New England was won by Nationals candidate Stuart St Clair, whose time in the seat was short-lived. He was defeated in 2001 by independent candidate Tony Windsor, who had held the state seat of Tamworth as an independent since 1991, when he had been deselected as a Nationals candidate.

Windsor held the seat with margins over 70% at the 2004, 2007 and 2010 elections.

After the 2010 election, Windsor found himself in the balance of power, and decided to support Julia Gillard’s minority Labor government, a decision that was controversial in country areas including New England, which usually lean towards the conservative side of politics.

In 2013, the Nationals preselected their Senate leader, Barnaby Joyce, to run in New England. Joyce was at the time a senator representing Queensland. Windsor announced his retirement shortly after, and Joyce was elected in New England with relative ease, ending twelve years of an independent hold on the seat.

Joyce was elected deputy leader of the Nationals shortly after moving to the House, and in early 2016 was elected leader of the Nationals, and thus Deputy Prime Minister. He won a second term as member for New England in 2016, seeing off an attempted return by former MP Tony Windsor.

Barnaby Joyce was caught up in a rash of politicians who were found to hold dual citizenship in 2017. He was found to have failed to meet constitutional obligations by the High Court in October 2017, triggering a December 2017 by-election, which he won easily.


The 2017 by-election suggests that Joyce should comfortably win re-election, particularly if Tony Windsor is no longer a possible contender.

2016 result

Barnaby Joyce Nationals 49,67352.3-1.4
Tony WindsorIndependent27,76329.2+29.2
David Ewings Labor 6,6627.0-6.8
Mercurius Goldstein Greens 2,7752.9-1.9
Rob TaberIndependent2,6612.8-9.8
David MaillerCountryMinded1,3371.4+1.4
Stan ColefaxChristian Democratic Party1,3171.4-0.3
Peter WhelanLiberal Democrats1,1511.2+1.2
Philip Gordon CoxIndependent8560.9+0.9
Robert Henry WalkerOnline Direct Democracy8090.9+0.9

2016 two-candidate-preferred result

Barnaby Joyce Nationals 55,59558.5
Tony WindsorIndependent39,40941.5

2016 two-party-preferred result

Barnaby Joyce Nationals 63,10066.4-3.1
David Ewings Labor 31,90433.6+3.1

2017 by-election result

Barnaby Joyce National 57,01664.9+12.6
David Ewings Labor 9,76411.1+4.1
Rob TaberIndependent5,9596.8+4.0
Peter Wills Greens 3,8244.4+1.4
Richard StrettonChristian Democrats2,1292.4+1.0
Pete MaillerCountryMinded2,1122.4+1.0
Meow-Ludo Meow-MeowScience1,1831.4+1.4
Jeff MaddenIndependent1,1451.3+1.3
Skyla WagstaffAnimal Justice9301.1+1.1
William BourkeSustainable Australia6280.7+0.7
Andrew PottsAffordable Housing6050.7+0.7
Dean CarterIndependent5900.7+0.7
Tristam SmythLiberal Democrats5150.6-0.6
Ian BritzaCountry4940.6+0.6
Donald CranneyRise Up Australia3650.4+0.4
Warwick StaceySeniors United3420.4+0.4
Jamie McIntyre21st Century2220.3+0.3

2017 by-election two-candidate-preferred result

Barnaby Joyce National 64,66473.6+7.2
David Ewings Labor 23,15926.4-7.2

Booth breakdown


Booths have been divided into six areas. The two main urban areas of Armidale and Tamworth have been grouped together, separately from rural booths in the surrounding areas.

Regional areas have been split into four areas. Booths in Tamworth Regional Council outside of the Tamworth urban area have been grouped as ‘West’. Booths in Liverpool Plains and Upper Hunter LGAs have been grouped as ‘South’. Booths in Armidale-Dumaresq, Uralla and Walcha (apart from the Armidale urban area) have been grouped as ‘East’.

Barnaby Joyce won a majority of the two-candidate-preferred vote in five out of six areas at the 2016 election, with a vote ranging from 51.4% in Tamworth to 66.6% in the east. Tony Windsor won 54.3% in Armidale.

Joyce won much more comfortably at the 2017 by-election, with a two-party-preferred vote ranging from 58% in Armidale to 78% in the north and west.

2016 booth breakdown

Voter groupNAT 2CP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes61.69,3729.9

2017 by-election booth breakdown

Voter groupNAT 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes77.45,7036.5

Two-candidate-preferred (Nationals vs Windsor) votes in New England at the 2016 federal election

Two-party-preferred votes at the 2017 New England by-election

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  1. My take on Joyce and New England is that he’ll cop a bit of backlash/disendorsement from voters over the whole affair/lovechild situation, but there’ll also be a backlash from people who can overlook the moral stuff, but have put 2 and 2 together about the timeline of events with regards to the by-election.

    I don’t see National Party brand damage being so bad in this part of NSW and without a heavy-hitter independent candidate it looks like a straight-up referendum on Barnaby & his life choices. No doubt, there’s a stack of local issues playing out, but this is how it appears from the outside.

    fwiw I have put a sneaky bet on the independent at long odds in the event of a blowout result, but I reckon Barnaby will hold on.

  2. Andrew Jackson I take it you will not be voting for Bill Shorten’s Labor then?

    I won’t be either (in fact I will put them last), but that is more due to tax policy.

  3. If Barnaby is reelected despite his best efforts to achieve the opposite result……… then what happens…?
    Does he stay to try and recover the brass ring … he prizes.. the National party leadership… and this stuff up his own side of politics….. then when he fails ride off across the Pilbara…. and leave voters wonderingj and as asking …..why?

  4. Spoke to a booth worker today when I voted at Tenterfield Memorial Hall pre poll. She advised many voters taking the independent’s How to Vote cards especially Adam Blakester’s. This may be a result of Barnaby not attending a Q & A in Tenterfield on 24/4. Six of the candidates attended.
    He also was a no show at Q & A held in West Tamworth, but last week preferred to appear on a Sky News Pub Forum hosted by Paul Murray.
    He won’t appear in person to answer voter’s questions but will show up when there is a TV camera around.


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