Joel Fitzgibbon, since 1996.
Hunter covers inland parts of the Hunter region, stretching from Maitland and Cessnock out to the Upper Hunter. Hunter covers southwestern parts of Maitland LGA, as well as Cessnock, Singleton, Muswellbrook and Upper Hunter council areas, as well as a small part of Mid-Western Regional Council.
Hunter lost northern parts of Maitland council areas and a few suburbs in the centre of Maitland to the seat of Paterson, and gained a small part of Mid-Western Regional Council from Parkes.
Hunter is an original Federation seat, and has been held by Labor for most of its history. The seat was first won by Prime Minister Edmund Barton in 1901. Barton resigned as Prime Minister and Member for Hunter in 1903 to take a seat on the High Court, and Hunter was won at the following election by Free Trader Frank Liddell. Liddell held the seat at the 1906 election, but lost in 1910.
The seat was won in 1910 by the ALP’s Matthew Charlton. Charlton served as the ALP’s leader from 1922 to 1928, retiring at the 1928 election. He was succeeded by Rowley James, elected as a Labor candidate. James held the seat for thirty years, although he served as a member of Jack Lang’s breakaway party from 1931 to 1936, when he was readmitted to the ALP.
James retired in 1958, and was replaced by Labor leader HV Evatt. Evatt had previously held the Sydney seat of Barton, but judged it to be too marginal and moved to the safer Hunter.
Evatt resigned as Labor leader and Member for Hunter in 1960, and the by-election was won by Bert James, son of Rowley. The younger James held Hunter for twenty years, retiring in 1980.
He was succeeded by the ALP’s Bob Brown. Brown moved to the new seat of Charlton in 1984, and was succeeded in Hunter by former Mayor of Cessnock, Eric Fitzgibbon. Fitzgibbon held the seat for twelve years before retiring in 1996.
The seat was won in 1996 by Joel Fitzgibbon, son of the previous MP. Fitzgibbon rose through the ranks of the ALP in opposition and joined the cabinet as Minister for Defence after the election of the Rudd government. He resigned from Cabinet in June 2009 following a number of scandals.
- Chris Parker (Greens) – Cessnock councillor.
- Jennifer Leayr (One Nation)
- Joel Fitzgibbon (Labor) – Member for Hunter since 1996.
- Wayne Riley (Christian Democratic Party)
- Michael Johnsen (Nationals) – Upper Hunter councillor.
This seat is very safe for the Labor Party.
2007 two-candidate-preferred result
The seat of Hunter covers four entire local government areas and parts of two others. I have divided booths between these six local government areas, namely Cessnock, Maitland, Muswellbrook, Upper Hunter, Singleton and Mid-Western region.
The ALP won majorities in all parts of the seat. The strongest vote for the ALP was in Cessnock, where they polled over 70%. Cessnock makes up the largest proportion of the seat, with almost 40% of ordinary votes cast in the council area. Labor also polled over 60% in Maitland, Singleton and Muswellbrook, and under 60% in the other two areas.
|Voter group||GRN %||ALP 2CP %||Total votes||% of ordinary votes|