Joel Fitzgibbon, since 1996.
Hunter covers inland parts of the Hunter region, including western parts of the City of Lake Macquarie, a majority of Cessnock council area, as well as the entirety of the Muswellbrook and Singleton council areas. A majority of the seat’s population lies in the Lake Macquarie council area, with the bulk of the remainder in the Cessnock area.
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 junior has held Hunter since 1996. He served as Defence Minister from 2007 to 2009, and briefly served as a minister again in 2013.
In 2016, Hunter expanded into the Lake Macquarie area to take in most of the abolished seat of Charlton, while losing rural areas to the north and west of the seat. Fitzgibbon was re-elected in the redrawn seat.
Hunter is a safe Labor seat.
|Richard Stretton||Christian Democratic Party||3,260||3.4||+0.8|
|Arjay Rase Martin||Independent||1,103||1.1||+1.1|
2016 two-party-preferred result
Booths have been divided into six parts. A majority of the seat’s population is contained within the City of Lake Macquarie, and these areas have been split into central, north and south. The remaining booths were grouped according to local government boundaries: Cessnock, Muswellbrook and Singleton.
Labor won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all six areas, ranging from 54.4% in Singleton to 72.8% in northern Lake Macquarie.
|Voter group||ALP 2PP %||Total votes||% of votes|
|Lake Macquarie Central||64.4||13,897||15.9|
|Lake Macquarie North||72.8||12,089||13.9|
|Lake Macquarie South||57.7||8,304||9.5|
Two-party-preferred votes in Hunter at the 2016 federal election
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