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.


  • Yvonne Langenberg (Labor)
  • Peter Wills (Greens)
  • Assessment
    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. You have to wonder what Labor thought they would gain contesting the 2017by election. The only point of interest will be whether New England reacts to Barnaby’s personal life issues. If there is a reaction, i doubt it will be a meaningful one.

      Barnaby is a very interesting character. He is one of the very few Type 8 fixations in politics. They are usually unable to handle all the incompetence (around them). It is also too challenging for them to control their (naturally high level of ) rage. Being a christian has probably served as a kind of bulwark for him. When i saw him in a debate with Tony Windsor, it felt like Barnaby was about to deck Windsor at any moment. When Windsor touched his arm at one point saying “Calm down mate” i thought ‘geez that’s done it !’

      Funnily enough i suspect losing the leadership of the Nats,has been a kind of relief for him. Perhaps he will be content to serve on the back bench for quite some time. I doubt he would want the leadership back. McCormack is such a dill, it is highly doubtful he will last long. The sooner McCormack makes way for the brilliant David Littleproud, the better

    2. Barnaby will not contest the next election…. it would be the wisest thing he could do

    3. Unless Windsor runs here, I expect Joyce to hold i believe he has been damaged by recent events etc, Cheating on his wife / The baby affair and being sacked as leader of Nat’s, I expect Windsor to likely narrowly beat him if he runs. If Joyce decides to retire Windsor would almost certainly win

    4. Mick Q
      Do you know something ?
      Windsor has no chance now, regardless of who would stand. He could however gouge many thousands of $ by running, like he did in 2016.

    5. Windsor has no chance now. A fresh independent with profile. Say a local mayor would be a better option but I still doubt they would get up.

    6. no I don’t know anything… is just my gut feeling……. he will never be even a minister again……why just stay and cause trouble? he can also get a job with Gina any time he wishes.

    7. Mick
      Really good point about Gina. However Type 8 Fixations usually have a lot of trouble working together. So i’d have to be wrong about Barnaby, & i’m pretty sure i;m not.
      Fundamentally he would have to be prepared to be owned (by Gina). Not sure how that could work.

      He might also want to hang round to give the girlfriend a leg up (more opportunities). As Tanya, & Michael, will tell you, it’s pretty lucrative being a political power couple !

    8. Barnaby Joyce will have lost a lot of support from social conservatives.
      I for one put him near the top of 2010?/2013? Qld senate vote but his behaviour now means I would put him near bottom. He can not run with both the hares and the hounds.
      Andrew Jackson

    9. Windsor’s 2016 campaign reportedly spent $600,000, and for all that he fell considerably short of winning. I’ve believed that the very non local, grassroots appearance of that campaign, starting from announcing it in Canberra rather than within the electorate, really undermined any prospects he had, and with the revelations of that extraordinary budget it does suggest the campaign was a rather extraordinary flop. Hence I think Windsor is a spent force here regardless of whether Joyce runs again or not. I mean, seriously, $600,000 – how do you even spend that much in one seat?

    10. Volunteers are worth a lot more than dollars what with the media talking about the PM race and every other party competing with your signs, pamphlets, ads, etc. When you have a supporter talking with a voter 1 on 1 though that shifts votes.

    11. The campaign that could beat the Nationals would be a large, but not too large, set of candidates all leveraging support in either their local areas or with particular demographics:

      * Labor in the Upper Hunter (which they would be trying to win in the NSW election)
      * Greens in areas threatened by fracking and mining + Tenterfield (which is in the Lismore electorate they’re trying to win)
      * A strong independent from Armidale council in Armidale, and the same for Tamworth
      * Maybe the Shooters in the smaller towns.

      While some of them would be incompatible (eg Greens and Shooters), if the ultimate beneficiary of that campaign is a high profile consensus independent, that independent could win.

    12. A mate asked me yesterday who could lead the LNP to victory in the next election. How impossible is that ?. Almost a contradiction in terms !!.

      After further thought, perhaps Mark Latham. YES !! Beyond audacious, crazy even. Well it is now, way past time for anything conventional.

      However that would involve convincing a Coalition MP committing hara-kiri. No one is stepping forward. The way the Liberal “Army” has been functioning perhaps it is time to go back to the Roman Army practice of “Decimation” Practiced after a defeat !!!

      In essence this fully illustrates the dearth, of not just inspirational leadership, but any leadership at all.

      Whilst not of the same intellect or talent as Latham, Barnaby might have a chance (not much, but A chance).
      Amusingly Barnaby would have become a turncoat, & defect to the Liberal Party !!. Then it could be on….. !!!.

      Don’t worry all my friends of a left orientation. The Libs lack the necessary courage, audacity, boldness, & strength of will to do what is necessary . In fact they have nothing, the Libs are totally bereft of much useful talent whatsoever.

    13. WD, that’s a bit of an odd rant there.

      Turnbull has clawed the Liberals back to an effective tie in the polls, and his approval is continuing to rise.

      I agree he has been disappointing given his potential, but with the polls very close now, I can’t see the Liberals kicking off a new round of instability. Especially not by trying to shoe-horn Mark Latham(!!) in there.

    14. @Nick C … “I mean, seriously, $600,000 – how do you even spend that much in one seat?” Would be interesting to see what you thought Barnababy spent on that election. Gotta factor in Gina’s money as well as the mining lobby inputs. An Independent has no “party favours” to call on.

      @winediamond … “Barnaby would have become a turncoat, & defect to the Liberal Party” how is that a turncoat? He would only be making a statement of the fact that exists (and has forever, really!). Queensland already have a LNP – accepting the fact that there is no difference between the Libs and the “country Libs”.

      @Mark Mulcair … Turnbull’s no longer there, ScoMo is “flying” around following his bus, and Latham has joined PHON. What a waste of oxygen he (and his new “boss”) is.


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