Goulburn – NSW 2019

LIB 6.6%

Incumbent MP
Pru Goward, since 2007.

Southern NSW. The electorate covers the towns of Goulburn, Yass, Boorowa, Crookwell and Moss Vale. The seat covers the entirety of the Goulburn Mulwaree, Yass Valley, Boorowa and Upper Lachlan council areas, and south-western parts of Wingecarribee Shire.

An electoral district named Goulburn existed continuously from 1859 until 1991. It was restored in 2007. The ALP dominated the seat from 1925 to 1965, and was held by the Country/National Party from 1965 until 1991. It is now a Liberal seat.

When proportional representation was introduced in NSW in 1920, Goulburn was expanded to cover Nowra, Yass, Bega, Eden, Queanbeyan and Cooma and elected three members. The district elected one Nationalist, one Progressive and one Labor in 1920 and 1922, but in 1925, elected two Labor and one Nationalist.

When Goulburn once again became a single-member district in 1927, it was won by the ALP’s Jack Tully, who had held one of Goulburn’s seats since 1925.

Jack Tully held the seat for the next two decades, with the exception of one term. In 1932 he lost to Peter Loughlin of the United Australia Party, then won it back in 1935. He then held his seat until his retirement in 1946.

The 1946 Goulburn by-election was won by Tully’s son, Laurie Tully. The younger Tully held the seat until his retirement in 1965.

In 1965, Goulburn was won by Mulwaree Shire president Ron Brewer, running for the Country Party. He resigned from the seat in 1974 to contest the federal seat of Eden-Monaro. After losing the federal race, he won back his state seat at the following by-election. He held the seat until his retirement in 1984.

The National Party’s Robert Webster won Goulburn in 1984. He was re-elected in 1988. By the 1988 election, Goulburn had shifted west so that it stretched out to the north and west of Goulburn, covering much of Lachlan Shire and the town of Cowra. Webster became a minister in the Liberal-National coalition government in 1989.

In 1991, the seat of Goulburn was abolished, and the neighbouring Liberal seat of Southern Highlands took over the town of Goulburn, while the rest of the seat shifted into Burrinjuck, which was then a Liberal seat. Webster shifted to the Legislative Council, where he remained until his retirement in 1995. He served as a minister until his retirement from politics.

The town of Goulburn was now included in the seat of Southern Highlands, which was held by senior minister John Fahey. He became Premier in 1992 when Nick Greiner resigned. Fahey lost power in 1995, and in 1996 he resigned from Southern Highlands to contest the federal seat of Macarthur, which he won. He went on to hold Macarthur until his retirement in 2001, and served as Finance Minister in the Howard government.

Fahey was succeeded in Southern Highlands in 1996 by Liberal candidate Peta Seaton. Seaton held the seat until her retirement in 2007.

The 1999 redistribution shifted Southern Highlands deeper into the Wollondilly area, while the town of Goulburn shifted into the neighbouring seat of Burrinjuck. Burrinjuck had been held by Liberal MP Alby Schultz from 1988 until 1998, when he left the seat to win the federal seat of Hume. His state seat was won by National Party candidate Katrina Hodgkinson. She still holds Burrinjuck today.

At the 2007 election, the seat of Southern Highlands was abolished. The northern part of the seat was added to the new seat of Wollondilly, while the Southern Highlands itself was combined with the town of Goulburn in the restored seat of Goulburn.

In 2007, the seat was won by former federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner Pru Goward. She saw off a challenge from Goulburn Mulwaree mayor Paul Stephenson.

Pru Goward was re-elected in 2011 and 2015, and has served as a minister since 2011.


  • Ursula Stephens (Labor)

Goulburn and its predecessor seat has been a solid Liberal seat for decades, but a large swing in 2015 has left Pru Goward with a less-than-comfortable 6.6% margin. Current statewide polling suggests she should be able to hold on, but it’s a bit too close for comfort.

2015 result

Pru Goward Liberal 23,72548.7+9.7
Ursula Stephens Labor 16,68134.3+18.5
Iain Fyfe Greens 3,8277.9-2.1
Wal AshtonOutdoor Recreation2,5525.2+5.2
Adrian Van Der BylChristian Democrats1,1962.5-0.5
Stephen FitzpatrickNo Land Tax6921.4+1.4

2015 two-party-preferred result

Pru Goward Liberal 25,13856.6-20.2
Ursula Stephens Labor 19,24843.4+20.2

Booth breakdown

Booths in Goulburn have been split into four areas, based on local government boundaries. Polling places in Goulburn Mulwaree, Yass Valley and Wingecarribee council areas respectively have been grouped as Goulburn, Yass Valley and Southern Highlands. Polling places in Upper Lachlan and Boorowa council areas have been grouped as ‘north-west’.

The Liberal Party won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all four areas, ranging from just 50.5% in Goulburn to 64.5% in the Southern Highlands.

Voter groupLIB 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Southern Highlands64.58,98118.5
Yass Valley53.06,13212.6
Other votes59.17,86016.1

Two-party-preferred votes in Goulburn at the 2015 NSW state election

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  1. uneven electorate …… if Labor could get between 53 to 55 % in The Goulburn area that
    would be good enough to win

  2. Having come from Goulburn, I can assure that the local politics is especially important, especially given that all of its television comes from Canberra.

    Last time, Foley promised big bucks for the local Base Hospital and that obiviously influenced a substantial swing. I can’t see that happening this time, especially as Pru Goward is a hard working Member.

    Labor could win the seat, but its needs the right candidate. However, the demographics in Goulburn has changed since the police academy, which is an arm of Charles Sturt University has become an instituation.


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