Newcastle – NSW 2019

ALP 7.4%

Incumbent MP
Tim Crakanthorp, since 2014.

Geography
Central Newcastle. The district of Newcastle covers the central suburbs of the City of Newcastle, including the CBD, Merewether, Hamilton, Tighes Hill, Broadmeadow, Stockton, Islington, Mayfield and Warabrook, as well as Sandgate, Kooragang and Fern Bay to the north of Newcastle.

History
Newcastle has existed as a district in the Legislative Assembly almost continuously since 1859. The seat elected a single MLA from 1859 until 1880, when it began electing a second MLA. It gained a third MLA in 1889. In 1891, Newcastle elected two Labor MLAs, some of the first Labor MPs in New South Wales.

In 1894, Newcastle was abolished when Legislative Assembly districts were redrawn. It was restored as a single-member district in 1904.

The seat was won in 1904 and 1907 by Liberal Reform candidates, but was won by the ALP’s Arthur Gardiner in 1910. He was re-elected in 1913, and in 1917 won re-election as an independent.

New South Wales electoral boundaries were radically redrawn before the 1920 election due to the creation of multi-member districts electing MLAs using proportional representation. Newcastle expanded to be a five-member district covering a much larger area than the previous single-member district.

While Gardiner was re-elected in 1920, Newcastle elected three Labor MLAs and one Nationalist that year. The ALP managed to win four out of five seats in Newcastle in 1925, and in 1927 single-member districts were restored, and Newcastle was reduced to its former size.

From 1927 to 2007, Newcastle elected Labor MPs at all but one election, with an independent winning the seat in 1988.

The seat was won in 1927 by Peter Connolly, who held the seat until 1935, when he lost preselection and retired.

The seat was won in 1935 by Frank Hawkins. He held the seat until 1968. He served as a minister in the state Labor government from 1950 until the party lost power in 1965.

The seat was won in 1968 by Newcastle City Council alderman Arthur Wade. He held the seat for the next twenty years.

In 1988, Wade retired in Newcastle. The ALP lost power in a massive landslide, and in Newcastle the seat was won by independent candidate and local real estate agent George Keegan.

Keegan lost in 1991 to the ALP’s Bryce Gaudry. He won re-election in 1995, 1999 and 2003.

Prior to the 2007 state election, the NSW Labor head office intervened in the seat, stripping Gaudry of his preselection in 2006 and preselecting NBN television newsreader Jodi McKay, despite Gaudry having the support of local party branches.

Gaudry announced that he would run as an independent in early 2007. In addition, the independent Lord Mayor of Newcastle, John Tate, also ran for the seat.

At the 2007 state election, the ALP’s margin in the seat was cut from the previous 14.9% margin to only 1.2%. The Liberal Party polled less than 10%, with John Tate polling 24% and Gaudry 21%. The Greens also outpolled the Liberals. After preferences from the Liberals, Greens and Gaudry, Tate came within 1.2% of defeating McKay.

In 2011, McKay was again challenged by John Tate, as well as Liberal candidate Tim Owen. Tate was expected to be the main opposition to McKay. Tate’s vote, however, collapsed from 34.1% to 11.6%. Tim Owen increased the Liberal vote from 9.8% to 36.7% of the primary vote, and won the seat over McKay by a 2.6% margin.

Tim Owen stepped down from the Liberal Party and announced that he would not re-contest Newcastle in May 2014 after admitting at ICAC that he had probably received donations from prohibited donors. In August, he resigned from Parliament after admitting that he had lied to ICAC.

The ensuing by-election was won by Labor candidate Tim Crakanthorp, a Newcastle city councillor, with an 11% swing. Crakanthorp was re-elected in 2015.

Candidates

Assessment
Newcastle is a reasonably safe Labor seat.

2015 result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Tim Crakanthorp Labor 19,32440.1+9.1
Karen Howard Liberal 17,08235.5-1.7
Michael Osborne Greens 8,82418.3+3.3
Sam ReichCyclists8171.7+1.7
Milton CaineChristian Democrats7871.6+0.3
Jasmin AddisonNo Land Tax7141.5+1.5
Steve O’BrienSocialist Alliance6011.2-0.2
Informal1,8373.7

2015 two-party-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Tim Crakanthorp Labor 24,38457.4+9.8
Karen Howard Liberal 18,11642.6-9.8

Booth breakdown

Booths in Newcastle have been split into four areas: north-east, north-west, south-east and south-west.

Labor won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in three out of four areas, ranging from 59.5% in the south-west to 68.4% in the north-west. The Liberal Party won 52.7% in the south-east.

The Greens primary vote ranged from 13.5% in the north-east to 21.6% in the north-west.

Voter groupGRN prim %ALP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
North-West21.668.410,27721.3
South-East20.347.39,38719.5
South-West17.359.58,53017.7
North-East13.563.44,7129.8
Other votes19.156.68,96618.6
Pre-poll14.048.36,27713.0

Election results in Newcastle at the 2015 NSW state election
Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and Greens primary votes.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. This seat should remain safe for Labor unless there is a repeat of 2011. I’m quite surprised at the level of Green votes, as well

  2. agree 2011 was a once in 50 years election the worst possible for labour………. similar to lnp votes in 1978 and 1981

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