Goulburn, on paper, was a very safe Liberal seat prior to the recent election, with Liberal MP Pru Goward holding the seat by a 26.8% margin.
This masked a lot of change in the area. Goulburn shifted significantly west, taking in Yass and other areas from the abolished Nationals seat of Burrinjuck, and barely half of the seat’s population was included in Goulburn prior to the election.
Nationals MP (and minister) Katrina Hodgkinson held Burrinjuck, and initally planned to run against Goward in Goulburn, before shifting to the neighbouring seat of Cootamundra.
At this election, Goward suffered one of the largest swings against the government across the state. Currently the swing sits at 20.1% on a two-party-preferred basis, with most of the special votes not counted. Goward was still comfortably re-elected, but her huge 26.8% margin was cut to a much slimmer 6.7% margin.
There was huge variations in the swing across Goulburn, with Labor winning the vote in the main towns of Goulburn and Yass, while the swing was much less in the Southern Highlands.
In the pre-election guide, I split booths in Goulburn into four parts. Polling places in the Goulburn Mulwaree, Yass Valley and Wingecarribee council areas have been grouped as “Goulburn”, “Yass Valley” and “Southern Highlands” respectively. Polling places in the remaining parts of the seat were grouped as “North-West”.
The entirety of Goulburn and Southern Highlands were in Goulburn prior to the redistribution. All of Yass Valley, and most of the North-West, were contained in Burrinjuck prior to the redistribution.
|Voter group||LIB 2PP %||ALP 2PP %||ALP swing||Total||% of votes|
The swing was large, and well above average, in three out of four areas, ranging from 20.5% in the north-west to 23% in Yass Valley. In the Southern Highlands, the swing to Labor was less than 10%.
Overall, the Liberal Party won a narrow majority in Goulburn, and a slightly larger majority in Yass Valley, to be contrasted with the larger majorities in the southern highlands and the north-west. While there was a large swing against Goward in the north-west, the Coalition majority was so large that she still managed 63% after a large swing.
When you look at the maps, you see an even more interesting trend. Over one-third of the seat’s population lives in the towns of Goulburn and Yass (as opposed to the larger area and population covered by the respective local council areas of Goulburn Mulwaree and Yass Valley).
Labor only won seven booths in the whole of the electorate of Goulburn, and all seven of these booths are in these two larger towns. In Goulburn, Labor won five out of seven booths, and overall won 50.8% of the two-party-preferred vote. In Yass, Labor won both local booths and won 53% of the two-party vote overall.