Newcastle – Australia 2013

ALP 12.5%

Incumbent MP
Sharon Grierson, since 2001.

Newcastle, NSW. The seat of Newcastle covers the main suburbs of the City of Newcastle, as well as less populated areas immediately to the north of the city. It covers a small part of Maitland council area and sparsely populated parts of Port Stephens council area. The northern boundary stops just south of Raymond Terrace. Major suburbs include Newcastle, Hamilton, Merewether, Lambton, Kotara, Adamstown, Mayfield and Waratah.

Newcastle is an original federation electorate, and has been held by the ALP for its entire history. Indeed, the seat has only ever been held by five people in 110 years.

The seat was first won in 1901 by David Watkins, a former coal-miner and state member for the seat of Wallsend. Watkins held Newcastle for decades until his death in 1935. He was succeeded at a 1935 by-election by his son David Oliver Watkins. Watkins junior held the seat for another twenty-three years, retiring in 1958.

After being held for 57 years by members of the Watkins family, Newcastle was won in 1958 by Charles Jones, then the Lord Mayor of Newcastle. Jones went on to serve as Gough Whitlam’s Minister for Transport from 1972 to 1975. He retired in 1983, and was succeeded by Allan Morris.

Morris held the seat for eighteen years, and was succeeded at the 2001 by former school principal Sharon Grierson, who still holds the seat.

Sitting Labor MP Sharon Grierson is not running for re-election.

  • Michael Chehoff (Australia First)
  • Zane Alcorn (Socialist Alliance)
  • Yegon McLellan (Palmer United Party)
  • Rod Holding (Independent)
  • Susanna Scurry (Independent)
  • Milton Caine (Christian Democratic Party)
  • Jaimie Abbott (Liberal)
  • Lawrence Higgins (Australian Independents)
  • Sharon Claydon (Labor)
  • Michael Osborne (Greens)

Newcastle has long been considered a safe Labor seat. Labor should retain it, although the loss of the sitting member and recent swings against Labor in the Hunter at the state and council elections would be making the ALP nervous.

2010 result

Sharon GriersonALP39,25347.89-2.88
Brad LukeLIB25,68031.33+5.77
Michael OsborneGRN12,67715.47+5.45
Milton CaineCDP1,4791.80+0.54
Dean WinterDEM1,4191.73+0.68
Zane AlcornSA8291.01+0.62
Noel HoltSEP6270.76+0.43

2010 two-candidate-preferred result

Sharon GriersonALP51,22062.49-3.42
Brad LukeLIB30,74437.51+3.42
Polling places in Newcastle at the 2010 federal election. Central in green, North in orange, South-West in yellow, West in blue. Click to enlarge.
Polling places in Newcastle at the 2010 federal election. Central in green, North in orange, South-West in yellow, West in blue. Click to enlarge.

Booth breakdown
Booths have been divided into four areas. Most of the electorate lives in the City of Newcastle, and these polling places were split into “Central”, “West” and “South-West”. Those polling places in Maitland and Port Stephens local government areas have been grouped as “North”.

The ALP won a majority in all four areas, varying from 59.6% in Central to 68.8% in the West.

The Liberal Party won only two booths in the Merewether area at the southern end of the seat.

The Greens vote varied from 7.1% in the north to 20% in the Newcastle city centre.

Voter groupGRN %ALP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes15.5859.8416,30119.89
Two-party-preferred votes in Newcastle at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Newcastle at the 2010 federal election.
Greens primary votes in Newcastle at the 2010 federal election.
Greens primary votes in Newcastle at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in inner Newcastle at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in inner Newcastle at the 2010 federal election.
Greens primary votes in inner Newcastle at the 2010 federal election.
Greens primary votes in inner Newcastle at the 2010 federal election.


  1. With the retirement of sitting member Sharon Grierson and the Liberal Party taking this seat seriously, I’d expect a larger than state average swing to the Liberals here. Enough for them to also win the seat. The Liberal Party won the state seat’s of Newcastle and Charlestown in 2011 making it possible for them to win the Federal seat.

  2. I suspect that all the red figures starting with 5(as opposed to 6 or 7) will change to majorities for the Liberals.Since this is nearly half the electorate,it follows that the Liberals have reasonable prospects and the seat will be one to watch on the night.

  3. On the back of a retiring and very reserved and ineffectual member I think the Liberals will have great prospects here.

  4. Now that Rudds back in, this should be a labor retain. Found it interesting that Jamie Abbott talked up the state gov here at last nights forum.. It didn’t go down well with the crowd and its proabably not something to boost your reasons in an area where although the state libs one, they got a low primary vote and will probably fall back to labor.
    Also found Sharon Claydon spoke with passion about Newcastle and labor achievements. Abbott was negative early on and tried to pitch the liberal slogan of ‘we can do better’ she didn’t communicate it well and basically said the area was a hole. She spoke with confidence but didn’t really deliver well. I expect this could still have a decent margin for labor post 2013

  5. Jaimee Abbott is a disgrace she has no positive vision for Newcastle and will suffer at the polls because of this. Sharon Claydon is on the ground campaigning hard and her strong positive message along with the positive message of Kevin Rudd will keep this seat and the other 3 Labor Seats on the Labor side.

    You cannot vote a candidate in who has no positive message and who only speaks in slogans and negativity.

  6. RC
    Rudd’s Message has arguably always been positive. What about implementation ??. The question of whether he could organise the proverbial piss up at a brewery has never been properly answered !!!.
    Quit with the sloganeering if you dislike this kind of response

  7. Observer
    Something about “ending the negativity, the blame game” etc, etc, etc, ……. You name it BORING!!!!.

  8. See you can’t name one can you? Whereas i can name the noalition slogan: hope.reward.opportunity (or as i call it hopeless.rewardless.opportunist). This election won’t be won on slogan and its for that reason that Jamie Abbott will fail miserably here in Newcastle. She is a stand out for using slogans and slogans only in all her speeches

  9. Observer, as you put it, ALP doesn’t have a slogan. So please don’t go using slogans in your commentary against the Liberals.

    Tony Abbott has weak policies where strong policies are needed, negative policies in almost all cases (based around “less government” rather than “better government”), and prefers slogans to real policy most of the time. His job as opposition leader, right now, is to provide Australians a real alternative to the government; instead, he has been focused on tearing down the existing government, to the detriment of the country. Rudd has his flaws, and the Labor party has its failings and its policy absurdities (like the PNG “solution”), but at least he does his job – that job is to *lead* the country. It’s what Howard did, and it’s what Gillard failed to do, and what Abbott has shown no attempt to do.

    Notice that I do not speak of the Liberal party as a whole when I say all of this – I think there are competent people within the Liberal party. But with Abbott as leader, sadly, the entire group is corrupted for the time being. If they were to switch to Turnbull, with Hockey as deputy, there is some chance of the Liberals actually putting forward a positive plan for Australia, and playing the ball rather than the man.

    RC – sadly, there is ample evidence that candidates with no positive vision, that depend only on slogans, can indeed get elected. Tony Abbott is himself a solid example of this. That being said, this will indeed remain a safe Labor seat, although I could see a swing against Labor, perhaps as much as 4%, based primarily on the retiring incumbent.

  10. Well Glenn with all due respect when most candidates have that slogan on their page description and hold up a “plan” with those words written on it, how can you not say that the slogan has a big role in the liberal attempt to win an election?

  11. Observer, I was referring to things like “noalition”, “hopeless.rewardless.opportunist”, etc. I get annoyed every time that people use phrases like “the party of no” – it’s sloganeering, and it isn’t any better just because it’s being used against a party that is using sloganeering.

  12. we’re all aloud to express our frustration at a particular party. Its not sloganeering its using their claim to glory against them

  13. Newcastle is now an IT city, so lets get the NBN going soon. Abbott will not be so enthusiastic!
    Newcastle Uni has provided much to back up the skills and training needed for Business to take advantage of the NBN.
    Why bury your head in the sand and go for a second rate alternative?

    Bite the bullet and go for something that will deliver for the city.

    As for slogans from aspiring candidates – don’t start me!

  14. I know where DB got that media report from I saw it too. This seat will be probably be retained by labor from what I’m hearing on the ground. Voters don’t seem to like either Abbott here at all

  15. It might be an IT city, but there are still plenty of old union people around that believe the ALP is their party. Another interesting seat to watch.

  16. I’ve just seen an ad for Jamie Abbott where Tim Owen said she fought in Afghanistan. It has always been my impression she was a Public Relations hack for the RAAF Reserves. What’s the deal here?

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