NAT 6.8% vs IND
Pat Conaghan, since 2019.
Cowper lies on the mid-north coast of New South Wales, stretching from Port Macquarie to Coffs Habrour. The seat covers the towns of Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, South West Rocks, Nambucca Heads, Bellingen and Kempsey.
The seat was first held by Francis Clarke of the Protectionist Party, who was defeated by Free Trader Henry Lee in 1903. Lee was defeated by John Thomson in 1906. Thomson first held the seat for the Protectionist Party and held the seat for successive non-Labor parties for the next 13 years.
In 1919, Thomson, then representing the Nationalists, was defeated by Earle Page, who joined the Country Party the next year. Page held the seat for over 40 years.
Page became Country Party leader in 1921 and led the party into government for the first time in 1922, forcing the senior Nationalists to drop Billy Hughes as Prime Minister. He served as Treasurer in the Bruce government until 1929. He also served as a minister in the second and third terms of the Lyons government, and served as acting Prime Minister for three weeks upon Lyons’ death.
Page refused to serve in a government led by Lyons’ deputy Robert Menzies, but the Country Party rebelled and replaced Page with a new leader. Page returned to government in 1940 as a minister, and again served as a minister from 1949 to 1956. Page continued to serve in Parliament until the 1961 election. At that election, he was too ill to campaign and fell into a coma before the election. In a surprise upset, Page was defeat by the ALP’s Frank McGuren, and he died days later.
McGuren only held the seat for one term, which was the only term the ALP has ever held Cowper. He was defeated in 1963 by the Country Party’s Ian Robinson. Robinson transferred to the new seat of Page in 1984, and Garry Nehl won Cowper for the Nationals.
Nehl retired in 2001, and was succeeded by Luke Hartsuyker. Hartsuyker has held the seat ever since.
A redistribution shifted the seat south at the 2016 election, and former independent MP Rob Oakeshott, who previously represented Lyne to the south, contested Cowper and came within 5% of defeating Hartsuyker.
Hartsuyker retired in 2019 and Oakeshott took another shot at the seat, but lost to Nationals candidate Pat Conaghan by a slightly increased margin.
Cowper was a relatively close race in 2016 and 2019 due to the presence of Rob Oakeshott. An Oakeshott return may make this race interesting, but in his absence it will likely revert to being a safe Nationals seat, particularly with the new MP building a personal vote.
|Alexander Stewart||United Australia Party||3,188||3.0||+3.0|
|Ruth Meads||Christian Democratic Party||2,383||2.3||-1.2|
|Kellie Pearce||Animal Justice||2,176||2.1||+2.1|
2019 two-candidate-preferred result
2019 two-party-preferred result
Booths have been divided between the five local government areas: Bellingen, Coffs Harbour, Kempsey, Nambucca and Port Macquarie.
The Nationals primary vote ranged from 35% in Bellingen to 51.5% in Kempsey.
The primary vote for the independents ranged from 19.3% in Kempsey to 31.9% in Port Macquarie-Hastings.
Labor’s primary vote ranged from 9.3% in Port Macquarie-Hastings to 17.5% in Nambucca Valley.
|Voter group||ALP prim||IND prim||NAT prim||Total votes||% of votes|
Election results in Cowper at the 2019 federal election
Toggle between two-candidate-preferred votes (Nationals vs Independent), two-party-preferred votes and primary votes for the Nationals, independent candidate Rob Oakeshott and Labor.