Lyne – Australia 2022

NAT 15.2%

Incumbent MP
David Gillespie, since 2013.

North coast of NSW. Lyne covers parts of the mid-north coast, including Taree, Forster-Tuncurry and Dungog. Lyne stretches from just south of Port Macquarie to the north shore of Port Stephens and northern Maitland.


Lyne was created as part of the expansion of the House of Representatives at the 1949 election. It was won by the Country/National Party at every election from its creation until the 2007 election. The Nationals lost the seat at a 2008 by-election, but won it back in 2013.

The seat was first won in 1949 by Country Party candidate James Eggins. Four Country candidates stood for Lyne in 1949, with Eggins polling first on primary votes, followed by the ALP candidate, and he comfortably won the seat on the preferences from his Country Party colleagues. He was re-elected in 1951, but died in 1952, triggering a by-election.

The 1952 Lyne by-election was won by the Country Party’s Philip Lucock. Lucock was the second-highest polling Country Party candidate at the 1949 election. Two Country Party candidates stood in 1952, one polling 30.2% and the other 29.2%, and Lucock overtook the Labor candidate on preferences.

Lucock served as Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives under the Menzies, Holt, Gorton, McMahon and Fraser government, but never achieved ministerial office before he retired at the 1980 election.

The seat was won in 1980 by the National Country Party’s Bruce Cowan. Cowan had held the state seat of Oxley since 1965 and served as a minister in the last year of the Coalition state government from 1975 to 1976. Cowan held Lyne until 1993, and is the father-in-law of NSW Liberal leader Barry O’Farrell.

In 1993, the seat was won by Nationals candidate Mark Vaile, a Greater Taree councillor and former Deputy Mayor. Vaile joined the Howard government’s ministry in 1997 as Minister for Transport, adding a role as Minister for Agriculture in 1998 and became Minister for Trade in 1999. He became Deputy Prime Minister in 2005 upon the retirement of John Anderson, and continued in the Howard government’s cabinet until its defeat.

Vaile moved to the backbench upon the Howard government’s defeat in 2007, before retiring from Parliament in 2008, triggering a by-election.

The by-election was won by independent candidate Rob Oakeshott with a massive majority, winning almost 74% of the two-candidate-preferred vote. Oakeshott had previously held the state seat of Port Macquarie since 1996. He had originally been elected for the National Party at a 1996 by-election and was re-elected in 1999. During his second term he became disenchanted with the Nationals and resigned from the party in 2002. He managed to win re-election to Port Macquarie as an independent at the 2003 and 2007 state elections.

Rob Oakeshott was re-elected at the 2010 federal election. Following the federal election, he decided to support the Labor minority government.

Oakeshott retired at the 2013 elections, and the Nationals’ David Gillespie won the seat back. Gillespie was re-elected in 2016 and 2019.


  • Joanne Pearce (Independent)
  • Joel Putland (United Australia)
  • David Gillespie (Nationals)
  • Alex Simpson (Labor)
  • Steve Attkins (Independent)
  • Mark Hornshaw (Liberal Democrats)
  • Josephine Cashman (One Nation)
  • Karl Attenborough (Greens)
  • Assessment
    Lyne is a safe Nationals seat.

    2019 result

    David Gillespie Nationals 49,93449.4-0.2
    Phil Costa Labor 24,37124.1-2.5
    Stuart Watson Greens 6,5896.5-2.9
    Dean MccraeLiberal Democrats5,8645.8+5.8
    Jeremy MillerIndependent5,1695.1+5.1
    Garry BourkeUnited Australia Party4,0984.1+4.1
    Ryan GoldspringConservative National Party1,9862.0+2.0
    Ed CaruanaWorkers Party1,6761.7+1.7
    Catherine ZhaoChristian Democratic Party1,4931.5-1.6

    2019 two-party-preferred result

    David Gillespie Nationals 65,94265.2+3.5
    Phil Costa Labor 35,23834.8-3.5

    Booth breakdown

    Booths have been divided into five parts:

    • Central – Greater Taree and Gloucester council areas, except for the Taree urban area
    • North – Port Macquarie-Hastings council area, including Wauchope
    • South-East – Great Lakes council area, including Forster and Tuncurry
    • South-West – Dungog and Maitland council areas
    • Taree – Taree urban area

    The Nationals won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all five areas, ranging from just under 60% in the south-east to 69% in the north.

    Voter groupNAT 2PP %Total votes% of votes
    Other votes63.79,2809.2

    Election results in Fairfax at the 2019 federal election
    Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and primary votes for the Liberal National Party, Labor and Greens.

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    1. Interesting how the Lib Dems polled almost 6% here, do they have some sort of appeal here? Because if not I expect the minor party vote to decline and come back to the majors.

      Gillespies margin is likely slightly inflated due to the 3.5% swing last time and I would expect the margin to correct itself and revert to it’s 2016 margin based on national polling and regional factors.

      NAT hold with a 2-3% swing to Labor

    2. I don’t know but I would guess at least some of that 6% is off name confusion by Liberal voters.

    3. I think this and Cowper are both seats that demographically are moving away from the Nats. They really should have Liberals contesting these seats as it suits the larger towns of Poet Macquarie and Coffs Harbour as well as some of the other smaller beachside towns.

      I think some of that Lib Dems vote is Liberal voters accidently voting for them or deliberately choosing then as they don’t want to vote Nationals.


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