New England – Australia 2022

NAT 14.4% vs IND

Incumbent MP
Barnaby Joyce, since 2013. Previously Senator for Queensland 2005-2013.

Geography
The New England region of northern NSW. The main towns include Tamworth, Armidale and Glen Innes. New England covers Armidale Dumaresq, Glen Innes Severn, Guyra, Inverell, Liverpool Plains, Tamworth, Tenterfield, Upper Hunter, Uralla and Walcha council areas, and southern parts of the Gwydir council area.

History
New England is an original federation electorate, and has been mostly won by conservative parties. The seat was held by the Country Party and National Party from 1920 until 2001, when it was won by independent Tony Windsor.

The seat was first won in 1901 by Protectionist candidate William Sawers, who had previously been a state MP since 1885. In 1903 he was defeated by Free Trade candidate Edmund Lonsdale, who himself was defeated in 1906 by ALP candidate Francis Foster.

Foster is the only Labor candidate to ever win New England, and was reelected in 1910 before losing the seat in 1913 to Liberal candidate Percy Abbott. Abbott was a serving AIF officer at the time, and served as a Lieutenant Colonel at Gallipoli in 1915 while serving as a member of the House of Representatives. He retired from the House of Representatives in 1919. He later ran for the Senate for the Country Party in 1922 and held a Senate seat from 1925 to 1929.

The seat was won in 1919 by Alexander Hay. Like Abbott, Hay was supported by the Farmers and Settlers Association, and when they formed the Country Party in 1920 he became one of their first MPs. Hay’s time with the Country Party was unhappy and he was expelled in 1922 for voting against the party. He stood at the 1922 election as an independent, losing to official Country Party candidate Victor Thompson.

Thompson held New England for a long period, serving as a minister in conservative federal governments from 1937 to 1940, but lost his seat at the 1940 election, when he was challenged by two other Country Party candidates, and was defeated by Joe Abbott.

Joe Abbott served as a minister in Robert Menzies and Arthur Fadden’s wartime governments, and held the seat until his retirement in 1949. He was succeeded by David Drummond, who had been a state MP since 1920. He held the seat until his retirement in 1963.

The seat was won in 1963 by Ian Sinclair. Sinclair joined Robert Menzies’ ministry in 1965 and served as a minister right up until the election of the Whitlam government in 1972. He returned to the ministry in 1975 and served for the entirety of the Fraser government, barring a period in 1979 and 1980 when he stepped down due to allegations of forgery in relation to his father’s will.

Following the defeat of the Fraser government National Country Party leader Doug Anthony resigned in 1984, and Sinclair succeeded him. In 1989, he was replaced as leader by Charles Blunt, and he went to the backbench. He remained there until 1998, when he served briefly as Speaker in the final months of the first term of the Howard government, before retiring in 1998.

In 1998, New England was won by Nationals candidate Stuart St Clair, whose time in the seat was short-lived. He was defeated in 2001 by independent candidate Tony Windsor, who had held the state seat of Tamworth as an independent since 1991, when he had been deselected as a Nationals candidate.

Windsor held the seat with margins over 70% at the 2004, 2007 and 2010 elections.

After the 2010 election, Windsor found himself in the balance of power, and decided to support Julia Gillard’s minority Labor government, a decision that was controversial in country areas including New England, which usually lean towards the conservative side of politics.

In 2013, the Nationals preselected their Senate leader, Barnaby Joyce, to run in New England. Joyce was at the time a senator representing Queensland. Windsor announced his retirement shortly after, and Joyce was elected in New England with relative ease, ending twelve years of an independent hold on the seat.

Joyce was elected deputy leader of the Nationals shortly after moving to the House, and in early 2016 was elected leader of the Nationals, and thus Deputy Prime Minister. He won a second term as member for New England in 2016, seeing off an attempted return by former MP Tony Windsor.

Barnaby Joyce was caught up in a rash of politicians who were found to hold dual citizenship in 2017. He was found to have failed to meet constitutional obligations by the High Court in October 2017, triggering a December 2017 by-election, which he won easily.

Joyce was forced to resign as Nationals leader in early 2018. He was re-elected in New England in 2019 and returned to the Nationals leadership in June 2021.

Candidates

  • Pavlo Samios (Liberal Democrats)
  • Cindy Duncan (United Australia)
  • Natasha Ledger (Independent)
  • Barnaby Joyce (Nationals)
  • Matt Sharpham (Independent)
  • Richard Thomas (One Nation)
  • Carol Sparks (Greens)
  • Laura Hughes (Labor)
  • Assessment
    New England is returning to its former status as a safe seat. While it has a history of being won by independents, recent independent campaigns have had limited success.

    2019 result

    CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
    Barnaby Joyce Nationals 53,34854.8+2.5
    Adam BlakesterIndependent13,80414.2+14.2
    Yvonne Langenberg Labor 12,41012.8+5.7
    Cindy DuncanUnited Australia Party4,4594.6+4.6
    Tony Lonergan Greens 4,3114.4+1.5
    Rob TaberIndependent3,7023.8+1.0
    Natasha LedgerIndependent3,0713.2+3.2
    Julie CollinsChristian Democratic Party2,2152.3+0.9
    Informal7,1206.8-0.2

    2019 two-candidate-preferred result

    CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
    Barnaby Joyce Nationals 62,63764.4+64.4
    Adam BlakesterIndependent34,68335.6+35.6

    2019 two-party-preferred result

    CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
    Barnaby Joyce Nationals 65,81867.6+1.2
    Yvonne Langenberg Labor 31,50232.4-1.2

    Booth breakdown

    Booths have been divided into six areas. The two main urban areas of Armidale and Tamworth have been grouped together, separately from rural booths in the surrounding areas.

    Regional areas have been split into four areas. Booths in Tamworth Regional Council outside of the Tamworth urban area have been grouped as ‘West’. Booths in Liverpool Plains and Upper Hunter LGAs have been grouped as ‘South’. Booths in Armidale-Dumaresq, Uralla and Walcha (apart from the Armidale urban area) have been grouped as ‘East’.

    Barnaby Joyce won a majority of the two-candidate-preferred vote in five out of six areas at the 2016 election, with a vote ranging from 59.6% in Tamworth to 69.3% in the north. Adam Blakester won 53.1% in Armidale.

    Voter groupIND primALP primNAT 2CPTotal votes% of votes
    Tamworth25.513.059.614,34714.7
    North16.712.269.310,04110.3
    South17.616.166.69,1519.4
    Armidale30.617.746.96,7076.9
    West22.29.567.16,5056.7
    East20.510.068.13,9304.0
    Pre-poll20.811.665.838,72339.8
    Other votes16.214.867.77,9168.1

    Election results in New England at the 2019 federal election
    Toggle between two-candidate-preferred votes (National vs independent), two-party-preferred votes and primary votes for the Nationals, independent candidate Adam Blakester and Labor.

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    12 COMMENTS

    1. If Anthony Albanese really thinks he speaks for country folk. If the left really cares then why isn’t he visiting regional towns such as Tamworth? Don’t be surprised if the Nats get 80% TPP here and in some other rural seats. Labor doesn’t know anything about country folk. The Coalition are the only ones that work well for regional Australia

    2. @Daniel

      Daniel Anthony Albanese has been out visiting seats that have been based in the regions of Dawson, Flynn, and Capricornia just recently. Obviously this seat is as safe as houses for the Nationals and won’t be a priority for Anthony Albanese. Barnaby Joyce wouldn’t lose this seat to Labor even if Labor secured a John Curtain type win of 1943.

      I wouldn’t get to obsessed with the myth the coalition are the only ones that work well for the regions. Realistically despite all the Nationals grandstanding they still remain the lapdog of the Liberals.

      Tony Windsor has been relatively quiet despite the odd tidbit in the media. I just don’t him see him attempting another political comeback.

      Nats to retain.

    3. The problem that Labor have is that they have little or no party infrastructure left in NSW west of the Great Dividing Range. A range of independents or shooters are now the only ones who can knock the Libs or Nats off. as the ALP just don’t have the boots to put on the ground.
      In the early 80s, Labor were competitive in this region – they held a state seat and came reasonably close to winning New England in 1983 and 84. It just can’t happen now.
      If the right conservative greenish preferably female candidate came along – Barnaby could get into trouble. Probably too late though for 2022.

    4. What is the history behind this region being named New England? as an Englishman myself I know many places we named when we colonised Australia and America (as there is also a New England in america) But here is interesting. How did this region get it’s name?

      Is Windsor going to make a comeback? He isn’t too old because look at the U.S president.

    5. Daniel
      The early white settlers perceived a similarity between the region and Old England. The region is high and cold in winter- and in most years mild in summer. Many of the early white settlers were Scottish so it was actually New Caledonia for a while.

    6. Tony Windsor has had his turn. A whole political career built on being bitter and twisted because he didnt get the Nationals endorsement to which he was ‘entitled’. And he achieved very little. And of course in 2013, he and Oakeshott wussed out and didn’t run. New England is a region not served well by independents – Richard Torbay did not cover himself well at state level and had an ignominious poltical exit.

    7. 100 yrs of Nationals effiliated government, its a bit like rushia or any other colonial dictatorship. its not democracy in new england when theres only one party that controls the outcomes of the people , when we have voted indipendent they either have had a past or a future with the nationals, still their kin. its a bit creepy really, 100 yrs of one government, no wonder folk are brainwashed and scared to vote any other way and no wonder nio one else can stand up and run , no one has knee caps unless they re nationals.

    8. Fun fact: This election has the highest percentage of age pensioners of any in Australia. It is OLD. Old people never change the voting habits of a lifetime.

    9. If Simon Holmes a Court had found a candidate he would like to go the school dance with this could have been a seat where there could have been a serious competition. An independent based on climate change could have made a difference. Barnaby has balanced on a pin here for years on the coal vs agriculture conundrum.

    10. I think it’s marvellous that some towns have essentially 5 votes max for any party on the left while the Greens are sitting on a cool 25% around UNE. It’s a more diverse seat than most people give it credit for.

    11. It seems hard to believe that Labor held the state seat of Northern Tablelands in the 1980s. Through playing footsie with Tony Windsor and Richard Torbay Labor have been eaten away into oblivion. West of the Divide Labor have largely disappeared.

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