Parkes – Australia 2022

NAT 16.9%

Incumbent MP
Mark Coulton, since 2007.


Parkes covers large parts of western NSW, stretching from Dubbo in the southeastern corner of the seat to Moree in the northeast and Broken Hill in the west. It covers most of the Gwydir council area and all of 17 other local government areas, namely Broken Hill, Central Darling, Dubbo, Lachlan, Narromine, Moree Plains, Narrabri, Bogan, Bourke, Brewarrina, Cobar, Coonamble, Gilgandra, Gunnedah, Walgett, Warren and Warrumbungle.


The seat of Parkes was created as part of the expansion of the federal Parliament in 1984 as a seat in the west of NSW. It has always been held by the National Party. It shares its name with an earlier seat of Parkes, which was located in suburban Sydney from Federation until its abolition in 1969. The seat of Parkes is named after early NSW premier Henry Parkes, rather than the town of Parkes, which is not contained within the seat.

Parkes was first won in 1984 by National Party candidate Michael Cobb. Cobb held the seat for 14 years, retiring in 1998 after being convicted of offenses related to rorting his travel expenses. He was replaced by Tony Lawler, who held the seat for one term, retiring in 2001.

The seat was won in 2001 by John Cobb. Cobb served as a junior minister in the Howard government from 2005 to 2007. The redistribution before the 2006 election shifted the boundaries of Parkes towards the abolished seat of Gwydir, with much of the northwest transferred into Calare, and Cobb was elected as the Member for Calare. He was succeeded in Parkes by former Mayor of Gwydir Shire, Mark Coulton. Coulton has been re-elected four times.


  • Derek Hardman (Indigenous-Aboriginal Party)
  • Peter Rothwell (Liberal Democrats)
  • Deborah Swinbourn (One Nation)
  • Mark Coulton (Nationals)
  • Petrus Van Der Steen (United Australia)
  • Stuart Howe (Independent)
  • Jack Ayoub (Labor)
  • Trish Frail (Greens)
  • Benjamin Fox (Informed Medical Options)
  • Assessment
    Parkes is a safe Nationals seat.

    2019 result

    Mark Coulton Nationals 47,69250.8-7.9
    Jack Ayoub Labor 22,13523.6-5.0
    Daniel JonesLiberal Democrats7,5688.1+8.1
    Will LandersIndependent6,7307.2+7.2
    Petrus van der SteenUnited Australia Party5,9066.3+6.3
    David Paull Greens 3,9214.2-2.1

    2019 two-party-preferred result

    Mark Coulton Nationals 62,85966.9+1.8
    Jack Ayoub Labor 31,09333.1-1.8

    Booth breakdown

    Booths have been divided into five parts. Polling places in the Dubbo and Broken Hill urban areas have been grouped together, and the remaining booths have been split into central, east and west.

    The Nationals won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in four out of five areas, ranging from 65.2% in the west to 71.9% in the east. Labor won 64.1% in Broken Hill.

    Voter groupNAT 2PP %Total votes% of votes
    Broken Hill35.95,1145.4
    Other votes71.29,2209.8

    Election results in Parkes at the 2019 federal election
    Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and primary votes for the Nationals and Labor.

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    1. Good chance this seat loses Dubbo in the next redistribution to either Calare or Riverina. If it does it won’t change the complexation of this seat as it is rock solid National. Curtin/Chifley Labor were competitive in these parts but that is long gone now. Today’s Labor have a better chance at winning every single seat in Melbourne than winning here.

      The only bright spot for Labor would be an improvement in Broken Hill as I believe Labor did well in that area prior to the 2011 NSW state election. But to win this seat Dubbo and Broken Hill are not enough for Labor.

      Negligible swing.

    2. Daniel
      I like to know how you see this “”Good chance this seat loses Dubbo in the next redistribution to either Calare or Riverina.””??. Have you accounted for at least 50-60000 voters being infused into Calare from Hunter ?. Where else can this overflow go ?
      BTW i have no idea how the AEC will (or indeed won’t !!) deal with this.
      cheers wd

    3. Whilst you never know what a redistribution committee might come up with, western NSW is likely to undergo only modest boundary changes at the next redistribution. Dubbo is – by some distance – the largest population centre in Parkes. Moving it would be incredibly disruptive; and on the current enrolment figures I can see no justification for it.

    4. My guess would be rural frustration at the drought and water management issues. This was the perfect environment for major backlash but because ONP or Shooters didn’t run, the protest vote was spread amongst three candidates (LDP, IND, UAP). Still, these guys collectively managed over 20% of the vote!

    5. In a seat with similar issues at play – Calare – the Shooters got 17% of the vote alone; the combined major party vote was only 67% there compared to 74% in Parkes.

    6. winediamond,

      Upon closer inspection, I can see I did underestimate how much the north coast surplus will affect the western NSW seats. (The point about Dubbo stands though.) The most obvious outlet is the upper Hunter, and it may not be the only one. That will have a domino effect through some of the rural seats.

    7. David
      Yes. it will be really interesting won’t it ? One of the best solutions might be to restore the original federation seat of Gwddir in between NE, & Parkes. Or to name change NE at least.
      cheers WD

    8. logic would suggest Broken Hill And Dubbo remain in the same seat especially as bh is losing population ….. Page and Richmond should remain Coastal due to community of interest…… On state figures seats of Dubbo and Barwon were problems for the Nationals Barwon…. sff and Dubbo extremely close to an independent….. this suggests Rural disquiet.

    9. Mick
      Depends on WHOSE logic . Dealing with the travel distances of Broken Hill was a problem for the ministerial ambitions of Susan Ley. I think you’ll find that was the real reason for BH being returned to Parkes. Coulton is such an uninspiring “plodder” the best thing to do with him is to keep him “in transit” !!.

      Therefore he is best suited to the largest NSW electorate
      Don’t agree about Page. No reason why Tenterfield shouldn’t be in Page its much the same distance to Kyogle as Glen innes. Community of interest is rural
      cheers wd

    10. Unfortunately that’s the problem with the large outback seats is that the population, when it does increase, is doing so at a miniscule rate. The only way to have the “communities of interest” issue fixed is smaller electorates (i.e. 85,000 voters or less) which would in turn require changes to the size of the Senate. How do we know there’s going to be a redistribution anyway??

    11. Susan Ley;s electorate started at Albury and mainly followed the Murray River…. then up We go to Broken Hill………made as much sense as udders on a bull…. now much more compact. Also it makes more sense to have a major country town in an electorate….. Eg Forrest…..Bunbury, The solution of course to large electorates is to increase the number of seats….. The numbers changed I think in 1949 and 1984

    12. Ryan Spencer
      Agreed. The smaller electorate debate has been had here. Ben made/ issued a “dictum” which sort of settled it….! However i still lead the “resistance”!! against more politicians!!.
      There was an interesting proposal in the last NT redistribution which was to split everything in two, including Darwin. By extension say amalgamating Maranoa, & Groom , or Herbert, & Kennedy & then splitting them in two might have merit.
      cheers wd

    13. yeah Mick this even extends to urban areas; Swan now contains High Wycombe, Forrestfield and Maida Vale, which are casually on the other side of the airport.

    14. Could this end up as an IND vs Nat contest? Labor is weak here and while the Nats will hold, Howe might have a better shot.

    15. WD I agree you can not predetermine redistributions in individual seats by looking at those seats in isolation. My gut feeiling is that redistribution committees start in Metropolis and work outwards. They can achieve their legislated goals easily by moving 35 Houses 70 Voters plus 0.8 square Km 200metres down the road with no difficulty. As they move to outer suburbs the same 70 voters have doubled in numbers the 0.8 square Kilometres has become 20 square Kilometres and the distance 10 Km. Complaints remain manageable. As the Committee moves fiurther out the same 70 voter numbers 20 square Kilometres becomes a few hundred Square kilometres. By the time the redistribution commodittre have backed themselves into Parkes or Kennedy the 70 voters involve thousands of squirrels Kilometres, breaking towns and named cities from
      Their community centre resulting in Highfields not being part of Toowoomba Groom and Blackwater being part of Bunfdaberg (Flynne). The complaints at this point become un manageable.
      one solution that I have never seen discussed is MP’s not having 1 parliamentary vote but 120,000 votes in City electorate A but 80,000 Parlismentary votes in Far Western zDivision xyz. This would completely eliminate the redistribution issue and destroy all arguments for limitations on Divisional voter numbers. I can see that immediately there would be a rush to increase city voter numbers and screams of anguish from those who at the moment automatically get a more powerful say in order to get adequate representation.
      Note I am not advocating this weighted system only discussing it.

    16. Now finally being able to access all of the YouGov MRP results I am quite skeptical of them. I understand it is not perfect and will contain some errors but even so… I chose to comment under this seat specifically because while there are quite a few more I find very difficult to believe this one is the biggest place that stands out. They have the Nats winning against Labor by only a 4% margin here. I would have believed this decades ago but I can’t possibly see that even in the realm of possibility today.

    17. Why did Labor come 2nd here? Why did nobody take my prediction of OTH vs NAT seriously? This is absolutely no different to other country seats like Cowper and New England. and this entire seat has SFF representatives in the state parliament.

      OTH did outpoll Labor if you combine the minor parties here. A Teal independent probably couldn’t win here here in future but a Dai Le/Bob Katter/Liz Cunningham style independent surely could. It might not happen while Coulton is around. But watch this when he retires.

      The only Labor area I can think of in this seat is Broken Hill. but that doesn’t make a majority of this seat, So I still fail to understand why this remains NAT vs LAB.

    18. Daniel, if you want to be taken seriously, a good start would be not spouting statements like “This is absolutely no different to other country seats like Cowper and New England”. It should be self-evident that these are all entirely different seats and not just to be classed under one umbrella. For goodness sake, you even mention SFF representatives for this seat in the next sentence. When have the other two seats had SFF representatives? Why would a climate-focussed independent be able to run the Nationals close here like what happened in Cowper?

      I can’t explain why the independent didn’t get up seeing as I have no knowledge of the candidate or the seat. Unless you can provide such information yourself to guide your reasoning, it doesn’t seem as if you should be expressing such confidence in them to do so. It will always be Labor making the 2CP in the absence of an insufficiently strong third party or independent.


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