Paterson – Australia 2022

ALP 5.0%

Incumbent MP
Meryl Swanson, since 2016.

Paterson lies on the north coast of New South Wales immediately to the north of Newcastle. The seat covers Maitland, Raymond Terrace, the Port Stephens peninsula and Kurri Kurri.


A seat called Paterson in the northeastern Hunter was first created in 1949 and won by Allen Fairhall of the Liberal Party, who served as a minister in the Menzies, Holt and Gorton governments before retirement in 1969. He was succeeded by Frank O’Keefe of the Country Party, who held the seat until 1984, when it was abolished in the redistribution.

The seat was recreated in 1993, when it was won by Labor’s Bob Horne. In 1996 he was defeated by Bob Baldwin of the Liberal Party. Over the next two elections, the ‘two Bobs’ successively defeated each other, with Horne winning in 1998 and Baldwin in 2001. Horne retired after his 2001 defeat and Baldwin was re-elected four times.

The boundaries of Paterson were redrawn significantly in 2016, pulling the seat further into Maitland and away from the Great Lakes region. This change increased Labor’s notional two-party-preferred vote by almost 10% and made the seat a notional Labor seat.

Baldwin retired in 2016, and was succeeded by Labor’s Meryl Swanson. Swanson was re-elected in 2019.


  • Neil Turner (One Nation)
  • Brooke Vitnell (Liberal)
  • Meryl Swanson (Labor)
  • Angela Ketas (Informed Medical Options)
  • Louise Ihlein (Greens)
  • Sonia Bailey (Liberal Democrats)
  • Jason Olbourne (United Australia)
  • Assessment
    Paterson is a marginal seat.

    2019 result

    Candidate Party Votes % Swing
    Meryl Swanson Labor 44,288 41.1 -5.0
    Sachin Joshi Liberal 35,059 32.5 +1.0
    Neil Turner One Nation 15,269 14.2 +1.1
    Jan Davis Greens 7,439 6.9 +1.1
    Graham Burston United Australia Party 3,888 3.6 +3.6
    Christopher Vale Christian Democratic Party 1,876 1.7 -0.3
    Informal 6,694 5.8 +1.0

    2019 two-party-preferred result

    Candidate Party Votes % Swing
    Meryl Swanson Labor 59,348 55.0 -5.7
    Sachin Joshi Liberal 48,471 45.0 +5.7

    Booth breakdown

    Booths have been divided into six parts. Polling places in the Port Stephens council area have been split between Raymond Terrace and Nelson Bay. Polling places around Kurri Kurri have been grouped together. Booths in the Newcastle council area and in the easternmost part of Maitland council area have been grouped as “central”, and the remainder of the Maitland area has been split between Maitland and East Maitland.

    Labor won five out of six areas, ranging from 55% in Raymond Terrace to 65.9% in Kurri Kurri. The Liberal Party won 51.8% in Nelson Bay.

    One Nation came third, with a primary vote ranging from 11.9% in Nelson Bay to 20.5% in Kurri Kurri.

    Voter group ON prim % ALP 2PP % Total votes % of votes
    Raymond Terrace 15.8 55.0 11,517 10.7
    Nelson Bay 11.9 48.2 11,054 10.3
    East Maitland 12.0 59.0 9,463 8.8
    Maitland 16.9 61.2 8,012 7.4
    Central 16.2 61.6 7,529 7.0
    Kurri Kurri 20.5 65.9 4,977 4.6
    Pre-poll 13.3 52.8 46,410 43.0
    Other votes 13.8 53.9 8,857 8.2

    Election results in Paterson at the 2019 federal election
    Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and primary votes for Labor, the Liberal Party and One Nation.

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    1. They many have been earlier in the year. They are not now with the Coalition under pressure in NSW with the current outbreak bringing up issues of vaccine rollout, lockdown support, etc.

    2. Meryl Swanson made her debut on PML tonight. She has appeared on Alan Jones previously.
      This woman is PM material. Needs some work in terms of being smoother, & a little clearer, but very impressive nonetheless. Has more resolution & force in her pinky than Albo has in his whole weak & clueless being. Same personality type as my previous favourite the Hon Julie Owens (retiring) . 9w8.
      On these boundaries Swanson will hold. However the redistribution could draw Paterson halfway into the current Lyne, & that would be a problem ….. For the next member of Hunter !. I’l back Meryl to win that one too.

    3. The Liberal candidate is Brooke Vitnell, her husband Julian Leembruggen is ScoMo’s comms adviser. She is notable for being subjected to a vile comment by former QLD LNP leader John-Paul Longbroek after the 2018 Midwinter Ball. She’s a family law solicitor and was out and about with ScoMo in Tomago today.

    4. wd
      In all seriousness though, much like Mr Langbroek’s comment back in 2018, yours is deeply, deeply disturbing and really quite sexist.
      I didn’t post it there to gauge your reaction WD, knowing full well it would be riddled with slurs. He didn’t motion with his hands. He posted the comment ONLINE for the whole world to see.
      You can think things, but if there’s an obvious reason why that thing would be insulting, then it’s sometimes a good idea to have a filter and either post something more mature or even not at all.
      You are an elder man in society and it’s your responsibility when using public forums like this that you behave in a manner which isn’t completely inappropriate.

    5. Winediamond, I’m very tolerant but sometimes I think it would just be easier to block you and be done with it. I’ve deleted your most recent comment.

    6. Why the hell would you say something so vile, disgusting and sexist on a public forum wd??? Definitely not the first time.

    7. I did see WD’s initial comment and wasn’t too impressed – crossed the line this time. But do hope that he(?) continues to post as most of his comments do have value.

      Beauty is in the eye of the holder and it does have political implications. JFK’s tv debate performance against Nixon is the classic example about this phenom. People who saw Kennedy on tv with his “healthy” tan said that Kennedy won the debate. Nixon looked shifty and brooding. However, those who listened to the debate on radio thought that Nixon won as he sounded better. In 1959 not everyone had tv so the performance on radio was still important. Given the election was so close Kennedy’s looks on tv may well have made the difference. In contrast, FDR was wheelchair bound due to polio (which hopefully next year will be the second disease eradicated after small pox) and did everything he could to avoid being photoed in a wheel chair to avoid looking “weak”.

      Of course looks are not everything, Paul Keating was seen as incredibly handsome and was soundly beaten by John Howard who would not (other than perhaps by his Mother) generally be described as incredibly handsome.

      Other politicians dye their hair (Presidents Trump and Reagan spring to mind) – presumably to project a particular image and make themselves feel better about themselves (on the basis people’s fundamental driver is to do things that make them happy). And Boris’ hair is a design of its own. And of course the “Chaplin” moustach hasn’t been a winner since some German guy depopularized the fashion in the 1940s……

      How the images that the two candidates in Paterson project impacts the final vote is probably at best marginal. With some voters going one way and other voters going the other. Everything being equal one would not expect the looks of the candidate to influence the result. However, if the election is incredibly close maybe it will…..

      Look forward to post election reflections on this point…..



    8. I don’t wish to disparage the important electoral science of breasts but does anyone have any more specific insights on the local issues and general mood in Paterson?

    9. Paterson is a fast growing seat and a quick look on Google Earth suggests that the new housing estates are to the west of the seat – both sides of Maitland and around Kurri Kurri. And these were the areas where One Nation did well last time – and they did very badly at the Port Stephens end. It is hard to see Meryl Swanson not winning (especially as the government doesn’t seem to be travelling that well generally) but One Nation could get on a roll in the Hunter – in Paterson and in Hunter. Depending on where their preferences go, Meryl Swanson could be pushed to the wire if ON builds up momentum.
      If ON do win here or in Hunter, and the Libs lose even one safeish or formerly safe seat, then 2022 could be the year of the big realignment where our politics fundamentally changes and class / income are not the main political predeterminants.

    10. The Liberals should focus on defending historical safe seats like Higgins, Kooyong etc instead of trying to gain seats, seats like that are their traditional heartland with historical significance and have a longtime loyal voter base which they cannot just abandon like that.

    11. Perhaps the swing against Labor in these seats were a fluke. Or a new long term trend. Time will tell.

      Unless Morrison somehow had appeal here. At the end of the day, Labor improved in Parramatta and got a huge swing in Greenway and gained Robertson so the swing against them here is an unknown.

      Dutton wouldn’t be able to win here but Labor if on the nose could lose here come 2025.

    12. NSW is due a redistribution before 2025.

      The North Coast is over quota, so I suspect a reversal (at least partially) of the last round of changes, with Paterson pushing north and becoming more rural and conservative again. So I think that will have a significant impact no matter what the political scenario in 2025.

    13. Paterson is the second most populated electorate in NSW. Labor would be in danger if the electorate, post-distribution, goes north and/or loses Kurri Kurri and Maitland (Labor’s best performing booths). Adding to that, the Liberal Party it seems will orient its focus to outer suburban battlers and lower and middle-income electorates, rather than focus on regaining inner city seats. This could be a real battleground seat in 2025.

    14. @ John, agree quite possible i think both Hunter and Paterson will be redistributed significantly. One of which is likely to strengthen for Labor and the one to improve for the Coalition.

    15. @nimalan yes i believe Hunter will become safer for Labor making it impossible for the coalttion to ever take it as i will shed its rural and regional areas and become more focused on labor voting Lake Macquarie. in fact I will be suggesting that in my submission. Paterson will shed Cessnock in exchange for the remainder of Maitland. moving it closer to the coaltion.

    16. @nimalan im waiting on official numbers but im planning on abolishing shortland and moving the remainder south. my draft suggests using the lakes entrance as the boundary. see my above draft maps. depending on the numbers i may move some west into the new hunter seat ive created

    17. Lyne and Cowper to shrink and I reckon that will force Dungog and other conservative areas into Paterson. I also assume Kurri2 gets moved to Hunter while Hunter loses Singleton and Muswellbrook.

      As a result I predict Paterson will be Liberal in 2025 but Hunter will be sfae Labor again.

      By the way where would Singleton and Muswellbrook go in this case? I assume Scone/Merriwa in Upper Hunter would also be in the same seat as them in the next redistribution.

      Is it possible fo Parkes to be Singleton, Muswellbrook, Upper Hunter, Midwestern, Wellington and Dubbo? Or should Singleton and Muswellbrook be moved into New England?

    18. @leon my Singleton will be in the new Macquarie with cessnock and hawkesbury. Whereas muswellbrook will be in my new calare with upper hunter. My parkes will take in parkes from riverina and Liverpool plains from New England while shedding more plains and gwydir to new england. Currently dungog is I. Ltne but I may need to move it as you have suggested just waiting on official numbers.

    19. I am still wondering why Bob Baldwin decided to throw the towel in. He was only short 0.27% or about 304 votes after the redistribution which he could have easily have overcome. And in the 2 elections since the liberals have clawed back much of that margin to bring it back within marginal status. I reckon the next redistributions will make it either ultra marginal or notional lnp. I’m either case they should win Iit in 2025. Baldwin should have run and if he lost then he could retire. Now he will be be always wondering what if? My local member thought he was gonna lose at the Victorian election but he stood anyway and came out on top.
      @leon my cowper will retreat to the river in port Macquarie and lyne will cede maitland and port Stephens I’m leaving dungog in for now waiting for numbers.

    20. @John @Leon my Lyne will include Port Macquarie like it did before 2013. And Lyne has also never included neither Maitland nor Port Stephens; they are both in Paterson. My Hunter will have Maitland in it, while Dungog and Singleton will be in Paterson with Port Stephens. This would make Paterson notionally Liberal or notionally National.

    21. @nether portal 2 points. 1. That would create a weird looking diving. 2. It would be seriously under quota by about 1/3.

    22. @John then I’ll remove Singleton from Paterson. Also no, nowhere in Maitland nor anywhere in Port Stephens are in Lyne. If they were then Lyne would be a marginal Nationals seat, when in reality it is a safe seat that is normally a very safe seat.

      Initially I was actually going to leave Singleton out of Paterson but then I read the stuff above and thought it could work. Also, who cares how the division looks?

    23. @nether portal shape is a consideration when determining boundaries. You have address the serious under quota either look at the maps and descriptions it clearly shows the upper half of Maitland and port Stephens inmlyne and says so in lyne bio. Raue could you way in?

    24. John, are you referring to the LGA boundaries of both Maitland and Port Stevens? I’m pretty sure the main town centers fall into Paterson district and the parts which do go into Lyne have minimal population.

    25. If you look at the data the lgas of Maitland port Stephens make up the approximate amount electors based on the average of electorates with similar populationsrhat are very close to quota

    26. The two seats that need heaps of attention are Cowper and Paterson. Cowper’s pretty simple: Port Macquarie and Telegraph Point move back into Lyne, Cowper moves north to include Woolgoolga and other places north of Coffs that should be in Cowper anyway.

      Paterson’s a bit trickier though, but I’ve had a go at it. I’ll have a better look later though.

      At the moment, I’ve moved Kurri Kurri and most of Maitland into Hunter, and Woodberry into Newcastle. I’ve kept basically all of the Port Stephens LGA in Paterson (in my definition of Newcastle, suburbs like Medowie and Raymond Terrace are northern Newcastle but Nelson Bay is seperate; the reason I say this is because the areas are so close that at one point they considered amalgamating the Port Stephens LGA into the City of Newcastle LGA, then of course Lake Macquarie is the southern Newcastle-based LGA). This would make the seat notionally Liberal.

      I really wish someone made a tool where you could make your own redistributions for Australian electorates: that would be really cool. If one exists, please tell me about it so I can visually look at my boundaries.

    27. Having a closer look at Paterson, I’ve made my current boundaries. I’ve moved almost all of Maitland (the only exceptions being the far northern suburbs that were previously in Lyne) and all of Kurri Kurri into Hunter. I’ve moved the northern Newcastle suburb of Hexham into Paterson, and I’ve also added many rural communities from Lyne into Paterson, including Hawks Nest, Karuah, North Arm Cove, Seaham and Tea Gardens. Initially I was going to include Buladelah but I thought that would mess up the shape of the electorate, because if I don’t include it the shape of Paterson is similar. Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest both had high Nationals votes in 2022, both over 65%. Now I’m gonna make a rough estimate that the notional margin for Paterson would be around 54.5% for the Liberals, maybe a bit more given the Nationals booths that were added from Lyne. It’d be much easier if there was a map that showed the TPP vote in each booth in Paterson (I’ve found one for primary votes by booth nationwide but not one for TPP votes by booth nationwide unfortunately).

      Anyway, another thing I think would be really cool is if we as Tally Room contributors all added our proposals and combined them to make one. It would be good because we’d all have our input, people of various political alignments would be able to contribute and we could get insight from locals.

    28. ive moved all of maitland to paterson from lyne and then transfered the eastern shore into lyne then moved the remainder of cessnock into hunter leaving kurri kurri in paterson

    29. Before you even talk about the Liberals winning this they need to win state level booths in Paterson. At least win back Nelson Bay with a respectable margin first. Same as with the local elections.

      If Port Stephens is a safe Labor seat (it has swung between Labor and Liberal before) then why is this marginal? And moving Maitland out makes it Liberal? How? THEY DID NOT WIN A SINGLE BOOTH IN PORT STEPHENS IN 2023! They did in 2019 but that was with popular Gladys and that was ages ago now plus they didn’t win Medowie or Raymond Terrace.

    30. @Nether Portal @John come on use common sense you won’t win Paterson if you can’t even win a non-rural booth in port stephens you literally lost Nelson bay in 2023 explain that nobody thinks 60% Labor is gonna be 60% liberal instantly

    31. @Notthatone we are using common sense.

      The reason the Labor vote was so high in the usually-marginal seat of Port Stephens in 2023 was mostly due to the fact that:

      A: the Liberals endorsed a candidate very late in the campaign
      B: One Nation fielded a candidate before the Liberals and there was a big campaign from One Nation in the seat and the conservative vote was split between Liberal and One Nation and because under OPV conservatives usually exhaust their preferences it meant that Labor benefited a lot more from Greens preferences than the Liberals did from One Nation preferences

      So it’s not insanity. Port Stephens is a winnable seat too, maybe not in 2027 but in 2031 it could well be winnable, regardless of who forms government. The Liberals very narrowly won the seat in 2007 despite not winning government after a big swing to them after the retirement of the sitting member then easily retained it in the 2011 landslide before losing it to Labor in 2015.

    32. Also Raymond Terrace is the most Labor-friendly booth in the seat. I don’t expect the Liberals to win it. Medowie, Nelson Bay, Salt Ash, Soldiers Point, etc however are all winnable.

    33. Seems that the Newcastle Airport upgrades supported by the Morrison government really helped them out in the booths near Williamtown.

      The TPP swing to the Liberals in Paterson was +1.73% which resulted in a Liberal TPP of 46.69%. But the swing was bigger around Williamtown.

      Though in saying that the One Nation vote collapsed across Paterson and mostly went to the Liberals.

      Liberal TPP and swing around Williamtown:

      * Anna Bay: 49.32% (+1.10%)
      * Bobs Farm: 61.30% (+6.24%)
      * Medowie: 55.89% (+3.89%)
      * Tanilba Bay: 49.75% (+1.21%)
      * Williamtown: 50.23% (+0.59%)
      * Wirreanda Medowie: 55.90% (+8.65%)

    34. after redistribution i imagine this will be a gain for the liberals if not notionally then defenitely on elction night

    35. This is a Labor seat unless the boundaries are similar to when Mr Baldwin was the federal mp

    36. @MQ not if you remove Kurri Kurri entirely (it would be moved into Hunter) and add some small towns like Bulahdelah. When Bob Baldwin held Paterson it included Forster-Tuncurry (Forster and Tuncurry are two coastal twin towns separated by the Cooloongoolok River that are often combined as one bigger town, which is located on the Mid North Coast and is about a third of the way from Taree to Newcastle) which is now in Lyne. That’s why the redistribution made it flip in 2016, because Forster-Tuncurry and the towns between there and Karuah were the most conservative places there while Maitland and Kurri Kurri are traditionally heavily Labor-voting due to their population being majorly working-class.


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