Richmond – Australia 2022

ALP 4.1%

Incumbent MP
Justine Elliot, since 2004.

Geography
Far north coast of NSW. Richmond covers Tweed Heads, Byron Bay, Ballina, Murwillumbah, Mullumbimby and surrounding areas. It covers the entirety of Tweed and Byron council areas, as well as the majority of Ballina council area.

History
Richmond is an original federation seat, and has always covered the northeastern corner of New South Wales, although it has contracted further into that corner over the last century as other seats have been created in northeastern NSW. The seat was consistently held by conservative parties from its creation until 1990, and was gained by the Country Party early in its existence in 1922, and they held it continously for almost seventy years.

Recently it has become a much more marginal seat, although the 2007 election result pushed the seat out of the marginal category.

The seat was first won in 1901 by Protectionist Thomas Ewing, who served as a minister in the Deakin government from 1905 to 1908 before retiring in 1910. His seat was retained by Liberal candidate Walter Massy-Greene. Massy-Greene went on to serve as a minister in Billy Hughes’ Nationalist governments, but lost Richmond to Country Party candidate Roland Green in 1922. He was appointed to the Senate in 1923, and served there until his retirement in 1938. He was relegated to the backbench during the Stanley Bruce government, but returned to the ministry as part of the Lyons government in the 1930s.

Green was regularly challenged by other Country Party candidates at subsequent federal elections. While the ALP stood in Richmond in 1925, Green was reelected unopposed in 1928 and faced opposition only from another Country Party candidate in 1929. At the 1931 election Green was challenged by three other Country candidates and one independent. He was regularly challenged by Robert Gibson at every election from 1928 to 1937. Green barely held on against internal party opponents at the 1931 and 1934 elections.

In 1937, two Country Party candidates and an ALP candidate all stood against the sitting Country MP. While Green came first on primary votes, Gibson’s preferences pushed Country candidate Larry Anthony ahead of the ALP candidate, and then ALP preferences gave the seat to Anthony.

Anthony served as a minister under Robert Menzies and Arthur Fadden in 1940 and 1941 and was a senior member of the Opposition during the Curtin/Chifley Labor government. In 1949 he joined Robert Menzies’ cabinet, and served in it until his death in 1957.

The subsequent by-election saw four Country Party candidates stand, although one clearly stood out, with Anthony’s son Doug polling 49.8% of the primary vote.

The younger Anthony joined the ministry in 1964 and was groomed to be the next leader of the Country Party, and upon Jack McEwen’s retirement in 1971 he became Deputy Prime Minister. The Coalition lost power in 1972, and Anthony returned to the role of Deputy Prime Minister upon the dismissal of the Whitlam government in 1975. He served in this role throughout the Fraser government, during which time his party’s name changed first to the National Country Party and then to the National Party. Following the election of the Hawke government in 1983, Anthony retired in 1984.

The seat was retained in 1984 by Nationals state director Charles Blunt, outpolling a Liberal Party challenger and overtaking the ALP on Liberal preferences, despite Blunt having no local links with the far north of NSW. Blunt immediately moved to the shadow ministry and in 1989 managed to win a leadership challenge against Ian Sinclair. His leadership saw attempts to modernise the party and bring it closer to the Liberal Party, but Blunt’s leadership was cut short in 1990 when he lost Richmond to ALP candidate Neville Newell, who won a slim margin after a 7.1% swing. While the Nationals margin had fallen below 60% in the 1980s, this still saw a big jump in the ALP vote.

Newell held on in 1993 against a challenge from Nationals candidate Larry Anthony (son of Doug and grandson of Larry Sr) and a Liberal candidate. In 1996, Newell was defeated by the third-generation of the Anthony family. Newell went on to hold the state seat of Tweed from 1999 until his defeat in 2007.

Anthony was reelected in 1998 and 2001, although won by slim margins very different to the huge margins won by his father and grandfather. The 2004 election saw Anthony, then a junior minister in the Howard government, defeated by ALP candidate Justine Elliot, despite a national swing to the Coalition in a backlash against Mark Latham’s leadership of the ALP.

Elliot has been re-elected five times.

Candidates

  • Terry Sharples (Independent)
  • Nathan Jones (Independent)
  • Monica Shepherd (Informed Medical Options)
  • David Warth (Independent)
  • Gary Biggs (Liberal Democrats)
  • Justine Elliot (Labor)
  • Kimberly Hone (Nationals)
  • Tracey Bell-Henselin (One Nation)
  • Mandy Nolan (Greens)
  • Robert Marks (United Australia)
  • Assessment
    Don’t be fooled by Elliot’s long tenure in this seat: it remains very marginal. In addition to the Nationals, the Greens have ambitions here. If they were to overtake Labor they would be in a strong position to win, but the gap is still quite wide.

    2019 result

    CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
    Matthew Fraser Nationals 36,97936.9-0.8
    Justine Elliot Labor 31,80731.7+0.7
    Michael Lyon Greens 20,38420.3-0.1
    Hamish MitchellUnited Australia Party3,9133.9+3.9
    Ronald McdonaldSustainable Australia3,1543.1+3.1
    Ray KaramIndependent1,5661.6+1.6
    Morgan CoxChristian Democratic Party1,3381.3-0.2
    Tom BarnettInvoluntary Medication Objectors1,1791.2+1.2
    Informal8,0617.4+3.8

    2019 two-party-preferred result

    CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
    Justine Elliot Labor 54,25154.1+0.1
    Matthew Fraser Nationals 46,06945.9-0.1

    Booth breakdown

    Booths have been divided into four parts. Polling places in Byron and Ballina council areas have been grouped together. Booths in Tweed, which cover a majority of the population, have been split between those in Tweed Heads and in the remainder of the council.

    The ALP won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in three areas, with a majority of 54-55% in Ballina and the rural parts of Tweed Shire, and a massive 74.2% majority in Byron Shire. The vote was a dead heat in Tweed Heads, with the Nationals winning by four votes.

    The Greens primary vote ranged from 13.2% in Tweed Heads to 43.7% in Byron.

    Voter groupGRN prim %ALP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
    Byron43.774.213,26213.2
    Tweed Heads13.250.012,61012.6
    Tweed Shire20.854.412,24612.2
    Ballina22.255.18,4268.4
    Pre-poll15.449.746,71846.6
    Other votes18.650.77,0587.0

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

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    157 COMMENTS

    1. The Nat Party vote here (2PP) fell only 3.9%. Yes the first pref fell about 12% with about 80% of votes counted.
      It is not a total disaster. PM Morrison suffered a 7% swing against him in his seat of Cook. (That is double the swing against PM Howard when he lost his job and his seat in Bennalong in 2007). Many other LNP sufferered way more than 4% swings in this election.
      The main reason the Nat first preference vote fell 12 % was that the Liberal Dems ran for the first time and One Nation Party as well. These two (who did not run in 2019) got 8 and 4 % of the vote, which added together is 12% (ish).
      I was at polling booths and many said ‘how do I vote liberal?’ – not realising there was a coalition!!! Many voted of Lib Dems thinking their vote was for the Liberals but probably went back to Nats in preferences.

      The Green first pref was a big jump- almost 5%- they were leading on election night and every chance for winning the seat. If they only got 2000 more votes off the rusted on Labor voters (Labor minus 2000 and Greens plus 2000 first preference), then the seat will be a Green seat next time. The Greens have to hope that the Nat party vote stays strong and they finish in 2nd place and Labor in 3rd Place. If Nats finish third then they will preference Labor over Green and keep it a safe Labor seat.

      Currently Justine Elliot looks like winning but with a first pref way below 30%. (more than 7 out of locals don’t want her to be our MP). It is the (or one of the) lowest winning MP first preference votes in the whole 151 seat parliament. Hardly an endorsing mandate. But a win is a win and she is to be congratulated. Again for the 7th time. I hope Labor do well in the next 3 years.

    2. That’s fair enough Nathan. I made my last comment when Greens were on 31% of primary votes and the nationals were threatening to dip into the teens. Greens have since fallen back massively in the count, presumably after postals and other conservative-heavy votes came in.

      I’d be interested to see how the 3CP vote shapes up. I suspect JE holds comfortably and it won’t turn out to be anything like Macnamara or Brisbane, but we’ll see how close it gets after the Independent preferences are distributed.

    3. Interesting to note that at this stage of the Senate count, the Coaltion are tracking 8% higher in the senate vote than the Nats Reps vote in Richmond.

    4. Yep, and as a Queenslander I can’t even begin to wrap my head around that. Do Southerners *really* think there’s any difference between the two? Is it just anti-vax voters doing this? Worth investigating imo

    5. The 2PP gap has narrowed again – only slightly. Now the swing is 3.4% against the Nationals in this seat. This is less than the national average. (in fact every mainland state swing against the LNP was over 4% so to say this National Party candidate underperformed has little basis )

      The real gap between Green and Labor first preference vote is less than 3500 votes (so if Greens get 1750 more votes directly off Labor in the 2025 election then it is a Greens seat almost guaranteed. The only condition is that the National Party vote holds and they are in the top two and Labor slips into third.

      So either Nationals get 7200 votes directly off Labor/Greens and they win the seat next time
      OR
      The Greens get 1750 votes off Labor and they win the seat.

      I think that is more likely.

    6. the reason the Coalition vote might be in the Senate could come down to:
      Kimberly Hone being a far-right nutter who is anti-SSM to say the least or;
      Lib Dems being able to keep their name meaning Liberal voters might have voted for them

    7. It is possible that this seat will fall to Greens once Justine Elliot retires. Labor could loose her personal vote in both direction to Nats and Greens. Labor could then fall to third place and the Greens could be elected.

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