New England – Election 2010

IND 24.3%

Incumbent MP
Tony Windsor, since 2001.

The New England region of northern NSW. The main towns include Tamworth, Armidale and Glen Innes. New England covers Armidale Dumaresq, Glen Innes Severn, Gunnedah, Guyra, Inverell, Liverpool Plains, Tamworth, Tenterfield, Uralla and Walcha council areas.

The seat of New England previously covered southern parts of Gwydir LGA, including the town of Bingara. These areas were transferred into Parkes, while Gunnedah council area was transferred from Parkes to New England.

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 has held New England ever since, and holds it by a large margin.


  • Greg Smith (Labor)
  • Pat Schultz (Greens)
  • Brian Dettmann (One Nation)
  • Tim Coates (Nationals)
  • Richard Witten (Citizens Electoral Council)
  • Tony Windsor (Independent) – Member for New England since 2001, previously Member for the state seat of Tamworth 1991-2001.

Political situation
As long as Windsor stands for re-election, he should easily win re-election. If he were to retire the Nationals would have a chance of winning the seat, but one of the two independent state MPs representing parts of the New England region would have a strong chance.

2007 result

Tony WindsorIND52,73461.94+7.24
Phil BettsNAT19,85023.31+2.54
Luke BrandALP8,3689.83+0.65
Bruce TaylorGRN2,8923.40+0.06
Brian DettmannON1,0711.26-0.28
Richard WittenCEC2250.26-0.32

2007 two-candidate-preferred result

Tony WindsorIND63,28674.33+2.95
Phil BettsNAT21,85425.67-2.95

Results do not take into account effects of the redistribution.

Booth breakdown
New England now covers ten local government areas. One of these local government areas, Gunnedah, was previously included in Parkes, and thus the two-candidate-preferred result in that area is between the Nationals and the ALP, and cannot be compared to the rest of the seat.

I have grouped together most local government areas while leaving three local government areas on their own. Almost 40% of votes were cast in Tamworth local government area, and I have left Gunnedah and Liverpool Plains LGAs ungrouped, as they lie on one side of Tamworth. I have grouped Walcha, Armidale Dumaresq and Uralla as ‘South-East’ and grouped Guyra, Inverell, Glen Innes Severn and Tenterfield as ‘North’.

Tony Windsor won large majorities in all areas, ranging from 71-3% in Tamworth and the north of the seat to 77-8% in the south-east and on the Liverpool Plains.


Polling booths in New England. North in blue, South-East in yellow, Tamworth in green, Liverpool Plains in red, Gunnedah in orange.

2007 election breakdown

Voter groupGRN %IND 2CP %Total votes% of ordinary votes
Liverpool Plains1.4877.724,1925.79
Other votes3.9573.1717,525

*Gunnedah was not included in New England in 2007, and thus the two-candidate-preferred candidate here is the figure for the ALP.

Polling booths in New England, showing results of the 2007 election. Click to enlarge.
Polling booths in New England, showing results of the 2007 election around Armidale.
Polling booths in New England, showing results of the 2007 election around Tamworth.
Polling booths in New England, showing results of the 2007 election in Gunnedah.
Polling booths in New England, showing results of the 2007 election in Inverell.


  1. Tamworth businessman Tim Coates has nominated for Nationals preselection. The headline is a bit misleading in suggesting that he has already won.

  2. Windsor is 60 this year. Assuming that he’s elected for as long as he chooses to run we can assume that he’s still got a couple of terms left in him. Sooner or later though a Nat candidate will be surprisingly elected ala Joe Hockey & Ted Mack when he retires with little notice. That is of course unless another indi steps up to the plate (Torbay? Draper?)

    I do like how New England supports independents.

  3. Looking at the few booths the Nats won, there’s one curious result there for the tiny Jubullum booth, which is on an indigenous community near Tabulam, right there on the boundary east of Tenterfield. Labor actually got 54% of the primary vote, and the Greens 30% (there’s also a few tree-changers moving into areas around there which might account for that), but the 2CP result was Nats 59% vs Windsor 41%. Being down on the western bank of the upper Clarence, it probably has little CoI with the areas up on the tablelands, which might explain Windsor’s poor showing, but Labor voters preferring the Nats is a rare sight. The notional 2PP figures for that booth are 78% to Labor!

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