Belinda Neal, since 2007. Previously Senator for New South Wales 1994-1998.
Robertson covers the southern half of the Central Coast. It covers most of Gosford LGA, with the exception of a few suburbs on the border with Wyong LGA including Wamberal, Matcham, Holgate and Mt Elliot. Major centres in the electorate include Gosford, Erina, Terrigal, Woy Woy and Umina.
Robertson has mostly remained the same under the redistribution. The only change took place at the northern end of the electorate, where a sparsely populated northern arm of Gosford LGA was transferred from Dobell to Robertson.
Robertson was first created in 1900 for the first federal election in 1901. The seat originally was an inland seat particularly covering Dubbo and Wellington and the Upper Hunter. It quickly moved towards the Central Coast, which it first covered in 1913. The seat continued to shift and at one point also covered the coast to the north of Newcastle, before firmly settling on the Central Coast in 1974. The 1984 redistribution saw the seat take its current shape covering the southern half of the Central Coast.
For most of its history the seat was dominated by conservative MPs before mostly supporting the ALP over the last forty years. The seat was held by Henry Willis who won it for the Free Trade Party and maintained his hold until he lost it in 1910 to William Johnson of the ALP. Johnson only managed to hold the seat for one term, and was the only Labor member for the seat before the Second World War. He was succeeded by William Fleming of the Liberals, who proceeded to represent the Nationalists and joined the newly-formed Country Party in 1921. He ran for the seat as a Country Party candidate in 1922 and came third, with Sydney Gardner of the Nationalist Party holding the seat. Gardner maintained the seat until 1940, joining the United Australia Party in 1931.
At the 1940 election Gardner was one of two UAP candidates to run in Robertson, and came third on primary votes, and the other UAP candidate, Eric Spooner, won the seat on Gardner’s preferences in a close race with the ALP. Thomas Williams of the ALP won the seat in 1943 and held it until 1949, when he was defeated by the Liberal Party’s Roger Dean. Dean held the seat until he resigned in 1964 to become Administrator of the Northern Territory. His successor, William Bridges-Maxwell, won a by-election and was reelected in 1966 before being defeated by the ALP’s Barry Cohen in 1969.
Cohen held the seat for 21 years, serving as a minister from 1983 to 1987 in the Hawke government before retiring in 1990. He was succeeded by Frank Walker, who had been a minister in the state government before losing his seat in the 1988 state election. Walker served as a minister in the second Keating government from 1993 to 1996 before losing his seat to Jim Lloyd of the Liberal Party.
Lloyd held the seat for the entire length of the Howard government. He saw off Belinda Neal in 1998, when she resigned from the Senate to run for the seat. Lloyd was a minister from July 2004 until he lost his seat to Neal at the 2007 election. The seat was the ALP’s most marginal victory at the 2007 election, with Neal winning by 184 votes.
- Melissa Batten (Independent)
- Graham Freemantle (Christian Democratic Party)
- Peter Freewater (Greens)
- Deborah O’Neill (Labor)
- Darren Jameson (Liberal)
- Jake Cassar (Independent)
- Don Parkes (One Nation)
- Michelle Meares (Independent)
- Michael Jakob (Family First)
- Nicole Beiger (Liberal Democrats)
The ALP’s chances have definitely been improved by the removal of unpopular sitting member Belinda Neal. Having said that, the ongoing controversies surrounding the ALP’s campaign for the seat could well have fatally wounded Deb O’Neill’s campaign, and you would have to consider Jameson to be the favourite.
2007 two-candidate-preferred result
I have broken the suburbs of Robertson into four areas: those booths in the sparsely populated western parts of the seat, as well as those booths closest to the centres of Gosford, Erina and Woy Woy.
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