Goulburn – NSW 2015

LIB 26.8%

Incumbent MP
Pru Goward, since 2007.

Geography
Southern NSW. The electorate covers the towns of Goulburn, Yass, Boorowa, Crookwell and Moss Vale. The seat covers the entirety of the Goulburn Mulwaree, Yass Valley, Boorowa and Upper Lachlan council areas, and south-western parts of Wingecarribee Shire.

Map of Goulburn's 2011 and 2015 boundaries. 2011 boundaries marked as red lines, 2015 boundaries marked as white area. Click to enlarge.
Map of Goulburn’s 2011 and 2015 boundaries. 2011 boundaries marked as red lines, 2015 boundaries marked as white area. Click to enlarge.

Redistribution
Goulburn shifted west to fill the gap left by Burrinjuck shifting west due to the abolition of Murrumbidgee. Goulburn lost Bowral and Mittagong in the Southern Highlands, and gained Yass, Crookwell and Boorowa from Burrinjuck. Goulburn also gained small areas from Monaro and Wagga Wagga. These changes increased the Liberal margin slightly from 26.6% to 26.8%. Approximately 61% of the seat’s population was already in Goulburn in 2011, with 33% of the electorate’s population coming from Burrinjuck.

History
An electoral district named Goulburn existed continuously from 1859 until 1991. It was restored in 2007. The ALP dominated the seat from 1925 to 1965, and was held by the Country/National Party from 1965 until 1991. It is now a Liberal seat.

When proportional representation was introduced in NSW in 1920, Goulburn was expanded to cover Nowra, Yass, Bega, Eden, Queanbeyan and Cooma and elected three members. The district elected one Nationalist, one Progressive and one Labor in 1920 and 1922, but in 1925, elected two Labor and one Nationalist.

When Goulburn once again became a single-member district in 1927, it was won by the ALP’s Jack Tully, who had held one of Goulburn’s seats since 1925.

Jack Tully held the seat for the next two decades, with the exception of one term. In 1932 he lost to Peter Loughlin of the United Australia Party, then won it back in 1935. He then held his seat until his retirement in 1946.

The 1946 Goulburn by-election was won by Tully’s son, Laurie Tully. The younger Tully held the seat until his retirement in 1965.

In 1965, Goulburn was won by Mulwaree Shire president Ron Brewer, running for the Country Party. He resigned from the seat in 1974 to contest the federal seat of Eden-Monaro. After losing the federal race, he won back his state seat at the following by-election. He held the seat until his retirement in 1984.

The National Party’s Robert Webster won Goulburn in 1984. He was re-elected in 1988. By the 1988 election, Goulburn had shifted west so that it stretched out to the north and west of Goulburn, covering much of Lachlan Shire and the town of Cowra. Webster became a minister in the Liberal-National coalition government in 1989.

In 1991, the seat of Goulburn was abolished, and the neighbouring Liberal seat of Southern Highlands took over the town of Goulburn, while the rest of the seat shifted into Burrinjuck, which was then a Liberal seat. Webster shifted to the Legislative Council, where he remained until his retirement in 1995. He served as a minister until his retirement from politics.

The town of Goulburn was now included in the seat of Southern Highlands, which was held by senior minister John Fahey. He became Premier in 1992 when Nick Greiner resigned. Fahey lost power in 1995, and in 1996 he resigned from Southern Highlands to contest the federal seat of Macarthur, which he won. He went on to hold Macarthur until his retirement in 2001, and served as Finance Minister in the Howard government.

Fahey was succeeded in Southern Highlands in 1996 by Liberal candidate Peta Seaton. Seaton held the seat until her retirement in 2007.

The 1999 redistribution shifted Southern Highlands deeper into the Wollondilly area, while the town of Goulburn shifted into the neighbouring seat of Burrinjuck. Burrinjuck had been held by Liberal MP Alby Schultz from 1988 until 1998, when he left the seat to win the federal seat of Hume. His state seat was won by National Party candidate Katrina Hodgkinson. She still holds Burrinjuck today.

At the 2007 election, the seat of Southern Highlands was abolished. The northern part of the seat was added to the new seat of Wollondilly, while the Southern Highlands itself was combined with the town of Goulburn in the restored seat of Goulburn.

In 2007, the seat was won by former federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner Pru Goward. She saw off a challenge from Goulburn Mulwaree mayor Paul Stephenson.

Pru Goward was re-elected in 2011. She served as Minister for Community Services from 2011 to 2014, and has served as Minister for Planning since 2014.

Candidates

Assessment
Goulburn on paper is a very safe Liberal seat. Labor has preselected a high-profile candidate in Ursula Stephens, a former two-term senator who lost her seat at the 2013 election. While this might suggest Goulburn is a seat Labor is looking at, it’s hard to see Goward being seriously troubled by Labor.

Following the redistribution, Nationals MP for Burrinjuck (and fellow minister) Katrina Hodgkinson initially announced that she would run in Goulburn, effectively facing off against her cabinet colleague Goward. Hodgkinson was eventually preselected to run in Cootamundra instead.

2011 election result

CandidatePartyVotes%SwingRedist
Pru Goward Liberal 27,82861.3+21.564.2
Crystal Validakis Labor 6,69014.7-7.815.9
Robert ParkerIndependent4,96210.9+10.96.4
Maree Byrne Greens 4,3419.6+3.010.1
Adrian Van Der BylChristian Democrats1,5513.4-0.83.0
Others0.4

2011 two-party-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%SwingRedist
Pru Goward Liberal 30,54076.6+18.076.8
Crystal Validakis Labor 9,31223.4-18.023.2
Polling places in Goulburn at the 2011 NSW state election. Goulburn in blue, North-West in green, Southern Highlands in yellow, Yass Valley in red. Click to enlarge.
Polling places in Goulburn at the 2011 NSW state election. Goulburn in blue, North-West in green, Southern Highlands in yellow, Yass Valley in red. Click to enlarge.

Booth breakdown
Booths in Goulburn have been split into four areas, based on local government boundaries. Polling places in Goulburn Mulwaree, Yass Valley and Wingecarribee council areas respectively have been grouped as Goulburn, Yass Valley and Southern Highlands. Polling places in Upper Lachlan and Boorowa council areas have been grouped as ‘north-west’.

The Liberal/National primary vote ranged from 56.5% in the southern highlands to 77.7% in the north-west.

Labor came second, with a vote ranging from 12.5% in the north-west to 18.8% in Goulburn. The Greens vote ranged from 6.7% in the north-west to 15.8% in Yass Valley. The Greens narrowly outpolled Labor in the Yass Valley area.

Voter groupLNP %ALP %GRN %Total% of votes
Goulburn61.718.87.011,99925.9
Southern Highlands56.515.011.98,47518.3
Yass Valley66.015.515.87,42516.0
North-West77.712.56.74,96710.7
Other votes65.315.49.813,49629.1
Two-party-preferred votes in Goulburn at the 2011 NSW state election. Liberal in blue, National in green.
Two-party-preferred votes in Goulburn at the 2011 NSW state election. Liberal in blue, National in green.
Greens primary votes in Goulburn at the 2011 NSW state election.
Greens primary votes in Goulburn at the 2011 NSW state election.

6 COMMENTS

  1. I wonder if Bob Carr quitting before the July transition cost Ursula Stephens the chance of continuing in the Senate.

    Whatever her profile (do senators elected via a party list even have that much of a profile?), this is a very conservative seat. I’m surprised Antony Green has included it on his list of key seats.

  2. Burrinjuck had similar boundaries to this seat – including both Yass and Goulburn – when Katrina Hodgkinson first won it in 1999, so you can see why she felt entitled to contest Goulburn. (I gather she lives in Yass.) But given that Burrinjuck was a Liberal seat prior to Hodgkinson, the Nationals can’t claim devine right to this electorate.

  3. Ursula Stephens has always had a high profile in Goulburn – her office was there and she has a fairly long involvement in the immediate Goulburn region.

    Goulburn itself is also more of a Labor town than you’d imagine.

    If this seat were just Goulburn, I’d give Stephens a chance, but including Yass, Crookwell etc, it’s becoming quite the long shot.

    If nothing else, it’s good to see quality candidates run in ‘unwinnable’ seats.

  4. Yass Valley is increasingly a dormitory area for Canberra which would explain the Green vote in that area

  5. Ursula’s husband Bob was Labor candidate here in 1980s, seat should have been won by Labor in Wran years but Brewer’s personal vote keep it for Nats. Used to be a big railway town which bolstered Labor’s vote.

Comments are closed.