Bathurst – NSW 2019

NAT 15.8%

Incumbent MP
Paul Toole, since 2011.

Central West NSW. Bathurst covers the major centres of Bathurst and Lithgow, and all of Bathurst, Blayney, Lithgow and Oberon local government areas, along with a small part of the Mid-Western regional council.

Bathurst has existed as an electoral district since 1859. It existed as a single-member district for all but three elections in the 1920s, when it expanded to be a multi-member district elected by proportional representation.

The seat was a marginal seat between the Labor Party and the Country Party in the middle part of the 20th century, but since 1981 it has been dominated by the ALP, who have won it at all elections except for 1988, when it was won by the Liberal Party, and 2011, when it was won by the Nationals.

When Bathurst was restored as a single-member district in 1927, it was won by the ALP’s Gus Kelly, who had first won one of Bathurst’s seats in 1925. Kelly held the seat until 1932, when he lost to the Country Party’s Gordon Wilkins. At the next election in 1935, Kelly won the seat back. Kelly served as a minister for the entire length of the Labor state government from 1941 to 1965, and held Bathurst until his death in 1967.

The 1967 by-election was won by the Country Party’s Clive Osborne, who won a three-cornered contest on Liberal preferences. Osborne held the seat throughout the 1970s.

The redistribution before the 1981 election saw the strong Labor town of Lithgow moved from Blue Mountains to Bathurst. The sitting Labor Member for Blue Mountains, Mick Clough, moved with the town of Lithgow, and defeated Osborne’s re-election bid in 1981. Clough had held Blue Mountains since 1978.

Clough held Bathurst until 1988, when he lost to the Liberal Party’s David Berry. Clough won the seat back in 1991, and held it until his retirement in 1999.

Bathurst was won in 1999 by former Lithgow mayor Gerard Martin, running for the ALP. He won re-election in 2003 and 2007.

In 2011, Martin retired and Nationals candidate Paul Toole defeated Labor candidate Dale Turner with a massive 36.7% swing, the largest in the state. Toole was re-elected in 2015.


Bathurst is a safe Nationals seat.

2015 result

Paul Toole Nationals 29,13559.9-7.4
Cass Coleman Labor 13,31427.4+6.5
Tracey Carpenter Greens 4,4369.1+2.9
Narelle RigbyChristian Democrats1,0102.1+2.1
Tom CrippsNo Land Tax7501.5+1.5

2015 two-party-preferred result

Paul Toole Nationals 30,24165.8-7.9
Cass Coleman Labor 15,70434.2+7.9

Booth breakdown

Booths in Bathurst have been split into four areas. Polling places in the two main cities of Bathurst and Lithgow have been grouped together, with the remainder of the electorate split into North and South.

The Nationals won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all four areas, ranging from 54.7% in Lithgow to 74% in the south.

Voter groupNAT 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes66.46,08812.5

Two-party-preferred votes in Bathurst at the 2015 NSW state election

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  1. not a safe np seat despite the 2015 margin…..; approx half the seat is lithgow…. which can vote 60/40 in Labors favour…….if so this will go close despite any swing in Bathurst to labor

  2. FTR the result stats appear to come from Northern Tablelands, not Bathurst.

    Pathway for a Labor win would be to easily sweep Lithgow and get a 50/50-ish result in Bathurst proper. On past history this is very attainable. Trouble is the whole area is trending quite Coalition and Toole seems to have an excellent personal vote.

  3. for a seat roughly half Lithgow half Bathurst this sort of result should be impossible…. 60/40 all’s way should be quite possible in that case 40/60 in Bathurst would give a line ball result………. this margin is very much inflated

  4. looked at the Calare Federal figures which includes this seat plus Orange and Wellington and Mudgee…. the 2016 margin was only 11% an area which as a proportion includes much more anti labor areas….. Labor polled 54% in Lithgow and 48% in Bathurst…………. this seat could well change hands

  5. Good luck with that analysis Mick. Toole has a massive local vote, and it is another seat ( eg Kiama, Riverstone, Drummoyne, Camden etc) where the demographics are shifting strongly away from ALP.

  6. look at the 2016 vote for Calare which I think includes all of Bathurst…… 54% alp Lithgow…… and 48% Bathurst….. pretty sure that equates to a labor win. But moderate I do accept that Toole has a personal vote which will moderate my sums


  8. interesting to revisit this story 18 months later. Bridal Track soon to reopen Terry. World hasn’t ended under Toole as local MP/Minister – the reverse is true. So why has Labor lost this seat again in such an astounding turnaround of fortunes? If ALP doesn’t honestly and openly explore that question it will disappear as a party in this seat.

    The world has changed. The old union based thuggery politics of the last century don’t work any more. Gerard Martin was an example of that old school and he and his ilk were thoroughly rejected in the purge that followed the 15 year reign that saw Obeid, McDonald and others of the far right uglies that dominated the party for far too long.

    As an old leftie (not so far left that i’d be a green) i cannot see the ALP has within it the capacity for rejuvenation. Jodie McKay could not run a tupperware party. There is no visible talent anywhere in the state ALP. To win back Bathurst the ALP would need to develop a talent bank and invest heavily for at least a decade to inch toward an election win. I expect the party doesn’t money or stamina to win back Bathurst.

    Paul Toole would need to live feed machine gun every puppy farm animal in the central west and even then he’d probably come up smelling roses. The third generation Toole member is even now being apprenticed in regional politics to follow on from dad and granddad. Get used to the dynasty.

  9. Jack yes Toole is probably secure…. disagree about your assessment of Jodie. Bathurst is made up of mainly
    Lithgow and Bathurst cities. A good vote in Lithgow say 60% changes the sums for the seat

  10. Agree Jack Z. The demographics of Bathurst have changed and the power And energy domination of the unions around Wallerawang and Lithgow has been ameliorated as our workforce in NSW becomes less and less unionised. Added to that Toole is likely to go into the next election as Nationals leader, in an election where the coalition will be looking to add fat to its margin, I think Bathurst will be 70/30 after 2023.
    Mick Q will likely focus your attention on his obsession for ALPs prospects of winning either Kiama and South Coast, where at least the ALP has the presence of a federal member (at least until 2022). There is little infrastructure I can see for the ALP around Bathurst, Lithgow or even Orange.

  11. Orange is much more conservative than other parts of the area…. Including nearly all in the state seat of Bathurst. My argument is what is possible in seats based on history inflated margins or alternative votes at another level of government.

  12. The best hope for the ALP getting back on the radar in Bathurst is for Lithgow to return to a Blue Mountains based seat (at either state or federal level). Blue Mountains is probably safe ALP now but spare capacity there is probably going to Penrith. Labor holding both Macquarie and Lindsay on comfortable margins federally and winning back Penrith and Mulgoa at the state level all need to happen first.

    With all these other priorities don’t think Labor will win Bathurst again. Nats might lose it but it would be to an Independent (or Shooters if they keep growing).

  13. John, & Mick q
    I disagree completely everything is heading in an entirely different direction.
    1/ Look at the Lithgow booth results up to 15% swings against labor. Lithgow is virtually a lib town !!. Amazing. Labor seemed to have blown a third of their core vote. Why ?. Orange is heading in the other direction !.
    iN 2023 there will be 40-50000 voters from Hunter pushing west into Calare effectively
    Maquarie will be 10000 voters under quota, there is every chance that the Nat’s wish to put the upper Blue Mountains into Calare will happen, pushing Maquarie into the Sydney basin similar to 2007.
    Lindsays margin is now at an all-time high (relatively) this is a trend.

  14. Labor are finished in Bathurst, just like in a swag of other seats they lost in the 2011 landslide (e.g. Drummoyne, Kiama, Oatley, Mulgoa etc). Margins are simply too insurmountable, incumbents too entrenched; demographic change not helping either.


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