Cessnock – NSW 2019

ALP 22.0%

Incumbent MP
Clayton Barr, since 2011.

Hunter region. Cessnock covers the entirety of the Cessnock council area, along with a small part of Lake Macquarie council area. Cessnock also covers about half of the landmass of the Singleton council area, but there is very few residents in this area. The seat’s main centres are Cessnock and Kurri Kurri, as well as the suburbs of Barnsley, Cameron Park and Edgeworth on the fringe of the Lake Macquarie urban area.

The electoral district of Cessnock was first created in 1913. It was merged in the multi-member district of Maitland in 1920, but was restored in 1927. In that time, it has been won by the ALP at all but one election. It was won by the Liberal Party in 1988, before being won back by the ALP in 1991.

Cessnock was won in 1927 by the ALP’s Jack Baddeley. He had served as member for the multi-member district of Newcastle since 1922. He served as a minister in a number of Labor governments, from 1925 to 1927, from 1930 to 1932 and from 1941 until his retirement in 1949. He served as Deputy Premier from 1941 to 1947 and served as acting Premier for a period in 1948.

The ALP’s John Crook won the 1949 by-election, and held the seat until his retirement in 1959. He was succeeded in 1959 by George Neilly, who had been a member of the Legislative Council since 1954.

Neilly retired in 1978, and was succeeded by Bob Brown. He served less than one term, resigning in 1980 to take the federal seat of Hunter. He moved to the federal seat of Charlton in 1984. He served as a federal minister from 1988 to 1993, and retired in 1998. He was succeeded in Charlton by his daughter Kelly Hoare, who held it until 2007.

The 1981 Cessnock by-election was won by Stan Neilly, the son of the former MP George. He held the seat at the 1981 and 1984 elections, but in 1988 he lost Cessnock by 275 votes to the Liberal Party’s Bob Roberts, a Singleton shire councillor.

Roberts only held the seat for one term, losing to the younger Neilly in 1991. Neilly held the seat until his retirement in 1999.

Cessnock was won in 1999 by Cessnock councillor Kerry Hickey. He served as a minister in the Labor government from 2003 to 2007. His career was buffetted by a number of scandals, including drink driving charges in 2006 and revelations that he had an affair with a staff member and had fathered a child.

Hickey retired in 2011, and Cessnock was won by Labor candidate Clayton Barr. Barr was re-elected in 2015.


Cessnock is a very safe Labor seat.

2015 result

Clayton Barr Labor 28,51962.2+28.1
Jessica Price-Purnell Nationals 10,65223.2-1.8
Lindy Williams Greens 3,8578.4-0.2
Domenic LopreiatoNo Land Tax1,4653.2+3.2
Julie JohnsonChristian Democrats1,3392.9-0.5

2015 two-party-preferred result

Clayton Barr Labor 30,05772.0+18.1
Jessica Price-Purnell Nationals 11,68528.0-18.1

Booth breakdown

Booths in Cessnock have been split into five areas. Booths in the two main towns of Cessnock and Kurri Kurri have been grouped together. Remaining polling places have been split into east, west and north.

Labor won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all five areas, ranging from 65.3% in the north to 77.7% in Kurri Kurri.

Voter groupALP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Kurri Kurri77.76,22013.6
Other votes69.07,46716.3

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

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