Wagga Wagga by-election, 2018

Cause of by-election
Sitting MP Daryl Maguire is expected to resign soon, after recently resigning from the Liberal Party following an unfavourable appearance at ICAC.

Margin – LIB 12.9%

Southwestern NSW. The seat covers all of the City of Wagga Wagga and Lockhart Shire, and the parts of Snowy Valleys council surrounding Tumut.

The seat of Wagga Wagga was first created in 1894. With the exception of the period 1904-1913 and 1920-1927, the seat has existed ever since. The seat has been held by the Liberal Party since 1957.

The seat was held by the Country Party from 1927 to 1941, when it was won by the ALP’s Eddie Graham. He served as a minister from 1944 until his death in 1957.

The Liberal Party’s Wal Fife won the 1957 by-election. He served as a minister from 1967 until 1975, when he resigned from Wagga Wagga to contest the federal seat of Farrer. He served as a federal minister from 1977 to 1983. He moved to the seat of Hume in 1984, and held the seat until his retirement in 1993.

The 1975 Wagga Wagga by-election was won by Joe Schipp. He served as a minister in the Coalition government from 1988 to 1993, and retired in 1999.

Wagga Wagga has been held since 1999 by Daryl Maguire. He won the seat as a Liberal MP in 1999. He resigned from the Liberal Party in July 2018 after admitting that he had sought payment over a property deal at an ICAC hearing.


  • Seb McDonagh (Shooters, Fishers and Farmers)
  • Julia Ham (Liberal)
  • Joe McGirr (Independent)
  • Ray Goodlass (Greens)
  • Tom Arentz (Christian Democratic Party)
  • Paul Funnell (Independent)
  • Dan Hayes (Labor)

Wagga Wagga is normally a reasonably safe Liberal seat. The seat is not likely to be in danger to Labor, but if the Nationals run the seat could be in play.

2015 result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Daryl Maguire Liberal 25,061 53.8 +0.2
Dan Hayes Labor 13,084 28.1 +18.0
Paul Funnell Independent 4,523 9.7 +9.7
Kevin Poynter Greens 2,320 5.0 +1.6
Keith Pech Christian Democrats 1,111 2.4 0.0
Joe Sidoti No Land Tax 515 1.1 +1.1
Informal 1,548 3.2

2015 two-party-preferred result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Daryl Maguire Liberal 26,704 62.9 -14.9
Dan Hayes Labor 15,756 37.1 +14.9

Booth breakdown

Booths in Wagga Wagga have been split into four parts. There are three local government areas in the electorate of Wagga Wagga. Polling places in Snowy Valleys (mainly the Tumut area) and Lockhart council areas have been grouped together. Those in the Wagga Wagga council area, which covers a large majority of the seat’s population, were split between those in the city itself (“Wagga Wagga”) and those in the surrounding rural areas (“Wagga Wagga Surrounds”).

The Liberal Party won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all areas, ranging from 60.5% in Tumut to 71.7% in Lockhart.

Voter group LIB 2PP % Total votes % of votes
Wagga Wagga 60.7 18,464 39.6
Wagga Wagga Surrounds 66.5 4,900 10.5
Tumut 60.5 4,076 8.7
Lockhart 71.7 1,502 3.2
Other votes 65.6 6,433 13.8
Pre-poll 63.0 11,239 24.1

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

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  1. When Maguire won in 1999 he did so from just 25% of the primary vote. The Labor candidate actually topped the primary vote on 26%. The Nats got just under 23% and the race was further complicated by significant votes for independents and One Nation.

    It does suggest the Nats will mount a serious challenge with an open seat, with the potential added interest of the intervention of the SFF and/or One Nation.

  2. I do find it very funny that the Nationals have been calling a seat they last won in 1938 a “natural Nationals seat”.

    But honestly, if the Liberals allow the Nationals to run here without extracting significant concessions, they deserve defeat. The Coalition agreement is pretty airtight in NSW and doesn’t even let the parties compete for open seats at federal level, so I don’t see why they would allow it at state level with optional preferential in play.

  3. And the Nationals have announced they won’t be running. Never really seemed like a serious possibility. I would think the Shooters will probably come second.

  4. Margin is 13% is an own goal for the liberals given what caused the byelection..big swing is possible

  5. Looks like it will be close. The libs chances would depend on the Candidate. Very likely to the Shooters or One Nation doing well if they choose to run otherwise very simple for the Libs to win baring a strong indepndent.

  6. Can someone explain to me what makes Launceston, Ballarat, Mackay and Bunbury so different from Wagga in terms of Labor support? Every city is different of course, but Labor are competitive (or even safe) in some regional cities and not even on the board in others.

    Looking at past results, Labor could win if both coalition parties run and the Shooters also split the conservative vote, keeping in mind that NSW has optional preferential. I don’t think One Nation will do much one way or the other.

  7. most big cities Labor gets at least 40%………… part depends on Quality of Labor candidate…… state seat of wagga normally splits 60/40 lnp. way………. but was roughly the reverse when Labor last held it. In nsw labor has held almost every country seat at some stage…..if shooters or onp stands will be interesting… also look at tumut area in Eden Monaro labour won here

  8. Labor did well in Tumut and Tumbarumba due to the council mergers issue.

    The merger did go through and Tumbarumba based protesters were still a feature of the Cootamundra byelection last year, so that can still be a factor.

    The real factor is I think Labor will actually try to win the seat. The fact they’re standing at all is already above and beyond what you’d expect major parties to do in safe seats.

  9. if Labor wins the seat it is possible they hold it for a considerable time esp if it overlaps an alp govt
    look at Albury 1978 to 1988

  10. I decided to look at the regional centres of Australia by population and compare them to how they generally lean politically.

    <200,000 people:

    Sunshine Coast – LNP
    Wollongong – ALP
    Geelong – ALP
    Hobart – ALP (or further left)

    <100,000 people:

    Townsville – 50/50
    Cairns – 50/50
    Darwin – 50/50
    Toowoomba – LNP
    Ballarat – ALP
    Bendigo – ALP

    <50,000 people:

    Albury-Wodonga – Lib
    Mackay – 50/50
    Rockhampton – 50/50
    Launceston – 50/50
    Bunbury – 50/50 (Lib if not for state ALP 2017)
    Bundaberg – LNP
    Coffs Harbor – Nat
    Hervey Bay – LNP
    *** Wagga Wagga *** – Liberal
    Tamworth – National
    Shepparton – National/Independent
    Port Macquarie – National
    Gladstone – Labor
    Mildura – National

    Wagga Wagga seems to be about the population size where regional centres transition to being more conservative leaning, except for historically working class "Labor towns".

  11. tumult & Tumburumba were in e.m prior to the council merger issue and were won by Mike Kelly as well..… it appears he has a capacity to win such areas….. maybe it is the nature of a serious campaign…..; if you really want to see the impact of the council mergers look at Gundagai…….

  12. The arrows in my previous comment are the wrong way around.

    The aforementioned Tumbarumba residents have confirmed they’re going to be actively campaigning against the Liberals.

  13. David Walsh you’re right when it comes to the eponymous seats in state elections.

    Looking at the federal seats they seem more marginal (why I said they were 50/50 towns). The towns themselves are red and the surrounding regions are blue, though it’s nowhere near as balkanised as I thought.

    Back to Wagga, I think if Labor win here, the MP will hang on for a few terms at least while Labor looks like they’ll be governing, but it won’t affect Labor’s fortunes in other tiers of government.

  14. Something to think about is that Labor have started contesting byelections in rural seats they have no chance of winning.

    I think they are pursuing a strategy of trying to rebuild the Labor brand in the country, starting with regional centres and moving out from there.

    If “provincial” seats started becoming safe for Labor all over the country, that would make up for losing inner city seats to the Greens. Where Labor would establish a base in the event of the Greens hollowing out the inner city was a big concern for them, though probably not as big now since the Batman showed the Green tide can be stopped and the Greens underperformed big time in Perth and Fremantle.

  15. There is mention of Dr Mcgirr and the shooters party contesting which will be of interest… as they will draw votes from the libs

  16. heard neither shooters and fishers or Dr Mcgirr intend to allocate preferences… there is no way lnp will poll 50% of vote.. in 2011 Dr Mcgirr got 30% labor 10% and lib 53%

  17. Evening all.

    I”m Seb McDonagh the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Candidate for the Wagga By Election.
    It is true we wish to inform our voters that they are indeed in control of their preferences, but we ask that as the Liberal Party has neglected our electorate for so long lets return the favour and put them last.

    Im happy to chat, but its a short election and im fighting for our community and to get the Liberal Government to do the right thing by our farmers!

  18. basically who wins depends upon who comes 1st to 4th out of lib, labor, IND and sff this is unclear to me…… but the libs need to have 50% after exhaustion to win. preferences will not come back to the liberals in any great numbers ….I guess the liberals will be in the final 2 but I am unsure who else will be . I suspect who ever is elected will win in the 2019 state election

  19. Libs are toast.

    Dr. Joe is one out and one back coming into the home turn Friday.

    Be interesting to see how many only put one (1) on their ballot paper, proving one can game the system rather than mandatory all candidates be ranked.

    Exercise your full franchise ~ number every box.

  20. What results show is that most voters think 2 majors are on the nose. Half of electorate think Lib/ Lab chaos is unacceptable. A result of 35% for two independents one in reality a proxy national and the other proxy DLP shows that neo liberalism is rejected by most of electorate. The time for a major restructuring of political parties has come. We need 3 groupings neo liberal group, moral degenerate group and a distributinst Third Way. TrAde Unions need to switch alliegence from the moral degenerates to the Third Way.

  21. Quite off topic for Wagga Wagga, but I couldn’t resist…

    “moral degenerate group”

    Love you too, Andrew!

    In all seriousness, I’ve held the opinion for a while that Australian politics needs about six to nine significant parties. (If we had proportional representation in the Lower House, of course).

    On the standard political compass, the six would occupy positions at roughly 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11 o-clock…

    1 o’clock is the paternalistic kind of Tories (Nationals on a good day)
    3 o’clock don’t care about anything except free markets (moderate Liberals live here)
    5 o’clock are more socially libertarian (Liberal Democrats live here)
    7 o’clock are left-libertarians (Reason, Pirates, some Greens live here)
    9 o’clock are hard-leftists (the more radical Greens and Labor Left live here)
    11 o’clock are DLP types (staunch unionists, but otherwise quite conservative. A fair chunk of Labor Right lives here.)

    So if you lump 1 & 11, 3 & 5 and 7 & 9 together, that’s roughly Andrew’s groupings.

    Add a seventh party for the more principled centrists, and an eighth for the unprincipled populists.


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