Monaro by-election, 2021

Cause of by-election
Sitting Nationals MP John Barilaro announced his resignation as deputy premier, Nationals leader and member for Monaro in early October 2021 after the resignation of NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian.

MarginNAT 11.6%

Geography
Southeastern NSW. Monaro covers inland parts of southeastern NSW to the south and east of the ACT. The seat includes Queanbeyan, Cooma and the Snowy Mountains. It covers the Snowy Monaro and Queanbeyan-Palerang council areas.

History
The seat of Monaro was first creating in 1858, and apart from three terms in the 1920s, Monaro has existed as an electoral district ever since.

The seat was abolished in 1920 when proportional representation was introduced, and Monaro was included in the three-member Goulburn district.

When Monaro was introduced in 1927 it was won by the Country Party’s William Hedges. Hedges held the seat until 1941, when he lost to the ALP’s John Seiffert by 181 votes.

Prior to the 1950 election, Seiffert was disendorsed by the ALP after he voted against the party’s candidate for a Legislative Council vacancy. He was re-elected in Monaro without an official Labor opponent, and was eventually readmitted to the party. He continued to serve in Monaro until his retirement in 1965.

In 1965, Seiffert retired, and his son ran as the Labor candidate, losing to the Liberal candidate Steve Mauger in a three-cornered contest, with Country Party preferences electing the Liberal by only 268 votes. Mauger held the seat until his retirement in 1976, serving as a junior minister for the final year of his term.

In 1976, another three-cornered contest saw Labor candidate John Akister win despite the combined Country Party and Liberal Party vote adding up to a majority. Akister held the seat until 1988, serving as a minister from 1984 to 1988. In 1988, he lost his seat in the anti-Labor landslide to the National Party’s Peter Cochran.

Cochran held the seat until 1999, when he retired. He was succeeded by fellow National Peter Webb. Webb held the seat for one term, and lost to the ALP’s Steve Whan in 2003.

Whan was re-elected in 2007, and served as a minister in the Labor government from 2009 to 2011.

In 2011, Whan lost Monaro to Nationals candidate John Barilaro with an 8.4% swing. Whan was appointed to fill a vacancy in the Legislative Council in June 2011. Whan subsequently resigned from his upper house seat to recontest Monaro in 2015, but again lost to Barilaro.

Barilaro was appointed to the ministry in 2014, and he was elected Nationals leader (and deputy premier) in 2016. Barilaro was re-elected in 2019, and retired in 2021.

Candidates
No information.

Assessment
Monaro was Labor-held as recently as 2003-2011 and remained very marginal in 2015 before a big swing to Barilaro in 2019. The absence of Barilaro should make this seat more competitive.

2019 result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
John BarilaroNationals25,86852.3+3.6
Bryce WilsonLabor13,43127.2-13.4
Peter MarshallGreens3,9137.9+0.1
Mick HoltonShooters, Fishers and Farmers3,8487.8+7.8
Andrew ThalerIndependent1,2292.5+2.5
Frankie SeymourAnimal Justice1,1592.3+2.3
Informal1,3102.6

2019 two-party-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
John BarilaroNationals27,72361.6+9.1
Bryce WilsonLabor17,27638.4-9.1

Booth breakdown

Booths in Monaro have been split into four areas. Polling places in the former Queanbeyan, Palerang and Cooma-Monaro council areas have been grouped together. Polling places in the former Bombala and Snowy River council areas have been grouped as “South”. A majority of the seat’s population lives in the former City of Queanbeyan.

The Nationals won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all four areas, ranging from 57.1% in Queanbeyan to 67.6% in the south.

The Greens primary vote peaked at 11.4% in Palerang and the Shooters primary vote peaked at 15.2% in the south.

Voter groupGRN primSFF primNAT 2PPTotal votes% of votes
Queanbeyan7.75.757.116,24432.9
Palerang11.46.764.15,16010.4
South5.715.267.62,8795.8
Cooma-Monaro6.010.566.22,6465.4
Pre-poll6.17.263.615,09330.5
Other votes11.310.462.07,42615.0

Election results in Monaro at the 2019 NSW state election
Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and primary votes for the Nationals, Labor, the Greens and the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers.

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11 COMMENTS

  1. This will be difficult for NAT to hold onto. Barilaro’s performance in Queanbeyan has been one of the biggest surprise stories over the last 10 years of the Coalition Government. LAB will see this as an opportunity to break the trend recently.

    Having said that, a win for the NAT here would likely cement that the Federal Seat (E-M) is trending away from LIB and towards NAT. That could prove pivotal if the rumours are true that Barilaro is moving to Canberra.

  2. look at Federal seat figures for Queanbeyan some thing like 55% alp to 57% npa here some thing like 12% difference…… suggests a personal vote for Barilaro of maybe 10% ish. Nats wont beat the liberals in eden monaro,

  3. Bronnie Taylor rumoured to be considering a tilt at Monaro, making a move from the Upper House to the Lower House in the Process.

  4. I doubt if Eden Monaro is trending away from the Libs when the Nationals candidate only polled around 6.5 % at the 2020 By election.
    Barilaro has had a strong personal following but will it translate into a strong vote for a new Nationals candidate.
    Labor has chance in Monaro providing they pick a good community based candidate.

  5. Maybe if Steve Whan is preselected again, Labor might have a fighting chance as he almost held on here in 2011. Back then the swing was under the statewide average and he had a personal vote which was apparent in 2015 when he attempted to recontest after switching to the Legislative Council, then in 2019 without his name on the ballot paper, the margin blew out.

    Barilaro did good to build up a personal vote over 10 years as the state seat (which is basically 70% Queanbeyan suburbs with the rest its rural hinterland and the snowfields) is an anomaly for a Nationals-held seat, as on a federal level it is more of a Labor-Liberal contest.

    I would agree that it would be very convenient for Bronnie Taylor to be put in here, however she will probably have to campaign a bit stronger in Queanbeyan where she doesn’t have much profile as she is from Nimmitabel way and if she loses she can go straight back to the LC.

  6. Unlike Bega, it is interesting to note that this seat would also be Coalition held on a Federal level, although using federal results the margin for this seat would only be 0.16% for the Coalition using the Eden-Monaro by election results. If there isn’t much change in the NSW political landscape the Nationals should win this seat and will be benefitted from OPV. I predict Nationals will win with a margin of around 4.17%, benefitted by OPV although it would be a significant swing due to the loss of Barilaro’s popularity.

  7. Edit: There was a miscalculation, Coalition would actually only win this seat by 0.06% using federal results in terms of 2PP, or by 50 votes.

  8. George Souris’s 4 year term on the Board of Racing NSW expires on 18th December. I expect that Barilaro will be appointed as his replacement which would require him to resign from Parliament just before the appointment is made.

  9. Glad Bruz is going. Jordies is innocent.

    Realistically the Nats should hold this one but lose Bega considering National party strength as seen at the Hunter by-election. If Mike Kelly decides to run here for Labor he could definitely win but his medical condition likely stops him from running here. Labors only hope in Queanbeyan IS Mike Kelly.

    Although the unpopularity of Barnaby Joyce could cost them this seat and the next federal election meaning McBain probably holds overlapping Eden-Monaro. Joyce’s religious climate-skeptism will only hurt them badly in these regions. this isn’t Tamworth or Bathurst this is still marginal unlike those areas. The margin is clearly inflated here from Bariliaro’s personal vote and the lack of a strong ALP campaign here in 2019 (as they were more focussed on holding this area at the federal election)

    I disagree with the 4% margin it will more likely be 1-2% so very marginal afterwards. The Nats then may hold by a similar margin in 2023 while losing government so this may not be a bellwether anymore. This seat has turned away from Labor but they can still win it if they are doing well statewide like under the Bob Carr years.

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