Division of Barton

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Australian House of Representatives Division
Division of BARTON 2016.png
Division of Barton in New South Wales, as of the 2016 federal election.
MPLinda Burney
NamesakeSir Edmund Barton
Electors106,511 (2016)
Area40 km2 (15.4 sq mi)
DemographicInner metropolitan

The Division of Barton is an Australian electoral division in the state of New South Wales. The division was created in 1922 and is named for Sir Edmund Barton, the first Prime Minister of Australia.

The division has always been based in the inner southern suburbs of Sydney, and currently includes the suburbs of Arncliffe, Banksia, Bardwell Park, Bardwell Valley, Bexley, Bexley North, Brighton-Le-Sands, Clemton Park, Earlwood, Kyeemagh, Rockdale, Tempe, Turrella, Undercliffe, and Wolli Creek; as well as parts of Belmore, Beverly Hills, Campsie, Canterbury, Carlton, Dulwich Hill, Hurlstone Park, Hurstville, Kingsgrove, Kogarah, Marrickville, and Penshurst.

The current Member for Barton, since the 2016 federal election, is Linda Burney, the former Deputy Leader of the New South Wales Opposition.


For most of its history, Barton has been a marginal seat. Although it was held by the Australian Labor Party for most of the time after 1940, it has been won by the Liberals (or their predecessors) at "high-tide" elections.

Barton's most prominent member has been Dr H. V. Evatt, who was Leader of the Labor Party between 1951 and 1960. After seeing his majority more than halved in 1949, and nearly being defeated in 1951 and 1955, he transferred to the safe seat of Hunter in 1958. A former minister in the Hawke and Keating ministries, Gary Punch, held the seat for Labor between 1983 and 1996. Robert McClelland, Attorney-General in the Rudd and Gillard governments, held the seat for Labor between 1996 and 2013.

The Division of Barton is linked to one of the more unusual episodes in Australian politics. The first member for Barton, Labor's Frederick McDonald, disappeared after his 1925 defeat by Nationalist Thomas Ley, and it is now believed that Ley had him murdered.[1] After being found guilty of an unrelated murder in England in 1947, Ley was declared insane[2] and died in Broadmoor Asylum four months later.

Nickolas Varvaris won the seat for the Liberals at the 2013 federal election, achieving a swing of 7.2 percent to finish with a two-party-preferred vote of just 50.3 percent, which made Barton the Coalition government's most marginal seat.[3]

A redistribution prior to the 2016 federal election erased Varvaris' majority and gave Labor a notional vote of 54.4 percent.[4] It was only after some sustained pressure[5] that in May 2016, Varvaris eventually declared his intention to stand again. Former state deputy opposition leader Linda Burney contested the seat for Labor and won on a swing of 3.9 percent, making it a fairly safe Labor seat.[6]


Member Party Term
  Frederick McDonald Labor 1922–1925
  Thomas Ley Nationalist 1925–1928
  James Tully Labor 1928–1931
  Albert Lane United Australia 1931–1940
  H. V. Evatt Labor 1940–1958
  Len Reynolds Labor 1958–1966
  Bill Arthur Liberal 1966–1969
  Len Reynolds Labor 1969–1975
  Jim Bradfield Liberal 1975–1983
  Gary Punch Labor 1983–1996
  Robert McClelland Labor 1996–2013
  Nickolas Varvaris Liberal 2013–2016
  Linda Burney Labor 2016–present

Election results[edit]

Australian federal election, 2016: Barton[7]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labor Linda Burney 41,878 47.75 +4.14
Liberal Nickolas Varvaris 31,038 35.39 −2.88
Greens Brent Heber 7,741 8.83 +0.95
Christian Democrats Sonny Susilo 3,714 4.23 +2.16
Independent Rasmus Torkel 2,236 2.55 +2.55
Online Direct Democracy Harry Tsoukalas 1,095 1.25 +1.25
Total formal votes 87,702 91.65 +3.56
Informal votes 7,991 8.35 −3.56
Turnout 95,693 89.84 −2.77
Two-party-preferred result
Labor Linda Burney 51,131 58.30 +3.91
Liberal Nickolas Varvaris 36,571 41.70 −3.91
Labor hold Swing +3.91


  1. ^ O'Neill, Margot; Evans, Brett (26 April 2004). "Lateline History Challenge: Minister for Murder" (transcript). Lateline. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  2. ^ "Ley declared insane at time of murder". The Canberra Times. 1947-05-07. Retrieved 2018-09-13.
  3. ^ 2013 federal election results: AEC
  4. ^ 2016 election pendulum: Antony Green ABC
  5. ^ Robertson, James (2016-04-29). "Liberal MP Nick Varvaris can't decide whether to recontest". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2018-09-13.
  6. ^ Barton - 2016 federal election: Antony Green ABC
  7. ^ Barton, NSW, Virtual Tally Room 2016, Australian Electoral Commission.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°57′22″S 151°07′44″E / 33.956°S 151.129°E / -33.956; 151.129