Division of Hunter
Australian House of Representatives Division
|Area||10,640 km2 (4,108.1 sq mi)|
The division covers rural, regional and suburban areas centred on the Hunter Region, including the towns of Singleton, Muswellbrook and Cessnock. It also extends into parts of Greater Newcastle, covering suburbs such as Cameron Park, Edgeworth, Toronto and Morissett.
The seat has been in Labor hands since 1910, and for most of that time has been reasonably safe for that party. The Hunter Region has been one of the few areas outside of capital cities where Labor has consistently done well. Among its notable members have been Prime Minister Edmund Barton, former Labor Leaders Matthew Charlton and Dr H. V. Evatt, and Joel Fitzgibbon, who was a minister in the first and second Rudd governments. The seat became somewhat marginal in 1984 when much of its territory was shifted to the newly created Charlton, but since 1990 Labor has never tallied less than 53 percent of the two-party vote.
The seat has been held by two father-son combinations. Rowley James held the seat from 1928 to 1958 before giving it up for Evatt, who was in danger of losing his Sydney-area seat of Barton and wanted a friendlier seat in which to run. Evatt was succeeded after one term by Rowley James' son, Bert, who held it until 1980. Eric Fitzgibbon won the seat in 1984, handing it to his son and current member, Joel, in 1996.
2015 proposed abolition
In 2015 the Australian Electoral Commission announced plans to abolish the federation seat of Hunter. Due to changing populations, overall, New South Wales was to lose a seat while Western Australia was to gain an extra seat. Electors in the north of Hunter were to join New England. The roughly 40 percent remainder were to become part of Paterson, with the Liberal margin calculated to be notionally reduced from 9.8 percent to just 0.5 percent as a result. Since the Commission's guidelines require it to preserve the names of original electorates where possible, the commission proposed renaming Charlton to Hunter.
The final plan, however, saw Charlton abolished, with Hunter pushed slightly eastward to absorb much of Charlton's former territory. While most of the new Hunter's voters come from the old Charlton, as previously mentioned, Commission guidelines required the name of Hunter to be retained. The Labor incumbent for Charlton, Pat Conroy, opted to contest neighbouring Shortland in order to allow Fitzgibbon to re-contest Hunter.
|(Sir) Edmund Barton||Protectionist||1901–1903|
|Frank Liddell||Free Trade, Anti-Socialist||1903–1909|
|H. V. Evatt||Labor||1958–1960|
|Christian Democrats||Richard Stretton||3,260||3.38||+0.79|
|Total formal votes||96,466||92.12||−1.26|
- "Australian Electoral Commission to abolish Federal NSW seat of Hunter". ABC News. Australia. 16 October 2015.
- "Draft federal redistribution of New South Wales". Poll Bludger, Crikey. 16 October 2015.
- "Labor's Joel Fitzgibbon loses his seat in redistribution by Australian Electoral Commission". The Age. 16 October 2015.
- Green, Antony. "Hunter". ABC Election Guide 2016. Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
- "NSW federal redistribution 2015". ABC News. Australia.
- Hunter, NSW, Virtual Tally Room 2016, Australian Electoral Commission.