New South Wales election 2015

Upper Hunter

Margin: Nationals 23.0%
Region: Hunter Region
Federal: Hunter (69%)/Paterson (14%)/New England (7%)/Lyne (7%)/Parkes (2%)

Outgoing member: George Souris (Nationals)

Candidates in ballot paper order

upperhunter-nat

upperhunter-alp

LEE WATTS
Independent

LOUISA CHECCHIN
No Land Tax

RICHARD STRETTON
Christian Democratic Party

JOHN KAYE
Greens

MARTIN RUSH
Labor (bottom)

MICHAEL JOHNSEN
Nationals (top)

2011 BOOTH RESULTS MAP

PAST RESULTS

DEMOGRAPHICS

Two-party preferred booth results from 2011 state election showing Nationals majority in green and Labor in red. New boundaries in thicker blue lines, old ones in thinner red lines. Boundary data courtesy of Ben Raue of The Tally Room.

To be vacated at the election by former Nationals leader George Souris, the electorate of Upper Hunter covers 27,688 square kilometres of territory north-west of Newcastle. It extends from Stroud and Gloucester in the east to Goulburn River National Park in the west, the main population centres being the Hunter Valley towns of Singleton and Muswellbrook. The redistribution has made a number of very minor changes, the most substantial of which is a change to its southern boundary with Cessnock that adds a rural area north of Branxton and removes a large but thinly populated area in and around the Wollemi and Yengo national parks, both transfers involving around 1300 voters.

Upper Hunter has been in conservative hands since it was recreated with the abolition of proportional representation in 1927, and the National/Country Party has held it since 1931. Former accountant and Singleton Shire president George Souris became member in 1988, going on to hold portfolios including finance and land and water conservation in the Fahey government. He became leader of the Nationals in 1999 after deposing Ian Armstrong, a rare event in a party renowned for long leadership reigns and peaceful transitions. Souris stood aside as leader after the 2003 election, when he was succeeded by Oxley MP Andrew Stoner. Following the 2011 election victory he served in cabinet in the tourism, major events, hospitality and racing, and arts portfolios, but was dumped in the reshuffle after Mike Baird became Premier in April 2014.

Souris announced he would retire at the coming election in September, at which time he revealed the decision to drop him from the bench was made by party leader Andrew Stoner, rather than Mike Baird. He will be succeeded as Nationals candidate by Michael Johnsen, the mayor of Upper Hunter Shire, who was preselected unopposed.

Corrections, complaints and feedback to William Bowe at pollbludger-at-bigpond-dot-com. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.

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