New South Wales election 2015


Margin: Labor 3.9%
Region: Hunter Region
Federal: Hunter (76%)/Charlton (24%)

Outgoing member: Kerry Hickey (Labor)

Candidates in ballot paper order



Nationals (bottom)

Christian Democratic Party

No Land Tax


Labor (top)




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

The Hunter Valley seat of Cessnock was one of 20 seats retained by Labor at the 2011 election, at which Labor suffered a relatively mild swing of 8.1%, despite the retirement of sitting member Kerry Hickey. The electorate is dominated by Cessnock itself and nearby Kurri Kurri, and also extends into the outskirts of Newcastle around Edgeworth. The redistribution has transferred out of the electorate 4250 voters around Beresfield to the north of Newcastle and 1300 in a rural area north of Branxton, who are respectively transferred to Wallsend and Upper Hunter. It is compensated with a large but thinly populated area in and around the Wollemi and Yengo national parks, accounting for 1300 voters formerly in Upper Hunter. The changes have cut 0.5% from the Labor margin.

Cessnock has existed as an electorate in some form since 1913, outside of the interruption of proportional representation from 1920 to 1927, and has been held by Labor for all but one term. The exception came with the defeat of the Unsworth government in 1988, when Stan Neilly was defeated by Liberal candidate Bob Roberts. Neilly recovered the seat in 1991, and retained it until his retirement in 1999. The ensuing preselection saw local milk vendor and Cessnock councillor Kerry Hickey enjoy a surprise victory over Kate Brassil, a staffer to federal Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon. The state party’s Right-controlled head office initiated a process to have Hickey disqualified on the grounds that he was not a trade union member, but this was scotched following a local rebellion involving Neilly and Cessnock mayor Maree Callaghan.

Hickey’s retirement announcement ahead of the 2011 election initiated a three-way preselection battle, in which Port Stephens council officer Clayton Barr prevailed over councillor James Hawkins and former Transport Workers Union Newcastle sub-branch secretary Mark Crosdale.

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

Back to Crikey’s New South Wales election guide

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *