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Division of Hunter

Australian House of Representatives Division
Division of Hunter in New South Wales, as of the 2016 federal election
MPDan Repacholi
NamesakeJohn Hunter
Electors128,438 (2022)
Area10,640 km2 (4,108.1 sq mi)
DemographicRural and provincial
Electorates around Hunter:
New England New England Lyne
New England Hunter Paterson
Calare Macquarie Shortland

The Division of Hunter is an Australian electoral division in the state of New South Wales. The division was proclaimed in 1900, and was one of the original 65 divisions to be contested at the first federal election. The division was named after Captain John Hunter, the second Governor of New South Wales. It covers rural, regional and suburban areas centred on the Hunter Valley, 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 Morisset.

Hunter is a largely blue-collar electorate. Hunter's economic base includes agriculture and mining, being dominated by a mix of rural and coal mining communities.[1] The Hunter Region is one of the few remaining Labor-voting regional areas of New South Wales.

The current member since the 2022 federal election, is Dan Repacholi, a member of the Australian Labor Party.


Since 1984, federal electoral division boundaries in Australia have been determined at redistributions by a redistribution committee appointed by the Australian Electoral Commission. Redistributions occur for the boundaries of divisions in a particular state, and they occur every seven years, or sooner if a state's representation entitlement changes or when divisions of a state are malapportioned.[2]


John Hunter, the division's namesake

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 first Prime Minister, Sir 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 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, Joel, in 1996.

Two-party vote count

Hunter had become somewhat marginal in the 1980s when much of its territory was shifted to the newly created Charlton. Since 1990, Labor has never tallied less than 53 percent of the two-party-preferred vote. Labor's worst two-party-preferred vote was 52.4% in 1984 and best result when challenged by an opposing centre-right candidate was 80.6% in 1961.

Hunter is one of Labor's only regional seats in New South Wales, likely due to it being a blue collar electorate. However, the Nationals and One Nation have increased their support over time due to Labor's policies on coal mining, a large industry in the region. However, the Labor MPs that represent Hunter often come from the Labor Right faction and support the Coalition's policies on coal mining, which more conservative than Labor's.

First-preference vote count

Labor's worst first-preference vote was in 2019, when the current member won only 37.5% of the primary vote; the previous 100-year worst being 44.5% in 2013, again by the incumbent member. Labor's best primary vote was a thumping 76.9% in 1946. As of 2019, the Division of Hunter is considered a marginal seat.

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.[3][4][5][6] Effectively, this meant that Charlton was abolished, and Hunter pushed slightly eastward to absorb much of Charlton's former territory.[7][8] Most voters of the new Hunter came from the former Charlton. However, Charlton's Labor incumbent, Pat Conroy, brokered a factional deal to contest neighbouring Shortland in order to allow Fitzgibbon to continue to represent the new Hunter.


Image Member Party Term Notes
  Sir Edmund Barton
Protectionist 30 March 1901
30 September 1903
Previously held the New South Wales Legislative Assembly seat of Hastings and Macleay. Served as Prime Minister from 1901 to 1903. Resigned to become a Justice of the High Court
  Frank Liddell
Free Trade 16 December 1903
Lost seat
  Anti-Socialist 1906 –
26 May 1909
  Liberal 26 May 1909 –
13 April 1910
  Matthew Charlton
Labor 13 April 1910
9 October 1928
Previously held the New South Wales Legislative Assembly seat of Northumberland. Served as Opposition Leader from 1922 to 1928. Retired
  Rowley James
9 October 1928
27 March 1931
Retired. Son was Bert James
  Labor (NSW) 27 March 1931
February 1936
  Labor February 1936 –
14 October 1958
  H. V. Evatt
22 November 1958
10 February 1960
Previously held the Division of Barton. Served as Opposition Leader from 1951 to 1960. Resigned to become Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales
  Bert James
9 April 1960
19 September 1980
Retired. Father was Rowley James
  Bob Brown
18 October 1980
1 December 1984
Previously held the New South Wales Legislative Assembly seat of Cessnock. Transferred to the Division of Charlton
  Eric Fitzgibbon
1 December 1984
29 January 1996
Retired. Son is Joel Fitzgibbon
  Joel Fitzgibbon
2 March 1996
11 April 2022
Served as minister under Rudd. Served as Chief Government Whip in the House under Gillard. Retired. Father was Eric Fitzgibbon
  Daniel Repacholi
21 May 2022

Election results

2022 Australian federal election: Hunter[9]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labor Dan Repacholi 41,514 38.54 +0.97
National James Thomson 29,540 27.42 +3.95
One Nation Dale McNamara 10,759 9.99 −11.60
Greens Janet Murray 9,562 8.88 +2.01
Independent Stuart Bonds 6,126 5.69 +5.69
United Australia Geoff Passfield 4,370 4.06 −0.26
Animal Justice Victoria Davies 2,469 2.29 −0.91
Independent Scott Laruffa 1,929 1.79 +1.79
Informed Medical Options Cathy Townsend 1,458 1.35 +1.35
Total formal votes 107,727 92.37 +1.34
Informal votes 8,901 7.63 −1.34
Turnout 116,628 90.85 −1.44
Two-party-preferred result
Labor Dan Repacholi 58,200 54.03 +1.05
National James Thomson 49,527 45.97 −1.05
Labor hold Swing +1.05
Graphs are unavailable due to technical issues. There is more info on Phabricator and on
Primary votes results in Hunter


  1. ^ "Hunter (Key Seat) - Federal Electorate, Candidates, Results". ABC News. Retrieved 27 May 2022.
  2. ^ Muller, Damon (14 November 2017). "The process of federal redistributions: a quick guide". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 19 April 2022.
  3. ^ "Australian Electoral Commission to abolish Federal NSW seat of Hunter". ABC News. Australia. 16 October 2015.
  4. ^ "Draft federal redistribution of New South Wales". Poll Bludger, Crikey. 16 October 2015.
  5. ^ "Labor's Joel Fitzgibbon loses his seat in redistribution by Australian Electoral Commission". The Age. 16 October 2015.
  6. ^ Muller, Damon (14 November 2017). "The process of federal redistributions: a quick guide". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  7. ^ Green, Antony. "Hunter". ABC Election Guide 2016. Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
  8. ^ "NSW federal redistribution 2015". ABC News. Australia.
  9. ^ Hunter, NSW, 2022 Tally Room, Australian Electoral Commission.

32°22′30″S 150°46′41″E / 32.375°S 150.778°E / -32.375; 150.778

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Division of Hunter
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