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Labor shaken, but not stirred


Hunter Region Labor candidates held onto their posts at the 2019 federal election, despite a nationwide swing against the party.

Going into the election, the region’s four electorates – Newcastle, Shortland, Hunter and Paterson – were all held by Labor with margins of 9% or more, and have been traditionally considered very safe seats for the party.

The biggest upset was in the Hunter electorate, where Joel Fitzgibbon was reinstated as the local member, but his margin narrowed from 12.5% at the 2016 election to just 3%.

Fitzgibbon avoided defeat by Nationals candidate Josh Angus, claiming 52.5% of the primary vote as at Monday when just over 77% of votes had been counted.

The close call made for an overall 10% swing against the ALP in the electorate.

In Paterson, incumbent Meryl Swanson was re-elected with 55.6% of the vote (81.5% counted), but evidently lost some votes to Liberal party candidate Sachin Joshi in a 5.1% swing against Labor.

It was the same in Shortland, where sitting Labor MP Pat Conroy bested the Liberals’ Nell McGill, despite a 5.8% swing against the ALP after 80% of the vote had been tallied.

Newcastle MP Sharon Claydon made only nominal gains for Labor, with a 0.4 swing to the party, and a clear win with 64.2% of the primary vote (80.2% counted) against Liberal competitor Katrina Wark, who claimed 35.8% of the vote.

Nationally, the Coalition was returned to power and Scott Morrison re-elected as Australia’s Prime Minister.

Though some seats were too close to call at the time Newcastle Weekly went to print, the LNP was poised to form a majority government.

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