Bob Baldwin, the Liberal member for Paterson, has announced that he will retire at this year’s election.
Baldwin, 60, won Paterson in 2013 with 59.78% of the two-party-preferred vote. He secured 53.86% of the primary vote. However, under the recent NSW redistribution, Paterson is now notionally a Labor seat, with a margin of 0.4%. Baldwin’s announcement is not altogether unexpected.
The abolition of neighbouring Charlton, held by the ALP’s Pat Conroy, led to Jill Hall retiring from Shortland, allowing Conroy to transfer there and thereby allowing Joel Fitzgibbon to remain in Hunter, which now absorbs much of the old Charlton.
The ALP has preselected Meryl Swanson to contest Paterson.
Baldwin first won the NSW electorate in 1996 but lost it at the 1998 federal election, before regaining it in 2001. The seat takes in Neath, Kurri Kurri and Williamtown in the south, and along the Hunter River and Port Stephens in the north. It includes Maitland, Nelson Bay and Raymond Terrace.