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Pat Conaghan (Nats-Cowper) – Maiden Speech

This is the maiden speech to the House of Representatives by Pat Conaghan, the Nationals member for Cowper.

Listen to Conaghan (24m):

Watch Conaghan (26m):

Hansard transcript of maiden speech to the House of Representatives by Pan Conaghan, Nationals member for Cowper.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Andrews): Before I call the honourable member for Cowper, may I remind the House that this is the honourable member’s first address and that the usual courtesies should be extended to him.

Mr CONAGHAN (Cowper) (11:54): On the foreshore of Port Macquarie town green, adjacent to Lady Nelson Wharf, sits an oversized bronze statue of Australia’s first Prime Minister, Sir Edmund Barton. The figure sits staring out over the Hasting River with a backdrop of the Banda Banda mountain range. Observers might be forgiven for thinking that the statue was contemplating what might have been but for the selfless actions of one man, Francis Clark. [Read more…]

ALP – Cowper (NSW) How-To-Vote Card

This is the first how-to-vote card I’ve seen for this year’s election: the ALP’s card for the NSW electorate of Cowper.



Cowper is a safe coalition electorate. Since 1901, it has only been held by the ALP once, between 1961 and 1963. The current Nationals member, Luke Hartsuyker, has held the seat since 2001.

Hartsuyker won the seat in 2013 with 53.05% of the primary vote. The ALP polled 25.37% and the Greens 12.37%. [Read more…]

2001 Primary Vote Winners, Preference Vote Losers

There were 6 seats in the 2001 federal election where the primary vote leader was defeated after the full distribution of preferences.

Primary Leads Overturned After Preference Distribution
House of Representatives – 2001
No. State Division Incumbent Leader Primary % Successful Candidate Primary % Two-Party %
NSW Cowper Gary Nehl (NP) Jenny Bonfield (ALP)
Luke Hartsuyker (NP)
NSW Paterson Bob Horne (ALP) Bob Horne (ALP)
Bob Baldwin (LP)
VIC Chisholm Anna Burke (ALP) Ros Clowes (LP)
Anna Burke (ALP)
VIC Melbourne Ports Michael Danby (ALP) Andrew McLorinan (LP)
Michael Danby (ALP)
QLD Brisbane Arch Bevis (ALP) Seb Monsour (LP)
Arch Bevis (ALP)
WA Hasluck new seat Bethwyn Chan (LP)
Sharryn Jackson (ALP)

These statistics show the full force of the preferential voting system. Luke Hartsuyker won Cowper, despite polling only 29.89% of the primary vote, because he gained the majority of second preferences from the Liberal candidate. The Liberal candidate polled 15.95%.

Overall, there were 87 electorates (58%) where preference distribution was required to obtain a winner in 2001.

These 6 electorates where the primary vote lead was overturned after preferences indicates that a primary vote lead is the best position to be in to be sure of success. It is apparent that whilst a party or parties can win seats and elections on preferences, there is no substitute for being ahead in the primary vote.

Some people argue that these statistics demonstrate that we may as well introduce first-past-the-post voting, since most candidates who lead on the primary vote ultimately triumph. This argument fails to take account of the possibility that electors may cast different votes if they knew that their preferences did not matter.