Tenterfield votes in New England by-election

Con Hughes, state MP Thomas George and Kym-Maree Hennessy were on hand at Tenterfield Memeorial Hall to help Barnaby Joyce to victory.
Con Hughes, state MP Thomas George and Kym-Maree Hennessy were on hand at Tenterfield Memeorial Hall to help Barnaby Joyce to victory.

Barnaby Joyce was the runaway winner in Tenterfield polling stations in Saturday’s New England electorate by-election, securing around 70 per cent of the vote with final numbers yet to be confirmed. This contrasts with the 65 per cent of the vote he won electorate-wide.

Of the 1104 formal votes casted at Tenterfield Memorial Hall on Saturday, 781 were for Mr Joyce, 88 for Labor’s David Ewings, 68 for independent Rob Taber and 55 for the Greens’ Peter Wills. Aside from Mr Ewings, all included a visit to Tenterfield in their campaigning schedule.

Other Tenterfield votes went to Christian Democratic Party’s Richard Stretton (27), CountryMinded’s Peter Mailler (25) and Rise Up Australia Party’s Donald Cranney (22). The remaining 10 candidates each received fewer than 10 votes, although the Science Party’s Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow topped this pack with nine votes, perhaps for his non-political attributes.

There was a similar distribution of votes at other polling places in the shire, with Drake proving to be the anomaly. There Mr Joyce attracted only 28 per cent of the 195 formal votes cast, with Mr Wills (16 per cent) and Mr Ewings (12 per cent) polling more strongly than at other centres.

Just over five per cent of ballot papers (61) at Memorial Hall were deemed informal. The stats  – locally at least – don’t support the expected surge in informal ballots in the face of the large field of 17 candidates. Informal votes here were similar to the national average of 5.05 per cent in the 2016 federal election, and a better result than the seven per cent electorate-wide.

Again pre-polling in Tenterfield was very popular, with 1498 opting to cast their vote at Memorial Hall in the three days preceding voting day, in contrast to the 1104 who voted on the day.

The voting turnout for the by-election was 83.79 per cent, well down on the 93.37 per cent of New England voters who participated in the 2016 federal election.

Here’s some of the action from Memorial Hall on Saturday...