2022 Federal Election: here’s what you need know in the Hunter

Today is the day, voting booths will officially open for the Federal Election from 8am this morning.

Voters across the country will elect 151 MPs to the lower house and 33 senators to the upper house.

There are three seats – Shortland, Paterson and Hunter – which are considered marginal and the latter two of those considered key seats.

Two local seats – Newcastle and Lyne- are both very safe Labor and Nationals respectively.

Although official voting is yet to get underway, pre-poll and postal voting has seen a massive spike in early votes compared to the 2019 election.

As of Friday, almost 28 thousand people had voted earlier in Newcastle, just over 27 thousand in Shortland, almost 48 thousand in Paterson, almost 41 thousand in Hunter, and just over 42 thousand in Lyne.

Here’s a break down of the seats up for grabs and what some of the candidates have to say about their prospects.


The seat of Hunter is expected to be the tightest contest in the region, with four big names and parties vying for one position.

Joel Fitzgibbon who has held the seat for Labor since 1996 has retired leaving the electorate up for grabs.

Mr Fitzgibbon suffered a massive loss to his margin at the 2019 election, falling 14.2 per cent, leaving him with just three per cent heading into the 2022 vote.

The outcome was a result of a strong performance by One Nation – whose candidate at the time, is running as an independent this time around.

Stuart Bonds is that candidate – who secured almost 22 per cent of the votes and says he is confident he can make a similar impact this time around.

“Obviously it’s a lot more difficult when you haven’t got a party brand in the background, but we are getting a good response. I am happy with the response.

“I definitely don’t reckon we are going to bomb out,” Mr Bonds said.

Australian sport shooter Dan Repacholi is hoping to fill the vacancy for Labor. Mr Repacholi has made a name for himself, not for his policies but for his ginormous stature, standing at 203cm tall.

He says he has given his all to the campaign since being pre-selected last year.

“I’ve done all the hard work and now it’s up to the voters to make their choice.

“I can’t change anymore votes, I’ve done that already while speaking to thousands and thousands of people.

“Now we just wait to find out what happens,” Mr Repacholi said.



Incumbent Labor MP Meryl Swanson won the seat from Liberal Bob Baldwin in 2016 with a 10.5 per cent swing. In 2019, that margin was cut down to five percent against the Liberals Sachin Joshi.

This time around, Ms Swanson is up against another popular Liberal, Brooke Vitnell who is vying to soak up the remaining five percent from the incumbent’s margin.

During the campaign both parties have committed big bucks, with Labor spending big on health, while the coalition has focused on defence.

Ms Swanson says Labor is the only party with a plan for health.

“Under a Labor government here in the Hunter, it’s going to be easier to see your doctor, it’s going to be better in a hospital and we are going to work for your health as well.

“Health care, aged care, child care, Labor Cares,” Ms Swanson said.

Candidate for the United Australia Party Jason Olbourne says he believes he can build on the parties 3.6 per cent swing in 2019.

“We’re very confident that we will more than build on that in this election.

“We are working together with the other freedom parties and this has shored up support in terms of the preferencing.

“We believe the mood has definitely swung in the electorate and people are looking for change,” Mr Olbourne said.


Incumbent Labor MP Pat Conroy has held the seat since 2016, filling the vacancy left by the popular Jill Hall who held the seat since 1998. It’s been held by Labor since it’s creation and has always been considered safe, until now.

In 2019, Mr Conroy faced a challenge by the Liberals Nell McGill who halved Labor’s margin down to 4.5 per cent. This time around, Ms McGill is again contesting the seat for the Liberals and hopes to improve on her results from 2019.

Mr Conroy says he believes this time around Labor is running on a really good platform.

“Better health services to solve the GP crisis, bringing manufacturing home, solving the aged care crisis which is a national disgrace and solving the communications blackspots.

“I’m not worried about what other people are doing. I’m here just to explain how we can make a positive difference to peoples lives,” Mr Conroy said.

Ms McGill says she wouldn’t be running again if she didn’t think she could do it.

“Having seen a five per cent swing when I ran last time on a very short campaign, I only have to do that again.

“I’m feeling positive, but I am a very positive person and that’s what I want to do for Shortland,” Ms McGill said.


The seat of Newcastle has been a very safe Labor seat since it’s inception in 1901.

Labor’s Sharon Claydon has held the sear since 2013, where the party saw a swing against it of about four percent, in 2016 that grew back by almost 4.5 per cent and in 2019 another 0.01 per cent swing against Labor was recorded.

This year Ms Claydon faces challenges from the Greens, United Australia, Liberal, Animal Justice, Informed Medical Options, Australian Federation and One Nation parties.

Ms Claydon says she is confident for a change of government, as she believes there is a real mood for change.

“People are really feeling that and they are really hungry for change.

“They want a government that is listening and is responsive to their real needs,” Ms Claydon said.

One Nation Candidate Mark Watson says he’s been getting a good reaction, particularly on the city’s western fringes.

“Mostly out at Maryland on the outskirts of the city there where I am meeting lots of great people and really disenfranchised voters.

“We’re all about party for the people. I want to listen to as many people as possible and stand up and fight for them.

“We want to support small businesses. We want to look at tax reform and make sure multi-nationals are paying their fair share. We want to protect mining jobs, jobs for Australians and promote apprenticeships,” Mr Watson said.

Greens Candidate Charlotte McCabe says she hopes to continue growing the Greens vote.

“I think the issues that we are talking about – affordable housing, climate change, bringing mental health care and dental onto Medicare – are all things that people really want.

“We are hoping to have that reflected in the result,” Ms McCabe said.


This seat sits on the most comfortable margin in all of the Hunter at 15.2 per cent to the Nationals.

The incumbent MP Dr David Gillespie is running for his fourth term as the local member.

At the 2019 election the electorate saw a considerable primary vote swing to the Liberal Democrats, the United Australia Party and an independent.

This time around Dr Gillespie faces challenges from United Australia, Liberal Democrats, One Nation, The Greens, Labor and two independents.


To find out where you can vote visit the AEC website here.

Previous ArticleNext Article