Division of Barton

The Division of Barton is an Australian electoral division in the state of New South Wales.

Australian House of Representatives Division
Division of BARTON 2016.png
Division of Barton in New South Wales, as of the 2016 federal election.
MPLinda Burney
NamesakeSir Edmund Barton
Electors110,484 (2022)
Area40 km2 (15.4 sq mi)
DemographicInner metropolitan


Sir Edmund Barton, the division's namesake

The division was created in 1922 and is named for Sir Edmund Barton, the first Prime Minister of Australia. For most of its history, Barton has been a marginal seat. Although it was held by the Australian Labor Party for most of the time after 1940, it has been won by the Liberals (or their predecessors) at "high-tide" elections.

Barton's most prominent member has been Dr H. V. Evatt, who was Leader of the Labor Party between 1951 and 1960. After seeing his majority more than halved in 1949, and nearly being defeated in 1951 and 1955, he transferred to the safe seat of Hunter in 1958. A former minister in the Hawke and Keating ministries, Gary Punch, held the seat for Labor between 1983 and 1996. Robert McClelland, Attorney-General in the Rudd and Gillard governments, held the seat for Labor between 1996 and 2013.

The Division of Barton is linked to one of the more unusual episodes in Australian politics. The first member for Barton, Labor's Frederick McDonald, disappeared after his 1925 defeat by Nationalist Thomas Ley, and it is now believed that Ley had him murdered.[1] After being found guilty of an unrelated murder in England in 1947, Ley was declared insane[2] and died in Broadmoor Asylum four months later.

Nickolas Varvaris won the seat for the Liberals at the 2013 federal election, achieving a swing of 7.2 percent to finish with a two-party-preferred vote of just 50.3 percent, which made Barton the Coalition government's most marginal seat.[3]

A redistribution prior to the 2016 federal election erased Varvaris' majority and gave Labor a notional vote of 54.4 percent.[4] It was only after some sustained pressure[5] that in May 2016, Varvaris eventually declared his intention to stand again. Former state deputy opposition leader Linda Burney contested the seat for Labor and won on a swing of 3.9 percent, making it a fairly safe Labor seat.[6]


Since 1984, federal electoral division boundaries in Australia have been determined at redistributions by a redistribution committee appointed by the Australian Electoral Commission. Redistributions occur for the boundaries of divisions in a particular state, and they occur every seven years, or sooner if a state's representation entitlement changes or when divisions of a state are malapportioned.[7]

The division has always been based in the inner southern suburbs of Sydney, and currently includes the suburbs of Arncliffe, Banksia, Bardwell Park, Bardwell Valley, Bexley, Bexley North, Brighton-Le-Sands, Clemton Park, Earlwood, Kyeemagh, Rockdale, Tempe, Turrella, Undercliffe, and Wolli Creek; as well as parts of Belmore, Beverly Hills, Campsie, Canterbury, Carlton, Dulwich Hill, Hurlstone Park, Hurstville, Kingsgrove, Kogarah, Marrickville, and Penshurst.[8]


Image Member Party Term Notes
    Frederick McDonald
Labor 16 December 1922
14 November 1925
Lost seat
    Thomas Ley
Nationalist 14 November 1925
17 November 1928
Previously held the New South Wales Legislative Assembly seat of St George. Lost seat
    James Tully
Labor 17 November 1928
19 December 1931
Lost seat
    Albert Lane
United Australia 19 December 1931
21 September 1940
Previously held the New South Wales Legislative Assembly seat of Balmain. Lost seat
    Dr. H.V. Evatt
Labor 21 September 1940
22 November 1958
Previously held the New South Wales Legislative Assembly seat of Balmain. Served as minister under Curtin, Forde and Chifley. Served as Opposition Leader from 1951 to 1960. Transferred to the Division of Hunter
    Len Reynolds
Labor 22 November 1958
26 November 1966
Lost seat
    Bill Arthur
Liberal 26 November 1966
25 October 1969
Lost seat
    Len Reynolds
Labor 25 October 1969
11 November 1975
    Jim Bradfield
Liberal 13 December 1975
5 March 1983
Lost seat
    Gary Punch
Labor 5 March 1983
29 January 1996
Served as minister under Hawke and Keating. Retired
    Robert McClelland
Labor 2 March 1996
5 August 2013
Served as minister under Rudd and Gillard. Retired
    Nickolas Varvaris
Liberal 7 September 2013
2 July 2016
Lost seat
    Linda Burney
Labor 2 July 2016
Previously held the New South Wales Legislative Assembly seat of Canterbury. Incumbent. Currently a minister under Albanese

Election resultsEdit

2022 Australian federal election: Barton[9]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labor Linda Burney 46,206 50.43 +1.24
Liberal John Goody 23,992 26.19 −7.30
Greens Taylor Vandijk 11,441 12.49 +3.46
United Australia Dimitri Honos 5,611 6.12 +3.83
One Nation Phillip Pollard 4,373 4.77 +1.11
Total formal votes 91,623 92.52 +2.05
Informal votes 7,405 7.48 −2.05
Turnout 99,028 89.72 −1.46
Two-party-preferred result
Labor Linda Burney 60,054 65.54 +6.13
Liberal John Goody 31,569 34.46 −6.13
Labor hold Swing +6.13


  1. ^ O'Neill, Margot; Evans, Brett (26 April 2004). "Lateline History Challenge: Minister for Murder". Lateline. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original (transcript) on 14 November 2013. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  2. ^ "Ley declared insane at time of murder". The Canberra Times. 7 May 1947. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  3. ^ 2013 federal election results: AEC
  4. ^ 2016 election pendulum: Antony Green ABC
  5. ^ Robertson, James (29 April 2016). "Liberal MP Nick Varvaris can't decide whether to recontest". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  6. ^ Barton - 2016 federal election: Antony Green ABC
  7. ^ Muller, Damon (14 November 2017). "The process of federal redistributions: a quick guide". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 19 April 2022.
  8. ^ "Profile of the electoral division of Barton (NSW)". Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  9. ^ Barton, NSW, 2022 Tally Room, Australian Electoral Commission.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 33°57′22″S 151°07′44″E / 33.956°S 151.129°E / -33.956; 151.129