Division of Cowper

The Division of Cowper is an Australian electoral division in the state of New South Wales. The division was created in 1900 and was one of the original 65 divisions contested at the first federal election. It is named after Charles Cowper, an early Premier of New South Wales.[1]

The division is located on the north coast of New South Wales, and on its current boundaries takes in the towns of Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Kempsey, Macksville and Nambucca Heads.

Since the 2001 election, the member for Cowper has been Luke Hartsuyker, representing the National Party of Australia.

Australian House of Representatives Division
Division of COWPER 2016
Division of Cowper in New South Wales, as of the 2016 federal election.
MPLuke Hartsuyker
NamesakeCharles Cowper
Electors118,260 (2016)
Area7,296 km2 (2,817.0 sq mi)


Except for one brief break, the seat has been held by the National Party (previously known as the Country Party) and its predecessors since 1919.[1] Its most prominent member has been Sir Earle Page, former leader of the Country Party and interim Prime Minister of Australia in 1939. He represented Cowper from 1919 to 1961, longer than any other MP who represented one seat for his entire career. It has usually been a fairly safe National Party seat, and became more so when its more urbanised area (including Page's hometown of Grafton) was shifted to the newly created Division of Page in 1984.

As at the 2011 Australian census, residents within the Division of Cowper had the lowest level of median weekly household income.[2]

In February 2016, New South Wales federal electoral districts were redistributed. The northern parts of Cowper, from Sapphire Beach to Red Rock were shifted to the division of Page.


Member Party Term
  Francis Clarke Protectionist 1901–1903
  Henry Lee Free Trade, Anti-Socialist 1903–1906
  John Thomson Protectionist 1906–1909
  Commonwealth Liberal 1909–1917
  Nationalist 1917–1919
  (Sir) Earle Page Country 1919–1961
  Frank McGuren Labor 1961–1963
  Ian Robinson Country 1963–1975
  National Country 1975–1982
  National 1982–1984
  Garry Nehl National 1984–2001
  Luke Hartsuyker National 2001–present

Election results

2016 Australian federal election: Cowper[3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
National Luke Hartsuyker 47,559 45.97 −8.10
Independent Rob Oakeshott 27,200 26.29 +26.29
Labor Damian Wood 14,079 13.61 −9.97
Greens Carol Vernon 6,901 6.67 −3.89
Christian Democrats Wayne Lawrence 3,538 3.42 +0.95
Independent John Arkan 3,457 3.34 +3.34
CEC Michael Gough 726 0.70 +0.57
Total formal votes 103,460 94.85 +0.37
Informal votes 5,613 5.15 −0.37
Turnout 109,073 92.23 −0.78
Two-party-preferred result
National Luke Hartsuyker 64,743 62.58 −0.65
Labor Damian Wood 38,717 37.42 +0.65
Two-candidate-preferred result
National Luke Hartsuyker 56,443 54.56 −13.15
Independent Rob Oakeshott 47,017 45.44 +45.44
National hold Swing N/A


  1. ^ a b Profile of the Electoral Division of Cowper, Australian Electoral Commission, retrieved 9 May 2012
  2. ^ "Median weekly household income". Mumble census gallery. 2013. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  3. ^ Cowper, NSW, Virtual Tally Room 2016, Australian Electoral Commission.

External links

Coordinates: 30°23′02″S 152°52′12″E / 30.384°S 152.870°E

Boambee, New South Wales

Boambee is a suburb in the city of Coffs Harbour on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Boambee is west of Sawtell on the Pacific Highway. It is divided into two sections: semi-rural Boambee (2450)

and the more suburban Boambee East (2452). These suburbs are divided by the Pacific Highway. In 2011, Boambee had a population of 1,545 people, while Boambee East had a population of 5,446 people.The Boambee State Forest is located to the north-west of Boambee's residential areas.

Brushgrove, New South Wales

Brushgrove is a small state suburb/village on the north coast of New South Wales, it is located at the point of the Clarence river where it splits up into two arms named the North and South arm. Located out about 1 km north of Cowper and about 7 km southwest of Lawrence. Brusgrove has a cricket pitch, sports field, pub, and park.

Charles Cowper

Sir Charles Cowper , (26 April 1807 – 19 October 1875) was an Australian politician and the Premier of New South Wales on five occasions from 1856 to 1870.

Cowper did useful work but does not rank among the more distinguished Australian politicians. Cowper's governments had a fairly coherent Liberal tendency, a trend which continued with the governments of Henry Parkes and later developed into the Free Trade Party. In 1852, Parkes referred in public to his "mild, affable and benignant character". In later years he spoke of his "quick insight in dealing with surrounding circumstances, and much good humour and tact in dealing with individuals". His political adroitness was such that it secured for him the popular sobriquet of "Slippery Charley". Probably Cowper deserved this title no more than Bishop Wilberforce deserved his of "Soapy Sam", but Rusden speaks of Cowper as "ever anxious to link himself with a majority" and frequently shows animus when speaking of him. He was personally popular, and towards the end of his life the estate of Wivenhoe was purchased by public subscription and settled on his wife.


Cowper may refer to:

Cowper (surname), people with the surname

Earl Cowper, an extinct title in the peerage of Great Britain

Cowper, New South Wales, a town in New South Wales, Australia

Division of Cowper, an electoral district in the Australian House of Representatives, in New South Wales

Cowper County, New South Wales

Cowper House, Chester, England

Cowper stove, a regenerative heat exchanger

Crescent Head, New South Wales

Crescent Head is a beach-side community 440 km north-northeast of Sydney, in Kempsey Shire, New South Wales, Australia. At the 2011 census, Crescent Head had a population of 1,586 people. Its major industries include tourism and fishing. It has a small golf course overlooking the sea.

Earle Page

Sir Earle Christmas Grafton Page, (8 August 1880 – 20 December 1961) was an Australian politician who served as the 11th Prime Minister of Australia, holding office for 19 days after the death of Joseph Lyons in 1939. He was the leader of the Country Party from 1921 to 1939, and was the most influential figure in its early years.

Page was born in Grafton, New South Wales. He entered the University of Sydney at the age of 15, and completed a degree in medicine at the age of 21. After completing his residency at Sydney's Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, he moved back to Grafton and opened a private hospital. He soon became involved in local politics, and in 1915 purchased a part-share in The Daily Examiner, a local newspaper. He also briefly served as a military surgeon during World War I. Page gained prominence as an advocate of various development schemes for the Northern Rivers region, especially those involving hydroelectricity. He also helped found a movement for New England statehood.

In 1919, Page was elected to federal parliament representing the Division of Cowper. He joined the new Country Party the following year as its inaugural whip, and then replaced William McWilliams as party leader in 1921. Page opposed the economic policies of Prime Minister Billy Hughes, and when the Country Party gained the balance of power at the 1922 election, he demanded Hughes' resignation as the price for a coalition with the Nationalist Party. He was subsequently made Treasurer under the new prime minister, Stanley Bruce, serving in that role from 1923 to 1929. He had a significant degree of influence on domestic policy, with Bruce concentrating on international issues.

Page returned to cabinet after the 1934 election, when the Country Party entered a new coalition with Joseph Lyons' United Australia Party. He was appointed Minister for Commerce, and concentrated on agricultural issues. When Lyons died in office in April 1939, Page was commissioned as his successor in a caretaker capacity while the UAP elected a new leader, Robert Menzies. Page subsequently refused to serve in Menzies' cabinet, withdrawing the Country Party from the coalition, but this proved unpopular and he resigned the party leadership after a few months. The coalition was eventually reconstituted, and Page served again as Minister for Commerce under Menzies and Arthur Fadden until the government's defeat in October 1941.

Page's last major role was as Minister for Health (1949–1956) in the post-war Menzies Government. He retired from cabinet at the age of 76, and died a short time after losing his seat at the 1961 election. Page served in parliament for almost 42 years, and only Menzies lasted longer as the leader of a major Australian political party. He secured his party's independence by refusing overtures to join the Nationalists and the UAP, and the policies that he favoured – decentralisation, agrarianism, and government support of primary industry – have remained the basis of its platform up to the present day. The coalitions that he established and maintained with Bruce and Lyons have served as a model for all subsequent coalition governments.

Electoral results for the Division of Cowper

This is a list of electoral results for the Division of Cowper in Australian federal elections from the electorate's creation in 1901 until the present.

List of Australian electorates contested at every election

Of the 65 federal electoral divisions first contested at the 1901 election, 34 are still in existence without ever being abolished. These are referred to as Federation Divisions, with the Australian Electoral Commission's redistribution guidelines stating that "Every effort should be made to retain the names of original federation divisions".

The Division of Riverina was abolished in 1984 and re-created in 1993, so has not been contested at every election.

Although there were 75 members in the House of Representatives in 1901, there were only 65 divisions contested as the states of South Australia and Tasmania consisted of single multi-member divisions electing 7 and 5 members respectively.In the state parliaments:

In New South Wales, there is only one of the original 34 contested in 1856 that still exists.

In Victoria, three of the original 37 contested in 1856 still exist.

In Queensland there is only one of the original 16 contested in 1860.

In South Australia there is also only one of the original 17 contested in 1856.

In Western Australia, five of the original 30 contested in 1890 still exist.

In the Northern Territory, there are nine of the original 19 contested in 1974.

In both Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory none still exist.

Luke Hartsuyker

Luke Hartsuyker (born 26 October 1959) is an Australian politician who has been a member of the House of Representatives since 2001, representing the Division of Cowper in New South Wales for the National Party. He served as a government minister in the Turnbull Government and an assistant minister in the Abbott Government. In August 2018, he announced he would retire from parliament at the 2019 federal election.

Rob Oakeshott

Robert James Murray Oakeshott (born 14 December 1969) is an Australian politician. He was the independent Member of the House of Representatives for the Division of Lyne in New South Wales from 2008, when he won the 2008 Lyne by-election, until his retirement in 2013. Oakeshott described his views as economically conservative and socially progressive.Oakeshott began his political career in state politics. Originally elected as the National Party candidate for the state seat of Port Macquarie in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly in 1996, he left the party to become an Independent in 2002. Oakeshott retained the seat until 2008, when he resigned to contest the federal seat of Lyne, which he won with a large margin. He retained Lyne at the 2010 election, again with a large margin.

The 2010 election resulted in a hung parliament, with the diverse crossbench holding the balance of power. Oakeshott, Tony Windsor and other crossbenchers agreed to back the incumbent Gillard Labor government to form minority government, providing it with confidence and supply, while retaining the right to vote on conscience in any other matters.

Oakeshott retired at the 2013 election, choosing not to recontest his seat. Oakeshott contested the Division of Cowper at the 2016 election, challenging National incumbent Luke Hartsuyker. Cowper had absorbed Port Macquarie after the latest redistribution. Oakeshott lost the election, but managed to turn the once-safe National seat into a marginal seat.

On 15 January 2019, Oakeshott announced his candidacy for the seat of Cowper at the 2019 Australian federal election.

Mid North Coast region of New South Wales, Australia
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