Marshall to call time on two decades of politics next month

Adam Marshall has served the Northern Tablelands electorate since 2013
09th Apr 2024

MEMBER for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall will draw his 20-year career in
public office to a close next month, making the announcement he would be stepping down from State politics last Thursday
during a meeting of Mayors from across the region in Inverell.
Mr Marshall said he would formally hand his resignation as the Member for Northern Tablelands to the Speaker of the NSW
Legislative Assembly on 13 May, some 11 years after he was first elected to the role.
“This is not a decision I have made lightly, but it’s one I’m now very comfortable with,” Mr Marshall said. “Put simply, I feel it’s time for me to move on and take up new
“Coming into this role 11 years ago, it was never my intention to stay forever, believing that our region is best served by those
prepared to get in, give it everything they have and then pass the baton on to fresh hands. Hopefully I have done this.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my years in public life serving the communities of
Gunnedah Shire and now the people of the Northern Tablelands, as a Councillor, Mayor, State MP and a Minister.
“Their support for me has been over-
whelming and heart-warming. It’s been an honour and a privilege to serve rural
communities and country people and I thank them sincerely for that opportunity over the last two decades.
“We have achieved some incredible things together and I will always cherish the friendships I have made and the interaction I have had with people during my time in the role.”
Mr Marshall said post politics he intended pursuing opportunities in the corporate world and in his own personal life.
“This is a demanding and all-consuming role to do properly and it inevitably takes its toll,” he said.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that despite absolutely loving our region, its people and my role as a local State MP, I cannot put this move off any longer. This will be the end of representative politics for me.
“While there will be plenty of time for
reflection over the next five weeks and
beyond, for me, I’m firmly focussed on the work I still have to do, which I intend to carry out with the same enthusiasm and energy as I always have.”

A History of the Northern Tablelands Electorate

Northern Tablelands was originally created in 1920, with the introduction of proportional representation, replacing Armidale, Gough and Tenterfield, and elected three members. It was held by the same three members throughout its first incarnation:
inaugural Country Party leader Michael Bruxner, state Minister for Education David Drummond, and Labor MP Alfred McClelland. In 1927, it was divided into the single-member electorates of Armidale and Tenterfield. It was recreated in 1981, partly replacing Armidale and Tenterfield.
In 1981, the seat was a notional National Country seat. However, Labor’s Bill McCarthy, who had won Armidale in the “Wranslide” of 1978, again won the merged seat. He was only the second Labor member to represent much of the area and most of the seat was served by the safe federal National seat of New England.
McCarthy had developed serious health problems by the 1984 state election, but was persuaded to recontest the seat. He resigned in 1987 and died soon afterward. Labor endorsed McCarthy’s widow, Thelma, at the subsequent by-election, but she was narrowly defeated by National candidate Ray Chappell, who was re-elected with little difficulty three times. However, in the 1999 election, Chappell faced a challenge from the popular ex-mayor of Armidale, Richard Torbay, standing as an independent. In a shock result, Torbay won the seat with a comfortable margin.
Torbay was comfortably re-elected in 2003, 2007 and 2011, each time taking well over 60 percent of the two-party vote and easily winning enough primary votes to retain the seat outright. He served as Speaker of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly from 2007 to 2011, during what proved to be the final term of Labor’s 16-year run in government. He was the first independent to hold that post since 1917.
Torbay resigned his position in 2013. At the ensuing by-election, Adam Marshall easily reclaimed the seat for the Nationals. This was not considered an upset, as Northern
Tablelands had been a comfortably safe National seat in “traditional” two-party match-ups with Labor for most of Torbay’s tenure. Marshall has held the seat without serious difficulty since, and now sits on a majority of 32.8 percent, the safest in the State.
From 1999, Northern Tablelands covered 30,546 km2. It centred on the university city of Armidale. The northern boundary of the electorate is the Queensland border. At the 2003 election, there were 42,886 enrolled voters.
In 2007, the low level of population growth in the electorate led to Northern Tablelands being expanded, both to the west to take in Warialda and Bingara and to the south to take in Walcha and Nowendoc, increasing its area to 44,674 km2.[4]
The redistribution ahead of the 2015 state election saw Northern Tablelands expanded again to 53,153.76 square kilometres. Added to the district was the entirety of Moree Plains Shire along with the remainder of the former Armidale Dumaresq Shire, whilst Tenterfield Shire and Walcha were removed from the district.
The latest redistribution in 2023 saw the Walcha LGA reinstated within the boundary, explanding the electorate to 59,400 square kilometres.