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Cootamundra - By-election (Roll: n.a.)
Retained by Labor Party
Nominations: Tuesday, 17 July 1906, Polling: Saturday, 28 July 1906
No absolute majority for winning candidate
Candidate Party Votes Votes %
Fitzpatrick, John Farmers and Settlers 1,663 41.87
Holman, William Arthur (Re-elected) Labor Party 2,296 57.80
Norton, John Independent 13 0.33
Formal Votes 3,972
Informal Votes 72 1.78
Total Votes / Turnout 4,044 0.00
Cause Category: Resignation - Other
Notes: Independent MP for Surry Hills, John Norton, launched a personal attack on William Holman (Labor, Cootamundra) and challenged Holman to resign his seat and contest it against him. Holman accepted the challenge and both members resigned causing by-elections. Surry Hills was held a week before Cootamundra, Norton defeated by Albert Bruntnell, by which time Norton had also withdrawn from the contest in Cootamundra. (Rydon Spann and Nelson) Evatt adds further details to the incident. It arose during an Address in Reply debate which the Speaker had circumscribed by not allowing direct discussion on the recently completed Lands Royal Commission into bribery allegations against Crick and Willis. Evatt argues that Norton's attack was most likely an attempt to remove Labor's best debater in Holman from the chamber while the Royal Commission was discussed. Evatt also says Norton withdrew from Cootamundra early, leaving Holman to fight the by-election against John Fitzpatrick. (Evatt pp131-144) Evatt refers simply to Fitzpatrick in the text, but the book's index refers to T Fitzpatrick, but the name listed in newspapers by the Returning Officer was John Fitzpatrick, though the Cootamundra Herald did list his address as Erinvale, Junee, the same address as former Murrumbidgee MP Thomas Fitzpatrick. Note that the Cootamundra Herald on 25 July refers to Fitzpatrick having been endorsed by the local Farmers and Settlers Association. In subsequent issues it refers to the state executive of the FSA having concerns over this endorsement, and also suggests this attempt to overturn the local decision played a part in the defeat of JL Treflé in an FSA executive election. Treflé was later a Labor MP and Minister.
Source: Totals taken from published declaration by Returning Officer, Temora Independent 4 August 1906, p.3 col.2 and also Junee Southern Cross, 3 August p.3 col.4. Informal votes reported in the Cootamundra Herald 1 August. The SMH 31 July 1906, p.5 col.7, and Cootamundra Herald 1 August, only reported totals for Holman and Fitzpatrick.
Corrections: There are several versions of Fitzpatrick's initials. Newspapers used J J, Rydon, Nelson and Spann referred to to John and Evatt's Indedx to T Fitzpatrick. The name published by the Returning Officer was clearly John Fitzpatrick.