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Seat of the week: Bendigo

The federal electorate of Bendigo has been trending to Labor since Steve Gibbons gained it for them in 1998, but it is reportedly back on the Liberals’ radar with his impending retirement.

Created at federation, the electorate of Bendigo currently extends from the city itself south to Castlemaine and the Macedon Ranges around Woodend, also taking in smaller rural centres to the west and north. The redistribution to take effect at the next election has added the Macedon Ranges area from McEwen in the electorate’s south-east, and transferred Maryborough and its surrounds to Wannon in the west. The changes respectively affect about 7000 and 10,000 voters but have only a negligible impact on the Labor margin, which goes from 9.5% to 9.4%.

Bendigo was first won by Labor in 1913, having earlier been in Protectionist and Liberal hands. Billy Hughes contested the seat as the Nationalist Prime Minister in the wake of the Labor split of 1917, having recognised he would be unable to retain his existing safe Labor seat of West Sydney, and succeeded in unseating Labor incumbent Alfred Hampson with a 12.5% swing. Hughes would remain member for five years before moving to North Sydney. Bendigo was in conservative hands thereafter until 1949, except when Richard Keane held it for a term after Labor came to office in 1929. George Rankin gained the seat for the Country Party when United Australia Party incumbent Eric Harrison retired in 1937.

Bendigo emerged with the curious of distinction of being gained by Labor when it lost office in 1949, and next lost by them when they finally returned to power in 1972. The win in 1949 resulted from the redistribution giving effect to the enlargement of parliament, which accommodated the state’s northern rural reaches in the new seat of Murray and transferred Castlemaine and Maryborough to Bendigo. John Bourchier won the seat for the Liberals against the trend of a substantial pro-Labor swing in Victoria in 1972, which was variously put down to the entry of a popular Country Party candidate and attacks on Labor member David Kennedy over state aid and his liberal position on abortion. Bourchier would in turn hold the seat until the Fraser government’s defeat in 1983.

Bendigo was then held for Labor by future Victorian Premier John Brumby, who served for three terms before joining Victorian Labor’s extensive casualty list at the 1990 election. Bruce Reid served for three terms as Liberal member until his retirement in 1998, when Labor’s Steve Gibbons, a former Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union official and electorate officer to Brumby, gained the seat with a swing of 4.4%. Gibbons came within 1.0% of defeat at the 2004 election before enjoying consecutive swings of 5.2% and 3.4% in 2007 and 2010. After announcing in September 2011 he would not seek another term, Gibbons became less disciplined in his public pronouncements, proclaiming on Twitter that Kevin Rudd was a “psychopath”, Tony Abbott a “douchebag”, Julie Bishop a “narcissistic bimbo”, and Australia Day an “Invasion Day” celebrated by “throwing bits of dead animals on a cooking fire just like the people we dispossessed”.

Labor’s new candidate is Lisa Chesters, a Kyneton-based official with the same Socialist Left union that once employed Gibbons, which has lately been rebadged as United Voice. Earlier speculation that the seat might be used to accommodate electorally endangered Senator David Feeney or even a return to federal politics for John Brumby was quickly scotched. Greg Westbrook, director of legal firm Petersen Westbrook Cameron, was an early nominee, but in the event Chesters was preselected without opposition. The Liberal candidate is Greg Bickley, owner of a local transport business. Other reported nominees for Liberal preselection were Jack Lyons, owner of construction business Lyons Constructions, and Peter Wiseman, a teacher and owner of a website design business.

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  • 51
    Boerwar
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    g
    No, they are not. Thank you for your concern.

  • 52
    ruawake
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    It stands out like dogs balls why Nick Xenophon has been turned around at the border in Malaysia. He was going to meet the Opposition Leader and cause trouble over the elections.

    What an arrogant sod.

  • 53
    briefly
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    The LNP policies, if implemented, are reasonably likely to induce a recession. If they happen to coincide with a further deterioration in the net external income deficit (already at quite high levels) LNP-austerity will cause a very serious recession.

    It is quite obvious that the LOTO and his posse have no idea at all about the economy. Their main policy is just wishful-thinking – the semi-magical belief that simply by forming a Government, the LNP will propel higher growth. It is nutty, but that is what he says.

  • 54
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    The West reports on WA Liberal internal polling which if accurate would give them cause to feel a bit nervous (see the update at the bottom of the post):

    http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollbludger/2013/02/15/wa-election-ballot-paper-draw/

  • 55
    BK
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    sprocket_
    I wish someone would teach politicians (like Abbott) to tie a decent Windsor knot. Abbott looks totally nondescript with this effort.
    http://twitter.com/TonyAbbottMHR/status/302671492435562497/photo/1

  • 56
    dave
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Niels Storaker
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    Confidence has never been lower

    Factually incorrect. Confidence is picking up -

    http://www.tradingeconomics.com/australia/consumer-confidence

    Look at the chart in the link!

    Low unemployment,
    Low Inflation,
    Low Interest rates,
    Low Net Debt and a budget deficit of modest size in comparison to other advanced economies coming back into surplus in the short term.

    Direct Foreign Investment high and foreigners lining up to invest in our safe currency and economy.

    Despite ‘some’ leading business figures bending over backwards for the last several years to destroy confidence, the opposite is happening.

    Consumers are spending more, condidence is returning and the negative rolling campaign against the world ending as the result of the carbon tax by abbott and co – that is all being seen as total nonsense – and consumers are responding.

    The Stockmarket is doing very well – another confidence measure, as are housing prices – doing nicely.

    Iron ore and other commodity prices have increased almost 40% from their dip and tonnage shipping is increasing as new and expanded mines come on stream.

    You are wrong on each and every one of the above listed measures.

    And I could go on, but am about to open my second beer for today.

    But do try to cheer up! :)

  • 57
    BK
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    briefly
    Abbott’s policy is very simple.
    “I will get the keys to Kirribilli at any cost to the nation!”

  • 58
    guytaur
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    bw

    Good glad to hear it. :)

  • 59
    gloryconsequence
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    Predicting a Galaxy poll showing ‘surging’ support to Abbott from women. Or some other bullshit.

  • 60
    guytaur
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    rua

    Was not just Xenophon. I do note however that unlike last time SHY from the Greens stayed away.

  • 61
    Kevin Bonham
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Looks like Nielsen and Newspoll in the same week; will be interesting to see if they come out on the same day or not.

    ruawake@26


    van Onselen is advocating a fine and not voting in the Sept election. Geebus we have a young Latham.

    Worse in a sense; Latham only advocated an informal vote. At least if a voter who is annoyed enough to vote informal does so then their vote is recorded as informal and can be analysed later in surveys of informal vote type, whereas if someone doesn’t show up at all there is no info on what their intention was.

  • 62
    guytaur
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    Anyway off to movies.

    Mystery movie night.

  • 63
    Jackol
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    ruawake – I thought X was part of a delegation (some sort of fact finding or other junket) with a Lib and Lab senator with him. These sorts of trips happen all the time and X had every right to be part of it.

    Plus, it sounds like the Malaysian electoral system needs a fair bit of outside scrutiny.

  • 64
    ruawake
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    Abbott looks totally nondescript with this effort.

    He also looks scared. :)

  • 65
    briefly
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    BK @ 57…you’re quite right. He doesn’t care about anything but his own biography. He is such a hoax.

  • 66
    Diogenes
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    It stands out like dogs balls why Nick Xenophon has been turned around at the border in Malaysia. He was going to meet the Opposition Leader and cause trouble over the elections.

    What an arrogant sod.

    Presumably you think the same about Steve Georganas who was also meeting them.

  • 67
    dave
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    Dio – last night you asked why Government debt is expressed as a percentage of GDP rather than to Government Income (Taxes).

    Its the standard format of expressing and measuring Government Debt levels is the answer.

    Check out the various organizations in the link below who do so. Who am I to tell the they are wRONg?

    http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/?domains=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ritholtz.com%2F&sitesearch=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ritholtz.com%2F&cx=015905226837203657063%3Ax1cwdcykvvw&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&cof=FORID%3A11&s=Search&q=debt+to+gdp&sa.x=18&sa.y=14

    I was busy when you asked and didn’t get back to it.

  • 68
    Kevin Bonham
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    sprocket_@50



    @sundayteleed: Will women vote for @TonyAbbottMHR? Find out in our exclusive poll of female voters in Sunday Tele tomorrow #auspol


    Expecting a new thread for this poll William.

    I’d like to know if this is a real poll or opt-in rubbish. Will be interesting to keep an eye on its research methods.

    I wouldn’t trust any WA internal poll release further than I would kick it at the moment but given McGowan’s exceptional leadership figures in the last Newspoll alone I would expect some tightening in the 2PP. Not necessarily a lot though.

  • 69
    confessions
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Predicting a Galaxy poll showing ‘surging’ support to Abbott from women. Or some other bullshit.

    Yep.

  • 70
    Diogenes
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Dave

    You can report it any way to compare economies but if you use the metaphor of home loan vs income, you have to report it as debt vs income otherwise the metaphor doesn’t hold.

  • 71
    confessions
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    I thought X was part of a delegation (some sort of fact finding or other junket) with a Lib and Lab senator with him.

    Yes he was. Plus a Nationals Senator as well.

  • 72
    scorpio
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    ruawake,

    I am sure an earlier ABC report, on Abbott at CEDA, had a paragraph on the NBN being cut to raise $50 billion and how Abbotts office would not reply.

    It seems to have disappeared.

    It’s mentioned here. For the media to let them get away with claims like this is close to unbelievable and is treason for mine.

    In a wide-ranging speech to the Committee for Economic Development in Australia, Mr Abbott also said that if the Coalition scrapped the national broadband network ''in its current form'' then ''that's about $50 billion less that the Commonwealth will need to borrow''.

    Later, when asked to substantiate the $50 billion in savings given that the Coalition has promised it will still build a national broadband network - albeit one using cheaper fibre-to-the-node technology - Mr Abbott's office declined to say precisely how the claimed savings will be made.

    Questioned about Mr Abbott's $50 billion figure, a spokesman for the Shadow Minister for Communications and Broadband, Malcolm Turnbull, said: "We will be very clear with how much and how long the project will take to complete... and how much can be saved in time and money."

    http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/abbott-flags-10bn-in-savings-through-job-program-cuts-20130215-2egxu.html

  • 73
    sprocket_
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    @sundayteleed: Will women vote for @TonyAbbottMHR? Find out in our exclusive poll of female voters in Sunday Tele tomorrow #auspol

    @sprocket___: @sundayteleed is this a Galaxy, Mick?

    @sundayteleed: @sprocket___ yes. Just women

    A chat with the editor of Sunday Telegraph just now.

  • 74
    ruawake
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    Plus, it sounds like the Malaysian electoral system needs a fair bit of outside scrutiny.

    So what if it does, it is for the Malaysians to work out, not for the great Pacific Policeman to tell them what to do.

  • 75
    Greensborough Growler
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    I’m no advocate for Nick X because some of his behaviour has been abominable in the Parliament. However, unless he is shown to have done anything illegal, then he should be praised for trying to reveal the undemocratic dirty secrets of the Malaysian Government.

  • 76
    Danny Lewis
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    Presumably you think the same about Steve Georganas who was also meeting them.

    …except Georganas is still in Adelaide, but has cancelled his trip.

    Which begs the question why Xenophon – who would also have been departing from Adelaide in the same delegation – chose to apparently leave a day earlier than the others.

    Knowing Mr X as I do, I suspect this IS a stunt. I suspect he knew in advance he was likely to be stopped and has chosen to turn this into a media event.

  • 77
    BK
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    A very good article in the Global Mail. It does not speak highly of Pell’s “Towards Healing” protocol.
    http://www.theglobalmail.org/feature/healing-be-damned/556/

  • 78
    ruawake
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    Presumably you think the same about Steve Georganas who was also meeting them

    Yep, I do. X invited them to join him in a overseas stunt, if they thought it was a good idea maybe we should become a colonial power?

  • 79
    Kevin Bonham
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    sprocket_@73



    @sundayteleed: Will women vote for @TonyAbbottMHR? Find out in our exclusive poll of female voters in Sunday Tele tomorrow #auspol

    @sprocket___: @sundayteleed is this a Galaxy, Mick?

    @sundayteleed: @sprocket___ yes. Just women


    A chat with the editor of Sunday Telegraph just now.

    Nice work. Thanks for getting that clarification. It will be a real poll so the next thing to watch will be question design. Interesting.

  • 80
    Diogenes
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    GG

    Thankfully someone from the Labor Right still believes in democracy.

  • 81
    Danny Lewis
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    … with obvious apologies to him if I’m wrong ;-)

  • 82
    dave
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Diogenes@70


    Dave

    You can report it any way to compare economies but if you use the metaphor of home loan vs income, you have to report it as debt vs income otherwise the metaphor doesn’t hold.

    Sharpen your pencil and start writing to the Wall Street Journal, The Economist Magazine, IMF, World Bank, the major Central Bank’s and ratings Agencies etc etc.

    I am sure they will change things for you and change all their historical records etc just to keep you happy.

    Let us know how you go.

  • 83
    Matty D
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know much about Victorian electorates, but isn’t the member here the man who called Julie Bishop a narcissist and a bimbo, and wasn’t called out by any of Gillard, Roxon, Plibersek or Ellis for being a sexist and misogynist?

  • 84
    sprocket_
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    @sundayteleed: Do women admire @JuliaGillard strength? Find out in Sunday Tele #auspol

    Apparently a character impressions poll, ideal for push polling. Sequencing of questions matter.

    If they are promoting it now, must be conistent with the Murdoch narrative.

  • 85
    Diogenes
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    Dave

    Those journals don’t use the loan metaphor; you did.

  • 86
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    So what if it does, it is for the Malaysians to work out, not for the great Pacific Policeman to tell them what to do.

    You’re welcome to have an isolationist argument if you want but, as members of the international community, I (and most others) feel we all have an obligation to highlight undemocratic and/or inhumane practices, especially in places that claim to do otherwise.

    Like X or not, he is in the right here.

  • 87
    Diogenes
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    ru

    Presumably we shouldn’t send observers to the Zimbabwean elections either. After all, it’s their problem.

  • 88
    Greensborough Growler
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    Diogs,

    It’s my only fault, apparently.

  • 89
    Tom the first and best
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    86

    Hear, hear!

  • 90
    Greensborough Growler
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    BK,

    Another “mealy mouthed” contribution from you.

  • 91
    confessions
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    Apparently a character impressions poll, ideal for push polling. Sequencing of questions matter.

    Do Galaxy ever release their questions? Might be interesting to have a look at these ones.

  • 92
    Phil Vee
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Dave and Dio on debt
    Dio is right. If you talk about debt, then income is the proper comparison. I haven’t got the numbers with me but from memory net Fed Govt debt is 40%of Fed Govt income .

    Don’t compare that to my household though. My net debt is 120% of my income ! How incompetent of me.

  • 93
    gloryconsequence
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Gee. I wonder what the poll will say.

    Abbott surging with women.

    Gillard not seen as strong with women because she stabbed Rudd in the back and should have waited her turn.

    Lock it in.

  • 94
    Diogenes
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    GG

    Any opinion on who you’d like to be next Pope?

  • 95
    dave
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    Diogenes@85


    Dave

    Those journals don’t use the loan metaphor; you did.

    Just the first of the examples in the links using the Government Debt to GDP measurement.

    http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2012/07/government-debt-to-gdp/

    So do the other links.

    The example last night came from the Kouk and was comparing government debt in the same way – debt to GDP, but referring to it as a mortgage to demonstrate size of a monthly repayment.

    So if current net government debt was referred to as a mortgage of $100,000 on that same basis as debt to GDP – the monthly mortgage repayment would be $34.

    Nothing more or less, but using the same debt to GDP measure as is standard internationally.

  • 96
    Boerwar
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    The Xenophon story is interesting. How to sort it out? I am struggling a bit, to tell the truth.

    (1) Xenophon is not a member of our Government so he has no official status. He was part of a self-appointed group of parliamentarians that included Georganis and Georganis is a member of the Government. It was unwise of Georganis to join a delegation which potentially compromises the Government’s position with Malaysia.

    (2) Xenophon has involved himself in two sets of Malaysian issues: asylum seekers and governance. X has been critical in public about both issues.

    (3) Xenophon is not there as an invitee of the Malaysian Government, even though he was apparently due to meet a Minister in the Malaysian Government.

    (4) Australia routinely, but very infrequently, stops foreigners from entering Australia if it thinks they are a potential risk to public order, broadly defined. Xenophon has already been gassed during an incident involving an anti-Government protest by 20,000 people. There is at least some reason to believe that his presence would encourage more such protests.

    (5) The incident reduces the likelihood of an asylum seeker agreement between current Malaysian and Australian Governments. Any interim benefits accruing from this including improved treatment by Malaysia of asylum seekers will be put at risk.

    (6) The incident will be used by the usual suspects for their own purposes. I predict that the Greens will want to wage war with Malaysia on this, which is hypocritical of them because they also want to disarm Australia of war planes and war ships.

    (7) Xenophon will probably benefit politically from this and will enjoy the attention immensely. He is that sort of person.

    (8) The incident is unlikely to improve Australian-Malaysian relations but is also unlikely to disturb the trend of increasing acceptance, post-Mahatir, that there is a growing convergence of interests between Malaysia and Australia.

  • 97
    Greensborough Growler
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    Diogs,

    Someone with a photogenic family would be good for a change.

    How about you?

  • 98
    Phil Vee
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    Hey glory consequence
    Did you get the link to Howard’s “leading the world in climate” statement you were chasing the other day?

  • 99
    confessions
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    Boerwar:

    (9) SenX chose to ring a newspaper as soon as he could make a phone call rather than consular authorities.

  • 100
    Greensborough Growler
    Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    BW,

    4 & 5 are a bit dodgy.

    The rest is OK.

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