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Seat of the week: Gorton

Labor front-bencher Brendan O’Connor is securely ensconced in what remains Labor’s sixth safest seat, despite a 7.5% swing to the Liberals at last year’s election.

Red numbers indicate size of two-party majority for Labor. Click for larger image. Map boundaries courtesy of Ben Raue at The Tally Room.

Gorton is located at Melbourne’s strongly Labor-voting western edge, covering the rapidly growing fringe suburbs of Derrimut and Deer Park in the south, Caroline Springs and Kings Park in the centre and Hillside in the north, and from there extending westwards through semi-rural areas to the satellite town of Melton. The latter area was gained with the redistribution that took effect at the 2013 election, adding 32,000 voters who had previously been in Lalor. This was counterbalanced at the city end through transfers of 33,000 voters at Sydenham, Keilor and Taylors Lakes to Calwell in the north, 9000 west of the rail line in St Albans to Maribyrnong in the centre, and 13,000 in Ardeer and Sunshine West to Gellibrand in the south. This boosted the ample Labor margin of 22.2% to 23.6%, which was then cut at the election by a 7.5% swing to the Liberals.

The electorate was created at the previous redistribution ahead of the 2004 election in place of abolished Burke, which furnished it with 12,000 voters around Sydenham and also included Melton and areas beyond the city to the north. This area was covered by Corio prior to pre-war urbanisation and the expansion of parliament in 1949, after which it was accommodated by shifting aggregations of Lalor (created in 1949), Burke (1969) and Calwell (1984). With the exception of one defeat in Lalor at the Liberals’ statewide high water mark in 1966, each of these three seats has been won by Labor at every election since their creation. Gorton’s inaugural member was Brendan O’Connor, who had entered parliament as member for Burke in 2001. His exchange of the predominantly rural outskirts seats of Burke for one anchored in outer suburban Melbourne was a welcome development, boosting his margin from 5.5% to 20.2%.

O’Connor rose through Labor ranks as an official with the Australian Services Union with factional backing from the Ferguson Left, which is now more likely to be identified under its formal name of the Independent Left. He was promoted to shadow parliamentary secretary when Kevin Rudd became leader in December 2006 and then to the junior ministry after the 2007 election victory, serving first in employment participation, then in home affairs in June 2009. Justice was added to his workload after the 2010 election, and in December 2011 he was shifted to human services. O’Connor stood by factional colleague Julia Gillard during Rudd’s leadership challenges in February 2012 and June 2013, and won promotion to cabinet as Small Business Minister on the former occasion. Further promotion to the troublesome immigration portfolio followed in February 2013, and he did well to be moved to employment after Rudd assumed the leadership the following June. Since the September 2013 election defeat he has served in shadow cabinet in the employment and workplace relations portfolios.

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  • 51
    Bushfire Bill
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    France has 59 nuclear power plants, which generate 75% of its electricity. In 52 years of nuclear they’ve never had an accident.

    They only need one, and the ramifications extend for literally thousands of years.

    Unless you’re saying that France’s – as opposed to say, Japan’s, or Russia’s or the USA’s – nuclear technology is uniquely perfect and will never EVER fail?

  • 52
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Sprocket, don’t play dumb with me. Weapons testing has nothing to do with domestic power generation.

  • 53
    fredex
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    http://environmentvictoria.org.au/newsite/sites/default/files/useruploads/MF%20and%20EV%202013%20polluter%20handouts%20assessment%20FINAL-4.pdf

    The assessment concludes that the Australian Government is set to spend over $44 billion in the form of tax rebates and concessions, foregone revenue and expedited write downs of assets per year from 2012/13 to 2015/16. This assessment only includes tax measures, and does not include direct grants or State Government measures, which could add billions more to the annual totals.
    On the basis of this assessment Environment Victoria and Market Forces are recommending that the Federal Government prioritises action at the upcoming Budget to cut the following five subsidies which would save taxpayers $15 billion over the next three years

  • 54
    Socrates
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Sprocket

    Is Muraroa Attol considered part of mainland. France?

    a complete non-sequiter. Like blaming Edmund Burke for Tony Abbott.

  • 55
    fredex
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    The above, #53, explicitly refers to current subsidies of fossil fuels.

  • 56
    AussieAchmed
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    jeffemu

    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Morriscums problem might arise at his starting point. How he got the job as the Lib candidate for the Seat Of Cook.

    The faceless men that got rid of that rascally “Lebo” bloke so the Happy Clapper could have the spot.

    The story re that “Lebo” bloke

    Towke is also a long-serving member of the Liberal Party. In July 2007 he won preselection for the then safe federal Liberal seat of Cook. He was set to replace the outgoing member, Bruce Baird. The contest attracted a large field, including Paul Fletcher, who recently won Liberal preselection for Bradfield (vacated by the former Liberal leader Brendan Nelson), and a former state director of the NSW Liberal party, Scott Morrison.

    Towke won easily. On the first ballot, he polled 10 times as many votes as Morrison, 82 votes to 8, who was eliminated in the first round. His victory meant that a Lebanese Australian would represent the Liberal Party in the seat where the Cronulla riot and revenge raids had taken place 18 months earlier, in December 2005. ”The campaign against me started four days after preselection,” Towke said.

    Two senior people within the Liberal Party, whose identity is known to a widening circle within the party, went through Towke’s nomination papers to find every possible discrepancy and weakness. Then they started calling selected journalists to tell them Towke was a liar. The first story appeared in The Daily Telegraph on July 18, 2007, under the headline, ”Liberal ballot scandal in Howard’s backyard.” Three days later, on July 21, a second story appeared in the Telegraph: ”Towke future on hold.” The next day, in The Sunday Telegraph, a third story: ”Party split as Liberal candidate faces jail.”

    ”That was the story that sent my mother to hospital,” Towke told me.

    Then came a fourth story in the Telegraph, on July 25: ”Towke lied, but just by degrees.” Four different Telegraph journalists, two of them very senior, wrote those four stories, so the campaign of leaks and smears was assiduous. There is insufficient space to detail all the claims made and disputed. Towke was portrayed as a serial liar, an exaggerator. He disputed every such imputation with factual evidence. After it was obvious his political credibility had been destroyed by these stories, he started defamation proceedings. A year of legal attrition ensued.

    Shortly before the matter was to begin in court this month, Nationwide News paid and settled.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/society-and-culture/nasty-saga-you-nearly-missed-20091025-hem5.html#ixzz33KtxfGZD

  • 57
    Fran Barlow
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Psephos

    I’m currently in Paris. France has 59 nuclear power plants, which generate 75% of its electricity. In 52 years of nuclear they’ve never had an accident. France has the cheapest electricity in western Europe and the lowest CO2 emissions per unit of electricity generated in the world. Not surprisingly, the French find this whole debate a bit puzzling.

    Speaking as a Green who has no objection in principle to nuclear power, I will simply note that the nuclear power system of France was built with massive state support. It was a classic example of what is now called “picking winners”. They managed to pick one. Nuclear, like solar, is very expensive to build, but very cheap to run. It has become even more expensive to build since the 1970s so France’s example is unlikely to be repeated anywhere, even in France and certainly nit at scale or on the timelines needed for effective and timely abatement.

  • 58
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Unless you’re saying that France’s – as opposed to say, Japan’s, or Russia’s or the USA’s – nuclear technology is uniquely perfect and will never EVER fail?

    Nothing is perfect, but it’s certainly a lot better, because unlike any of those countries France seriously invests in new nuclear power plant technology. 20 of the older plants are due for closure and replacement over the next decade. France now has thousands of plant-years of generation experience without any kind of accident. Meanwhile thousands of coal-miners die every year and no-one cares.

  • 59
    zoomster
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    fran

    dammit, I looked at it and tried to remember which was which!!

  • 60
    fredex
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    http://rt.com/news/swedish-nuclear-reactor-gothenburg-589/

    And here is a nuclear ‘incident’ from a country that has, so stated, never had a nuclear ‘incident’[sic].
    Notice this line:
    “The leak is the latest in a string of similar incidents that have plagued the Swedish nuclear industry.”

  • 61
    Tricot
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    I find it hard to believe that the Coalition would dump Abbott at this stage – if at all.

    While they are not good news for Oz at the moment, they are entirely stupid either and the master class Labor ran for 3 plus years on leadership instability and practise at shooting each foot – several times – is not lost on them.

    Mind you, I commend all those who are happy to stoke the fires of possibilities – as did the conservatives – and hope the Coalition feel the need to change.

    That Bishop jnr is considered a prospect is laughable.

    But, politics is a strange business and she has all the makings of a new Thatcher – though she more likely would be described as Tin Plate Maiden rather than Iron Lady.

    Then again, maybe Telflon Maiden?

  • 62
    adrian
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    It’s a typical discussion technique of the right. Ask a question related to an ideological obsession of theirs, but frame it in such a way as to suggest that you are genuinely interested in the answer.

    People respond in good faith, but the questioner has no interest in the answers, he just uses them to promote whatever point he was going to make all along.

    It is unsurprising that a semi skilled propagandist like Psephos uses this technique. Perhaps more surprising that people waste their time responding to him.

  • 63
    guytaur
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Psephos

    Solar and wind are superior to nuclear. The cost of an accident far less.

    Solar especially has great potential as technology develops. The latest one we have seen is turning roads into dual use as power generators

  • 64
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Towke won easily. On the first ballot, he polled 10 times as many votes as Morrison, 82 votes to 8, who was eliminated in the first round.

    Which he achieved by massive branch-stacking using Lebanese Christians bused in from all over Sydney. The guy may well have been smeared by Morrison’s people, but he’s no angel.

  • 65
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    I’m not of course saying that it’s *impossible* for there to be an accident at a French nuclear power plant. Of course it’s possible. But if the over-riding priority is to stop burning carbon, that it is risk that needs to be accepted. Even 20 Fukushimas, or 20 Chernobyls, would be preferable to slowly cooking ourselves as we are doing at present.

  • 66
    Tricot
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Just by way of interest, what does France do with its nuclear waste?

    And, the same applies to other countries who have power generation from nuclear.

    I gather that infamous nuclear power station in Ukraine has its cement shell disintegrating at the moment. I also wonder if the Japanese have any new ideas where to site new power stations?

    Still what’s the odd nuclear accident in the march towards a clean energy environment.

    Sell me solutions to the above downsides to the nuclear industry and I might not be so cautious when it comes to power generation from the golden wonders of the atom.

  • 67
    AussieAchmed
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Which he achieved by massive branch-stacking using Lebanese Christians bused in from all over Sydney. The guy may well have been smeared by Morrison’s people, but he’s no angel.

    Looking at NSW both Labor and Liberals. I seriously doubt too many are angels.

    And I find it impossible to believe that Abbott is not tainted.

  • 68
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Bonne nuit, mes petits.

  • 69
    guytaur
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Insiders starting. Pyne is the guest if you want to avoid wait ten minutes

  • 70
    dave
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    sprocket_@30

    I’m warming to Peter Dutton as the replacement for the Lying Friar.

    We don’t want abbott replaced, it would be ideal for Labor if the tories go to election 2016 with him still leader.

    What will be good for Labor is for Newspoll to do its work each fortnight delivering poor, worse and even worse results as time goes on.

    And we want infighting and public calls from tory insiders for abbott to go and for abbott to dig his heels in and insist he will lead at the next election.

    Plus business calling for abbott to step aside “for the good of the party and the country”….and their wallets.

    We want abbott to be around for a whole lot longer and for him to do much more damage to himself and the tories – then we want voters to chuck him out on his ear and for him to be all bitter and twisted and blame those around him.

    Blame everyone except himself.

    The first aspects are already in place, sit back and watch abbott and the tories inflict more damage on themselves.

    All those many, many promises….waved away on a single night in May….

    In several years time and from opposition, tories will still be asking, *Why the fcuk were we so dumb*?

    Its got the makings of a great hitler downfall parody…

  • 71
    confessions
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    guytaur:

    I’m giving Insiders a miss today.

  • 72
    Socrates
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Fredex

    Thanks I was not aware of that re Sweden. That being said, there is no actual report of radiation leaking, so it is hardly Fukushima. But yes, if Sweden has some gen 1 reactors left, they should be pensioned off. If not I concede they should be stricken from my list, the rest of which I still stand by. And further to Psephos point, coal does not only kill miners. Several thousand Victorians around Morewell are being exposed to it right now, and a few will die from it.

    Overall though, the point is that power costs should be looked at as a system, not in isolation. I also said before that wind was already competitive, if we had a suitable grid system to match. Market forces alone will not fix that. Like the French with nuclear (and hopefully better than us with the botched planning and delivery of the NBN), there is still a needed role for government to plan an alternative energy power system. Then contract out the delivery.

    Have a good day all.

  • 73
    BK
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Insiders starting. Pyne is the guest if you want to avoid wait ten minutes

    Dammit guytaur! I’ve already messed out the horse stables so it leaves me no choce.

  • 74
    fredex
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nuclear_power_accidents_by_country#France

    If you want more ‘incidents’ involving nuclear from countries that have ‘never’ had nuclear accidents, check this out.
    Of course there are more examples. like this one, which is not in the wiki list:

    One person has been killed and several injured in an explosion at a nuclear plant in southern France, leading to the potential risk of a radioactive leak

    Or this one:

    French state-controlled utility Electricité de France SA said late Thursday that a leak was detected at one of its nuclear reactors in northwestern France, after two small fires were extinguished at the site earlier in the day.

    Or you could check out Monju nuclear plant in France which had a series of *cough* ‘incidents”.

    Oe, in the case of Sweden, another country which, apparently, has never had a nuclear accident [sic] you could google -”Safety problems throw Sweden’s nuclear energy program into question – Business – International Herald Tribune” for the example which included this;

    On Wednesday, it was reported that low-level radiation leaks at a reactor north of Stockholm went undetected for three years, and the leaks were only the latest in a series of mishaps.

    Surely that’s enough or even too many?

  • 75
    lizzie
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    zoomster

    stationery – e is for envelope. That’s how I remember.

  • 76
    Tricot
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    While not wanting to get into one of the interminable discussions here about the environment, when it comes to wind, solar, wave power, hydro and other similar sources of energy when applied to electrical generation, where is the base load generation coming from?

    I am not opposed to use of these sources as I have domestic solar panels and have had them for hot water.

    But, the pro coal mob always trots out the “base load” issue and I have not seen a satisfactory explanation of how the clean energy side would deal with this fundamental issue. What? Gas?

    Interestingly in WA, where the growth of solar panels has gone through the roof (pardon the pun), such is the decline in the demand for power use that thoughts are turning to increasing the supply charge.

    There is some validity in the point that the business model for power stations is that everyone shares the cost of keeping generators on line 24/7 while those with solars get the full benefit of the hot sun during the day.

    From a macro point of view I am all for reduction in carbon emissions and associated pollution, but until such time as battery technology improves, it would seem 24/7 base load generation is fundamental.

  • 77
    adrian
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    In several years time and from opposition, tories will still be asking, *Why the fcuk were we so dumb*?

    I really doubt it. Like most reactionary ideallogues, their capacity for self-reflection is close to zero.

  • 78
    guytaur
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    tricot

    Spain has a base load solar generator

  • 79
    guytaur
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    tricot

    Here is Australia specific

    http://bze.org.au/category/keywords/renewable-energy/solar-energy/baseload-solar

  • 80
    frednk
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Psephos
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Nothing is perfect, but it’s certainly a lot better, because unlike any of those countries France seriously invests in new nuclear power plant technology.

    France now has thousands of plant-years of generation experience without any kind of accident. Meanwhile thousands of coal-miners die every year and no-one cares.
    ]

    A few coal miners is not the same as turning several hundred square km’s into wasteland. Germany has the answer.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-13592208

    Germany will lead the world in renewable energy solutions. Could have been Australia but that opportunity is passing us by also.

  • 81
    guytaur
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    @tveedercom: “Competition will drive prices down & students will be the winner” Christopher Pyne #Insiders http://t.co/YusZZaZvuX http://t.co/28h0jITtga

  • 82
    fredex
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    http://johnquiggin.com/2009/07/22/the-myth-of-baseload-power-demand/

    But the thing that really got me going was the repetition of the claim that alternative energy sources are problematic because they can’t meet “baseload power demand”.

    I’ve said before that this claim is wrong, but I think it’s time to sharpen my position, and state two claims:

    *There is no relevant sense in which baseload power demand is a meaningful concept in our current electricity supply system.

    *Any electricity supply system likely to exist in the next 40 years and capable of meeting peak power demand will have no problems meeting baseload demand.

    Continues….

  • 83
    Boerwar
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    "I just can't get the time off work these days," Prince Harry said.
    "The next time I come back you will be struggling to get rid of me I am sure."

    He must be joking. We are struggling to get rid of him now.

  • 84
    Boerwar
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Pyne seems to have had a makeover. A touch of gris in the coiffure, methinis – perhaps aiming for the elder statesman look.

  • 85
    Boerwar
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Pyne’s explanation for why fees are going to rise is that they will go down.

  • 86
    Everything
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    No he didn’t, he said that competition will modulate the price rises.

  • 87
    Boerwar
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    s
    They can’t be part of mainland France because they are islands. Politically, they are part of France.

  • 88
    BK
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Why on EARTH did I subject myself to watching the whining, pusillanimous Pyne on #insiders this morning?

  • 89
    guytaur
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    “@StephenJonesMP: Howard once claws that interest rates will always be lower under a Liberal Government. Not if you have a student loan #Insiders”

  • 90
    Boerwar
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Fran is on the warpath against Pyne this morning.

  • 91
    liyana
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    How distressing to hear the minister for education restrict his discussion of university education to slogans about the ‘market.’

    Terrible interview by Pine, with the usual disregard for the reality of ordinary Australians.

    My mother told me last night that under this system she and my father would have told me to leave school in year 10 and earn money, because there was no point in completing year 12 as uni wouldn’t have been an option.

    I was the first in the family to go to uni.

  • 92
    sprocket_
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Pyne has his Mr CrankyPants demeanour on today.

    And admits he is a hypocrite on free tertiary education

  • 93
    Everything
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Student HECS interest rates ARE lower than any other interest rates!

  • 94
    Everything
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    liyana
    ....My mother told me last night that under this system she and my father would have told me to leave school in year 10 and earn money, because there was no point in completing year 12 as uni wouldn’t have been an option

    Why wouldn’t it have been an option?

    If you never earn over $50k you don’t pay a cent.

    If you earn over $50k you pay it back slowly as you are able.

  • 95
    BK
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Fran is on the warpath against Pyne this morning.

    Boerwar
    The pusillanomous one asked for it.
    Big time!

  • 96
    guytaur
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    @MrPinkCarpet: The smartest people are those who listen and learn. This current govt thinks they are right and are not listening. #insiders

  • 97
    Boerwar
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    It felt a bit odd for a while but after a year in France, nuclear plants are normal.

    I support nuclear reactors as a mix of replacement energy sources for fossil fuels.

    The big problem for France over the next couple of decades is that decommissioning 59 reactors and building replacements is a monster fiscal challenge for a state that has been accumulating debt for decades.

  • 98
    Boerwar
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    BK
    Yep.

  • 99
    sprocket_
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    “Competition weaves it’s magic” to drive Uni fees down says Pyne

    Ross Giitins has an excellent article on the oligopoly which is the imperfect Australian tertiary education system

    http://www.smh.com.au/business/why-competition-means-university-fees-will-rise-20140530-399pd.html

  • 100
    frednk
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Re base load relative to coal fired

    1) Gas produces 1/2 the pollution so if your really want to burn something that is the stuff to burn.
    2) Pumped storage is quite capable of storing electricity we have them in the system already, yes we need more and yes we need a strog network to transfer energy generated at place x to place y.
    3) Battery technology is improving.
    4) Hot salts have been used to store thermal heat, but makes no sense if you have a decent amount of pumped water storage.

    What is striking about the renewable energy debate is the ingorance generated by people trying to protect their current investments.

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