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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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  • 101
    AussieAchmed
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Pyne and the Libs are residing in their own little fantasy land. Fees will go down….rubbish.

    These people need to get back into the real world and stop the b/s.

    Not read one article quoting a University saying they are going to reduce the cost…

    A graduate will need to earn around $83,000 a year for 50 years to pay off the debt. Good luck with that

  • 102
    don
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    French nuclear ‘incidents’:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_in_France#Accidents_and_incidents

    17 October 1969 Saint-Laurent, France 50 kg of Uranium in one of the reactors at the Saint-Laurent Nuclear Power Plant began to melt, an event classified at 'level 4' on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES). As of March 2011, this remains the most serious civil nuclear power accident in France. ?

    25 July 1979 Saclay, France Radioactive fluids escape into drains designed for ordinary wastes, seeping into the local watershed at the Saclay BL3 Reactor 5

    13 March 1980 Loir-et-Cher, France A malfunctioning cooling system fuses fuel elements together at the Saint Laurent A2 reactor, ruining the fuel assembly and forcing an extended shutdown 22

    14 April 1984 Bugey, France Electrical cables fail at the command centre of the Bugey Nuclear Power Plant and force a complete shutdown of one reactor 2

    22 May 1986 Normandy, France A reprocessing plant at La Hague malfunctions and exposes workers to unsafe levels of radiation and forces five to be hospitalised 5

    12 April 1987 Tricastin, France Tricastin fast breeder reactor leaks coolant, sodium and uranium hexachloride, injuring seven workers and contaminating water supplies 50

    27 December 1999 Blayais, France An unexpectedly strong storm floods the Blayais Nuclear Power Plant, forcing an emergency shutdown after injection pumps and containment safety systems fail from water damage 55

    21 January 2002 Manche, France Control systems and safety valves fail after improper installation of condensers, forcing a two-month shutdown 102

    16 May 2005 Lorraine, France Sub-standard electrical cables at the Cattenom-2 nuclear reactor cause a fire in an electricity tunnel, damaging safety systems 12

    13 July 2008 Tricastin, France 75 kg of natural uranium, in thousands of litres of solution, accidentally spilled on the ground and run off into a nearby river 7

    12 August 2009 Gravelines, France Assembly system fails to properly eject spent fuel rods from the Gravelines Nuclear Power Plant, causing the fuel rods to jam and the reactor to shut down 2

    12 September 2011 Marcoule, France One person was killed and four injured, one seriously, in a blast at the Marcoule Nuclear Site. The explosion took place in a furnace used to melt metallic waste and did not represent a nuclear accident.

  • 103
    Everything
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    AussieAchmed
    ....A graduate will need to earn around $83,000 a year for 50 years to pay off the debt. Good luck with that

    A graduate who earns less than $50k pays nothing.
    A graduate who earns more than $50k pays back slowly at the taxpayer’s interest rate.
    A graduate earns more on average than non graduates.

  • 104
    don
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Psephos@58


    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.

    I know Psephos has signed off, but others may be interested to see that this quote leaves something to be desired.

  • 105
    BK
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Denis Atkins said he was more confused after the Insiders Pyne interview than he was before it.

  • 106
    guytaur
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    “@PhillipCoorey: Only 8 months in and the govt already blaming the Fairfax press for its ills. Didn’t realise we were so powerful”

  • 107
    dave
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    adrian@77


    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.

    Even better.

  • 108
    AussieAchmed
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    There is proposed a change in the “formula” for the annual adjustment for HELP loans. Instead of being adjusted using the CPI commonly around 3% this Abbott Govt is proposing that the 10 year Bond Rate be used, and that’s around 6+%.

  • 109
    Everything
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    So the student pays interest on their loan at the same rate the taxpayer pays for holding the student’s debt to them (until the student earns enough to start paying it back)

  • 110
    AussieAchmed
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    ompulsory payments begin once people have an annual income of $53,345, with that year’s payment calculated at 4 per cent of income for people earning up to $59,421 and extending up to 8 per cent of income for those earning over $99,070 a year.

  • 111
    confessions
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Denis Atkins said he was more confused after the Insiders Pyne interview than he was before it.

    If twitter is any indication he is not alone.

  • 112
    victoria
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Morning all

    Lizzie

    My brother in law and nephew were on their way to an event in the city. Surprised to see Abbott in Comm car next to them heading towards the MCG. He was reading something apparently.

  • 113
    AussieAchmed
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    The loans are interest free, but are adjusted annually on June 1 “in line with changes in the cost of living” as measured by the CPI. The debt keeps its real value in the face of inflation.

  • 114
    dave
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Barrie Cassidy might have picked a bad time to take time off to write his book?

    With the ABC having to make cuts he *might* end up without a seat when the music stops.

  • 115
    victoria
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    I have not seen the Pyne interview, but my daughter received letter from vice chancellor of Swinburne which i posted here. Whatever Pyne said this morning, the bottom line is that course fees will increase dramatically and so will the repayment of same.

  • 116
    dave
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Denis Atkins said he was more confused after the Insiders Pyne interview than he was before it.

    I did the breakfast washing up and made another coffee but pyne was still going when I came back.

    The ‘plan’ was to avoid him, so he got the mute button.

  • 117
    AussieAchmed
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    At the same time aa Abbott permits unis to set their own fees for undergraduate courses, he will cut government contribution towards the cost of courses by an amount that averages 20 per cent.

    Abbott will then reduce the annual indexation of the contribution, switching to the consumer price index, which doesn’t rise as fast as the unis’ wages and other costs.

    So Abbott’s primary motivation is clearly to shift more of the cost of universities from itself and onto students. The 20 per cent cut will give universities an immediate and pressing reason to use their new freedom to increase the fees they charge, and the less-generous indexation will maintain the pressure for further increases.

  • 118
    victoria
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Also my youngest is doing her Year 11 VCE. They had reps attend from Melboune tertiary institutions last week. Students were told that based on the proposals by the govt, fees will increase substantially.
    And as i reported, Jenny Macklin also attended last week and said the same thing.

    So my question to pyne is, why does everyone think that course fees are going to skyrocket.

  • 119
    AussieAchmed
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    My brother in law and nephew were on their way to an event in the city. Surprised to see Abbott in Comm car next to them heading towards the MCG. He was reading something apparently.

    The latest Superman or Batman comic???

  • 120
    Everything
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    AussieAchmed
    ....So Abbott’s primary motivation is clearly to shift more of the cost of universities from itself and onto students.

    Yes, the government said that the mix is going from 40% student 60% taxpayer to 50:50.

  • 121
    liyana
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Everything-the only reason uni was considered by my parents was because it was free…..my high academic results were applauded but would not have made a difference…it was the perception by working class families that uni was no longer the preserve of those with wealth that made a uni education possible..my parents were, and my mother remains, very anti debt.. ( I have HECs debt on my post grad degree)

    Did Pyne say that those who enrolled before this year will be grandfathered?

    This contradicts the department’s website – what incompetent fools these people are…

  • 122
    victoria
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    AA

    Probably!

  • 123
    AussieAchmed
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    So my question to pyne is, why does everyone think that course fees are going to skyrocket.

    Everyone is smarter than him?

    They are not driven by ideology?

    They are not employed by the IPA?

  • 124
    Everything
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    liyana
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 10:02 am | PERMALINK
    Everything-the only reason uni was considered by my parents was because it was free

    You must have hated the Hawke ALP government for introducing HECS fees for universities then?

  • 125
    Rex Douglas
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Psephos
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 8:07 am | PERMALINK
    Morrison is the only senior Lib who has done what he said he would do – he has stopped the boats…

    This is simply an error of fact.

    The boats have slowed/stopped due to the policy changes of 3 Governments.

    The Indonesian Governments no visa on arrival policy.

    The Rudd Governments no Aus visa/PNG resettlement policy

    The Abbott Governments turnback policy.

  • 126
    sprocket_
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Apparently the Lying Friar is on Bolt show now, if anyone can stomach

  • 127
    AussieAchmed
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Abbott says; cut government contribution towards the cost of courses by an amount that averages 20 per cent.

    Everything says; Yes, the government said that the mix is going from 40% student 60% taxpayer to 50:50.

    Using the Hockeynomic Eleventy Calculator 60% minus 20% equals 50%

  • 128
    Bushfire Bill
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 10:07 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.

    A serious nuclear accident is like death: it only needs to happen once, but the effect lasts for quite a long time.

  • 129
    Raaraa
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Once Thorium nuclear takes off, I’d be inclined to support it over Uranium. A lot safer to manage too and we have plenty of it in our mines.

    lizzie

    Psephos

    If solar is so economically superior, why does it need government incentives?

    Because of the Fossil Fuellers’ spin, which makes investors and consumers nervous.

    Not to mention all those subsidies and incentives given to them.

  • 130
    victoria
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    I should add that the school news letter has made reference to the proposed changes to higher education, and expressed the concern of what it means for students going forward.
    No doubt my daughter’s school is not the only one expressing these concerns,
    As previously noted, this issue alone can bury this disgraceful mob.

  • 131
    BK
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Liyana
    Pyne studiously ignored the question whether or not the interest rates for existing loans will be changed. I think the budget papers say that they will be changed.

  • 132
    Raaraa
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Psephos,

    Are there still any Howard-era ministers who are now backbenchers that could possibly be a possible candidate?

  • 133
    Bushfire Bill
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    I remind Bludgers that the Turnbull intrigue sent 2GB off in a spiral of anti-Turnbull sentiment the other day…from the listeners.

    The shock-jocks were FAR more sanguine about a leadership change.

    I did get the feeling that something’s up.

  • 134
    Everything
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    AA:

    $100 course fee (60% govt = $60k)
    20% cut in government contribution towards the cost = $12k
    new govt contribution = about $50k
    student pays (in HECS) about $50k

    50%:50%

  • 135
    victoria
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    BB

    Btw spoke to someone in the aviation industry last night.

    The talk amongst this cohort is that the plane was bound for Diego garcia and was shot down.

    Whilst they distracted everyone to look in the wrong areas, they cleared any remnants of the wreckage.

  • 136
    confessions
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    victoria:

    There are reports this morning that Sydney Uni fees will more than double under the govt’s proposed changes.
    http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/uni-course-fees-expected-to-double-analysis-shows-20140531-39b0b.html

  • 137
    Bushfire Bill
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    It seems to me that the coming competitive spirit among universities will result only in some universities putting up their fees less than others.

    If they all get together and agree on a base rate of, say, 35%, they can “compete” with each other for anything above that.

    We certainly won’t see fees going down.

  • 138
    victoria
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    confessions

    This govt deliberately misinforma and confuses the electorate.

    I dont believe a word that comes out of their collective mouths

  • 139
    Bushfire Bill
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    BB

    Btw spoke to someone in the aviation industry last night.

    The talk amongst this cohort is that the plane was bound for Diego garcia and was shot down.

    Whilst they distracted everyone to look in the wrong areas, they cleared any remnants of the wreckage.

    Which was exactly my scenario, to a “T”.

    God knows what submarines etc. were able to seed the search area with false trails. Perhaps even sonobouys could have been dropped to send out a couple of errant pings, or even a genuine black box, off the shelf, re-programmed to ping a couple of times then go silent.

  • 140
    victoria
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    confessions

    Instead of $40 to $50,000 hecs debts, students can expect $100,000 plus debts payable at higher rates of interest

  • 141
    Boerwar
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    In relation to the League commentators carrying on about darkeys and quittin’:

    One of the panellists on Outsiders just saying racism is racism and if you are silent you are complicit.

  • 142
    victoria
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    BB

    As a lay person, i did not understand all the technical jargon, but in a nutshell this person said that there is no way Known that a plane simply disappears and is unable to be tracked

  • 143
    sprocket_
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Might have to watch the replay of Bolt and Abbott

    @workmanalice: Bolt looks down the barrel of the camera - "well Tim Mathieson you should damn well apologise". #bolt

  • 144
    Everything
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    victoria
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 10:16 am | PERMALINK
    confessions

    Instead of $40 to $50,000 hecs debts, students can expect $100,000 plus debts payable at higher rates of interest

    ….and they pay NOTHING until they approach median income levels.

  • 145
    Bushfire Bill
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    One of the panellists on Outsiders just saying racism is racism and if you are silent you are complicit.

    Well, that’s it then. Outsiders has spoken. I must have been wr.. wr… wrong.

  • 146
    J341983
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Everything – you realise that the education market already has a hierarchy that will only get worse under this system. The most prestigious will benefit and the smaller and already less-resourced will cop it. The sandstones will charge whatever the hell they think they can get away with and guess what? As the expansion of FEE-HELP full fee places (particularly at Grad level ) will show you, people are prepared to pay it. Now, you might be flippant and say ‘well, that their choice’ but the reality is that (as someone who went to Uni in the states for a while) this only increases stratification, where the cache of the Uni will become even more important when it comes to getting jobs – and will force more people toward the expensive options.

    Competition does not always moderate prices …

  • 147
    Everything
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    sprocket_
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 10:20 am | PERMALINK
    Might have to watch the replay of Bolt and Abbott

    @workmanalice: Bolt looks down the barrel of the camera - "well Tim Mathieson you should damn well apologise". #bolt

    The “left” need to be reminded to keep family out of it (e.g., Bligh against Newman’s family, the attacks on Howard’s wife, and now the attacks on Abbott’s wife and daughters).

  • 148
    confessions
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    victoria:

    The Liberal party in govt never make education more accessible, so it beats me why anyone would believe their claims of making it more affordable.

  • 149
    Bushfire Bill
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    @workmanalice: Bolt looks down the barrel of the camera - "well Tim Mathieson you should damn well apologise". #bolt

    Tim should say he’ll apologize when Abbott withdraws Margie & The Kids from photo ops.

  • 150
    Jolyon Wagg
    Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    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?

    No, I think it would have to be asbestos maiden.

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