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Seat of the week: Menzies

The 2013 election delivered the Liberal Party its biggest margin yet in the eastern Melbourne seat of Menzies, which it had held comfortably since its creation in 1984.

Blue numbers indicate size of two-party Liberal polling booth majorities. Click for larger image. Map boundaries courtesy of Ben Raue at The Tally Room.

Menzies covers eastern Melbourne suburbs from Bulleen at the western end through Templestowe, Doncaster, Donvale and Warrandyte to Wonga Park and Croydon North at the eastern end. It was created with the expansion of parliament in 1984, prior to which the area had been divided between Diamond Valley in the west and Casey in the east. At the time of its creation it extended northwards to Eltham, but this area was exchanged for the Warrandyte end of the electorate in 1996. The entire area is solid or better for the Liberals, who have held the seat at all times by margins of no less than 5.4%. The present margin of 14.5% is the highest in the electorate’s history, following consecutive swings of 2.7% against the statewide trend in 2010 and 5.8% in 2013.

The inaugural member for Menzies was Neil Brown, who had held Diamond Valley from 1969 to 1972 and again from 1975 to 1983, having lost the seat with the defeats of Coalition governments on both occasions. Established in the safe new seat of Menzies from 1985, he served as the party’s deputy leader under John Howard from 1985 to 1987. Brown retired in February 1991 and was succeeded by Kevin Andrews, who won the by-election held the following May without opposition from the Labor Party.

Noted for his religious convictions and social conservatism, Andrews came to prominence when he spearheaded a successful push to overturn Northern Territory euthanasia laws in federal parliament. He was promoted to the outer ministry as Ageing Minister after the 2001 election and then to cabinet in October 2003, serving first as Workplace Relations Minister during the introduction of WorkChoices and then as Immigration Minister from January 2007 until the government’s defeat the following November, in which time he was dogged by the Muhamed Haneef affair.

Andrews was dropped from the Coalition front bench after the November 2007 election defeat, but returned as Shadow Families, Housing and Human Services Minister when Tony Abbott became leader in December 2009. He had played a key role in Abbott’s rise to the leadership, having made a tokenistic challenge to Turnbull’s leadership a week earlier in protest against his support for the Rudd government’s emissions trading scheme. Andrews was back in cabinet following the election of Abbott’s government in September 2013 in the role of Social Services Minister, a newly packaged portfolio encompassing aged care, multicultural affairs and settlement services.

  • 1
    Puff, the Magic Dragon.
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 3:52 am | Permalink

    Menzies: Another useless Lib Prime Minister, one who presided over 23 wasted years for this country.

  • 2
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 4:31 am | Permalink

    Nett_NEWS++™ by @Otiose94 http://bit.ly/1nAtjp1 #lnp, Other Bucket Challenges by Glen Le Lievre © http://bit.ly/1lo77js

  • 3
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    http://www.smh.com.au/photogallery/federal-politics/cartoons/cathy-wilcox-20090909-fhd6.html a day lat but timely

  • 4
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    http://www.smh.com.au/photogallery/federal-politics/cartoons/alan-moir-20090907-fdxk.html missed this chilling one yesterday

  • 5
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    http://www.smh.com.au/photogallery/federal-politics/cartoons/david-pope-20120214-1t3j0.html know did this one yesterday but think it is brilliant, also not many cartoons on Sunday.

    Over to you badcat, if you arn’t busy today

  • 6
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    Tony Abbott under fire for calling First Fleet Australia’s ‘defining moment’

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/tony-abbott-under-fire-for-calling-first-fleet-australias-defining-moment-20140830-10actp.html#ixzz3BuQHpKDw

  • 7
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    Schools rankings to remain after My School backdown

    Parents will remain free to rank schools by their NAPLAN test results through the controversial My School website, after the federal government backed away from plans to overhaul the site.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/schools-rankings-to-remain-after-my-school-backdown-20140830-10aeje.html#ixzz3BuQunV5W

  • 8
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    Puff, the Magic Dragon.
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 3:52 am | Permalink

    Menzies: Another useless Lib Prime Minister, one who presided over 23 wasted years for this country.

    Strange thing to say given that Menzies was to the left of the current Labor party.

  • 9
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    Plugged-in kids lose social skills

    Children who are constantly plugged into smartphones, computers and televisions are losing vital social skills, according to a new study.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/health/pluggedin-kids-lose-social-skills-20140829-10a55a.html#ixzz3BuRXlm6s

  • 10
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    The election clock is ticking for Denis Napthine
    There’s a tried and tested formula that comes with staring down consistently bad opinion polls.

    Step one is to roll out the usual cliche – “there’s only one poll that counts” – while embarking on a frenzy of positive announcements in a bid to reframe the debate.

    Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/comment/the-election-clock-is-ticking-for-denis-napthine-20140829-109y99.html#ixzz3BuRyRZM0

  • 11
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/tony-abbott-under-fire-for-calling-first-fleet-australias-defining-moment-20140830-10actp.html read some of the comments, don’t think many people agree with TA

    Off now, hope you have a great day BK and looking forward to your return tomorrow

  • 12
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Australia on gun run to combat terror in Iraq as PM answers Barack Obama’s SOS call

    AUSTRALIA will fly plane loads of arms and munitions into Iraq to help Kurdish fighters battling to repel Islamic State terrorists.


  • 13
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    Overdose deaths fall by a quarter in US states where medical marijuana is legal, study shows

    LEGALISING medical marijuana could save many of the hundreds of lives lost each year to prescription drug and ­heroin overdoses.


  • 14
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott will spend week in Arnhem land as ISIS fears grow

    TONY Abbott is continuing with plans to spend a week in Arnhem Land meeting tribal leaders in mid-September, but the trip appears increasingly problematic.


  • 15
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Rebuilding Gaza will take 20 years: group

    AN international organisation involved in assessing post-conflict reconstruction says it will take 20 years for Gaza’s battered and neglected housing stock to be rebuilt following the war between Hamas and Israel.


  • 16
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 6:41 am | Permalink


    Difficult to judge given the sparse level of achievement outlined here


    but I can’t find a skerrick of evidence to support your contention.

  • 17
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    Protesters target World Congress of Families conference in Melbourne


  • 18
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    Russia may lose 2018 World Cup under proposed EU sanctions

    Read more at http://www.9news.com.au/world/2014/08/31/05/45/russia-may-lose-rights-to-the-world-cup#7oUIlZIzbokqzwQQ.99

  • 19
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Not much ‘political’ news today ….. so its a bit all over the place.

    Hopefully THE MASTER will be back on deck for Dawn Patrol tomorrow.

    Have a GREAT DAY PB’s :)

  • 20
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Tks, Badcat and Mari.

  • 21
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    For a little relief from politics. The story of Roald Dahl and the writing of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and the development of children’s literature.


  • 22
    Helen Sykes
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Many thanks, Mari and Badcat.
    Glad to hear that you are a little better since you’ve been home, Mari.
    The extraordinary thing about Abbott’s comment about defining moments was that he read it from a prepared speech. He has dozens of spin doctors but they must all be as isolated from the real world as he is to allow this kind of comment to get through.
    I’m also cross with the ABC which reports that Indigenous leaders are angry about Abbott’s insensitive and ill-informed remark. As those posts to the Brisbane Times’ article make clear, many non-Indigenous Australians are also very angry. It’s another example of why a lot of us will never be comfortable with ‘Team Australia’. Abbott’s values are so very different from mine.

  • 23
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Lenore Taylor on Warburton and the RET

    If you don’t think that a gradual shift in how we generate electricity is desirable or necessary for Australia to play its part in addressing global warming, if you think it’s fine for Australia to continue to produce electricity from our existing, old and often high emitting coal-fired power stations indefinitely, then this report makes total sense.

    If you do think that shift is necessary, crashing renewable investment and possibly bankrupting some existing players in order to increase Australia’s emissions, while having no impact on electricity prices and providing an $8bn windfall to the profits of fossil fuel generators is almost the definition of crazy.


  • 24
    Fran Barlow
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 7:59 am | Permalink


    Menzies: Another useless Lib Prime Minister, one who presided over 23 wasted years for this country.

    Well 17 years anyway.

  • 25
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    and just in time for the deniers weekend of head in sand further evidence climate change is not happening


  • 26
    Fran Barlow
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    And although he did more than a few dreadful things, he did lay the foundations for the welfare system, did sign the refugees convention, did continue building the Snowy scheme, presided over the post-war migration, did much to build the university system in this country and put a lot of effort into developing Canberra. Ultimately, he saw off White Australia.

    Menzies saw himself as a liberal, rather than a conservative, and would surely have been as horrified as Fraser is at what has become of his party, were he around to see it.

  • 27
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Its all ok, apparently poor people can’t afford to get the meningoccal virus so no subsidy needed


  • 28
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    I like this quote from Menzies. Can think of a couple of examples


  • 29
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    I’ll try again


  • 30
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Shows a side of Conservatives at the time


  • 31
    Tom Hawkins
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    I like this quote from Menzies

    Yes, that quote is a perfect epitah for Murdoch

  • 32
    Tom Hawkins
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Looks like I suffered from an escaPee

  • 33
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Technology companies starting to get the message that their customers don’t ‘like’ this:

    Microsoft will not hand over overseas email, despite order

    A judge on Friday lifted a suspension on her order directing Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) to turn over a customer’s emails stored overseas to U.S. prosecutors, but the software company said it would not release any emails while it appeals the ruling.

    That prospect had drawn concern from technology companies – fearful of losing revenue from foreign customers worried that U.S. law enforcement might win broad power to seize their data.


  • 34
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Menzies on unemployment benefits


  • 35
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Morning all. Just reading William’s comments about the history of Menzies I could not help wondering – given how polarising our current generation of political leaders have been, unable to achieve bipartisan consensus on anything other than raising parliamentary salaries, I wonder how many decades it will be before anyone name a Federal seat Howard, Rudd, Gillard or (shudder) Abbott. Perhaps they could have some fun, naming an electorate with a large aboriginal vote Howard, one with a large muslim population Abbott, and one with many low income residents Rudd?

  • 36
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Reading the posts above I agree with other bludgers – Menzies looks a fairly reasonable Liberal compared to todays brand of far right conservative.

  • 37
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    This is interesting. Yesterday I was debating with right wingers about the supply of weapons into the ME. They were arguing that the gun “runners” should be stopped, prosecuted, drawn and quartered etc


  • 38
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    20,000 Pakistan Riot Police Unleash Tear Gas, Rubber Bullets As Protesters Breach PM’s Residence, 230 Injured


  • 39
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Let us hope the repugnant practice of jumps racing is soon finally banned. We should not hold our breath hoping the horse/gambling industry will do the right thing. Only public pressure and falling revenue will make them change. That is happening, as their industry becomes less popular.

  • 40
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    William’s history of the seat of Menzies provides a very “interesting” overview of Andrews’s mindset. Do the voters of Menzies really understand what they are voting for?

  • 41
    Fran Barlow
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 8:42 am | Permalink


    Let us hope the repugnant practice of jumps racing is soon finally banned. We should not hold our breath hoping the horse/gambling industry will do the right thing. Only public pressure and falling revenue will make them change. That is happening, as their industry becomes less popular.

    Very much so.

  • 42
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    This story highlights the complexity of the current IS fighting in Iraq and Syria. It also shows the potential for a political solution or at least an effective coalition against the Islamic State, given how many enemies it has created in the Arab world, and how little legitimacy it has. If the USA could stop cowering to Israel for five minutes they could fix this diplomatically.

  • 43
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Thanks CTar1


    Thank you. yes getting better. You have made some very good points in your comment and pleased to see you back on PB

  • 44
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Today’s Insiders panel and interview for those interested:

    Insiders ABC @InsidersABC · 13h
    On the #insiders panel tmrw: @PhillipCoorey @JacquelineMaley & @dwabriz. Barrie Cassidy interviews @tanya_plibersek. 9am. #auspol #ourABC

  • 45
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 8:50 am | Permalink


    Welcome back. I enjoyed your o/s commentary.

    Now that you are hanging upside Down Under no doubt your back will soon improve.

  • 46
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Aboriginal Health ‏@NACCHOAustralia 1h
    In 1971 Australia’s first Aboriginal community controlled health service was established in Redfern #DefiningMoments pic.twitter.com/zgWzUfOFuc

    Dr Andrew Refshauge, former deputy premier of NSW worked there as a GP at one point I believe.

  • 47
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Resettled refugees say they are desperate and living ‘like animals in the jungle’ on Nauru – http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/resettled-refugees-say-they-are-desperate-and-living-like-animals-in-the-jungle-on-nauru-20140824-107sov.html

    Virtual Insanity – Kathy Jacksons bizarre press conference http://wixxyleaks.com/virtual-insanity-kathy-jacksons-bizarre-press-conference/

  • 48
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 8:54 am | Permalink


    – Menzies looks a fairly reasonable Liberal compared to todays brand of far right conservative.

    Look at the legislation Richard Nixon introduced. These days the Repugs would howl him down sort of pinko commie liberal “progressive” . Can you imagine the shrieking from the Tea Party and others at this Nixon opinion ?

    I don’t know why an individual should have a right to a revolver in his house…….. the kids usually kill themselves with it and so forth. Why can’t we go after handguns, period?

  • 49
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Fran Barlow

    ….. he did lay the foundations for the welfare system

    The creation of the welfare system was the work of Curtin and Chifley.

    “Australia entered World War II with only a fragmentary welfare provision: by the end of the war it had constructed a ‘welfare state’”.

    Changes during this period were extensive. They included the introduction of:

    child endowment (replacing the New South Wales scheme) in 1941;

    a widows’ pension (also replacing the New South Wales scheme) in 1942;

    a wife’s allowance (1943);

    additional allowances for the children of pensioners in 1943; and

    unemployment, sickness and “special” benefits in 1945.

    At the same time, the governance of the social security system was consolidated. A new Department of Social Services began operation in 1941 (previously, the Treasury had administered the system).

    After the war, in 1947, the various items of legislation were brought together into a single Social Services Act.

    Child endowment was a family allowance paid at a fixed rate with no means test. Funding was from general revenue; a payroll tax was imposed on employers to help in financing the scheme, but the proceeds were paid into general revenue. The first child was initially excluded from the scheme, but brought into it in 1950.

    The widows’ pension followed the general structure of other Commonwealth pensions – it was financed from general revenue and means-tested. The definition of a “widow” went well beyond a woman whose husband had died; it included several categories of women who, through no “fault” of their own, had lost the support of their partner.

    The wife’s allowance was a means-tested payment for:
    the wives of age pensioners who were permanently incapacitated for work; and the wives of invalid pensioners.
    It was later extended to encompass the wives of age pensioners who were not permanently incapacitated.
    Allowances for pensioners’ children were essentially extensions to the pension rate. They were initially restricted to one child but later extended to other children. Similar payments became available from 1945 for the children of unemployment, sickness and special beneficiaries.

    Unemployment and sickness benefits were like pensions in that they were fixed-rate, paid from general revenue and means-tested. The rates were lower than those for pensions and the means test was generally more restrictive. Tight conditions applied to unemployment benefits in respect of availability for and willingness to work. Participation in strike action precluded eligibility for unemployment benefits. The introduction of unemployment and sickness benefits was part of a broader strategy to restore and maintain full employment, and was accompanied by the estab- lishment of the Commonwealth Employment Service to assist job-seekers.

    “Special” benefits were introduced to provide for people who had no other entitlement and, for good reason, were unable to provide for themselves and had little or no other means of support. It was, and still is, a tightly means-tested form of social assistance.

    Three other developments are worth recording from this period:

    uniform income tax in 1942 — the states “temporarily” ceded their income tax powers to the Commonwealth as a wartime measure, never to regain them;

    the introduction in 1945 of the Social Services Contribution, which was in fact no more than an extra tax on income and was merged with income tax five years later; and

    the passage of a referendum in 1946 that widened and clarified the Commonwealth’s power to legislate in respect of social security.

    By the end of the decade, Australia had a comprehensive system of social security, supported by robust financial and constitutional powers that were to enable further expansion in the years to come.


    The Fisher Government had introduced an aged pension and commonwealth workers compensation provisions in 1909 and an invalid pension in 1910. Labor also introduced the first maternity allowance, commencing from 1912.

  • 50
    Posted Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 9:01 am | Permalink


    The article on Fallujah is interesting but a-historical. It is as if there is only a present tense and no past tens.

    Before Howard, Bush and Blair, Fallujah was a thriving and largely peaceful metropolis. (Abbott was a senior cabinet minister in the Australian Government which decided to invade Iraq).

    Howard was part of the planning that systematically excluded Sunnis from all participation in running Iraq in the immediate post-invasion. Al Maliki took this a step further and took to actively murdering Sunnis.

    Before Howard (and Abbott) Fallujah kids could walk to school. If you got sick you went to a hospital. Most people had jobs. The power worked 24/7.

    Saddam might round a few dozen people up at night and murder them but if you kept your nose clean you mostly allowed to get on with your life.