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Seat of the week: Melbourne

After powering to an historic victory in the electorate of Melbourne at the 2010 election, Greens MP Adam Bandt is likely to find the going a lot tougher next time around.

The electorate of Melbourne produced a watershed result at the 2010 election, with Labor suffering defeat at the hands of the Greens in a seat it had held without interruption since 1904. It thus became the first federal lower house seat to be won by the Greens at a general election, and the second overall after a by-election victory in the New South Wales seat of Cunningham in 2002. Currently the electorate extends from the central business district westwards to the Maribyrnong River, northwards to Carlton North and eastwards to Richmond. The redistribution has transferred around 6000 voters in Clifton Hill and Alphington to Batman, and another 6000 at Fitzroy North to Wills.

Contributing to the Greens’ strength are the second youngest age profile of any electorate (the first being the strongly indigenous Northern Territory seat of Lingiari), substantial student populations associated with the University of Melbourne and RMIT University campuses, and the nation’s highest “no religion” response in the 2011 census. Other demographic features include substantial Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean populations. The Greens are strongest in the inner-city bohemia of Carlton, Fitzroy, Collingwood and Richmond, excluding some local-level concentrations of migrant populations which remain strong for Labor. They are weakest in and around the central business district itself and at Ascot Vale in the seat’s outer north-east, which are respectively strong for Liberal and Labor.

Melbourne was held for Labor from 1993 to 2010 by Lindsay Tanner, who in turn succeeded Hawke-Keating government Immigration Minister Gerry Hand. Their highest profile antecedent in the seat was Arthur Calwell, member from 1940 until 1972. A leading light of the Left faction, Tanner became Finance Minister when the Rudd government was elected, and emerged as part of a four-member “kitchen cabinet” which dominated the government’s decision-making. On the day that Kevin Rudd was deposed as Labor leader, Tanner dropped a second bombshell in parliament when he announced he would not contest the election, which he insisted was unrelated to events earlier in the day. He has since emerged as a public critic of the leadership change and the political process more broadly.

Tanner’s exit at the subsequent election brought into play a seat where the Greens had rapidly grown as a threat since the 2001 election, when their vote lifted 9.6% to 15.8% on the back of concern over asylum seeker policy. It rose again to 19.0% at the 2004 election, when the party harvested much of a collapsing Democrats vote. A further breakthrough was achieved in 2007 when their candidate, Adam Bandt, overtook the Liberal candidate to reach the final preference count. On that occasion the primary vote for Labor’s Lindsay Tanner was 49.5%, enough to ensure him a 4.7% margin after preferences. With Tanner’s retirement at the 2010 election, the Labor vote fell 11.4% while the Greens were up 13.4%, which panned out to a comfortable 6.0% win for the Greens after preferences.

Adam Bandt came to parliament with an instant national profile by virtue of his position on the cross-bench of a hung parliament, which events since have only enhanced. However, he has twice received portents from the sphere of state politics that he will face a tougher environment at the next election than the last. The first was in the state election campaign of November 2010, when the Greens’ high hopes for breakthroughs in the electorate’s corresponding state seats were dashed by a Liberal Party decision to put Labor ahead of the Greens on its how-to-vote cards. This decision was seen by some as a catalyst for the Coalition’s election victory, and there seems a high probability it will be repeated federally. The effect at the state election was to cut flows of Liberal preferences to the Greens from around three-quarters to around a third, which would have cut Bandt’s two-party vote by over 9%. The second was the Greens’ failure to win the by-election for the state seat of Melbourne, despite an expectation that they would profit from annoyance at the mid-term departure of the outgoing Labor member Bronwyn Pike.

Labor has again preselected its unsuccessful candidate from 2010, Cath Bowtell, a former ACTU industrial officer, current state party president and member of the Socialist Left. Bowtell won the preselection against what proved to be token opposition from Harvey Stern, the state president of Labor for Refugees.

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1077 comments

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cud chewer
Guest

Fargo61,

If you came to me and said “hey, look at that high-rise building over there. 6 months into construction and all they’ve got is the basement carpark” Most people would look at you and think you’re a right turkey. I do too.

my say
Guest

f, the Magic Dragon.
Posted Sunday, November 4, 2012 at 11:09 pm | PERMALINK
I did not notice that, ALP +3, Libs -3.

PUFF yes i think thats important
are galaxy just catching up,

C@tmomma
Guest
I just watched ‘Dangerous Remedy’ and it was amazingly well-acted and well-scripted. If it doesn’t win awards left, right and centre, then there is no justice. Except if next week’s effort, ‘Deadly Dust’, about Asbestos, is as good or better. 🙂 I don’t know who is the Head of Drama at the ABC now, but they sure are doing a heck of a job in getting high quality work to screen. As for the poll, well all I’ll say about that is that if Kevin Rudd keeps up with his supportive words for JGPM, as he did today in an… Read more »
Gary
Guest

This poll just confirms the trend.

cud chewer
Guest

[If it does, then it would mean that nearly a million people are changing their minds every couple of weeks and are prepared to virtually swear to it.]

If Newspoll came in as 53/47 that really wouldn’t surprise me given the trend is around 51.5/48.5. Its just statistical noise, not lots of people changing their minds.

CO
Guest

The LNP primary at 47% seems extremely high

zoidlord
Guest

Stephen Koukoulas ‏@TheKouk

@JoeHockey And this is how the Howard govt “paid off” the debt http://bit.ly/YDM514
Retweeted by Craig Emerson MP

Puff, the Magic Dragon.
Guest
Puff, the Magic Dragon.

I did not notice that, ALP +3, Libs -3. 😀

Puff, the Magic Dragon.
Guest
Puff, the Magic Dragon.

GhostWhoVotes ‏@GhostWhoVotes

#Galaxy Poll Two Party Preferred: ALP 47 (+3) L/NP 53 (-3) #auspol

Bushfire Bill
Guest

[I would be surprised if the next Newspoll didn’t jump back to something similar.]

If it does, then it would mean that nearly a million people are changing their minds every couple of weeks and are prepared to virtually swear to it.

So much for polls being a reliable indicator of who’s going to twin the election.

Bushfire Bill
Guest

Groundhog Day in the Galaxy poll: Labor election-losing position, Ruddstoration, She Lied, Turnbull the toff trumps Abbott… the old memes die hard.

Now can we get back to serious stuff?

Puff, the Magic Dragon.
Guest
Puff, the Magic Dragon.

Still about the same. Steady as she goes.

I couldn’t care less what people believe about the leadership spill. I couldn’t care less what happened in the leadership spill.

It is so yesterday.

Bushfire Bill
Guest
We’re goona win, but WORLLIKE HELL! From the”Fair and abalanced Fox News web site: [Nobody really knows what the impact of hurricane Sandy will be on the election. Until its waves crashed into the New Jersey shore, the election was well in hand for the Romney campaign. … Many a governor or mayor has recovered from political oblivion by actively running around his state seeming to coordinate storm relief. And just as many have fallen apart because of a failure to clean up promptly. It may be that Obama’s visit to New Jersey and the high profile (figurative) kisses bestowed… Read more »
zoidlord
Guest

@bemused/1060

Don’t start that again.

just being obtuse.

Utopia
Guest

[Best to lead liberals

Abbott 29, Turnbull 60]

In honour of the US elections, my response to this is:

Yeeeee haaaa!

🙂

zoidlord
Guest

So the polls seem to be gone back to the hole hold again….

bemused
Guest

James J@1058


Do you believe Julia Gillard’s account of the [2010] leadership spill?

Yes 25, no 63

Obviously a rogue. By the PB count it is about 90 – 10

absolutetwaddle
Guest

I would be surprised if the next Newspoll didn’t jump back to something similar. Still, at least the days at 43/57 are behind us!:p

James J
Guest

Do you believe Julia Gillard’s account of the [2010] leadership spill?

Yes 25, no 63

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