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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.

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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

1,077 thoughts on “Seat of the week: Melbourne

  1. C@tmomma

    TLBD,
    Stressed that it was a local idea brought up with her by Deb O’Neill. Very good.

    It seems as though Deb is Julia’s new BFF. 🙂

    Little story. When Deb came to my place to get me to nominate her as a candidate for the ALP for the next election, her ‘starpower’ was such that both of my boys fell right into that traditional scenario where they sat meek as mice and straight-backed on the sofa, not uttering a single word! Which is the first time it has ever happened in their lives! 🙂

  2. leone

    doyley
    I can see why Ferguson might have been pissed off, but surely he could have had a quiet chat with Oakeshott to sort things out. Had he used whatever passes for his brain he could have avoided a whole lot of negative publicity. This is yet anoher Labor shooting itself in the foot thing, a smart opposition could make good use of it.

    Oakeshott isn’t bound by party solidarity, he can say whatever he likes. If he believes the tax has faults he’s entitled to say so and entitled to explain why he believes that, and the OM are entitled to report whatever he says.

    Cabinet must have approved this, surely a minister can’t just go off on a frolic of his own and threaten legal action without first running it by the cabinet.

  3. CTar1

    Peter Debnam seems another punter who if he was 20 now wouldn’t be thinking of joining the Libs.

  4. WeWantPaul

    [Disagree re current gov’t fixing the situation, it has been a stuff up.]

    No not at all, not for one bit. Negotiations with Telstra were remarkably quick and efficient if anything. Appointing contractors was difficult but again done remarkably well and quickly given the circumstances.

  5. confessions

    Phil vee:

    I’ve also noticed some almost imperceptible changes in peoples views. Whereas once people were talking about ‘when’ the coalition came to govt, they are now using the word ‘if’.

    Interesting.

  6. Fargo61

    No, the MRRT should not be sorted out behind closed doors, that is where the problems started.

    It needs major re-design. It will collect sfa as it is, and needs to be I reconsidered by Parliament. That is what Mr Oakeshott has realised.

  7. confessions

    [Oakeshott isn’t bound by party solidarity, he can say whatever he likes. If he believes the tax has faults he’s entitled to say so and entitled to explain why he believes that, and the OM are entitled to report whatever he says. ]

    Couldn’t agree more. Ferguson’s actions, if true, are simply ridiculous.

  8. Just Me

    The standard of trolls on PB has really gone downhill lately.

  9. guytaur

    @ABCNews24: The PM @JuliaGIllard is addressing the media in Sydney following her announcement of the Defence Families Pin http://t.co/AhggUgUN

  10. Aguirre

    leone@102


    Cabinet must have approved this, surely a minister can’t just go off on a frolic of his own and threaten legal action without first running it by the cabinet.

    Yeah, I don’t know about that. Ferguson’s a bit of a loose cannon. He was out there saying the mining boom was over just recently, wasn’t he? That one had to be hosed down, and I don’t recall him retracting the statement.

  11. CTar1

    I noticed that LSL was here a couple of days ago saying that the ‘same old, same old’ was going on here – which is also what he says every time he visits …

  12. Doyley

    leone @102,

    As i said I think the matter should have been sorted behind doors even though I can understand the Minister being pissed with what was reported.

    I still cannot accept that the PM would have had agreed to this action and doubt it would have gone through cabinet.

    However, time will tell. Hopefully it can be sorted quietly as it should have been done in the first place.

    One thing that has just crossed my mind. I have based my position on what I read in the SMH re Mr O pretty much claiming that the Minister ran dead during negotiations. I thought at the time it was a provocative thing for MR O to say but thought no more of it. Whether this is what Mr O actually said is another matter.

    Perhaps the SMH just added a bit in themselves based on its interpretation. Deliberate attempt to create a story where none existed ? Who knows.

    Anyway, hopefully it will be sorted out and both parties can get on with things.

  13. joe2

    [Oakeshott isn’t bound by party solidarity, he can say whatever he likes.]

    If he said it in parliament, yes. Outside, with the alleged comment he made, it is perfectly natural that Ferguson would go him.

  14. Fargo61

    We Want Paul- I am happy enough to assume you are correct r contractor engagement appointment, I do not know enough to say otherwise.

    That however is not the big picture here, which is ( or partly is) that there is a monopoly where there should not be one, and that there is not enough connections being made, and residents of nw estates re without landline options, whether broadband or phone.

    The Govt created “the circumstances” by the design and the timetable design, and both are flawed.

    Here’s a challenge, for anyone, when are residents in the post code areas of 4122 going to be able to connect (roughly)?

  15. confessions

    guytaur:

    What is the pin?

  16. CTar1

    If the MRRT is ever going to be revisited it won’t be in this term of parliament anyway.

  17. Fargo61

    No one doubts Ferguson could go him, what is in question is the sense in doing so.

  18. guytaur

    “@latikambourke: PM Gillard says she spoke to Martin Ferguson this morning and he won’t be pursuing defamation action against Ind. Rob Oakeshott.”

  19. confessions

    PM says Fergusaon will be dropping legal action.

  20. C@tmomma

    Interesting to see a similar ‘Entitlement Culture’ debate going on in the UK:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2226615/SHOULD-better-child-benefit-Heres-sides-debate-.html?ICO=most_read_module

    I think it’s a debate we need to have and the strength of the argument is demonstrated by the fact that governments of both political persuasions are having to deal with it.

  21. Space Kidette

    [Latika Bourke ‏@latikambourke

    PM Gillard says she spoke to Martin Ferguson this morning and he won’t be pursuing defamation action against Ind. Rob Oakeshott. ]

  22. confessions

    Seems Abbott’s speech yesterday has sunk without a trace.

  23. joe2

    [ Whether this is what Mr O actually said is another matter.]
    No, if what is reported is correct, he went much further than that. If it were, the minister would need to resign.

  24. guytaur

    Confessions

    It is a pin for the families of those deployed in military roles.

  25. rosemour

    ‘The man who led the Australian Federal Police investigation into the AWB oil-for-food scandal has alleged he was offered a promotion in return for shutting down the probe.’

    Love to see this go all the way.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/oakeshott-outraged-by-ministers-legal-threat-20121102-28pgz.html#ixzz2B76amcaB

  26. leone

    That visit to the headmistress’s office has taken place, or is about to happen.
    [Latika Bourke Latika Bourke ‏@latikambourke
    PM Gillard says she spoke to Martin Ferguson this morning and he won’t be pursuing defamation action against Ind. Rob Oakeshott.]
    [Latika Bourke ‏@latikambourke
    PM Gillard says Martin Ferguson is honest and proud and was offended by Oakeshott’s criticisms of his conduct but won’t be suing.]

  27. This little black duck

    Families of ADF personnel serving O/S.

  28. leone

    [Latika Bourke ‏@latikambourke
    PM Gillard says Martin Ferguson will be releasing a statement in which he’ll drop his threat of legal action against Rob Oakeshott.]

  29. guytaur

    Mitt Romney up soon live News 24. If they stay through the thankyou’s

  30. Centre

    [I suppose if you predict rain everyday you get it right eventually.]

    Fargot61, no I don’t predict rain everyday, but when I do, yes it usually rains 😀

    The MRRT is a profits based tax. Mining coys pay additional tax if they profit in excess of a certain level of profit. The design is not flawed at all.

    You may be confused with company tax, where mining coys already pay tax at 30% of net profit.

  31. confessions

    guytaur:

    Thanks. I’ve just caught up with it now.

  32. jeffemu

    Gee the PM’s presser interrupted by link breakdown at ABC24.

    I wonder how many pressers now have been cut short through problems.

    Seems to happen quite a bit on News24, but I don’t seem to remember many wingnut doorstops getting interrupted.

    Strange really.

  33. Fargo61

    “If the MRRT is ever going to be revisited it won’t be in this term of parliament anyway.”

    Yes, Gillard has too much ownership of to admit the mistakes.

  34. joe2

    Mr Oakeshott may have learnt a lesson about shooting his mouth off without the protection of parliament to do so.

  35. WeWantPaul

    Having a natural monopoly as a monopoly isn’t flawed it is the only sensible efficient way to do it. Would be moronic (ie the Howard way) to have two or three competing broadband networks in the same holes (or even worse in different holes) in Sydney and Melbourne and none anywhere else.

    New developments really need to get a grip. We didn’t have a shop for three years, we didn’t have a hardware store for 15 years, we don’t have broadband. Not really a failure at all, just the usual stupid libs trying to suggest a higher standard than is reasonable and much higher than they’d ever meet and then call out fail. Involves three levels of dishonesty and a whole bunch of stupidity.

  36. confessions

    [The MRRT is a profits based tax. Mining coys pay additional tax if they profit in excess of a certain level of profit. The design is not flawed at all.]

    Correct. It’s based on the same model used for the PRRT, which also didn’t collect any revenue in its first few months of implementation, but now is accepted by people as appropriate and effective.

  37. Centre

    Thanks Guytaur

    So Ferguson is not pursuing legal action.

    Beautiful, you see Fargot, whenever I predict rain – it rains :kiss:

  38. joe2

    Gillard say Ferguson “honest and proud” , get that. Questioning that would surely be offensive for him. A dill maybe, but not a crook.

  39. zoomster

    fargo

    [Obviously, contrary to Swan ang Gillard spin, the MRRT is not a profits base tax. That is not its design at all. If it were, tax would have been collected, from the mining companies that are in fact making profits right now.]

    Seriously? You are THAT ignorant?

    It kicks in once a certain level of profit has been exceeded – not just because a profit has been made.

  40. guytaur

    Remember the media agenda. An early election means more chance of Abbott stopping the NBN. Or changed so MSM can somehow become gatekeepers again.

  41. Doyley

    joe2 @124,

    What i was trying to get at is I cannot recall whether it was a direct quote from Mr O re the Minister running dead or not in the SMH article.

    I thought at the time it was a provocative thing for MR O to say and if it was a direct quote I can understand the Minister being pissed although behind doors would have been better.

    Would you have a link to the article ?

    Anyway, seems like it is being sorted so hopefully all will be good.

    cheers.

  42. Diogenes

    Ferguson definitely wins Tool of the Week.

    Spitting the dummy and legally threatening a key Indie when he has clearly caved so badly to the miners that the mining tax is not making any money at all, when the revenue has already been budgeted for is not a good look.

    And then Gillard slaps him down and he crawls away with his lawyers.

  43. Diogenes

    Ferguson definitely wins Tool of the Week.

    Spitting the dummy and legally threatening a key Indie when he has clearly caved so badly to the miners that the mining tax is not making any money at all, when the revenue has already been budgeted for is not a good look.

    And then Gillard slaps him down and he crawls away with his lawyers.

  44. C@tmomma

    Notice the Troll is mute about Coalition State Governments actually putting a wrecking ball through Mining Companies by jacking up Royalties?

  45. Tricot

    F61

    If it is “argument” you want (earlier post) go down the pub.

    If you have come here just as a counter point to the so-called “Gillard Fan Club” (or wtte) many have done so long before you and there attempts were just about as effective.

    If is is propaganda you want, this place is a waste of time for you.

    If you want thoughtful responses you will not get them by just going on the attack.

    Most will just scroll by. We have heard it all before sport.

  46. Doyley

    So i think we can take it as a given that the PM did not approve the action by the minister.

  47. Centre

    Yes Connie

    Fargot is just a Greenie who detests the mining industry and is p!ssed that it has failed to raise revenue in its first quarter.

    The MRRT will raise revenue, yes it does work in a similar way to the PRRT and every cent it raises – is an extra cent in revenue that would not have been available had Abbott been in government.

  48. Fargo61

    Centre,

    Company tax is the tax that collects tax, MRRT collects no tax, there is no confusion about that.

    MRRT is not a profit based tax. The people who designed it, the big mining companies, have said that they will never pay it. They should know. Commodity prices are a convenient explanation, but are not the correct one. It has been designed to avoid liability. This has been achieved in a number of ways, but the most material is that capital costs are effectively treated as if they were on revenue account, and thus deductible for MRRT purposes. That is principally why the smaller mining companies with relatively less capital expenditure are upset about the design.

    If you would be kind enough to predict about three days of constant rain for Mansfi

  49. Tricot

    146 – “their”

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