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Seat of the week: Melbourne Ports

Labor's century-long hold on this inner southern Melbourne seat has never really looked threatened, despite being transformed by gentrification over the past few decades.

NOTE: Poll Bludger will be closed for comments for two weeks from December 25 to January 7 inclusive.

Melbourne Ports covers Bayside inner Melbourne from the mouth of the Yarra through Port Melbourne and Albert Park to St Kilda, further jutting inland in the south to take in Elsternwick. The redistribution to take effect at the next election will transfer 9000 voters in Elsternick and Caulfield South south of Glen Huntly Road to Goldstein, increasing the Labor margin from 7.6% to 7.9%. Melbourne Ports has the largest Jewish community of any electorate in Australia, accounting for 12.8% of the local population, and ranks at or near the top for numbers of Poles, Russians and Hungarians. It also has the second lowest proportion of Christians after its northern neighbour, Melbourne.

Labor’s greatest source of strength in the electorate is around St Kilda, where booths results in 2010 typically had Labor in the high thirties, the Greens on or around 30%, and the Liberals in third place in the mid-twenties. At the city end of the electorate, encompassing Port Melbourne, South Melbourne and Albert Park, green-left inner-city tendencies are counterbalanced by wealthy Liberal-voting elements. The strongest areas for the Liberals are in the east of the electorate, both around South Yarra in the north and Caulfield in the south, where the suburbs begin to take on the character of the electorate’s safe Liberal neighbour, Higgins.

Melbourne Ports was once noted for its preponderance of waterfront workers and generally working class voter base, and was accordingly very safe for Labor for most of its history. It has since transformed into the tenth wealthiest electorate in the country, a process which has considerably worn down Labor’s margin. The seat has nonetheless been extremely stable over the past two decades, recording essentially no swing at all at the consecutive elections of 1996, 1998 and 2001, a 2.0% swing to the Liberals in 2004, and swings to Labor of 3.4% in 2007 and 0.4% in 2010. The 2004 election proved Labor’s low water mark to date, the margin falling to 3.7%.

Labor has held the seat without interruption since 1906, with only five members serving over that time: James Matthews until 1931; Ted Holloway, a Curtin-Chifley government minister who moved to Melbourne Ports after unseating Prime Minister Stanley Bruce in Flinders two years earlier, until 1951; Frank Crean, Whitlam government Treasurer and father of Simon, until 1977; Clyde Holding, who came to the seat after a long and unproductive spell as state Opposition Leader, until 1998; and the incumbent, Michael Danby.

A member of the Right sub-faction associated with Stephen Conroy and Bill Shorten, Michael Danby’s pre-parliamentary career included stints as editor of the Australia-Israel Review, staffer to Hawke government minister Barry Cohen and industrial officer for the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association. He is frequently in the news as a supportive voice for Israel, most recently after the Prime Minister was prevailed upon to have Australia support observer status for the Palestinian territories at the United Nations. Although occasionally mentioned as a candidate for promotion, he is yet to achieve a position more senior than Opposition Whip, which he held between 2001 and 2007.

The preselected Liberal candidate for the second electorate running is Kevin Ekendahl, a manager at non-profit social enterprises organisation Try Australia.

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2987 comments

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Rossmore
Guest

Fiona sleep good. Night

CTar1
Guest

Joe’s, Fucken Joe’s, same as Franks but with better trailers …

fiona
Guest

Rossmore,

Not comfortabl but it will pass.

confessions
Guest

Anyways, night all.

Catch youse at Joe’s.

confessions
Guest

Puff:

The older I get the faster time flies by.

I hate it.

Sorry about your partner (george, wasn’t it?). I’m sure he’d have loved us all. ๐Ÿ˜€

confessions
Guest

Puff:

Tks.

Rossmore
Guest

Fiona 2966 Seriously. My comment was uncalled for. I hope you are feeling better. And go straight to the docs if you ain’t.

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

fess
It is okay, it is easy to lose track of yime.

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

fess
That was last year.

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

arrrrrgggghhhhhhh I left the u out of colour!

confessions
Guest

Puff:

Is this your first xmas without your partner, or was that last year?

Sorry if that’s something I should’ve known.

CTar1
Guest

mod – “cherry, you?”. Really trying me out now.

Utopia
Guest

Puff: Just tell us that you have jammies….thats all we ask ๐Ÿ™‚

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

ctar1
๐Ÿ˜€ norty!

confessions
Guest

[Fess. Quit while you are aheadโ€ฆ]

Ahead of what?

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

I am not telling you te color of my jammies.

Utopia
Guest

I made cherry souffle the other day.

Delish ๐Ÿ™‚

CTar1
Guest

Puff – Who or what?

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

i am eating it in bed.

CTar1
Guest

Triple get stuffed/Walrussed or whatever you do.

wpDiscuz