Victorian election 2014

Bass

Margin: Liberal 12.4%
Region: Eastern Victoria
Federal: McMillan (59%)/Flinders (37%)/La Trobe (4%)

Outgoing member: Ken Smith (Liberal)

Candidates in ballot paper order

bass-lib

bass-alp

ROSS FAIRHURST
Greens

CLARE LE SERVE
Independent

PAUL REID
Australian Christians

BRIAN PAYNTER
Liberal (top)

ANGELA DORIAN
Rise Up Australia

SANJAY NATHAN
Labor (bottom)

DAVID AMOR
Country Alliance

2010 BOOTH RESULTS MAP

PAST RESULTS
(GIPPSLAND WEST/BASS)

DEMOGRAPHICS

RESULTS MAP: Two-party preferred booth results from 2010 state election showing Liberal majority in blue and Labor in red. New boundaries in thicker blue lines, old ones in thinner red lines. Boundary data courtesy of Ben Raue of The Tally Room.

PAST RESULTS: Break at 1999 represents effect of the subsequent redistribution.

DEMOGRAPHICS: Based on 2012 census. School Leavers is percentage of high school graduates divided by persons over 18. LOTE is number identified as speaking language other than English at home, divided by total population.

Held since its creation in 2002 by retiring Liberal member Ken Smith, Bass covers Phillip Island and the coast on the eastern side of Westernport Bay, from Koo Wee Rup to its mouth at San Remo, extending northwards into the southern part of Pakenham, and eastwards along the Bass Strait coast to Wonthaggi and Inverloch. The redistribution has changed the manner of Pakenham’s somewhat awkward division between Bass and its northern neighbour Gembrook, with the former gaining 3500 voters at the western end and the latter gaining 7000 in the north. Part of Berwick on Melbourne’s fringe has also been transferred from the electorate to Narre Warren South, affecting 3700 voters. The combined impact is a negligible 0.2% cut in the Liberal margin.

Bass was created with the abolition of Gippsland West and Pakenham, the former of which gave the Kennett government an early foretaste of its ultimate fate when it fell to independent Susan Davies at a by-election in February 1997. Davies had been Labor’s candidate at the previous election, and was carried to victory in the absence of an official Labor candidate by a strong flow of preferences from a large field of independents. Davies’ re-election by a 4.0% margin left her among three independents holding the balance of power after the 1999 election, and few were surprised when she joined her cross-bench colleagues to bring down the Kennett government by supporting Labor.

Davies was then done a poor turn by the redistribution, and finished third behind Labor candidate John Anderson when she ran for Bass in 2002. Her preferences were almost enough for Anderson to close his deficit of 28.2% to 40.2% on the primary vote, but Liberal candidate Ken Smith ultimately pulled through by 410 votes. Smith, who had previously been a member for the upper house province of South Eastern since 1988, had an easier time of it in 2006, when he picked up a 4.9% swing in the face of another run by John Anderson, and he gained a further swing of 7.1% in 2010.

Smith assumed the position of Speaker in the new parliament, but was forced to relinquish it in February 2014 when Frankston MP Geoff Shaw declared he had no confidence in him. Shaw held the balance of power as an independent after parting ways with the Liberal Party, and was angered that Smith had referred allegations he had misused parliamentary entitlements to the Ombudsman. Smith launched a stinging attack on Shaw in his resignation speech, whom he accused of making “outrageous demands” of him that “went against policy and regulations”. He later threatened to vote with Labor to have Shaw expelled from parliament, which if successful would have put the government’s life on the line in a by-election for Frankston.

The new Liberal candidate for the seat is Brian Paynter, a Pakenham accountant who won preselection over Aaron Brown, an agricultural scientist and the son of former state party leader Alan Brown.