Margin: Liberal 2.5%*
Region: Western Victoria
Federal: Corio (59%)/Corangamite (41%)
* Labor-held seat made notionally Liberal by redistribution
Candidates in ballot paper order
2010 BOOTH RESULTS MAP
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.
One of five Labor-held electorates which have been made notionally Liberal by the redistribution, Bellarine takes its name from the peninsula to the east of Geelong which forms the western part of the mouth of Port Phillip Bay. The area’s popularity with retirees gives it the fifth highest median age out of the state’s 88 electorates. Labor is strongest where the electorate extends into the outer suburbs of south-eastern Geelong, with the peninsula towns of Ocean Grove, Point Lonsdale and Portarlington tending to be marginal. The redistribution has given the Liberals a 2.5% margin in a seat Labor won by 1.4% in 2010 by transferring 9,000 voters in the former area to Geelong, affecting Newcomb, Whittington and St Albans Park, while extending its ocean frontage to include Barwon Heads, adding 3000 voters formerly in South Barwon.
Taken together with the predecessor electorate of Geelong East, as it was between 1976 to 1985, the seat was in Liberal hands from 1976 to 1979 and again between the landslide elections of 1992 and 2002. Labors Graham Ernst won the seat in 1979 from Liberal member Phil Gude, who would later return as member for Hawthorn in 1985 and serve as a senior minister in the Kennett government. Ernst was defeated in 1992 by Liberal candidate Garry Spry, who held the seat until his retirement at the 2002 election.
A 9.7% swing then delivered the seat to Labors Lisa Neville, a former president of the Barwon Health board who won preselection with support from her ex-husband, then ACTU federal secretary and now federal Corio MP Richard Marles. A member of the Right faction, Neville was promoted to the ministry in the mental health, aged care and children portfolios after the 2006 election, exchanging the latter two for community services in the reshuffle that followed Steve Bracks departure in August 2007. In opposition she has held the shadow portfolios of environment and climate change, and also held arts until the December 2013 reshuffle.
The Liberal candidate for the seat is Ron Nelson, who represents Deakin ward on Geelong City Council, which is located outside the electorate around Wandana Heights in Geelongs south-west. Other nominees for the preselection were Helen Whiteside, a former mayor for Glen Eira in Melbourne; Richard Troeth, staffer to Western Victoria region Nationals MLC David OBrien, and son of former Senator Judith Troeth; and Mark Tobias, a Melbourne property developer.
A week into the campaign, the Herald-Sun reported that in Geelong both sides think the most likely outcome is no change, suggesting Labor would hold Bellarine but fall short in South Barwon. Over the campaign’s final days, the paper affirmed that strategists on both sides believed Labor would win.