Victorian election 2014

Eildon

Margin: Liberal 7.7%
Region: Northern Victoria
Federal: Casey (52%)/Indi (38%)/McEwen (8%)/Jagajaga (2%)

Candidates in ballot paper order

eildon-lib

eildon-alp

JEFF LEAKE
Country Alliance

DAVID PRENTICE
Family First

BRUCE ARGYLE
Independent

MARIE SELLSTROM
Greens

SALLY BRENNAN
Labor (bottom)

JIM CHILD
Nationals

JANE M. JUDD
Independent

CINDY McLEISH
Liberal (top)

2010 BOOTH RESULTS MAP

PAST RESULTS (SEYMOUR)

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.

Eildon is a new electorate beyond Melbourne’s north-eastern outskirts created in place of abolished Seymour, which will be contested for the Liberals by Cindy McLeish, who won Seymour from Labor in 2010. It encompasses the Melbourne fringe localities of Woori Yallock, Healesville and Yarra Glen, Eildon itself and surrounding Central Highlands territory at the centre of the electorate, and Mansfield, Alexandra and Yea further to the north. Outside of a Melbourne fringe area encompassing 3000 voters around Arthurs Creek and St Andrews, which was formerly in Yan Yean, the electorate can be divided into a western area that was formerly in Seymour, including Yea, Healesville, Alexandra and 18,000 voters; a north-eastern area from abolished Benalla, encompassing Eildon, Mansfield and 7500 voters; and a southern area formerly in Gembrook, encompassing 11,000 voters in the Upper Yarra Ranges. The western part of the old Seymour electorate, including Kilmore, Wallan and Seymour itself, now form the southern part of the new seat of Euroa. Since this was the stronger end of the electorate for Labor, Eildon is a safer conservative seat than Seymour had been, the notional Liberal margin of 7.7% comparing with a winning margin of 1.2% at the 2010 election.

Seymour played a crucial role in the changes of government in 1999 and 2010, delivering Labor a surprise win on the former occasion and a less unexpected defeat on the latter. When created at the 1992 election, the seat was easily won for the Liberals by the late Marie Tehan, a former upper house MP who served in cabinet throughout the Kennett years, and whose son Dan Tehan is now the federal member for Wannon. However, the electorate did not take kindly to the experience of the Kennett government: a 6.8% swing brought it on to Labor’s radar in 1996, and another 4.9% shift upon Tehan’s retirement in 1999 delivered a 0.7% margin to Labor’s Ben Hardman. Hardman prevailed over an unfavourable redistribution ahead of the 2002 election by picking up a 9.4% swing, but this was worn away by successive swings of 3.4% in 2006 and 7.9% in 2010.

Cindy McLeish had been the Liberals’ second choice for Seymour, having initially lost the preselection vote to Mike Laker. However, Laker withdrew a week into the 2010 election campaign for “personal reasons”, a decision made shortly after a talk radio caller claimed Laker had put it to him that the government was planning to house 50 Somali families in the electorate and provide them with free cars. With only a week to go before the closure of nominations, the endorsement was promptly given to McLeish, who had reportedly been backed in the original preselection by local electorate chairman Mike Dalmau and then upper house MP Donna Petrovich.

Labor’s candidate is Sally Brennan, chief executive of a non-profit provider of children’s services, adult education and aged care. The Nationals are also entering the contest, in what has widely been seen as retaliation against the Liberals’ decision to field a candidate in the newly created seat of Euroa that neighbours Eildon to the north, which draws most of its voters from the abolished Nationals-held seats of Benalla and Rodney. Their candidate is Jim Child, a Yarra Ranges Shire councillor.