Victorian election 2014

Narracan

Margin: Liberal 16.0%
Region: Eastern Victoria
Federal: McMillan

Candidates in ballot paper order

narracan-lib

narracan-alp

KATE MARTEN
Labor (bottom)

GARY BLACKWOOD
Liberal (top)

MALCOLM McKELVIE
Greens

DAVE SNELLING
Country Alliance

NORMAN BAKER
Rise Up Australia

2010 BOOTH RESULTS MAP

PAST RESULTS

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.

Together with Morwell, Narracan was one of two Gippsland seats which were unexpectedly lost to Labor at the 2006 election, despite their hold on the seats pre-dating the 2002 landslide. In both cases the results reflected the decline of the Latrobe Valley’s electricity industry, and a realignment among workers with a stake in coal mining resulting from climate change politics. But whereas Morwell had been in Labor hands for 32 years, the Liberals’ win in Narracan restored them to a seat they had held from 1967 until regional Victoria’s revolt against the Kennett government in 1999.

Narracan covers 4,500 square kilometres of western Gippsland, including the towns of Moe, Warragul and Neerim. Moe is deeply working-class and remains strong for Labor, whereas Warragul, Neerim and surrounding rural areas are naturally conservative. The redistribution has given the Liberals a substantial 3.6% boost by shifting the electorate westwards along its backbone of the Princes Highway, adding 5700 voters in and around Nar Nar Goon, Tynong, Garfield and Bunyip from Bass, while sending 5500 voters in Labor-voting Newborough to Morwell.

The electorate’s balance of blue-collar Labor and rural conservative constituencies produced particularly modest Liberal margins during the Cain years, and the region did not particularly warm to Jeff Kennett, recording a fairly mild swing in the 1992 landslide before going 3.8% the other way in 1996, when incumbent John Delzoppo retired. This left Delzoppo’s successor, Florian Andrighetto, defending a margin of 1.6%, which was less than he needed to hold off a 4.1% swing to Labor’s Ian Maxfield in 1999.

The redistribution ahead of the 2002 election turned a 2.5% Labor margin to a notional Liberal margin of 0.5%, by adding Liberal-voting Drouin in the west and removing Labor-voting Newborough in the east. However, tide at that election was such that Maxfield was able to secure a 7.2% swing. Maxfield’s margin was a seemingly secure 6.9%, but he was then defeated in 2006 by a surprisingly severe swing of 9.5% to Liberal candidate Gary Blackwood, a Baw Baw shire councillor and operator of local timber transport and harvesting business. The electorate’s remarkable transformation was completed when Blackwood gained a further swing of 9.8% in 2010.

Blackwood won promotion to shadow parliamentary secretary in November 2009 and has retained that status in government, serving in forestry and fisheries until March 2013 and transport thereafter.