Victorian election 2014

Prahran

Margin: Liberal 4.7%
Region: Southern Metropolitan
Federal: Higgins (59%)/Melbourne Ports (41%)

Candidates in ballot paper order

prahran-lib

prahran-alp

SAM HIBBINS
Greens

ALAN WALKER
Family First

NEIL PHARAOH
Labor (bottom)

JASON SIMON GOLDSMITH
Independent

STEVE STEFANOPOULOS
Independent

CLEM NEWTON-BROWN
Liberal (top)

ELEONORA GULLONE
Animal Justice

ALAN MAXWELL MENADUE
Independent

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.

Located in Melbourne’s inner south-east, Prahran encompasses a diverse mix of elements which taken together constitute a marginal seat, having changed hands from Liberal to Labor in 2002 and back again in 2010. The electorate’s defining fault line is between the nightlife and shopping district around Chapel Street at the southern end, which among other things is a hub of Melbourne’s gay community, and Liberal-voting South Yarra and western Toorak along the river in the north. There is a further divide within the latter area, in that Toorak’s median age of 43 is fully 10 years older than South Yarra’s, which is reflected in its particularly strong support for the Liberals.

Prahran has existed in one form or another since 1889, and has been in conservative hands more often than not. The Liberals retained the seat when the Kennett government was dumped in 1999, before a 9.2% swing in the 2002 landslide delivered it to Labor’s Tony Lupton. Current member Clem Newton-Brown defeated Lupton on the second attempt in 2010, gaining swings of 0.8% in 2006 and 7.8% swing in 2010. A number of boundary adjustments in the redistribution have added 0.4% to the margin, the most consequential being a redrawing of the western boundary with Albert Park that adds 1200 voters west of St Kilda Road and removes 3000 voters further to the south. Slightly further to the east, the boundary with Caulfield has been amended to add 1600 voters in St Kilda East and remove 1700 in Balaclava and St Kilda east of St Kilda Road. At the eastern end of the electorate, 1400 voters in Toorak have been transferred to Malvern.

Clem Newton-Brown was a barrister before entering parliament, and served as Deputy Lord Mayor from 1999 to 2001. His preselection in 2006 was described as part of a “grassroots revolt” by branch members against the dominant Kroger-Costello camp. He has not so far enjoyed major promotion, having to wait until March 2014 to reach his present status as parliamentary secretary in the education portfolio. Labor’s candidate is Neil Pharaoh, head of partnerships at Foundation for Young Australians and a former national convenor of Rainbow Labor, which advocates for gay interests within the party.

cuIn the final days of the campaign, James Campbell of the Herald-Sun related that the Liberals were beginning to regard the seat as “a worry”, and there had also been bullish talk from the Labor side of the fence. However, the late swing to the Liberals picked up by the polls may have soothed the Liberals’ nerves a little.