Post-match report: Melbourne

In Melbourne as elsewhere, the November 24 election produced a pattern of strong swings in outer suburbs and weak ones nearer the city, which cut across the partisan divide. The swing against veteran Liberal moderate Petro Georgiou in blue-ribbon Kooyong was just 0.05 per cent, while Peter Costello faced a similarly mild 1.7 per cent shift in neighbouring Higgins. This pattern carried over to the conservative dead zone of Melbourne, which swung only 1.1 per cent in Labor-versus-Liberal terms. However, the real story here was Greens candidate Adam Bandt’s success in edging out the Liberal candidate to take second place. The Greens’ primary vote was up 3.8 per cent to 22.8 per cent, 0.7 per cent behind the Liberals. This gap was bridged after distribution of minor party preferences, with Bandt leading the Liberal candidate 21,996 (25.1 per cent) to 21,405 (24.4 per cent) at the second last exclusion. Liberal preferences then took Bandt to within 4.7 per cent of victory, producing the first ever “Labor versus Greens” two-party result in a federal seat at a general election. This is the first time Melbourne has met the AEC’s definition of a marginal seat (6 per cent or less) since 1904.

Beyond the swing-resistant inner core of Melbourne, Kooyong and Higgins lay a band of seats separating it from the volatile outer suburbs. Batman followed the broader pattern of mild swings of around 4 per cent in inner suburban Northcote, and heavier ones of 6 per cent to 7 per cent at Preston and Reservoir further to the north. The Greens’ vote was up 3.2 per cent to 17.2 per cent, a potentially bridgeable 3.4 per cent behind the Liberals. Jagajaga, Chisholm and Menzies produced near identical swings of 4.6 per cent to 4.7 per cent, respectively staying safe for Labor’s Jenny Macklin and Anna Burke and the Liberals’ Kevin Andrews. On the bayside, Melbourne Ports produced a relatively gentle 3.4 per cent swing which was nonetheless the biggest movement in the electorate since 1993, while its safe Liberal neighbour Goldstein swung 4.0 per cent.

The two biggest swings were in the Melbourne area were in the outer suburban suburbs of Calwell in the north and Holt in the south-east. Calwell topped the table at 11.1 per cent, with swings topping 15 per cent at Craigieburn on the outermost urban fringe. The 10.1 per cent swing in Holt was most pronounced in the south, peaking with a mighty 17.5 per cent swing at the electorate’s largest booth of Narre Warren South. Swings in the north were in the range of 5 per cent to 9 per cent. In what might be regarded as the defining booth result of the election, a 10.96 per cent swing to Labor was recorded at Kath and Kim’s home of Fountain Gate.

Labor added some fat to a number of margins in traditionally safe south-eastern seats that were cut uncomfortably fine in 2004. After previous member Ann Corcoran suffered an unexpectedly close shave in 2004, newcomer Mark Dreyfus boosted the Labor margin from 1.5 per cent to 7.7 per cent in Isaacs, which produced heavier swings in the inland suburbs of Keysborough and Carrum Downs than along the coast. Immediately to the north, Simon Crean increased his margin from 7.4 per cent to 13.0 per cent in Hotham, with particularly strong swings recorded in Springvale. In Bruce the swing to Labor was an evenly distributed 4.8 per cent, increasing Alan Griffin’s margin to 8.3 per cent.

Liberal seats in the eastern suburbs mostly followed the trend of their Labor-held neighbours. Only in the case of Deakin was the swing enough for a seat to change hands, Labor winning the seat for only the second time since its creation in 1937. Their candidate Mike Symon picked up 5.7 per cent on the primary vote and 6.4 per cent on two-party preferred to prevail with a margin of 1.4 per cent, ending the 11-year parliamentary career of Liberal member Phil Barresi. Labor achieved an identical swing further afield in McEwen, which was famously 12 votes short of what was needed to unseat Fran Bailey. The swing peaked at South Morang (10.6 per cent) and Wallan Wallan (9.1 per cent), but there was no clearly discernible pattern to its distribution. Labor’s other disappointment was a 5.3 per cent swing in La Trobe that fell 0.5 per cent short of delivering them the seat. The Dandenong Ranges formed a rough dividing line between suburbs on the city side where the swing was in the order of what Labor required, and the hill suburbs and surrounding small towns where it fell just short at around 4 per cent.

On safer ground for the Liberals, Bruce Billson’s seat of Dunkley returned to the marginal zone with a swing of 4.2 per cent that was felt more heavily in Frankston than Mornington and Mount Eliza. In outer suburban and semi-rural Casey, Tony Smith suffered a 5.4 per cent swing that was higher in suburban Croydon and Kilsyth than in the satellite towns of Monbulk and Woori Yallock. It is interesting to note a particularly sharp 8.1 per cent swing in Aston, which memorably gave the Liberals a bigger margin in 2004 than Kooyong. Any thoughts that this might have marked a long-term realignment can now be laid to rest, as the respective margins are now 5.0 per cent and 9.5 per cent.

Labor’s safe seats in the west and north of Melbourne produced remarkably consistent swings of between 5.5 per cent to 6.7 per cent, excepting the aforementioned Calwell. Wills followed the pattern of neighbouring Batman in producing smaller swings of around 4 per cent at Brunswick at the southern end nearer the city, increasing to around 7 per cent at Glenroy in the north. Bill Shorten’s candidacy appeared not to make much difference one way or the other in Maribyrnong, which swung to Labor by a locally typical 5.8 per cent which was evenly distributed through the electorate. There was similarly consistency in the swings in Gellibrand (6.5 per cent), Gorton (6.3 per cent) and Lalor (6.7 per cent).

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

739 comments on “Post-match report: Melbourne”

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  1. interesting to see a particularly large swing in Springvale. Big Asian population around here.

    with the great result in Bennelong added to this, i think it’s safe to assume K.Rudd is a hit with Asian Aussies.

  2. The AEC now says that results are final, but where’s the 2PP count for the seat of Melbourne? I know it’s a minor detail, but it means that the AEC currently has 2PP counts for only 149 of the 150 HoR seats. As Melbourne is very strong Labor on a Labor vs Lib basis, they are currently under-estimating Labor’s national 2PP by about 0.15%, and, more significantly, Labor’s Vic 2PP by 0.5%. This also affects the 2PP distributions of minor parties, particularly the Greens.

  3. I don’t know Charles – I’d suggest that the relatively affluent parts of Melbourne voted roughly in accordance with their class interests. To wit, those relatively less shafted by Workchoices were less likely to vote against the Libs.
    The prevalence of major swings in already-safe ALP areas of a working class nature (think Calwell, for instance) also supports this hypothesis.
    Interestingly, the race-baiting of Howard and Andrews, if it had any helpful effect for the Coalition at all, was certainly not helpful in any areas with a reasonable degree of ethnic diversity. Since most of Melbourne and Sydney fall into this category, this was a pretty dumb tactic.

  4. The Happy Revolutionary @ #6 brings up an interesting point. For all the work that Andrews and Howard put into the racist vote, there is very little evidence of any positive dividend for them, and plenty of evidence for the negative. A quick trip around the blogosphere reveals that there is plenty of fertile ground to be ploughed by such grubs, which is of course part of the reason for the efforts of Andrews/Howard. Further recent revelations from Malcolm Fraser demonstrate that racism is a big part of Howards nature in any case.

    Perhaps it takes a series of well known public events to stir the racism fires sufficiently to make it a vote changer. The previous election followed on the heels of a series of well published rapes, a related series of shootings, and general well publicised lawlessness on the part of a large group of mostly lebanese muslim thugs. The usual suspects were able to transfer the responsibility for these crimes to the general Muslim population, and ultimately provide an atmosphere where any mention of Islam or Lebanon/Middle Eastern sent voters scurrying for shelter.

    Or was it that with the sword of work choices hanging over their necks, the voters susceptible to the racist dog whistle were not hearing anything without any particular event of bad behaviour that could be sheeted home to the islamic community.

  5. This is excellent analysis again, very helpful for a newbie like myself

    I’m very interested in guessing how much of the swing in Victoria (and therefore Kooyong) was simply a re-balancing of the swing to L-NP that was driven by the bi-polar Latham experiment in 2004.

    My guess has been 1.0 – 1.5 % of the swing to the ALP in Victoria was a simple re-adjustment from 2004.

    Factor this out of the ALP swing and maybe Petro would have had a positive swing

  6. Mike @ 6.

    The circumstances in 2001 were considerably different. People were genuinely frightened about the threat of Islamofascists and their terrorism. In those situations people will react badly because they see their way of life under direct threat.

    It is true that Howard et al took political advantage of the situation and exacerbated and amplified the concerns of the public. However, they misunderstood fear about a particular time and place as being a generalised racist sentiment.

    Terrorism still exists but people are more attuned to dealing with it. With the heat out of the issue, people focus on other more pressing threats e.g. Work Choices and interest rate rises.

    It was not a particularly edifying time in Australian History, but we have to forgive ourselves and move on.

  7. Mike,GG
    Following on from your excellent comments-maybe the reason Petro’s swing was so mininal was that he distinguished himself by not following the conga line of rascism and being seen (along with a couple of others) as a “real liberal” and not the myopic and insular “howardism” that was imposed on Oz for the last 11 years.

  8. What’s the ethnic makeup of Kooyong? Many Asians there? If so, maybe Petro’s small-l liberalism did help him weather the storm that blew away many of his less enthusiastically multicultural colleagues. On the other hand, if the seat is uniformly white and wealthy, they were probably just ticking the “Liberal Party” box on the ballot paper, not the “Petro” box.

  9. Greensborough Growler,

    Good post. Hopefully the Libs can learn that the Australian public are NOT intrinsically racist in outlook and put their racism strategies in the dustbin of history.

    So far in their post election analyses, they haven’t demonstrated any willingness to honestly review their past performance to any degree that they can learn from this defeat and restructure and revamp their ideology to more represent the aspirations and needs of the 21st century Australia.

    Unless there is a willingness to confront their sordid and wasteful period in Government under Howard, then they are destined to a substantial period in the wilderness.

    Rudd and Labor are not going to waste the opportunity handed to them by the Australian electorate and although they will make some mistakes during this term, they will more than gain the confidence of the people who took the risk in electing what they feel are a competent, principled Government.

  10. Craig, the affluence of Kooyong is not much of a factor in producing the negligible swing recorded in that seat in the recent election. Goldstein, Melbourne Ports, Higgins, and Melbourne are all affluent seats on average and, yet, recorded larger swings.

    Petro survived the anti-Coalition swing simply because the people of Kooyong believe that he is a good member, and much of that comes down to his small-l Liberal ethos. He comes across as a decent, fair, and reasonable human being who actually displays some level of concern about the social impact of various policies of the Liberal Party.

    I know of a couple of rusted-on Labor voters in Kooyong who have a lot of respect and liking for Petro. It indicates that Petro himself stands somewhere near the centre of politics even though the rest of his party are FAR to the right.

    The continued infiltration of extreme right-wingers into the Liberal Party will be its ultimate undoing. People don’t want their brand of politics and Petro has shown that VERY clearly.

  11. Re Craig at 11 and Noorcat at 13, I agree with Noocat. I used to be a Kooyong person but moved to Melbourne. Altough never voting for Petro I respected him a great deal and wrote to congratulate him on his stand. He certainly was high up on my preferences. Re the character of the electorate I suspect there is a change in the electorate in the North Balwyn area as people buy to be in the Balwyn High School zone. But to me the big factor is that if you are a professional working in Melbourne (and Kooyong is full of professionals) you will be working with professionals of all ethnic backgrounds. You will have respect of these people and the wedging is just seen as a low political tactic. Even if you are not living in the same street as non-Angloceltic, non-mediterannean, non-northern European, you will know plenty of people who come from Asia and the Middle East and you will be very comfortable with and welcoming of these migrants.

  12. Petro and only three other Libs that spoke out against the appalling sitution re refugee detention are the only Libs i have any respect for. They stood up against the big party machine and placed basic humanity above the Libs determination to use race and fear for political gain. Hence the small swing.

  13. An important factor in Petro’s continuing popularity is precisely because he has come out many times in support of migrant groups and against Howard’s racist agendas. Yes, he represents the electorate well, but he has also been a vocal opponent of mandatory detention, the citizenship test (more recently) and has sponsored two Private Member’s Bills aiming at giving a wider range of human rights to refugees. Like Noocat I think that many Labor and other non-Liberal supporters would support him for his convictions and actions. And of course it doesn’t hurt (in this electorate) that he’s the prime example of the successful migrant. After all, many of the people in his electorate come from migrant backgrounds.

  14. Islam and Pakistan….and US involvement.

    Remember once hearing an English-born American saying that the English discuss issues for yonks,but rarely act, whereas the US act first and then maybe discuss later,if they haven’t already moved on to something else.

  15. Re Hotham – It should be noted that the Liberal HTV coverage in Springvale was very poor. At the last election they covered the area properly for once. This time back to a few people in the morning. Makes a big difference if there is no one handing out or no posters for a candidate.

  16. I’d like to think that Noocat is right that Petro G. has had a personal vote because of his principled stand on what might loosely be termed the “race” issue. There is some support for the proposition, as the other Victorian to do significantly better than the Liberals’ average was Russell Broadbent in McMillan, who also was in a Liberal party room minority on refugee issues. There were some other factors involved in that seat, but his performance is at least suggestive evidence.
    However, Kooyong went the other way in 2004, so there is also some evidence for the contrary hypothesis that it was merely reverting to the mean. Mr. Squiggle has made this suggestion as applying to Victoria more generally. I haven’t done the figures but my recollection is that Holt and Calwell swung heavily (at the top of anti-Labor swing table in 2004?) against Labor last time, and they’ve swung back more than proportionately this time. A comparison of 2001 and 2007 figures would be enlightening. (In terms of the idea, I’m obviously plagiarising Peter Brent’s instructive comparisons of NSW seats over the years of Howard rule.)
    I’d also wish that the optimistic view of the electorate’s response to the race issue was right. However, I think it can be argued that Howard (& Andrews and the other strident voices in the Government) have already mined that seam. I think the research design for testing the proposition would need to compare either 1998 votes with 2007 (before Tampa) or even 1993 (pre-Howard).

    Btw, when Kath and Kim was in its early stages of production, I understand that the writers didn’t know of Fountain Gate’s existence, and in truth Fountain Gate is nothing like its fictional version (filming actually occurs at Southland in the affluent bayside suburbs). This was a case of art mimicking life as well as a demonstration of the gulf in consciousness between inner urban Melbourne and its outer suburbs.

  17. //Hopefully the Libs can learn that the Australian public are NOT intrinsically racist in outlook and put their racism strategies in the dustbin of history//

    Scorpio, I’m not hopeful of that at all. One particularly odious individual who specialises in the dog whistle electoral trick seems to have a higher profile than ever now – Andrew Robb. They’re hooked on the tactic, because they get encouraged to do it. I went to a Liberal Party branch meeting once a few years ago (purely in a “know your enemy” sense of course) and it was absolutely dominated by some really nasty racist neocon types who i suspect knew full well the power of the dog whistle to what they see as their base supporter groups.

    Did we see P Giorgio coming into the shadow ministry? The prosecution rests m’lord…

  18. Is anbody around who could answers this dumb question for me please.

    How, in the shortest possible way can I explain the american presidential voting system to my esl(very very esl) motherinlaw.

    I will pay 🙂

  19. Like T@M at 21 above, I am a bit sceptical about claims that racism is not a significant part of the Aust make up. I am mindfull of the apparent ease that Fred Nile, the very unchristian cleric of Sydney was recently able to summon up a crowd of frothing lunatics over the issue of a Muslim school in Camden on Sydneys southwestern outskirts.

    As a child, I was brought up in a western NSW town, where casual racism and violence, especially sexual violence, were commonly practised against the reasonably large Aboriginal community. When I go back there I see that the attitudes have not changed at all, only resentment at the vigour with which many Aboriginals now react to racism. Many openly long for and reminisce about the good old days.

    I now live in Canberra, in a relatively affluent part of supposedly the best educated State/Territory of Aust. Just last week I saw at our local Mall a couple walking in the evening cool, doing absolutely no harm to anyone, except that they were both dressed in long robe style clothing, and she was wearing a headscarf. This was sufficient for two separate carloads of bogans to throw fast food rubbish and insults at them, one of the cars returning for a second go.

    I was shocked but not surprised. My first mental reaction was to blame the past Govt and their dog whistles, but when I thought about it I realised that the event was just a replay of the behaviour I saw all too often in my childhood. The coalition did not invent Aussie racism, they did not make Aussie racism any more prevalent. They were just prepared to make it acceptable to openly practise racism and racial thuggery as a political tactic. The dog whistle did not have to be very loud to bring a crowd of racists out of cover.

    I wish it were otherwise.

  20. Racism is essentially fear of the “other”. You have to be taught it. Little kids playing together ignore it. One of my Anglo neighbours kids became fluent in Cantonese because he was always playing with his next door neighbours – they were Cantonese speakers.

    Once you are comfortable in your own skin, you realise that it’s OK if others are different form you – whether culturally, intellectually, racially or sexually. The last government was ruled by a man writ little. He has a fear of the other because he was taught how to hate and does not have the intellectual depth or curiosity to explore the reasons for his bigotry. Indeed, in public, he has always said “I am not a racist” yet his many actions… (I leave you to fill in the blanks).

  21. In order for the Greens to now win in Melbourne they need preferences from that “minor party” the Liberals. This is not a given for two reasons:

    1) The Liberals have in the past run a scare campaign about the greens which might be more effective if there are some concessions forced out by the Senate. They could try a “leave them last” move like the ALP did with the One Nation party which the Coalition struggled to cope with at times (QLD 98 in particular). This is likely to happen if the Greens do get some major concession in the senate.

    2) Some Liberal voters don’t follow the HTV cards. Although they do seem to follow them more closely than other voters (something about following orders I guess), many would be disgusted if their vote elected one of those “Commie Greens”.

    Another point is that the Liberal vote is likely to have hit rock bottom in the seat as it is likely the seat has more potentional “wets” who now without Howard might to come back to fold. I mean the seat is getting richer and not all the new comers are going to be “doctor’s wives”.

  22. I’ll never forget back in ’77 as an 11 year old boy walking past the local kindergarten on my way to school & saw the local toddlers out playing & I waved to one as I passed. The infant ran up to the fence & started yelling at me the most vile,racist insults towards me (I am Australian born to Greek-Cypriot parents) whilst this was going on the rest of the kiddies swarmed up to the fence & joined in with equal vigor. I was shook to the core even at that age that out of the mouths of babes that such evil could spew forth. Even my school mate who was with me couldn’t believe it!
    Now back in the ’70s I was use to racism & bullying in numbers at school from the school age kids but coming from babies is something totally WRONG. Australian racism from my direct experience I learned from that day can only mean that it is learned at home from mum & dad and how sad I was when I realised it.

    Now I thank God that times have moved on from that era & we are a more tolerable society then what we where then. I am not saying that racism is dead & I acknowledge that Howard & co used it as a favored wedge wherever possible (Dr Haneef comes to mind) but I believe that Australia is still evolving & for the better. I’ll point out the Hanson phenomenon from 10 years ago with her anti- Asian stirrings from QLD to another Quenslander who speaks Mandarin & just became our PM.

    Things can only get better.

    PS – I grew up on the south side of Brisbane.

  23. BS that’s BS

    A large factor keeping the Greens out of inner city Melbourne and Sydney are residual migrant populations most of whom are elderly and Labor orientated, when many of these post war greeks and italians go to “meet their Marx” so to speak the Labor vote will be impacted.

  24. ESJ that’s ESJ (extremely stupid judgement).

    Offer some facts rather than your haughty opinions from on high. The Greens rise is because all the Libs have gone to Ming.

    Happy New Year. Nice yo see you back.

  25. Looks like the new Lib leader “half Nelson” is intent on continuing on with Howard & Costello’s comparison of the economy to a finely tuned sports car.

    {“Whilst it’s important that everyday Australians actually get a fair go, the one thing we can’t afford is union bosses taking the finely tuned economy … out to do burn outs and run the risk of engine blow-ups.”}

    And it is apparent that “Unions boo” still has a bit of mileage in it yet also. Either that or they just have absolutely nothing left to offer their jaded and dispirited supporters.

    {“I’m not confident that Mr Rudd and Julia Gillard will be able to stand up to the unions, because let’s remember that in the end the unions actually own the Labor party.”},25197,23001600-2702,00.html

  26. Any evidence that anyone is actually listening to Nelson anymore than they were Howard towards the end?

  27. Another dispirited ex Liberal leader heading for the lifeboats.

    {FORMER West Australian opposition leader Matt Birney will retire from politics because he does not want to become a “political tragic”.},25197,23002027-2702,00.html

    The confidence expressed here by a number of Liberal supporters a few days ago after the WA poll results that the Libs would be in with a good chance of toppling Carpenter’s Labor Government at the next election, doesn’t appear to be shared by the ones that count.

  28. Megan ,

    See the link in my post @ 31.

    The GG is still listening, but I don’t think Nelson has anything to say that would interest any one else in particular.

  29. More problems at the cricket. “Howard relegated to 12th man”.

    {Former PM Bob Hawke was watching the match from the cosy surrounds of the SCG Trust box.}

    {When Mr Howard, new PM Kevin Rudd, Federal Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson, NSW Premier Morris Iemma, Governor-General Michael Jeffery and Australia’s former defence head Peter Cosgrove all accept invitations to the cricket on the same day, the protocol system hits meltdown.

    Because all seating allocations have to be done without bruising egos or downplaying anyone’s importance.

    So the premier position was taken by Mr Rudd.},22049,22999574-5001021,00.html

  30. The easiet way to avoid bruising egos and down playing anyones importance is to ask them to but their own ticket.

  31. I wonder what’s in the water at the GG.

    Peter Brent from Mumble has got a column in todays issue.

    I like the article too. Looks like Bill Kelty agrees with me.

    {NINE days after last year’s federal election, The Age ran an opinion piece by former ACTU secretary Bill Kelty. In it he laid out what he believed were the reasons for the Liberal Party’s November 24 loss, and what they should do to regain relevance.

    The party, he wrote, had “grown old, intolerant and less open to ideas” and so had “lost touch with a generation”. They now must move back to the centre and embrace diversity and multiculturalism. And stop bashing unions, of course.

    Welcome to Opposition, Brendan Nelson and team. It must be galling to be so lectured by someone intimately associated with the other side of politics, but they had better get used to it. },25197,22998699-7583,00.html

  32. And, attuned, I awake.

    Not to the Iowa primaries, or any such. The sound of my neighbour’s pump, drawing water again from the bore, to water his grass and the road. The road looks very fine and wet. Not that it has grown.

    So, I did my thing, went in, patted Rebel, turned off the water.

    Message, South Aussies, to Maywald, Rann, if you would enjoin, please.

  33. Re Mr Birney
    his seat is marginal and he has a personal vote in excess of 5%
    this is a good chance of a labor win

  34. I nominate the state seats of Balmain and Marrickville as examples.

    In the former the best Labor vote comes from the Haberfield (ie Italian population) and Marrickville (in the centre where the Greek population) is located. It is no accident that the Labor candidates both elected in the last 2 years focused heavily on these groups.

    No doubt there are Liberals who wont vote for Greens element but I imagine its not beyond even the Liberal party imagination to run dead (ie run a 19 year old uni student) like Labor does in many country seats in the hope of independents getting up.

    Secondly the inner city is the home of the proverbial disaffected leftie who may have been in the ALP but is now in the Greens. Look to the underlying factors – on the Leichardt Council where the greens are a plurality but not a majority the Labor councillors vote with the Liberals to keep the Greens out.

    It is not beyond the realms of possibility that the local councils in the inner city will be greener in this years local government elections (given the unpopularity of the State Labor Government in NSW).

  35. My experience (in seats that aren’t Labor/Green marginals) is that around 20% of Liberal voters ignore the HTVs and preference Labor ahead of the Greens – usually well down the ticket, but there’s a surprising number of major party voters (on both sides) who put the other major party second ahead of all minors.

  36. At the Kath and Kim booth of Fountain Gate I see the Greens recieved 3.75% for the senate and 3.63% in the house of reps. While there was an overall increse in the Greens vote across the state it did not occur in the mortgage belt, their vote decreased.
    Di Natale was very unfortunate not to win a senate seat with a considerable 10.08%. It shows the Greens strength in the inner city and the huge improvements in the bush.
    But can the Greens continue to carry the disinterest from a massive part of the electorate? The mothers and fathers of Jaxon and Tyfanee think the Greens are on the nose. And it’s not noice.

  37. ESJ,

    Have no idea about Council elections in Sydney. However, my experience here in the beautiful never ending sunshine of Melbourne is that Council elections are mostly about roads, rubbish, rates and making sure “doggy do” is collected from local parks. There is not much ideological about these items, so the notions of “doctor’s wives”, “disaffected lefties” and “secret immigrant enclaves” is just a giggle.

    Development/redevelopment and neighbourhood character issues can be controversial. But what you find is division is rarely ideological along the traditional Labor/Liberal divide. Neither Labor nor Liberal endorse candidates in Council elections. This is in direct response to voters wishes that party politics be kept out of Council. Of course many Councillors are members of political partys. However, I find it unremarkable that Liberal and Labor Councillors work together on Councils.

    Why they would group to exclude the Greens, see my first paragraph. The Greens don’t seem to understand the simplicity of the task!

    Whether the voters punish Labor at the next Council elections in your State is open to speculation. But, I do point out that those same voters just endorsed Rudd and his Ruddernauts in rather convincing fashion.

  38. In Marrickville The Greens 2PP seems to have plateaued at around 40%. From memory, they received about 600 more votes at the 2007 State election than they had in the previous one, which I though pretty disappointing given the way Iemma and Costa were campaigning hard for anyone but Labor.

    In the aftermath the impression I got was that enough people just didn’t take the Greens seriously. There also seemed general hostility, based on the Telegraph’s usual malarkey as well as other predictables like the EB talking about a gay smack agenda that would be forced on the good people.

    Perhaps if we see a re-centring of political ideas generally, post Howard, and the Greens can get some more positive press with their greater power in the Senate, they will be seen as more viable generally. This may translate into greater appeal at the State level in seats like Marrickville and Balmain. On the other hand, if Rudd makes Federal Labor (and the ALP brand) more attractive to leftist supporters, and Watkins takes over in NSW and can begin bailing the water out of the sinking ship, I find it hard to see The Greens increasing their vote beyond where it has sat for the past 4 years in these areas.

  39. Looks like more trouble within the WA Libs.

    Paul Omodei doesn’t seem to be able to hold them together either. The State Libs seem to have a death wish and apparently like to make Labor’s job of holding the reins of power in Government, just that little bit easier even when conditions on the ground seem to be going their way.

    {A SERIOUS challenge to the West Australian Liberal Party’s unpopular leader Paul Omodei is firming after one of two MPs with supported ambitions for the top job announced he would quit at the next election.

    Kalgoorlie MP Matt Birney’s resignation, almost two years after losing the leadership to Mr Omodei in a bitter poll, clears the way for Mr Birney’s rival, Troy Buswell, to challenge.},25197,23003682-5013945,00.html

  40. There maybe a double whammy for the Libs in this chart when you overlay enrollments with a view to the forthcoming redistribution.

    If you look at where the high and low population growth seats are located regions and project out until 2014 using the average growth rate in enrollments for Vic (okay … I don’t have a life) then the following trends are apparent:

    Firstly, the swing against the Libs was broadly weakest in the two areas of slowest population growth:

    Rural – below trend growth: (Indi/Murray/Mallee/Wannon/Gippsland/McMillan) (i calculate net 0.5 quota)

    Middle urban below trend growth. (Kooyong/Hotham/Higgins/Bruce/Menzies /Aston/Chisholm/Casey/Deakin/Maribyrnong/Jaga Jaga) will all collectively surrender about 1.3 of a quota.

    The fastest population growth seats were unsurprisingly at the perimeter of Melbourne (Gorton/McEwen/Lalor/Corangamite/Melbourne/Calwell/Scullin/Holt/LaTrobe) all will need at least 1.0 extra quota in Vic (mostly likely to be followed by a second seat on current trends mid next decade) and all swung strongly (except Melbourne) to the ALP.

    Growth rates appear slower now in the South East of the city than the North West and it was a big surprise to me that McMillan had one of the slowest projected population growth rates.

    Melbourne’s south (Melbourne Ports/Isaacs/Goldstein/Dunkley/Flinders) and Victoria’s regional seats (Bendigo/Ballarat) I expect to be the least impacted.

    I expect over time (first next year then following in say 8/10 years) one eastern urban and one rural seat (either Liberal or marginal ALP) will be abolished and shifted first to the northwest and then subsequently one to the west as Melbourne’s fastest population growth is now to the North and west of the city, areas this chart which showed the strongest swings to the ALP.

    This thus just underscores the Liberal’s need to broaden their voter base.

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