Seat of the week: Deakin

Update (3/9/12): Essential Research. The weekly Essential Research report has fallen into line with other pollsters in giving Labor its best result since March – up two on the primary vote to 34% and one on two-party preferred to 55-45. The Coalition is down a point to 48%, a result it last recorded in April. The poll has 52% thinking female politicians receive more criticism than men against only 4% less and 40% the same, and very similar results (51%, 6% and 38%) when the subject is narrowed to Julia Gillard specifically. A question on which groups would be better off under Labor or Liberal governments find traditional attitudes to the parties are as strong as ever, with wide gaps according to whether the group could be perceived as disadvantaged (pensioners, unemployed, disabled) or advantaged (high incomes, large corporations, families of private school children). Respondents continue to think it likely that a Coalition government would bring back laws similar to WorkChoices (51% likely against 25% unlikely).

Deakin is centred on the eastern Melbourne suburbs of Blackburn and Nunawading, extending eastwards along the Maroondah Highway to Ringwood and Croydon. At the time of its creation in 1937, it extended far beyond the city limits to Seymour and Mansfield, before gaining its wholly urban orientation in 1969 and assuming roughly its current dimensions when it lost Box Hill in 1977. A trend of increasing Liberal support as the electorate extends eastwards is better explained by diminishing ethnic diversity than by income: in its totality, the electorate is demographically unexceptional on all measures. The redistribution has cut the Labor margin from 2.4% to 0.6% by transferring 18,000 voters in the electorate’s south-western corner, at Blackburn South, Burwood East and Forest Hill, to Chisholm; adding 8000 voters immediately to the east of the aforementioned area, around Vermont South, from Aston; and adding another 10,000 voters around Croydon in the north-east, mostly from Casey but partly from Menzies.

For a seat that has been marginal for most of its history, Deakin has brought Labor remarkably little joy: prior to 2007 their only win was when the Hawke government came to power in 1983, and it was lost again when Hawke went to the polls early in December 1984. The seat presented a picture of electoral stability from 1984 to 2001, when Liberal margins ranged only from 0.7% to 2.5% (although the 1990 redistribution muffled the impact of a 4.3% Liberal swing). Julian Beale held the seat from 1984 until the 1990 election, when he successfully challenged controversial Bruce MP Ken Aldred for preselection after redistribution turned the 1.5% margin into a notional 1.9% margin for Labor. Aldred accepted the consolation prize of Deakin and was able to retain the seat on the back of a sweeping statewide swing to the Liberals. He was in turn unseated for preselection in 1996 by Phillip Barresi, who held the seat throughout the Howard years.

Barresi emerged from the 2004 election with a margin of 5.0%, the biggest the Liberals had known in the seat since 1977. The substantial swing required of Labor at the 2007 election was duly achieved with 1.4% to spare by Mike Symon, whose background as an official with the Left faction Electrical Trades Union had made him a target of Coalition barbs amid controversies surrounding union colleagues Dean Mighell and Kevin Harkins. Symon’s preselection had been achieved through a three-vote win over local general practitioner Peter Lynch, the candidate from 2004, who reportedly won the 50% local vote component before being rebuffed by the state party’s tightly factionalised Public Office Selection Committee. Andrew Crook of Crikey reported that Symon had backing from the Bill Shorten-Stephen Conroy Right as a quid pro quo for Left support for Peter McMullin’s unsuccessful bid for preselection in Corangamite. Symon was re-elected in 2010 with a 1.0% swing in the face of an attempt by Phillip Barresi to recover his old seat, which was perfectly in line with the statewide result. He was rated by one source as undecided as Kevin Rudd’s challenge to Julia Gillard’s leadership unfolded in February 2012, but soon fell in behind Gillard.

The Liberal candidate at the next election will be Michael Sukkar, a 30-year-old tax specialist with Ashurt, the law firm previously known as Blake Dawson. Sukkar emerged a surprise preselection winner over John Pesutto, a lawyer and Victorian government adviser said to be closely associated with Ted Baillieu. VexNews reported that also-ran candidates Phillip Fusco, Terry Barnes and Andrew Munroe were eliminated in that order, at which point Pesutto was in first place, state government staffer Michelle Frazer was second, and Sukkar and former Melbourne candidate Simon Olsen were tied for third. After winning a run-off against Olsen, Sukkar crucially managed to sneak ahead of Frazer, who unlike Sukkar would not have prevailed against Pesutto in the final round due to a view among Sukkar’s backers that she “wasn’t up to it”.

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.

1,969 comments on “Seat of the week: Deakin”

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  1. I’ve a different view on the govts education policies. I think JG wants to fund schools/students on a needs basis. IMO , that is not the case at the moment and certainly not under Howard. The govt needs good policy but it also has to play the political game to be in power so that it can implement that good policy.
    When My School came in I remarked to my teacher daughter even back then that I thought the govt was playing a long game. The politics of Latham stripping money overtly from private schools wasn’t going to work. You needed to do it by stealth and IMO that first step was My School and being able to assess schools/students performances in a very public way.
    With that information public and available to everyone it provides a very strong platform to try to introduce some equality in addition to extra help on a needs basis.

  2. BH – it was the radio that did it, she was a Ray Hadley listener. I immediately pointed the problem out to her but she would not have any of it. I don’t know how to attack this, she is like a neighbour as well and I don’t want to be intrusive, but she is being led astray against her lifelong values. She was SOOO disappointed in Gillard, almost sad. But in the end, she was just being fed BS and she was believing it.

  3. Diogenes,

    The author pointed out what other countries are doing. That may be fair enough but to just leave it at that was a failure.

    It does not mean that there are not other ways to achieve and the article failed to explore those options.

    Anyway, I am most probably just turning into a miserable old man but I really think we, as a country, need to stop accepting we can only be second best.


  4. Greensborough Growler

    I bought that view for 2 years. It’s not correct (more accurately, incomolete). The ALP’s problems stem from both a strategy of keeping the base onside and the factional leaders keeping their power by any means necessary and the sooner the party gets over it, the better off they’ll be.

    The media are parasites. They aren’t the cause of the problem

  5. I always know when there is a Newspoll due by looking at the headlines of the Terror when I buy fuel on a Sat. morning. Sat just gone was something along the lines of “Labor to sell the farm to Chinese”.
    I thought then, uh oh Newspoll weekend.

  6. spur

    You are wrong about the media, today was a perfect example of their inability to report correctly. There was no involvement of factional leaders or other cloak and dagger forces. They are simply duds of a dud system. This can not be dismissed as easily as you do.

  7. Funny old world how it evolves. I have roamed the planet for near 58 years. As a young schoolboy in the Shire I remember well being told that Australia will always be prosperous because of the sheeps back.

    At the same time I remember that always being told that we had to rely on the Poms and the Yanks because we were not smart enough to design things.

    Also that we would never run out of inland water because of the great artesian bore.

    Funny I can remember going on the local RSL Xmas picnics out to Kurnell and getting presents of Santa. I remember all the old blokes going off about the toys being made in Japan. The japs only make rubbish.

    Five decades later and look where we are at.

    If it takes a few years to get our national education system back on track and set up for the future …… well, just do it.

    By the way the last 26 years I have spent well north of the Tweed and I am currently enjoying chatting with all my LNP friends and reminding them of who they voted for last state election.

    Iam enjoying the interesting times.

  8. [The hardest thing about killing a live animal is summoning up the courage to hit the thing like you hate it. If you squib the blow the poor creature just survives]

    I recently hit my Cleveland 3-wood like a low flying tracer tracer bullet into an equally low flying dove. Unfortunately for the dove, it was only about ten metres away at the time and the shot was calibrated to go about two hundred metres. The bird didn’t die straight away and I thought I was going to have to press the Cleveland into action action to finish the poor bugger off but it died within seconds. Felt bad. And it cost me a double bogey.

  9. [So many deadlines of ‘she’ll be gorn” have come and gone that it is amazing this motley crew can keep a straight face.]

    Which reminds me. Tomorrow morning’s caucus meeting was supposed to be Gillard’s last day in office.

    Was it Mark Riley’s prediction? I think it was.

    Put him in the chaff bag, I reckon.


    [Live chat with Prime Minister Julia Gillard
    The West Australian Updated September 3, 2012, 4:24 pm

    Join The West’s live chat with Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Tuesday, September 4, from 4pm.

    Register below to receive an event reminder and please email us with your early questions.]
    Always interesting to see the questions that come from the general public are. Rarely the same as the media.

  11. Shellbell,

    Most of the North Shore is a major party free zone. Manly is the most notable exception.

    Do you think Reilly will get back in?

    Do you know anything of his opponent Stuart Coppock?

  12. Finnigans

    I would be happy if they simply put the rest of Bolt behind the paywall, that’s the only improvement I would recommend.

  13. spur12,

    You’ve got a reformist Labor Government that is simply getting on with the job.

    It’s really up to the Members to get with the programme.

    If your friends thought the Party should sit around, do bugger all and simply miss the opportunities to make the country better, then they really should vote Liberal. They’re in the wrong Party.

  14. So many deadlines of ‘she’ll be gorn” have come and gone that it is amazing this motley crew can keep a straight face.

    I was impressed with their seamless transition from “Gillard is gone” to “Gillard is going to call an early election”. Their reasoning, I assume, is that Gillard wants to get the election out of the way before the polls narrow too much. After all she, like everyone else, knows it’s inevitable that the Coalition are going to win. She doesn’t want to disappoint everyone by winning.

  15. Poliquant

    Stuart lives across the road. Supported by Berejiklian so a Lib Independent.

    Reilly looked very unwell when I bumped into him in Chatswood a few weeks ago but he has been unbeatable here for ages. Of course he came within a whisker of winning Willoughby in 2003 state election ahead of Berejiklian

  16. [1829
    Bushfire Bill

    What matters is that, by hook or by crook, these countries are thriving and we dig holes for a living…..

    Sure they eat dog meat, which allows us to regard them as grubbly little yellow people who swarm in filthy, overcrowded cities and eat their pets.

    Of course, they regard us as little better than kanakas wielding sticks.]

    BB, this is not quite right. For a start, most Australians do not dig holes for a living. I wonder what are you trying to assert, or if I’ve missed some subtle irony here? If you are trying to make the point that we are ignorant about our neighbours and fear they might be ignorant about us too, well, that would be fair comment: Australians do not know nearly enough about the peoples, culture and history of our neighbours. However, in general, I suspect these kind of observations just play into the standard set of fears that infect our attitudes towards the peoples of East Asia.

    Looking behind the stereotypes, we have no reason to be afraid of the people of China, Korea and Japan. We have such a lot to learn from them and can only gain from creating deeper cultural, social, economic and educational links between our country and theirs. Considering that we have derived enormous benefits from our relationships with these countries, we have a singular lack of curiosity about them.

    Finally, for what it is worth, I know that the peoples of these countries have a very high opinion of Australia, its culture and people. They certainly would not be likely to use yet another stereotype and depict us as relics from the stone-age.

  17. Greensborough Growler

    “The Labor Party should never deal in the language of exclusion” Paul Keating

    Constructive criticism and self reflection are one of the key things that differentiate the ALP from the conservatives. If you can’t deal with what’s really happening and prefer to view life as a “choose your own adventure” novel, you’re supporting the wrong party

  18. [But in the end, she was just being fed BS and she was believing it.]

    Yep, for some reason these people are completely hoodwinked by Hadley and others. We only receive 1 commercial radio station and it’s a shocker. The callers are very angry people and all stirred up by the radio hosts – almost 24/7. The only break is the 1-7 pm slots so there must be many old people in a constant state of anger and frustration at this ‘bad govt’ repetitive mantra. It’s really sad.

  19. I need a change of underwear after reading this:

    [The Herald Sun’s paywall drive centres around the loyalty of AFL fans to the title’s SuperFooty interactive game, which regularly had 400,000 players and was thought to be the key driver to encourage fans to subscribe.

    However, the Superfooty site can be accessed for free via other News Limited websites which removes the necessity to subscribe if readers realise.]

    Oh please, really, no… I’m serious… STOP IT!… don’t DO that to me!

    They didn’t their readers would suss it out? That they wouldn’t be just as big as scumbags as they are?

    Stop! STOP! PLEASE stop! I can’t take it anymore!

  20. Aguirre

    and of course, all those in marginal and not so marginal seats who’ve been told their Gorn will just want to get it all over with and get on with their new lives.

  21. [Finally, for what it is worth, I know that the peoples of these countries have a very high opinion of Australia, its culture and people. They certainly would not be likely to use yet another stereotype and depict us as relics from the stone-age.]

    And God made Little Green Apples too…

  22. [If you can’t deal with what’s really happening and prefer to view life as a “choose your own adventure” novel, you’re supporting the wrong party]

    Spur212 – Labor and most members have dealt with leadership. We’re now dealing with policy, policy, policy and obviously others are listening because the polls have moved in the right direction.

    Join in – you’ll enjoy it.

  23. [Robert Menzies @SirBobMenzies 7m
    Re: Chrissy Pyne accusing PM of ‘all feathers, no meat’ on #Gonski, unfair to say, as some have, that he’s all pea and no cock #auspol]

  24. [Robert Menzies @SirBobMenzies 7m
    Re: Chrissy Pyne accusing PM of ‘all feathers, no meat’ on #Gonski, unfair to say, as some have, that he’s all pea and no cock #auspol]

    All dip and no stick.

  25. My point “5” at #1137 this morning:

    [5. Explain policies. Don’t assume that your readership somehow “knows” the details of a policy and that it’s not your job to remind them.]

    Could easily be applied to today’s Gonski reporting.

  26. BH

    I’m not engaging with that as it’s too long a discussion and I’ve been through that line of thinking before, for too long, to know that it’s incomplete

  27. Might have a Roy Morgan phone poll coming up. If released in the next few days, that would make the average 4 polls strong….

  28. spur12,

    Keating and Whitlam were from the right who spent most of their lives succeeding in spite of the calculated antipathy of the whingers.

    “Keating’s tough charm carried him the longest distance with the constituency that adored him, the chatterati he described as “the basket weavers of Balmain”.

    Maybe Gillard should tell your fellow travellers to get stuffed. They seemed to like it from Paul.

  29. latest development on the Grocon/CFMEU dispute

    [Ahron Young @AhronYoung 2h
    It appears all Melbourne media outlets have been served warrants tonight by Vic Pol seeking raw footage of Grocon IR dispute]

    [Ahron Young @AhronYoung 2h
    Police warrant: As a matter of high priority please collate all footage for collection of footage & execution of search warrant]

    [Ahron Young @AhronYoung 2h
    Vic Pol warrant to Sky News: I’ve been tasked to investigate criminal offences alleged to have occurred at the CFMEU-Grocon IR dispute]

    [Ahron Young @AhronYoung 2h
    Word on the street is the CFMEU will be there en masse tomorrow morning. Nothing confirmed though but my sources tell me to be there]

    [Ahron Young @AhronYoung 2h
    Grocon has rejected the CFMEU’s latest offer. Company says it’s worse than the last. Will police help Grocon workers into work tomorr?]

    [Ahron Young @AhronYoung 2h
    I’ve just been served a warrant by Victoria Police for all raw footage from the CFMEU blockade at Grocon last week. All media have been too]

    Also Grocon have rejected latest CFMEU compromise

  30. [You needed to do it by stealth ]

    Absolutely spot on. This is why Gonski was such a godsend. It allows Labor to do excatly that.

    Increase public funding in relative terms but not decrease private funding in absolute terms.

    Private sector can bleat about realtive terms, but if they dare they will look like the arseholes that they are and get zero brownie points from anyone.

    Will be a long slow march back to get the public back onside. This is the only way to do it though. For some bizarre reason the education debate has turned on its head since Howard where even those who could in no way afford private schooling feel affronted if private schools are not splashed with government cash.

  31. If it’s available, have a look at the pathetic Nicholson cartoon in todays OO (hat tip to the Speed Bar cafe in Park Street for providing my daily free newspapers). The guts of the hilarious “cartoon” was a two stage affair where people imagine a terrifyingly high “pay” wall, with spikes and everyfink but in the other half, it is really just a tiny little fence and a comment that it is only just “one and a half cups of coffee”. So why won’t people ante up and buy our seriously biased product?

    I’m not sure they considered the irony in ordering (as they surely did) a cartoon that lame in trying to promote the virtues of paywalls. As if anyone would want to pay for that sort of “quality journalism”. Anyone else spot it?

    As they say, stop frigging about and bring these paywalls in. Now. While they’re at it, they should get a flying squad of goons to swoop on unsuspecting coffee shops and start issuing on-the-spot fines for delinquent readers. I think Matthew Franklin is at large these days. Glen Milne would pack a punch as well and Paul Kelly shaking with anger would have me trembling in utter fear. So it’s not like they don’t have some quality muscle in the wings.

    And another thing that I just remembered from their Media feature page. They did a comparison on pay wall take ups. Claimed the WSJ was a million, the Times (I think) around 100,000. But the biggest laugh was their claim that 45,000 have taken the paywall option for the Oz. I call Shenanigans! They wouldn’t get 45,000 free readers, including coffee shop bludgers like me. I sense unhappiness on Holt St…

  32. Evening all.

    So much for my unscientific observation that weather conditions are generally calm when the moon is relatively full.

    Horrendous conditions forecast for SW WA tonight and tomorrow.

  33. [victoria
    Posted Monday, September 3, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    Any chance Paul Roos is a dark horse for position of Carlton coach?

    Zero chance. His boy is doing year 12 in Sydney in 2013, and his wife is putting the foot down.

    Chance to coach in 2014 though. But too far away for us.

  34. Greensborough Growler

    I suggest you listen to Keating’s view on the party now

    He is one who knows the reality of what’s happening/happened (His wording on the federal situation is “structural damage to the office of Prime Minister”)

  35. This is too funny.

    Katharine Murphy, in running a slide show of women who are apparently “destroying the joint” includes:

    as a role model.

    Fer f**k’s sake, Kath.


    See my post #1137, point 13 from this morning.

    [13. Get a professional divorce from Michelle Grattan. She a bitter old crone who hates the Prime Minister and will only try to spread that hate. Think for yourself.]

  36. spurs12,

    See my earlier comment.

    Just add Keating to the list.

    It’s not like Paul played inclusive politics when he was in his prime, is it?

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