Seat of the week: Melbourne Ports

Labor’s century-long hold on this inner southern Melbourne seat has never really looked threatened, despite being transformed by gentrification over the past few decades.

NOTE: Poll Bludger will be closed for comments for two weeks from December 25 to January 7 inclusive.

Melbourne Ports covers Bayside inner Melbourne from the mouth of the Yarra through Port Melbourne and Albert Park to St Kilda, further jutting inland in the south to take in Elsternwick. The redistribution to take effect at the next election will transfer 9000 voters in Elsternick and Caulfield South south of Glen Huntly Road to Goldstein, increasing the Labor margin from 7.6% to 7.9%. Melbourne Ports has the largest Jewish community of any electorate in Australia, accounting for 12.8% of the local population, and ranks at or near the top for numbers of Poles, Russians and Hungarians. It also has the second lowest proportion of Christians after its northern neighbour, Melbourne.

Labor’s greatest source of strength in the electorate is around St Kilda, where booths results in 2010 typically had Labor in the high thirties, the Greens on or around 30%, and the Liberals in third place in the mid-twenties. At the city end of the electorate, encompassing Port Melbourne, South Melbourne and Albert Park, green-left inner-city tendencies are counterbalanced by wealthy Liberal-voting elements. The strongest areas for the Liberals are in the east of the electorate, both around South Yarra in the north and Caulfield in the south, where the suburbs begin to take on the character of the electorate’s safe Liberal neighbour, Higgins.

Melbourne Ports was once noted for its preponderance of waterfront workers and generally working class voter base, and was accordingly very safe for Labor for most of its history. It has since transformed into the tenth wealthiest electorate in the country, a process which has considerably worn down Labor’s margin. The seat has nonetheless been extremely stable over the past two decades, recording essentially no swing at all at the consecutive elections of 1996, 1998 and 2001, a 2.0% swing to the Liberals in 2004, and swings to Labor of 3.4% in 2007 and 0.4% in 2010. The 2004 election proved Labor’s low water mark to date, the margin falling to 3.7%.

Labor has held the seat without interruption since 1906, with only five members serving over that time: James Matthews until 1931; Ted Holloway, a Curtin-Chifley government minister who moved to Melbourne Ports after unseating Prime Minister Stanley Bruce in Flinders two years earlier, until 1951; Frank Crean, Whitlam government Treasurer and father of Simon, until 1977; Clyde Holding, who came to the seat after a long and unproductive spell as state Opposition Leader, until 1998; and the incumbent, Michael Danby.

A member of the Right sub-faction associated with Stephen Conroy and Bill Shorten, Michael Danby’s pre-parliamentary career included stints as editor of the Australia-Israel Review, staffer to Hawke government minister Barry Cohen and industrial officer for the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association. He is frequently in the news as a supportive voice for Israel, most recently after the Prime Minister was prevailed upon to have Australia support observer status for the Palestinian territories at the United Nations. Although occasionally mentioned as a candidate for promotion, he is yet to achieve a position more senior than Opposition Whip, which he held between 2001 and 2007.

The preselected Liberal candidate for the second electorate running is Kevin Ekendahl, a manager at non-profit social enterprises organisation Try Australia.

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.

2,987 comments on “Seat of the week: Melbourne Ports”

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  1. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.
    I was just watching the head of the NRA giving a press conference about the recent school shooting. I have never heard such crap in all my life. This crowd needs to be emasculated (or spayed, if appropriate).

    John Kerry being announced an new US Secretary of State. This will set the idiot Repugs going!

    Mike Carlton has his say on guns.
    Andrew Dyson with a circling Abbott shark.

    Alan Moir with an unflattering Sloppy getting Xmas gifts.

    A thoughtful David Pope contribution.

    Ron Tandberg on the surplus announcement.

  2. BK, Huffpost’s current front Page screamer The Nuts Come Out & links also provide good coverage.

    For anyone into OzPolitics, the photo of Wayne LaPierre is a doozy. Remind anyone of a certain Opposition front-bencher of the Hunt(ing) kind?

  3. BTW… Good Morning, Apocalypse Survivors!

    Although if the afterlife is fogged in with dripping skies and distant thunder’s rumbling, I’ve got news for yous all. Bad news! 😀

  4. Isabeau Doucet ‏@dizzyshambles

    #idlenomore a sea of colorful flags flapping in the blizzard on the steps of parliament #cdnpoli

  5. finns
    previous thread lots of thoughts for you to develope a
    bisons app. why not

    also joe 6 pac you are very bright
    brighter than most , as you live in a world universtiy
    with your travels

  6. hang in there

    will be back shortly with a bowl of raspberries for you

    mmm well i want be surprised if one day that will also be able to be done by clicking on an app


    [In the aftermath of the attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School, much of the national conversation has focused on gun-control measures. But on Friday, Mr. LaPierre said that time should not be wasted on legislation that won’t work.

    Mr. LaPierre said that the media rewards monsters who would shoot school children by giving them the attention that they crave, and he suggested that some other deranged individual already is planning the next attack.

    “The truth is that our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters, people that are so deranged, so evil, so possessed by voices and driven by demons that no sane person can ever possibly comprehend them,” Mr. LaPierre said.]

    To a very large degree, attitudes to guns in America are stimulated by fear – fear of violence, (irrational) feelings that their freedoms are threatened, and racially-based fear of “the other”. Of course, statements such as the one above are practically calculated to arouse more fear, in turn arousing “fight-or-flight” responses and even deeper anxiety.

    Until Americans can be shown that a dis-armed society will be a safer one, they will continue to arm themselves – to tool up, caught in a terrible calculus that says if they do not prepare themselves to kill others, they or their families may be the next helpless victims to be shot to death. Americans are basically training themselves to make war on each other. It is utterly tragic.

  8. Good morning, Bludgers.

    Had I realised that there was going to be a feast of Christmas music yesterday evening, I would have stayed up to share this, which I encountered for the first time on, of all places, ABC Classics FM on the way to a certain memorable lunch.

  9. While we are remembering Vera for Xmas, I would like to dedicate this song to her memory:

    A little fun fact. I used to lurk when Vera was posting on PB. She had a unique perspective which was wryly humorous and perceptive. However, such was her perspicacity and wit she intimidated me. I felt I couldn’t compare. I think I was right. So I didn’t start posting until she got the huff and moved over to Evan Kevan Man’s facebook page. 🙂

  10. Just on case being a survivor had you rejoicing this morning …

    The Mayan Apocalypse merely delayed for Queensland Sea floor slab poses tsunami risk for Queensland

    WS Gilbert nailed it in this 1932 Shellac recording of Henry Lytton Sings “Whene’er I Spoke” From Princess Ida:

    [Oh don’t the day seem lank and long
    When all goes right and nothing goes wrong
    And isn’t your life extremely flat
    When you’ve nothing whatever to grumble at]

    While on Gilbert & Sullivan, why not also watch that brilliant take-down of Oscar Wilde and the Aesthetic Movement (Patience) – and, btw, all wangkers!!:

    [Am alone and unobserved? I am.
    Then let me own, I’m an aesthetic sham]

  11. “The truth is that our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters, people that are so deranged, so evil, so possessed by voices and driven by demons that no sane person can ever possibly comprehend them,” Mr. LaPierre said.

    So, don’t allow them to possess the sort of guns that can kill people at an amazing clip(gun metaphor intended).

  12. Gotta love the ANZ bank.

    A little account my wife keeps to have her pay deposited into has gone $108 overdrawn after a cheque for $200 she wrote 10 months ago as a gift for a wedding was presented.

    OK, we’d forgotten about it. But it was the only cheque she’s written in the last 10 years. Easy to forget.

    When the cheque was presented there was $140 in the account. The $200 cheque meant it was $60 overdrawn. That’s $10 dollars over the “$50 overdrawn” limit, after which they start charging penalty fees. The rest of the $108 – $48 – is bank penalty fees.

    The ANZ wrote us a letter dated “13th December”, but we only got it yesterday in the mail.

    As a comparison, I sent Christmas cards last Monday to various locations. Broken Hill and Kalgoorlie were two of them.

    Both arrived the next day, Tuesday.

    Yet a letter from the ANZ bank, telling us to correct an irregularity or else they’ll charge us a daily penalty, takes EIGHT DAYS to arrive from it purported date of issuing.

    The rub?

    Each day they have charged $6 “overdrawn gee”, a total of 8 debits, or $48.

    So, for inadvertently going $60 overdrawn, the bank has charged us $48.

    Plus we got a little lecture on home finance, and a crisis centre number if we are “experiencing financial difficulty”.

    I suppose they thought that a two page letter, a homily on the virtues of careful financial management, justifies almost doubling a pissy little overdraft due to a genuine oversight.

    Gotta love that bank.

  13. [C@tmomma
    Posted Saturday, December 22, 2012 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    The answer to too many guns in the USA is not more guns.]

    Is the USA a society or a war zone?

  14. a few more snippets of what Tony Abbott’s “doing very important things for the Australian people” in the UK was about.

    I normally wouldn’t recommend reading Paul Kelly, but today’s effort has been backgrounded by the coming “charm offensive” team.

    The snippets:

    – Did you know George Brandis was at Oxford with Tony Abbott?
    – The same George Brandis helpfully stepped in to deliver Tony’s speech to the Israel-UK-Australian dialog forum, when Tony was unavailable (probably getting his Botox treatment, but quite rude to his well-heeled hosts)

    and for a taste of the coming charm offensive, try

    [His traditional side means he can be charming, polite, self-effacing and eloquent. His gorilla side hailing from the rugby field, the pub and the boxing ring is masculinity in overdrive. Both are genuine Abbott and their fusion constitutes his mettle. This is the origin of much of the confusion about him. “He’s so charming,” from one woman surrenders to “he’s a brute” from another.]

    Softening Abbott’s mysoginy needs a bit more work I suspect, but they are trying. My favourite quote is:

    [Listen to Abbott a week ago recalling his return en route to Oxford: “When the plane bringing me back to Britain flew low up the Thames Valley and I saw for the first time as an adult Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Tower of London, I had a sense of belonging, not because I was born here but because our culture was.”]

  15. [Americans are basically training themselves to make war on each other. It is utterly tragic.]

    The tyranny they are so paranoid about is themselves.

    I saw segments of that La Pierre speech today on ABC TV. The man is evil. He wants schools to tool up with firearms – EVERY school – so that they can blast away at anyone who seems suspicious.

    The recent massacre wasn’t a tragedy. It was a sales opportunity.

  16. Lenore Taylor:

    [If politicians learn one thing from this sorry Parliament it must surely be not to make promises they can’t keep.


    They might not have realized that thing about promises, but the one about how political journalists like Lenore Taylor mocking them for not being definite on anything because they never make firm committments and then stick to them, is concreted in.

    If journalists weren’t so rabidly obsessed with parsing comments by politicians, looking for gotchas, the entire atmosphere would be a lot healthier.

  17. To all Bludgers,Lurkers,William and especially the MNC chapter,
    Thankyou for another year of entertaining posting.
    Peace on earth and goodwill to all,except for Truckwit Tone and the Libs.May 2013 be very uncomfortable year for them ending in humiliating defeat at the only poll that matters.
    Happy holiday season to all.
    From a lurker.

  18. Want to be a schoolteacher in USA?
    First get your gun licence.
    Then learn to be quick on the draw and shoot straight.
    Then – oh yes, a little learning might be useful.

    Why does that arrogant NRA man assume that everyone wants to carry a gun. Their only choice will be to emigrate.

  19. Paul Kelly reminds me of no one so much as one of those old palace courtiers who maintains their position as a palace retainer because of their ability to keep blowing smoke up the rear end of the King and his heir to the throne.

  20. Ah ha!

    Another person involved in the AWU business back in the 1990s who’s completely innocent of any wrongdoing.

    Except this time it’s the man from Theiss who authorized the payments, and his wife is Bruce Wilson’s sister.

    [HE is Bruce Wilson’s brother-in-law and he admits he authorised $300,000 in construction company payments that bankrolled the secret slush fund at the heart of the Australian Workers Union fraud scandal.

    But Joe Trio, a former senior executive at building giant Thiess, maintains he knew nothing of the fraud committed under his nose by Mr Wilson and his bagman, fellow AWU official Ralph Blewitt, until told by the West Australian police fraud squad.,d.aGc&cad=rja ]

    So, let me get this right.

    Bruce Wilson has a sister, who happens to be married to a high-ranking executive at the building firm he’s getting money from.

    This executive signs the cheques to Wilson.

    The money disappears, but the building firm doesn’t complain to anyone because they reckon they got all the “safety training” they paid for.

    This all happened 20 years ago.

    And Julia Gillard is guilty of a crime?

    Yeah, that makes sense.

  21. 2 weeks annual leave for moderating PB? William, get a better union… 4 weeks is standard. 😉

    As for 2013, I’m hoping for more WA threads, less mega-threads full of the usual suspects. Can that be in my stocking?

  22. Pollbludgers
    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the year, lurking at its finest. Though my work productivity is diabolical.
    Off now for three weeks of crayfishing and reading at the beach.
    Big shout out to all the contributors, good guys and the bad guys (you know who you are).
    An especially big thank you to BK and his fellow dawn patrollers who make my coffee and porridge so enjoyable at first light.
    Have a great festive season what ever your personal beliefs.
    Roll on the Year of the Ranga 🙂

  23. BB,

    [Bruce Wilson has a sister, who happens to be married to a high-ranking executive at the building firm he’s getting money from.

    This executive signs the cheques to Wilson.

    The money disappears, but the building firm doesn’t complain to anyone because they reckon they got all the “safety training” they paid for.

    This all happened 20 years ago.

    And Julia Gillard is guilty of a crime?

    Yeah, that makes sense.]

    You know it does: Ms Gillard was l’éminence grise, tweaking the puppet strings from her shadowy throne …

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