A Victorian state by-election will be held on April 27 for the south-eastern Melbourne seat of Lyndhurst, to be vacated by former Bracks-Brumby government minister Tim Holding. Lyndhurst covers residential areas at Lyndhurst and Hampton Park in the south and Keysborough and Springvale in the north, with industrial areas separating the two. The electorate was created at the 2002 election upon the abolition of Springvale, which was won by the Liberals on its creation in 1976 before passing permanently into Labor’s hands in 1979. Now very safe for Labor, it will not be contested at the by-election by the beleagured Liberals.
Eddie Micallef held Springvale from 1983 until 1999, when he lost preselection to 27-year-old Tim Holding. This marked a win for Holding’s National Union of Workers sub-faction of the Right at the expense of the Socialist Left, of which Micallef was convener. Holding entered the ministry after the Bracks government’s landslide re-election in 2002, winning further promotion to police and emergency services in January 2005. He hit trouble later in the year after failing to stay on top of a security breach involving confidential police files, and was shifted to finance, tourism and information technology after the 2006 election. He made national headlines in August 2009 when he went missing during a solo hiking expedition in Alpine National Park, putting his Army Reserve survival skills to use over two nights before being located by a police helicopter.
The Labor preselection has kept the seat in the National Union of Workers fold with the endorsement of Martin Pakula, former state secretary of the union and an MLC for Western Metropolitan MLC since 2006. Pakula entered the political stage in 2005 with a determined but ultimately unsuccessful challenge to the preselection of Simon Crean in Hotham. On entering the state parliament the following year he was immediately made a parliamentary secretary, and won further promotion to Industry, Trade and Industrial Relations Minister in December 2008 and then to the troublesome public transport portfolio in January 2010. He currently holds the shadow Attorney-General, gaming and racing portfolios.
The by-election has attracted eight candidates, the ballot paper order running Martin Leahy (Australian Sex Party), Nina Springle (Greens), Hung Vo (Independent), Bobby Singh (Independent), Stephen Nowland (Family First), David Linaker (Independent), Martin Pakula (Labor), Geraldine Gonsalvez (DLP). Profiles of some of the candidates are available courtesy of Antony Green.