Seat of the week: Isaacs

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus sits on a healthy looking double-digit margin, but would have looked on nervously when much of his bayside Melbourne electorate turned blue at the state election.

UPDATE (Essential Research): Essential Research has Labor regaining the primary vote point they lost last week, now at 35%, with the Coalition and the Greens steady on 48% and 8% and two-party preferred steady at 55-45. Other findings suggest support for higher renewable energy targets (11% think the current 20% target by 2020 too high, 33% about right, and 40% not high enough), wind farms (76% support, 11% oppose), compulsory vaccination (87% support, 7% oppose), the right of childcare centres to refuse children who have not been vaccinated (78% support, 11% oppose), and a ban on advertising of sports betting (78% support, 12% oppose), and opposition to privatisation of the ABC and SBS (15% support, 57% oppose). Fifty-two per cent think it important that Australia have a car manufacturing industry against 35% not important; 61% favoured a proposition that “with government support, Australia can have a successful manufacturing industry” against 22% for “there is no future for manufacturing in Australia and government support would be a waste of money”.

UPDATE 2 (Morgan): Morgan has Labor down two points on the primary vote to 31.5%, with the Coalition and the Greens steady on 45.5% and 9.5%. The move against Labor is softened by preferences on the respondent-allocated two-party preferred measure, on which the Coalition lead shifts from 54.5-45.5 to 55-45. On previous election preferences, the change is from 54.5-45.5 to 55.5-44.5.

Isaacs covers south-eastern bayside Melbourne from Mordialloc south to Carrum, from which it extends inland as far as Western Port Highway to encompass Keysborough in the north and Carrum Downs in the south. The bayside suburbs are naturally marginal and shifted decisively to the Liberals at the state election in November 2010, whereas the centres further inland are strong for Labor. Population growth, aided by development in and around Keysborough, has caused the electorate to lose territory in the latest redistribution, which transfers around 7500 voters in Springvale South and another 3500 in Cheltenham to Hotham. Labor’s strength in the former area is such that their margin has been shaved from 11.0% to 10.4%.

Isaacs was effectively created in 1969, prior to which the name was attached to a seat which covered the unrelated Caulfield area. Redistributions have made a strong mark on the seat’s electoral history, the presence or absence of Beaumaris at the northern coastal end being the decisive factor in the Liberals’ competitiveness. With Beaumaris in the electorate from 1969 to 1977, Labor’s only win was in 1974, when it provided a crucial gain for a beleagured Whitlam government. David Charles gained the seat for Labor in 1980, and retained it until retirement in 1990 despite the return of Beaumaris in 1984. Isaacs then became one of nine Victorian gains for the Liberals with Rod Atkinson’s win at the 1990 election. Atkinson held the seat for two terms before redistribution saw the electorate trade Beaumaris for southern bayside Chelsea and semi-rural Cranbourne, allowing Greg Wilton to win the seat for Labor against the trend of the 1996 election.

Greg Wilton first survived an adverse 2.3% swing in 1996, having inherited a post-redistribution margin of 3.9%, and added a further 4.8% to his margin in 1998. His career ended in tragic circumstances in 2000 when he committed suicide amid widely publicised domestic troubles. This did much to embitter Wilton’s friend Mark Latham towards then Labor leader Kim Beazley, whom Latham accused of failing to support Wilton during his crisis. Ann Corcoran, who had won preselection as a factionally unaligned compromise candidate, was elected as the new Labor member without opposition from the Liberals at the subsequent by-election. Corcoran went on to suffer swings of 3.6% and 5.1% in 2001 and 2004, but was saved by a redistribution between the two elections which removed Cranbourne and added Noble Park, boosting her margin by 3.8%.

Corcoran’s factional non-alignment, together with her weak electoral performance, caused her to lose preselection at the 2007 election to Mark Dreyfus, a prominent barrister and Queen’s Counsel. Right faction backing gave Dreyfus a narrow preselection victory when the 50% of the vote determined by the party’s public office selection committee overwhelmed a majority for Corcoran in the local party ballot. Dreyfus picked up swings of 5.9% in 2007 and 3.3% in 2010, and won promotion firstly to parliamentary secretary after the 2010 election and then to cabinet as Attorney-General following the resignation of Nicola Roxon in February 2013.

The Liberal candidate at the coming election is Garry Spencer, who obtained the rank of lieutenant-colonel in a 20-year career with the Australian Defence Force before working as a management consultant and engineering lecturer. Spencer emerged as candidate in February after the party’s first choice, business consultant Jeff Shelley, withdrew citing personal reasons. However, The Age reported being told by Liberal state director Damien Mantach that Shelley was no longer the candidate minutes after Shelley had told the paper he was not aware he might be disendorsed. The report further noted “mounting concerns about Mr Shelley’s former employment with troubled Brighton-based solar panels installation company Cool World”, which had gone into administration.

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.

2,583 comments on “Seat of the week: Isaacs”

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  1. “@mariekehardy: Cory Bernardi – potentially the country’s greatest homophobe – telling us to ‘call out racism’ is so repulsively insane it’s almost amusing.”

  2. Confidence shown in the budget of Human Services by all MP’s tonight. $4 billion appropriated and approved by both sides – ALP and LNP.

  3. liyana

    Congratulations to The Guardian for getting up Julie Bishop’s nose.]
    They been here no time at all and already getting mentions in parliament. Not a bad effort.

  4. Liyana I think hell is more likely to freeze over. For 1 thing she is from the hard left and after Rees they are not going to try that again.

  5. Confidence in Health and Ageing budget to be tested tomorrow.Expecting both LNP and ALP to back it in,despite CPyne’s “no confidence” stuff

  6. OC:

    I’m referring to the ‘pain tests’ and other cruel inappropriate experiments conducted on indigenous Australians, for which a university in Adelaide apologised to descendants of those experimented on.

  7. I wonder just how much we actually know about Aboriginal Australia?

    How many Aboriginal nations could the average Australian name?
    How many Aboriginal friends does the average Australian have?
    How many Australians understand the significant underspend on Aboriginal health?

  8. Ducky

    [No chance of a change. And stop casting bait.]

    The odds are 4/1 on a rate cut. That’s about a 20% chance.

  9. [Newspoll: Primary: 30 ALP 49 LNP – 2PP: 58-42 – PM: Gillard 35 Abbott 43 #pmlive #auspol]
    Let’s just give the country over to Rupert and George right now.

  10. I don’t know why the lefties want Aborigines mentioned in the constitution… they spent 60 years trying to remove reference to them from the constitution.

    The constitution should be free from race, religion and creed.

    The lefties will lose this one.

  11. crikey whitey

    Posted Monday, June 3, 2013 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    My Say. A few hours ago.

    Peter Martin was talking about the NBN in terms Cost Benefit analysis.

    I think if we could google the time that, MR bell invented the telephone the y would of said the same thing

    but I am not educated person but give me 5 minutes with him, wish I was on twitter, I would point out

    the school of the air for one thing imagine how quickly they will be able to down load, their work,
    the hospitals, will be able to send test results and down load ex rays to country hospital s to and from.
    I would think this would save lives,
    now is there a cost on that,

    there was a story I saved about a farmer who could spend less time in his office, and more time farming because of fast down loads, but I have lost it

  12. I really don’t get that Newspoll result. Labor killed them in parliament last week. What were the headlines later in the week that would have caused that result – I guess the electoral funding spin went in abbott’s favour – ‘the man who listened’, etc. ? I wonder what the ‘undecided’ vote is. this country is fucked.

  13. liyanna

    I just went to the comments at the guardian,
    re abbott and his stupid 8000 phone calls,
    and it said to what ever, so put in a name
    that was taken so had to think of another one
    came up with my great grandmother,,
    and put in email address, to my amazement there it was
    it has stayedin my system so every time I go to a comment area up it pops

  14. Sean Tisme
    Posted Monday, June 3, 2013 at 9:56 pm | Permalink
    Where would we be now if Abbott had won the last election?

    struggling through a recession like Greece. Cyprus Italy and the like

  15. Thats me for around a week. Off on a fishing trip. Going up around Koolan Island and further north into the ocean blue…weather allowing. Few good spots when you head towards the equator. Taking the wife, she is real happy with the boat now I have installed air con and hot water showers, TV with all the DVD;s can can watch and her new Kindle for reading….enjoy fellow bloggers

  16. BB … you left out the ban on servicing the brakes on motor vehicles. You just can’t be too careful you know … 😉

  17. [2522
    crikey whitey

    My Say. A few hours ago.

    Peter Martin was talking about the NBN in terms Cost Benefit analysis.

    It was very much that he was unable to see a proven return.]

    Peter Martin has obviously not given much thought to the subject.

    The arithmetic on the NBN is not very complicated. The project cost is forecast at $35.7 billion. If the project were funded at the bond rate (3.5%) and the life of the investment is 75 years, then the project will reach breakeven if it returns $1,351.9 million pa.

    This cash-flow is equal to a constant return in the total economy of 0.0901% – or about 90 cents in every $1000.00 of output in the whole economy. If the NBN adds at least this much to future output it will more than pay for itself.

    (This ignores the repair and running costs of the near-obsolete system the NBN will replace, which in any case are likely to eventually exceed the costs of installing and running the NBN.)

    Since we do not know what the future holds, we cannot say exactly what the returns will be. But we can ask ourselves what we are likely to lose if we have an inferior communications system. If we think the lost opportunities from NOT investing will likely be more than 90 cents in every $1000 of future income, then we should make the investment because we will at least be averting these losses.

    This is the worst-case for investing in the NBN – the opportunity cost of not investing.

    On the other hand, the NBN is likely to enable significant, compounding productivity gains. Every 0.1% pa improvement in GDP adds $1.5 billion pa in constant-dollar returns – jobs and business earnings. There are many estimates of the economic benefits of digital networking, but the minimum estimates are for output gains of 0.4% of GDP – or $6 billion annually in additional income.

    Considering the amount of time spent using the internet and the very wide variety of uses it has, the productivity gains are likely to be much higher than the minimum estimates. As well, the more intensively networked the economy becomes, the greater will be the benefits of scale that the NBN will generate. It is likely the NBN will generate productivity gains that will exceed 1% of GDP pa more or less indefinitely and, likewise, the costs of NOT investing will also grow by the same dimensions.

  18. SA Chapter get together.
    Saturday 8june 1pm, optional wine centre tour at 12pm.
    looks like we have five, maybe six.

    Pol Animal
    Georgous Dunny (plus 1 guest maybe)

    Danny can’t come this time and I have not heard back from crikey whitey but she had the flu pretty bad last I heard.

    At the moment we have only two for the wine centre tour so that looks like being off as I need five to book it. Please let me know if you are interested.

    I booked a table for twelve so there is still plenty of room for extras and late-comers.

    If I have forgotten anyone please give me a cooee.

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