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. Not sure there is a whole lot of upside left for Labor in Vic. They probably reached high tide last election and the mood seems to have picked up a bit for LNP once Ted left as premier.

    In any event, lets say they go OTT in Vic, what’s that get Labor? 2 seats? 3? Not enough I expect once NSW and Qld get going.

    Can I take a moment here to suggest something? The partisan comments on both sides seem to be a bit like screaming and cheering at the TV watching the footy. It probably won’t boost your team no matter how hard you go when it comes to the scoreboard. Rather, we all have to accept one side will win on 14 Sept, that either the LNP or Labor will form a government. Maybe we should concentrate for a while on what we agree on? Let me ask, if Labor wins, what do you think will happen and if the LNP wins, what do you think will happen? I ask this in the context of your party not winning.

  2. I think if Labor wins it will make Keating’s ‘True Believers’ election look routine. This, of course, will only happen if the campaign is a disaster for the LNP, unlikely with the way politics is reported now. Labor will then face a number of difficulties. They aren’t short of talent, but the economic challenges will be huge. Gillard will have greatly enhanced status and her detractors will be squirming in their seats, especially certain parts of the media.

    Expect new media laws, but a lot of grief in trying to balance big ticket budget items against a difficult budget bottom line. Workable with discipline, but not easy.

    If Abbott wins, it will depend on the make-up of the Senate. A problem for him either way. A Senate majority means no barrier to extreme legislation on a number of fronts. As John Howard found, this is the start of the path to destruction. However, no Senate majority means a major problem relating to the Carbon Tax. Labor should oppose its abolition, no matter what, forcing Abbott to a Double Dissolution. By this time, Abbott would have difficulties reconciling the pre-election rhetoric with the actuality of his actions.

    I could see a change of PM, with all the theatre that would bring.

    Fun times either way:)

  3. I worked for a previous MP for Isaacs. An interesting electorate, which has migrated more than the magnetic North Pole. RIP Greg.

  4. Interesting seat,

    A few months ago was mentioned as being at risk but it seems to have fallen off the rader.

    Yes i recall Greg, he was a good local MP, sadly missed.

  5. [ Bushfire Bill
    Posted Saturday, June 1, 2013 at 12:27 am | Permalink

    ..

    It needs to be explained that we have a chance to fix the problem in one go – just clean out the Telstra pits and build the bloody NBN, or else this will string out for decades and we’ll fall even further behind.]

    And infrastructure has to be maintained and altered these pits are part of our infrastrucure, you will find them whereever you find pits, telco, traffic lights etc.

    People get in them and pull up these pits on a daily basis. It increases the cost of the project, but there are well established work practices to deal with the problem. The level of bullshit is unbelievable.

    This comes from the people that also want to turn a work place accident into a reason why we should not do the NBN. They have no decency. Part of the unhinging.

  6. William, I’m well aware of the psephology of the seats you so well analyse, but I’m always struck by the preponderance if red figures on your maps. Isaacs is the most extreme example so far. Even allowing for a large anti-Labor swing, I always find it hard to reconcile the maps with the numbers.

    I know that’s not scientific, just a quirk, but to change a lot of that red to blue seems a monumental task.

    I know Dreyfus has a large margin and there’s a big ‘Swing Required’, but there’s a hell of a lot of red on the maps:)

  7. Swing Required

    The booth results are always interesting.

    Using the data provided by William and the Tally Room enables me to formulate a clear picture of what may be happening in voterland rather than just making predictions based on seat margins.

  8. I should add that the strip along the beach all returned Liberal MPs at the last Victorian state election in seats like Carrum and Mordialioc

  9. but still Morrison rants about there being a breach. According to him the ABC 4 Corners anonymous source is more credible than the Head of ASIO

    Although Senator Brandis’ comments were widely interpreted as confirmation of the alleged ASIO security breach, it is understood he and opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop were told the attempted cyber intrusion against the contractor was unsuccessful and there had been no compromise of the security of the new ASIO headquarters.

    Read more: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/opposition-told-asio-hack-not-successful-20130531-2nhac.html#ixzz2UuJgdYQR

  10. If Tony Abbott is a man of conviction, why did he withdraw Coalition support for the political funding bill only after hearing the populist backlash? ”The public has spoken and the bill is dead,” he said yesterday, six days after he threw his party’s support behind it. This smacks of expediency and raises questions about the quality of decision making he might bring as a potential leader of this nation. How much weight can voters put on anything Mr Abbott says if he cynically backflips after he hears a public outcry?

    Leadership is about much more than reacting to the loudest voices. Leaders, especially those who aspire to the prime ministership, must articulate their principles and formulate policies in keeping with those principles. Wavering in the face of populist discontent is not the stuff of leaders.

    Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/editorial/zero-tolerance-means-you-too-mr-mcguire-20130530-2nf47.html#ixzz2UuKmc6vK

  11. The Fellowship announces Zorica Sherrington has won the inaugural
    Ent Award (current most balanced, non party political propaganda post on PB). Well done!

    [Zorica Sherrington
    Posted Saturday, June 1, 2013 at 3:02 am | PERMALINK
    Not sure there is a whole lot of upside left for Labor in Vic. They probably reached high tide last election and the mood seems to have picked up a bit for LNP once Ted left as premier.

    In any event, lets say they go OTT in Vic, what’s that get Labor? 2 seats? 3? Not enough I expect once NSW and Qld get going.

    Can I take a moment here to suggest something? The partisan comments on both sides seem to be a bit like screaming and cheering at the TV watching the footy. It probably won’t boost your team no matter how hard you go when it comes to the scoreboard. Rather, we all have to accept one side will win on 14 Sept, that either the LNP or Labor will form a government. Maybe we should concentrate for a while on what we agree on? Let me ask, if Labor wins, what do you think will happen and if the LNP wins, what do you think will happen? I ask this in the context of your party not winning.]

  12. If Gillard wins this election she will go down as an ALP legend, the likes of Whitlam. She will have broken the hearts and souls of Liberal party aparatchiks across the country and on the other hand, ALP membership will soar and money will start flowing into the ALP coffers. Rudd will resign and take many of the Ruddistas with him.

    Gillard would have a clear mandate for another go and the NDIS, Gonski and CPRS (as it will morph into) will be her legacy. Then it will be up to her to make sure they are all bedded down successfully over the next 3 years as I suspect if she wins we will see that happened to Keating in 1996 because he won an election he wasn’t meant to win (1993) happen to Gillard in 2016, only writ even larger than 1996!

  13. Mod Lib

    Abbott conducted the newspoll this weekend, are you conceding these media driven opinion polls are nothing but a farce

  14. Mod Lib

    I agree Zorica post was impressive and raised an important point about how some here take partisanship as a badge of honor.

    Basically to prove the point

    If the Liberals win

    Liberal voters will say finally the country will be well managed, better opportunities, less debt

    ALP voters will declare that Australians are greedy, selfish, lazy, dumb and will regret it as they find a new round of workchoices and will be reduced to rages

    If the ALP wins

    Liberal voters will scream o more debt, another day closer to being like Greece, more debt, more waste and union thugs running amuck

    ALP voters will celebrate and call Gillard the greatest PM of all time, suck on it news limited and Gina

  15. Wonder if a newsltd galaxy polls will pop up, like after the budget claiming labor lost budget week, and the special qld one claiming the same thing

    when the truth and reality was the opposite , labor has won last month on one leg, it shows how incompetent Abbott and is cronies are

  16. [Meguire Bob
    Posted Saturday, June 1, 2013 at 7:32 am | PERMALINK
    Mod Lib

    Abbott conducted the newspoll this weekend, are you conceding these media driven opinion polls are nothing but a farce]

    Do you concede that there was an actual election recently, and the National party trounced the ALP in Northern Tablelands with 6 times the ALP vote?

  17. muttleymcgee

    Well Mod Lib is right, if Gillard can get returned she fully deserves to have her policies fully implemented and will have a clear mandate to deliver them.

  18. Mod Lib
    Posted Saturday, June 1, 2013 at 7:38 am | PERMALINK
    Meguire Bob
    Posted Saturday, June 1, 2013 at 7:32 am | PERMALINK
    Mod Lib

    Do you concede that there was an actual election recently, and the National party trounced the ALP in Northern Tablelands with 6 times the ALP vote?

    ———————————-

    What has that got to do with Abbott conducting newspoll this weekend?

    Mod lib

    Dont be surprise that newsltd will protect abbott this week with a galaxy poll showing People supported Abbott’s lie

  19. Mod lib

    Abbott claimed the coalition did not see any details of the propose bill un 7:30pm thursday day night , yet he sent a letter on the 16th may agreeing to the bill , claiming the coalition will support it

  20. well I scroll by all Williams posts,
    \
    the above is the past, we looking to the future
    and labor will be returned.

    I think and I may be wrong but with there being NO land lines in the near future Is phesology
    a think of the past,
    I would think so

  21. well I scroll by all Williams posts,
    \
    the above is the past, we looking to the future
    and labor will be returned.

    I think and I may be wrong but with there being NO land lines in the near future Is phesology
    a think of the past,….
    I would think so

  22. MB

    Yes that could be counted as a lie but Tone appears to not be good at reading, particularly things relating to policies.

  23. Latika is maturing.

    [But as demonstrated in Queensland, a sizeable majority brings its own unique problems.

    He has locked into keeping his frontbench which is frustrating the ambitious young talent on his backbench – of which there is plenty. One Liberal points to the recent outburst by Sydney MP Alex Hawke, who raised serious objections to the proposed paid parental leave scheme, as proof of what can happen when hope of promotion is lost.

    But most pressing will be the management of the Nationals – tensions within the Coalition partnership are perennial and peak from time-to-time but there are serious fears within the Liberal Party about the level of influence Barnaby Joyce enjoys.

    What also annoys Liberals is the freedom the Nationals have to speak out on issues, like the baby bonus and paid parental leave as Joyce and Darren Chester have done in recent days.

    One frontbencher fears the combination of a DLP-style prime minister Abbott and an agrarian socialist deputy prime minister Joyce (should the Senator’s bid for the lower house be successful) and it’s no surprise that the economic ‘dries’ within the party are seeing the reinvented Joe Hockey in a new and flattering light.]
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-05-30/bourke-abbott-liberals-leader/4721720

  24. mexicanbeemer
    Posted Saturday, June 1, 2013 at 7:47 am | PERMALINK
    MB

    Yes that could be counted as a lie but Tone appears to not be good at reading, particularly things relating to policies.

    ————————————————–

    How can he be leader or even prime minister, policies is not the only thing he cant read 🙂

    BHP statement

    Judge Rares Decision

  25. Did anyone else manage to survive Kelly O’Bigmouth on Lateline.

    Emma A raised her voice bravely to stem the flow, and succeeded quite well.

  26. Meguire Bob

    Very true Tone has a proven record of not reading things which should have been read.

    Considering attention to detail is an important skill for a leader Tone does seem to lack it.

  27. mexicanbeemer
    Posted Saturday, June 1, 2013 at 7:52 am | PERMALINK
    Meguire Bob

    Very true Tone has a proven record of not reading things which should have been read.

    Considering attention to detail is an important skill for a leader Tone does seem to lack it.

    —————————————————————

    why 1993 is likely to be repeated for the coalition

  28. lizzie
    Posted Saturday, June 1, 2013 at 7:51 am | PERMALINK
    Did anyone else manage to survive Kelly O’Bigmouth on Lateline.

    Emma A raised her voice bravely to stem the flow, and succeeded quite well.
    —————————————————————-

    LOL

  29. magure posted

    Abbott claimed the coalition did not see any details of the propose bill un 7:30pm thursday day night , yet he sent a letter on the 16th may agreeing to the bill , claiming the coalition will support
    ————————————————————MB is that so he is even more scary than I thought,

    what really worries me, is the Indonesia situation, he is making bad friends every day with the countries to the north,
    what if there is confrontation, he could not handle it.
    where would we end up,
    think about people, now he says he did not read the bill
    so if he sent a letter to the AG mr Dreyfus.
    it could be that he didn’t read it,
    just thought it was a great idea
    is he so lazy, or no comprehension,
    the amount of bills that he would have to read as PM would be not one but every bill going to the parliament
    so one has to ask is he capable of that,

    the PM know all the bills backwards and forwards, and knows every subject she is ask about,
    abbott would be bike riding not READING.
    for goodness sake and this man wants to be PM
    I am really worried, and even rusted on liberals should be, but no their ideology get in the way,

    I wonder what professors of political science really think,,, I did read where Malcolm FRAZER was very concerned,

  30. “The Coalition’s business tax agenda will increase taxes on business – both small and large – by over $4.5 billion in its first full year and $17.2 billion over the next four years to ’16-17.”

  31. my say
    Posted Saturday, June 1, 2013 at 7:56 am | PERMALINK
    MB is that so he is even more scary than I thought,

    what really worries me, is the Indonesia situation, he is making bad friends every day with the countries to the north,
    what if there is confrontation, he could not handle it.

    —————————————————

    Good point My Say

    That the most scary thing , Abbott can not or capable of negotiating

    just imagine the damage

  32. Currently my peeve with the Guardian is that they are keeping UK time. Morning material is always from the day before.

  33. Zorica Sherrington Differences I see berween 2 Govts is pretty well defined in Shorten’s responses in this interview.

    Labor will keep trying to steer the country for all of us. Might make a few mistakes politically but policy work on NDIS, NBN, Gonski, ETS, etc superannuation will be bedded down.

    LNP, if history and past 3 years is a guide, will be led by the loudest business
    voices – media too. The problem Abbott will have is that he is promising a
    Utopia to the voters that he cannot deliver. Lies, fear and smear won’t help him.

    http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/5/30/industries/kgb-bill-shorten

  34. BK Murdoch tweeted early this morning that he was now leaving ‘the Land of the free (?) to go to the Lucky Country’.
    Wonder if he’s getting worried about Tone?

  35. AussieAchmed

    Posted Saturday, June 1, 2013 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    If Tony Abbott is a man of conviction
    ==============================================================

    here here , the PM gets on with things she knows are good and decent and 99 percent have turned out to be spot on ,

    abbott is to busy riding bikes to even care
    and has said he will continue his training so called and his races and marathons every where ,so who would be reading the bills his adviser and passing on the meaning of the bills, so who would be PM
    ,, so who would be acting PM Mr joyce,

    spare us please,

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