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. I think it is now quite legitimate to compare the propaganda insanity of the right-wing shock-jocks (as reported by BB. and others), sections of the OM. and the general right-wing supporters to the Nazi propaganda of the 1930’s. There is no other contempory archived resource that demonstrates so faithfully the journey from simple distortion of misinformation like the “liar” theme to what we have now with the deliberate and mendacious reporting of outright dishonesty for political gain.
    The tactics being utilised by the opp’n are..not perhaps, not mabey…but actually ARE completly identical to Nazi propaganda to sway the populace with downright lies.
    Turnbull would do well to re-assess his position in the company of such people. He will not emerge from this episode in Aust’ history with the decency he aspires to.

  2. Actually why is the asbestos story even bad, Telsra have a once in a generation opportunity to clean up a toxic mess which will be off set by the sale of its copper.

    As long as all safety procedures are followed this is a good news story.

  3. Bushfire Bill
    Posted Monday, June 3, 2013 at 8:31 pm | Permalink
    Just listening to Bolt on 2GB.

    Government owns asbestos. This is another Pink Batts. Where s the asbestos? We don’t know. Shorten writing a letter to Telstra is a wimp out. He should be sacked.

    An asbestos audit of Telstra is WAY over the top and is typical of his government’s over-reaction to everything. Just protecting unionists.

    We have freedom in this country and if you get killed by asbestos then it’s Buyer Beware. Don’t go out in the street if you’re scared.

    The government is using spin and deceit to try to prove they care about asbestos, but they care too much and will enmesh us in red tape.

    Anyone who defends this rant should be made to eat the stuff. What a low life person this Liberal supporting moron is. Dump the stuff on his front lawn…

  4. zoomster

    [ “This criticism of the PM is not sexist. Therefore no criticisms of the PM are sexist.” ]
    Yep , the other side of the same coin Tim Soutphommasane mentioned in this article.

    [Racism, bigotry and debate, Australian-style

    Nothing shuts down debate more than the idea that any allegation of racism must involve a moral charge against each and every Australian. That it must mean we are saying there’s something fundamentally rotten about the Australian character.]

  5. 😆

    @nathvalvo: So we have decided that if you’re gay you should send a pic of yourself and your dog to @corybernardi with #gaysbestfriend #QandA

  6. [2427
    This little black duck

    Good stories on cheating in bridge]

    None of the mob I played with were serious enough to feel like cheating…not that I could pick, anyway.

  7. [Actually why is the asbestos story even bad, Telsra have a once in a generation opportunity to clean up a toxic mess which will be off set by the sale of its copper.]

    It’s not actually toxic waste if it’s left in the ground

  8. joe,

    Not the 1930s at all.

    Eighty years later we have a media that can broadcast all over the place. Opinions can be voiced without censorship or bias.

    You just don’t get it, do you?

  9. zoomster


    I was a 500 player. Two handed mostly.
    Ah 500 , the “gateway drug” to Bridge addiction 🙂

  10. The only way Bolt could be right was if the Government had retained ownership of the network but that is not the case and Telsra has claimed full ownership so there is no debate.

    If we want to stoop to Bolts level then its really Gina that shoudl be claenign it up for her father was mining the staff

  11. Sean

    I am aware that it is safe as long as it is in solid form but the point remains that this is an opportunity for Telstra to remove the product from its network and reduce its risk.

  12. [ It’s not actually toxic waste if it’s left in the ground ]


    What a shame that the Noalition’s fraudband would have to dig up the same pits though!

  13. briefly,

    Cheating was commonplace in the nether regions (I played in a “reputable” northern Sydney tournament once, and never since).

    It’s the international stuff that gets attention and, a sort of, scrutiny.

    Rubber bridge with friends at home can be wonderful.

  14. William:

    We hadn’t forgotten.

    Perhaps Qanda will be compulsory viewing tonight. Apart from the presence of Bernardi that is.

  15. tlbd @ 2466…of course, home-made…it’s a great past-time…like book-clubs…a lot of continuity and entertainment

  16. TLBD. Sure, media CAN be broadcast all over the place…social media et all…but it is TO WHOM such propaganda is directed that is the important observation. Social media as a major news-broadcaster is absorbed by a small majority..scandal and salacious gossip is uncensored, sure, but it is the intense concentration of lies and propaganda to the swinging percentage that does the damage… can bet your bootie the Nazi propagandists never sought to sway those whom they later persecuted.
    The entire purpose of propaganda is not to persuade the majority, but rather the percentage that matters most.

  17. [The give away was he never mentioned a year for this proposed challenge.]

    *Smacks head*

    You mean we’ve arrived at the equivalent of a once in a lifetime designer shoe sale 1 year ahead of time?

    I thought we did that last February?

  18. poroti,

    No, more like leading out of turn and hoping your opponents didn’t know the rules or claiming a contract completed when a declarer didn’t know whether to finesse or top.

    And don’t talk to me about hesitating to play with a singleton!

  19. [ Can someone please explain why Conskis is advertised in Queensland??? ]

    If you mean Gonski, the answer is that it would be good for Queensland school children …. not that you would care about stuff like that.

  20. [Can someone please explain why Conskis is advertised in Queensland???]

    Because it’s a free market.

    Or has CanDo managed to even undo that over there?

  21. @Sean/2471

    Let see, Electricity Price rising in QLD, Less Education in QLD.

    It’s all starting to pile up for Can’t Do Man.

  22. briefly,

    The “bring a plate”s were something to behold. That’s the afternoon stuff. Evening went more, cough, cordial.

  23. So Shorten wrote to Telstra in 2009 and they claimed it was under control.

    Okay now lets take a look at the OH&S act which clearly puts the onus of responsibility for reducing risk on both the employer and employee.

    Telstra has claimed responsibility as they should end f story and all future questions should be directed the Telstra.

  24. Sean Tisme
    Posted Monday, June 3, 2013 at 9:07 pm | Permalink
    Can someone please explain why Conskis is advertised in Queensland???

    to keep you amused and distracted – like a goldfish in a bowl

  25. Wasting my taxpayers dollars advertising something QLD’ers will never get.

    Labor brilliance at it’s finest.

  26. Well Queensland is still part of Australia.

    We could try to sell it to the Chinese but the Chinese turned the offer down for they have no use for Palmer or Cando

  27. [2479
    This little black duck


    The “bring a plate”s were something to behold. That’s the afternoon stuff. Evening went more, cough, cordial.]

    Bridge…definitely a pursuit for grown-ups

  28. As shown within Mr Turnbull’s latest register of interests, Mrs Turnbull has owned a diverse portfolio of shares in companies such as Siemens (SIEGn.DE) and currently Hochtief AG (HOTG.DE), both of which hold significant interests


  29. TLBD

    [And don’t talk to me about hesitating to play with a singleton!]
    That nae be cheating that be canny play 🙂 . We used to have fun with games where cheating was an agreed part of the game. No holds barred, the aim was to work out ways to cheat and not be caught by the opposition.

  30. Bushfire Bill from way back. Election funding for getting 4% of the vote goes or at least it used to go to the candidate. If you stand for Labor in NSW and I presume its the same for major parties in all states you have to sign a form directing it to the party. I think Hanson might not sign such a form.

  31. [In case you’ve forgotten, this is the week – maybe even the day – of Christopher Pyne’s mooted Kevin Rudd leadership challenge.]

    We remember.

  32. TLBD. No, I thought that was your play, but I thought it was legit’ to play “the straight man” my reply!
    No sweat.

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