Seat of the week: Casey

Held since 2001 by Tony Smith, the outer eastern Melbourne seat of Casey flowed with the electoral tide from its creation in 1969 until 1984, but has strengthened for the Liberals.

Blue and red numbers respectively indicate booths with two-party majorities for the Liberal and Labor parties. Click for larger image. Map boundaries courtesy of Ben Raue at The Tally Room.

Held by the Liberals without interruption since 1984, Casey covers Melbourne’s eastern suburban fringe at Lilydale, Kilsyth and Monbulk, together with the Yarra Valley townships of Yarra Glen, Healesville and Warburton and unpopulated Yarra Ranges areas further afield. The suburban areas are Liberal-leaning, middle-income and culturally homogenous, with an above-average number of mortgage payers. Outcrops of Labor support further afield coincide with lower incomes at Healesville, a “tree-changer” tendency around Monbulk, and a combination of the two at Warburton (the Greens outpolled Labor at the 2013 election at the Warburton booth and The Patch just south of Monbulk). Healesville and Warburton were added with the redistribution before the 2013 election, which further cut the Liberal margin through the transfer of Croydon and Ringwood to Menzies and Deakin.

Casey was oriented further westwards when it was created in 1969, extending northwards from Ringwood to Kinglake. The bulk of the modern electorate remained in La Trobe, the area having previously been divided between it and Deakin. Casey assumed approximately its current dimensions when the expansion of parliament in 1984 pushed it further east into the Yarra Valley, and the 1990 redistribution added some of its present outer suburbs territory. The seat has been in Liberal hands outside of two interruptions, from 1972 to 1975 and 1983 to 1984. The inaugural member was Peter Howson, who had previously held the abolished inner urban electorate of Fawkner since 1951. Race Mathews won the seat for Labor with the election of the Whitlam government, and after being unseated in 1975 entered state politics as member for Oakleigh in 1979. Peter Falcolner held the seat for the Liberals through the Fraser years, before being unseated by Labor’s Peter Steedman when the Hawke government came to power in 1983.

Steedman was in turn unseated after a single term by Robert Halverson in 1984, with some assistance from redistribution, and the seat has been in Liberal hands ever since. Halverson’s retirement in 1998 made the seat available as a safe haven for Howard government Health Minister Michael Wooldridge, whose position in Chisholm had been weakened by redistribution in 1996. However, Wooldridge only served a single term before quitting politics at the 2001 election, at which time he was succeeded by Tony Smith. During Smith’s tenure the Liberal margin broke double digits for only the second time at the 2004 election, but he went into the 2013 election with a margin of only 1.9% following successive swings and an unfavourable redistribution. He nonetheless retained the seat easily on the back of a statewide Liberal swing that pushed his margin out to 7.2%.

Smith’s entry to politics came via a staff position with Peter Costello, with whom he remained closely associated. After the 2007 election defeat he won promotion to the shadow cabinet in the education portfolio, but Malcolm Turnbull demoted him to Assistant Treasurer when he became leader in September 2008. Smith formed part of the front-bench exodus in the final days of Turnbull’s leadership, together with Tony Abbott and Nick Minchin, in protest against Turnbull’s support for an emissions trading scheme. He duly emerged a strong backer of Abbott in the ensuing leadership contest, and returned to shadow cabinet in broadband and communications. However, Smith was widely thought to have struggled during the 2010 campaign and was demoted after the election for a second time, this time down to parliamentary secretary level. With the election of the Abbott government he was dropped altogether, making way for the promotion of fellow Victorians Josh Frydenberg and Alan Tudge.

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.

723 comments on “Seat of the week: Casey”

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  1. John Howard: “The electorate votes for the Liberal party. The Liberal members of parliament vote for the Prime Minister.”

    Truly democracy in progress.

    And to all the conservative hacks…

    Nobody here really gives a toss about what you think about who leads the Labor party, the process by whom he/she is elected, and anything else approaching your cat calls from the side lines.

    Abbott got in by one vote at the time and the whole country is paying the price for this act of mindless vandalism.

    And for those from the rabid-right thinking Cosgrove could be the next GG, you have merely underscored the point that there is a strong streak of fascism in the heart of every little conservative.

    This love of uniforms and the military is a worry.

  2. Yes the boats are still coming, i wonder if the big cyclone this weak has delayed any. when this weather clears the numbers may start to rise again.

  3. Lets sum up the new government

    Boats fixed as Morrison isn’t talking about it

    Economy fixed as Joe isn’t talking about it

    NBN is fixed as Turnbull isn’t talking about it

    Schools fixed as Pyne isn’t talking about it

    Health is fixed as Dutton isn’t talking about it

    So all is fixed, isn’t that nice.

  4. It suits rAbbott to have the legislation repealing the carbon price delayed.

    The longer it remains the longer he has the revenue to pay for the tax cuts that were compensation.

    Once the legislation is repealed he will have to find $4.5billion in the claimed budget emergency.

  5. Abbott’s decision to not accept Quentin Bryce’s resignation is, oh what a surprise, populist and unprincipled.

    There can be no doubt that Bryce has done an outstanding job in the largely ceremonial role of GG. There can be no doubt that in the unlikely event of a constitutional crisis Bryce would act without fear or favour to her son-in-law.

    That said, so what? The whole point of a GG is to have a constitutional leader of last resort in the event of a collapse of a functioning Parliamentary democracy. The GG is “insurance” against an event that has not ever occurred in our Parliamentary history (despite Kerr’s errant intervention in 1975) and is most unlikely to occur in the months prior to her term expiring.

    But, since the future must remain unknown and unknowable to all of us, it is most inappropriate to have as GG a person who undoubtedly has the potential to be seen to be partial in any decision she may have to make to resolve the unforeseeable political crisis. That the GG would be seen to be partial in the political outcome is enough to make Bryce unsatisfactory as GG since, in this situation it is not the reality of partisanship but the perception of partisanship that will erode public confidence in the political solution possibly imposed by the GG to resolve the unknowable political crisis.

    Further, since this is a matter of high legality, if Bryce remains as GG it will be seen to set a precedent in the future that such a personal connection as mother-in-law to the leader of a major political party is not a disqualification for a person to be or become a GG of Australia.

    Bryce should insist that her resignation is not negotiable.

  6. [DisplayName
    Posted Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 4:42 pm | PERMALINK

    psyclaw who continues to insult me

    I think he’s ignoring you, actually.]

    Ya reckon?

    What would you call this response to my #509?

    Posted Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 3:30 pm | PERMALINK
    #509 is a classic.

    Where on earth does 45k come from when only 30 k voted.

    Oh I see ……. 100% of the 15 k who didn’t vote were going to vote for Shorten.

    I’d love to know her “research” area. Must be critical to mankind.

    Apparently you can succeed in it with poor arithmetic, no logic, imprecise language and just the ability to write utter crap and spot unicorns. LOL]

  7. If it is true that the first Oppn Leader after a defeat never gets to be PM, the opponents of Shorten should be pleased. Instead, they’re moaning. Quite mad.

  8. Display Name:

    It is very easy for others to miss stuff, I know, but I have a steady barrage of personal insults and personal abuse only occasionally interrupted by unsubstantiated allegations!

    Those reading my posts need to read them in the context of this constant barrage… which i think I actually demonstrate above average patience and forbearance!!!!!! 😉

  9. DN:

    There was another post about me being an egg researcher or something…..just couldn’t be bothered with that one! 🙂

  10. bemused:

    [I actually thought you would see the intended humour playing on what word MTBW used.]

    As noted above, I did see the intent, but not all intent to be humorous turns out that way. I don’t regard the idea that I might assault the person in the world dearest to me as funny.

  11. Mad Lib@696

    Posted Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 4:36 pm | PERMALINK
    Mod Lib still thieving bandwidth and wasting our time.

    More attacking me, but not a single comment about psyclaw who continues to insult me, or Shows On who continues to make unsubstantiated allegations against me?

    Hmmm, interesting, eh? Apparently I am meant to just take it and not fight back, eh? Well this aint the school yard and your bullying wont work against me! Sorry folks, as many of you can gang up together as you like, but I will fight back.

    Don’t blame me for the election result- you are going to need to get over it eventually or you will be miserable for the next 6 to 9 years!

    I am deeply wounded that I was left off your list of those you claim victimise you. 😥

  12. If it is true that the first Oppn Leader after a defeat never gets to be PM

    I think this is a historic pattern that people forecast will continue with over-confidence. The closest two governments to have been one-termers have been he last two. Now that’s obviously not enough to form a strong trend on, but with so few data points it certainly looks like it may be a new regime, and there are other reasons for thinking the electorate is more volatile than it used to be. I think there is a good chance that one-term administrations a
    Re more likely than they used to be, but people act as if the old pattern is unchanged.

  13. Martin B

    I am hoping that Labor supporters don’t get too confident that Abbott will only last one term. We laughed at him as Opp Leader and look what happened – the MSM went all out to prop him up.

  14. Any advances over the weekend?

    No surprises
    No excuses
    No lies
    Higher standards in government
    You can trust me

    Surprise No 1 Turn back the boats has been ditched by Abbott.
    Surprise No 2 Buy back the boats has been ditched by Abbott.
    Surprise No 3 Joyce publicly supports Indonesian purchase of Australian farmland.
    Surprise No 4 MacFarlane provides financial support to the Holden.
    Surprise No 5 Hockey seeks to reduce debt by seeking to avoid counting infrastructure debt as ‘debt’ in the national accounts.
    Surprise No 6 When all those Coalition figures said, ‘Tow back the boats’ they were lying
    Surprise No 7 When Abbott implied that he would spend the first week of his prime ministership in an Indigenous community and allowed Indigenous people to cheer him for implying this, but did not actually end up doing so.
    Surprise No 8 Successful applicants for RDA funding have to re-apply for their grants.
    Surprise No 9 Hockey wants to lift Australia’s debt ceiling.
    Surprise No 10 Abbott promised higher standards but has delivered low, rorting standards.

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