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. One of the arguments for NAPLAN and MySchool was that it would allow schools to be targetted according to need rather than according to their status as either a ‘private’ or ‘public’ school – that is, that published results would demonstrate that it wasn’t the schooling system that determined outcomes.

    And here we go —

    [Children who attend private primary schools don’t perform any better in NAPLAN tests than their peers at public schools, new research shows.

    It was the children of a healthy birth weight, who grew up in higher socio-economic circumstances in homes filled with books and had mothers who didn’t work long hours who performed best at NAPLAN.]

    [..After controlling for factors like household income, health indicators and parent education level, researchers found there was no statistical difference in the academic achievement of children from similar backgrounds, regardless of which type of school they attended.]

    [..”People who are sending their kids to public schools can be confident they’re not disadvantaging their kids by doing so,” one of the researchers, Professor of Health Economics Luke Connelly said. ”It’s not the type of school that changes (the result), it’s the things that are being done for the child at home.”]

    The role of developmental factors is also highlighted by the results —

    [Children who weighed less than 2.5 kilograms at birth, achieved ”significantly lower” test scores, especially in grammar and numeracy, with the researchers suggesting low birthweight correlated with longer-term developmental delays.

    Children whose parents had completed year 12 had higher test scores across all subjects. Students whose mothers worked long hours did worse in all tests except numeracy, yet the working hours of fathers had no impact on test results..]

  2. Morning everyone.

    Another surprise!

    [The Abbott government has backed away from distributing millions of dollars in grants promised to dozens of charities, community groups and local councils under Labor’s national crime prevention program.

    In some cases, small charities say their existence is under threat because they have spent money based on draft funding agreements that will no longer be honoured by the new government.

    The biggest loser is the Police Citizens Youth Club, which has been warned the $7 million it was promised is ”on hold and unlikely to be delivered”, according to an insider.


  3. Seems Peter Slipper isn’t going to take Psephos advice:
    Peter Slipper ‏@PNSlipper 4m

    Will be on #insiders today at 9am. Wide ranging interview with Barrie Cassidy on #ashbygate and other matters.

  4. Morning all. Interesting to see the results of the Abor leadership ballott today. Whatever the result, the greater transparency is itself a huge step forward.

  5. Typo on Labor.

    This story is interesting for Australia. Gas fracking is still a great unknown in terms of environmental risks.
    [France’s constitutional council has rejected an attempt to overturn a ban on fracking, the controversial method of extracting gas from rock.

    US-based firm Schuepbach Energy challenged a ban imposed in 2011 based on potential risks to the environment.

    President Francois Hollande has opposed the technology, as have the Greens, a partner in the governing coalition.

    France, which relies heavily on nuclear power, has some of the largest shale gas deposits in Europe.]

  6. Sounds like Slipper believes Brandis or his CoS is responsible for referring the Slipper cabcharge stuff to the AFP. Brandis’ office would be my guess as well.

  7. Palmer “a little bit different” according to Slipper!

    Hehe 🙂

    Slipper could have been lazarus (now that is a good headline)

  8. From previous thread.


    The late-lamented Flipper Boy, who still hasn’t paid my charity his $500 losing bet, was a big fan of the humorously named independentaustralia website.

    That told me all I needed to know about it.

    Who is lamenting? 👿

  9. Good Morning

    Have a Senate Committee regarding Ashbygate For six months Labor and Greens you have the numbers. Force the LNP hand.

    There are too many unanswered questions

  10. Senate:

    LNP 33
    ALP 26
    GRN 9
    PUP 3
    MEP 1
    DLP 1
    LDP 1
    FF 1
    Xen 1

    So if PUP and MEP vote as a block as they say the LNP cant pass anything without them

    LNP + PUP = 37
    ALP+ GRN = 35

    So they need 2 votes out of the remaining 4 bold and ALP/GRN need 3…interesting times! You would think that the LNP would be able to convince FF and Lib Dem Senators for most of their agenda, the only question mark would be the PPL.

  11. Given the cost to the public of these weddings (including presumably those there claiming business expenses) maybe Brandis should forget about banning gay marriage and ban straight marriage instead.


    It also occurs to me that if you’re going to complain about “Labor deficits” claiming expenses under an ALP regime and paying them back under a Liberal regime is self-serving at best.


    Ok … enough frivolity …

  12. To get rid of the travel allowance scheme and maintain the status quo don’t we need to triple their salaries? I saw something about the total travel allowance scheme being about 500k per polly…..

  13. The Libs are performing right up to my expectations:

    * We ‘nevar’ said we’d tow back boats 😆 ;

    * We’ll examine the NBN plan (maybe fibre to the home is the go 😆 ;

    * The ‘Budget Emergency’ is over ie we’ll just leave it to the Treasury (I’ve got more important things to do than Swan had);

    * ect, ect; and

    * implementing the Liberal Farty policy of being US Red-Necks.

    What a ‘Glorious’ future.

    One term dickheads.

  14. Gerard doesn’t think there has been any walking away by the coalition on their pre-election stances.

    He’d be the only one.

  15. Gerard making excuses for the wedding rorts.

    What is the value of having these one-eyed partisan hacks on shows like this?

  16. So what do we think about Gillard attending an ALP staffer’s wedding (apparently….at least according to Phil Coorey on Insiders just now).

    We don’t know whether or not she claimed, but what is the PB consensus view now?

  17. “@justinbarbour: ! RT @FergusonLMP: Gerard Henderson trying to ensure a reasonable attendance at his funeral by insisting taxpayers could pay for it”

  18. [CTar1
    Posted Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 9:56 am | PERMALINK

    They are doing a good job of flipping on almost everything.]

    Any specifics?

  19. Mod

    [We don’t know whether or not she claimed]

    If she didn’t ‘claim’ for attending a wedding then that will be a separator ….

    You should stop on this as you’re heading up a creek.

  20. ML
    [To get rid of the travel allowance scheme and maintain the status quo don’t we need to triple their salaries? I saw something about the total travel allowance scheme being about 500k per polly…..]

    a) Why would we want to maintain the obviously undesirable status quo? Allwoable expenses should only be for the performance of service to the parliament/the public good and need to be warranted expressly on this basis under some well-defined category unless some genuinely extraordinary situation arose and could be granted by perhaps, the Cleark of the Parliament or some independent person.

    b) I’m not sure of the time period over which your calculation (if correct) applies. If the average if 500k over say, 7 years then we’d be talking about $71k per annum.

    [So what do we think about Gillard attending an ALP staffer’s wedding (apparently….at least according to Phil Coorey on Insiders just now).]

    Unless public money was claimed by her for the occasion, I couldn’t care less. She could have danced naked in the woods at midnight for all I cared.

  21. [Mod Lib
    Posted Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 9:50 am | PERMALINK
    So what do we think about Gillard attending an ALP staffer’s wedding (apparently….at least according to Phil Coorey on Insiders just now).

    We don’t know whether or not she claimed, but what is the PB consensus view now?]

    Who cares!

    Im laughing at all the Team Left hate… Talk about out of the blocks early and what about giving the PM respect and all that Labor went on about with Gillard? lol

    I hope the Libs just continue to ignore Labor like they did under the Howard years and i hope the left continue on hating like this for long term.

  22. [Unless public money was claimed by her for the occasion, I couldn’t care less. She could have danced naked in the woods at midnight for all I cared.]

    That was my question: do you think claiming public money would be acceptable in that case (I am not claiming she did, I am just asking the hypothetical, since there is consensus here, apparently, that you cannot claim weddings).

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