Seat of the week: Scullin

After more than four decades in the hands of the Jenkins dynasty, the outer northern Melbourne seat of Scullin has passed on to Andrew Giles with the former Speaker’s retirement at the September election.

Scullin covers suburbs at the northern edge of Melbourne including Thomastown, Epping and Mill Park, from which it extends eastwards beyond the Plenty River to semi-rural outskirts and further suburban territory around Diamond Creek, a somewhat stronger area for the Liberals. The electorate traces its origins back to the seat of Darebin, which was created in 1949 to accommodate the area from Reservoir south to Preston. A seat bearing the name of Scullin existed in Melbourne’s inner north from 1955 until 1969, at which point it was abolished and the name reassigned. The newly renamed electorate of Scullin continued to cover the area immediately south of its present location, which was accommodated by Burke in the west and Diamond Valley in the east. Epping and Thomastown were absorbed by Scullin when Diamond Valley was abolished with the expansion of parliament in 1984, at which time Scullin continued to cover suburban territory around Hadfield further to the west, while the Diamond Valley area remained in McEwen. The electorate assumed its present character when the former area was exchanged for the latter with the redistribution that took effect at the 1996 election. Scullin as it has existed since 1969 has been held at all times by Labor, by margins ranging from 7.0% in 1977 to 27.6% in 1984. The current margin is 14.3%, following a 6.2% swing against Labor at the election in September.

Despite the dramatic changes in the territory it has covered, Scullin maintained continuity of representation in being held firstly by Harry Jenkins Senior from 1969 to 1986, and then by his son Harry Jenkins Junior up until the recent election. The elder Jenkins had been the state member for Reservoir from 1961 to 1969, and served as Speaker of the House of Representatives from the election of the Hawke government in 1983 until his appointment as ambassador to Spain in December 1985. His son then emerged as a compromise preselection winner after a tussle within the locally dominant Socialist Left faction, which took place against the backdrop of the events which led to its controversial figurehead Bill Hartley being expelled from the party. Jenkins faced a preselection challenge ahead of the 2007 election after the Right and hard Left reached a deal in which the latter was to back Bill Shorten’s move against factional independent Bob Sercombe in Maribyrnong, with the former to support youthful party operative Nathan Murphy in Scullin. This fell through after Sercombe agreed to go quietly, relieving pressure on Right members to fall in behind the contentious deal in support of Murphy, who has since entered state politics as a member for the upper house region of Northern Metropolitan.

Jenkins followed his father’s footsteps still further when he took on the position of Speaker after the election of the Rudd government in 2007. The Labor leadership hoped to improve their precarious position on the floor of parliament after the 2010 election by having Jenkins make way for an independent or Coalition defector, but this could not be effected until Liberal member Peter Slipper agreed to take on the position in November 2011, which proved to be a poisoned chalice for all concerned. Jenkins insisted he had abandoned the position of his own accord as he wished to resume participating in policy debate. He announced his intention to bow out of politics after serving out his term the following July. With the seat remaining a prize of the Socialist Left, there was no reported opposition to the preselection of the state faction’s secretary Andrew Giles, a Slater & Gordon lawyer and former adviser to state MPs Gavin Jennings and Lily D’Ambrosio.

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.

1,398 comments on “Seat of the week: Scullin”

  1. [ShowsOn
    Posted Monday, November 11, 2013 at 10:32 pm | PERMALINK
    Should those rescued at sea be taken to the nearest port or the home country of the rescuing vessel?

    It aint that hard a question Centre, I am not sure why you are struggling so much with it.

    Explain why Abbott hasn’t stopped the boats and is instead letting boats go to Christmas Island?]

    How is it my responsibility to explain why Abbott has or hasn’t done anything, when it is not a policy I have supported.

    You have, so why don’t you explain it?

    If you are judging policies based on boat arrivals and nothing else, as was the consensus here in the Gillard/Rudd move to the new Pacific solution. If it stops the boats its good as folks are drowning…..wasn’t that the view? The boats seem to be slowing significantly, and yet now you don’t like it.

    Could one mention goalposts here? No, probably best not to I guess… 🙂

  2. At least Mod Lib acknowledges that Abbott’s Great Big Breastfeeding Tax on Everything will be passed down to all consumers.

    Progress.

  3. [You think it is a fact that I want people to drown, do you?]
    Yes, that’s just stating the obvious.

    [This is quite a fascinating place…..can I ask a psychology student to write a paper on this stuff?]
    You could, but they will probably tell you to piss off on the grounds that you are a clueless moron.

    By the way, I thought Tony Abbott was going to “stop the boats” and “turn boats back”. Why is he instead sending people to Christmas Island?

  4. BK:

    Until they get rid of Jones as host in favour of someone more capable of moderating the Qanda discussion, it’s probably for the best.

  5. [zoidlord
    Posted Monday, November 11, 2013 at 10:33 pm | PERMALINK
    @Mod Lib/1338

    umm, correct me if I am wrong, but you are stirring the pot, why put the blame on anyone else?

    Take responsibility for your own actions.]

    I do take responsibility for my own actions.

    ShowsOn has to take responsibility for making the false accusation against me.

    I note, with interest, that you continue to attack me for being accused of wanting people to drown, while remaining silent when it comes to accusing people of wanting people to drown.

    Interesting, aint it?

  6. [I do take responsibility for my own actions.

    ShowsOn has to take responsibility for making the false accusation against me.]
    It’s not a false accusation. Grow up and stop crying.

  7. [ShowsOn
    …..By the way, I thought Tony Abbott was going to “stop the boats” and “turn boats back”. Why is he instead sending people to Christmas Island?]

    How would I know what Abbott is doing, why don’t you tell us, you seem to be projecting with gusto tonight, might be an interesting read! 😉

  8. [If you are judging policies based on boat arrivals and nothing else, as was the consensus here in the Gillard/Rudd move to the new Pacific solution. If it stops the boats its good as folks are drowning…..wasn’t that the view? The boats seem to be slowing significantly, and yet now you don’t like it.]
    OMG! How clueless are you!

    You OPPOSED the Rudd policy! You want to claim ownership of it if it stops people from drowning, but you still attack the policy!

    You are a complete hypocrite!

  9. [ShowsOn
    …..It’s not a false accusation. Grow up and stop crying.]

    One kinda gets the impression that it might be others engaging in that activity since Sep, rather than me!

  10. “@senthorun: Regional cooperation requires Australia to work on building dialogue and infrastructure – not dumping asylum seekers offshore. #Lateline”

  11. [ShowsOn
    …..OMG! How clueless are you!

    You OPPOSED the Rudd policy!]

    Correct- I said that whether or not it stopped the boats was irrelevant as the policy itself was unethical.

    [ You want to claim ownership of it if it stops people from drowning,]

    No I don’t.

    [… but you still attack the policy!]

    Correct. I attack it because it is wrong.*

    [You are a complete hypocrite!]

    Incorrect.

    *I am happy to give you the time to look this word up if it helps…..I’ll be waiting when you return.

  12. [How would I know what Abbott is doing]
    Very good point! A) you are clueless, so you don’t know much about anything, but B) the Scott Morrison doctrine of only doing one press conference a week is clearly a shambles.

    On this occasion I agree with you.

  13. [an interesting picture into conservative thought]

    Understatement, the first comment I read on Menzies House –

    […. Keynesian “economics'” theory made a comeback ….

    Must be because pillow-biting also know as poofterism is presently pretty popular with the lecherous, ludicrous Left. ]

  14. [Lateline interview is with Richard Marles]

    As Ch10 news said earlier, the govt silence in between weekly boat briefings allows plenty of space for the opposition to occupy.

    I’m not sure how I feel about this, and will wait to see how Labor play the issue.

  15. [Correct- I said that whether or not it stopped the boats was irrelevant as the policy itself was unethical.]
    You support people drowning, that’s extremely unethical!

  16. [One kinda gets the impression that it might be others engaging in that activity since Sep, rather than me!]
    It is quite possible that you are so clueless that you would even figure out a way to screw up crying.

  17. @Mod Lib/1357

    I do believe your running an accusation against me now, isn’t that interesting, you don’t like it being on the backfoot now do you?

    See how you like it for change.

  18. 1371
    I’m sure you would be completely confident that labor in opposition and the media will make a very helpful contribution to the problem that is occurring nth of our borders.

  19. [zoidlord
    Posted Monday, November 11, 2013 at 10:50 pm | PERMALINK
    @Mod Lib/1357

    I do believe your running an accusation against me now,]

    Running an accusation against you?

    Really? Have I wandered into a psychology textbook by mistake?

    Projection- much?

  20. It really struck me to hear the Santos CEO talk about renewables in the energy mix and his pride in South Australia’s efforts.
    I have never heard a coalition member make any mention of renewables. Just soil and trees.

  21. Mod Lib can’t understand the difference between a tax deduction and tax minimisation by salary sacrifice.

    She thinks they’re the same because “you have to fill in a claim form”.

    So how could she understand the nuances of International Maritime Law, and the associated conventions and practices which are not imposed by law.

    In particular she can’t get her head around the convention that the port where the rescued are taken is a matter of joint decision between the captain, the shipping cmpany, and involved countries.

    Of course she therefore cant understand that in the Tampa case, and the recent AS boat case, one particular country refused to abide by the conventions, because at both relevant times that country was under the governance of small minded, cold hearted conservos.

  22. [zoidlord
    Posted Monday, November 11, 2013 at 10:50 pm | PERMALINK
    @Mod Lib/1357

    I do believe your running an accusation against me now, isn’t that interesting, you don’t like it being on the backfoot now do you?

    See how you like it for change.]

    I will let the admission that I have had you “on the back foot”, pass…..I am nice in that way 🙂

  23. @Mod Lib/1379

    Yes you are, don’t think your the innocent one.

    You should note that you have confused me in your attack rage with ShowsOn.

    By including me in with ShowsOn.

  24. Maurice Newman promises to give Tony Abbott fearless advice – no doubt he will recommend that the Government he cut what it wants to cut and sell what he wants to sell.

    Wages and salaries too high? That would be your pay, not mine.

    Class warfare? Well, if suggesting that the well off don’t need concessions and subsidies and that they should pay their fair share of tax, then I’m a class warrior.

    P.S. I am a self-funded retiree (a.k.a. Self-funded whinger). I won’t be hiding my income so that I can claim the age pension in due course. I see no reason why I shouldn’t pay tax on my super at the same rate as if I earned my current income through employment. In fact I think Whitlam might have been close to the money with his ‘unearned income’ surcharge.

  25. [psyclaw
    Posted Monday, November 11, 2013 at 10:54 pm | PERMALINK
    Mod Lib can’t understand the difference between a tax deduction and tax minimisation by salary sacrifice.

    She thinks they’re the same because “you have to fill in a claim form”.]

    I have to hand it to you, after you absolute humiliation the other week, to come back with this line of attack takes quite a bit of gumption!

    I said there was a scheme where NSW Health employees could claim wedding catering.
    You said utter crap
    You said you were a very important person in NSW Health and would know about any scheme that existed
    I posted a whole series of links showing how NSW Health employees could claim wedding catering.
    You ran for cover
    The next day you came back pretending to be well aware of the scheme but that it was not a tax deduction

    LOL 🙂

    ….and do you think anyone noticed that for weeks you have refused to answer whether or not you knew that Wedding catering was an eligible claim for this scheme (this scheme which you say you always knew about)????

  26. [zoidlord
    Posted Monday, November 11, 2013 at 10:55 pm | PERMALINK
    @Mod Lib/1379

    Yes you are, don’t think your the innocent one.

    You should note that you have confused me in your attack rage with ShowsOn.

    By including me in with ShowsOn.]

    Wrong again!

    See your own post:

    [zoidlord
    Posted Monday, November 11, 2013 at 10:27 pm | PERMALINK
    @Mod Lib/1327

    Perhaps you should stop steering others up with your smart ass comments?

    Otherwise your not helping the situation.

    (btw, original GST did not include any help for those effected).]

    1327 was a post Re ShowsON…..so the truth is that it was YOU injecting yourself, not me injecting you!

    LOL 🙂

  27. This is a RESULTS based government folks… not a SPIN based government like the last one.

    75% reduction in illegal arrivals since Op Sov Bords, thats what we call results folks. The Australian people will take notice.

  28. Interesting document:

    http://www.imo.org/OurWork/Facilitation/IllegalMigrants/Documents/MSC.167(78).pdf

    The Coalition seems to have read:

    para 2.5

    [The responsibility to provide a place of safety, or to
    ensure that a place of safety is provided, falls on the Government responsible for the SAR region in which the survivors were recovered.]

    And then forgotten to read the rest of the document. 🙂

    para 2.6

    [Each case, however, can involve different circumstances. These amendments give the responsible Government the flexibility to address each situation on a case-by-case basis]

    para 6.15

    [The Conventions, as amended, indicate that delivery to a place of safety should take into account the particular circumstances of the case.]

    So, Abbott’s assertions and those of his loyal acolytes that the Indonesians are in breach of international law by not disembarking rescued AS are wrong.

    Since Abbott is in a position to have his brain-farts fact checked before he inflicts them on the wider populace, and since a reasonable person would expect that he would do so, we can safely assert that he is lying, as well as wrong.

    Much Surprisiment!!

  29. I wonder how much of the decline of sales and circulation in Australia are a result of the partisanship of News Corp Australia publications. I used to be a regular reader of the Weekend Australian but stopped when I decided that it was no longer a credible source of unbiased news and comment. And I won’t accept a free copy of the Daily Telegraph..

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