Seat of the week: McMillan

After a long career as a marginal seat, the West Gippsland electorate of McMillan has bucked the statewide trend of recent decades by moving decisively to the Liberals.

McMillan extends through West Gippsland from Pakenham in Melbourne’s eastern outskirts to the western reaches of the Latrobe Valley, and along the coast from Wonthaggi through Wilsons Promontory to Welshpool. It covered broadly similar territory on its creation in 1949, the area having previously been covered by Gippsland and to a smaller extent by Flinders. The redistribution following the expansion of parliament in 1984 caused it to lose its coastal territory while extending further eastwards along the Princes Highway to Traralgon, which was eventually reversed by the redistribution of 2004. The transfer of Traralgon and neighbouring Latrobe Valley towns to Gippsland on the latter occasion substantially weakened Labor, and the seat has been held by the Liberals ever since.

Conservative strength in the rural areas kept McMillan in Liberal hands from 1949 until 1980, barring a National/Country Party interruption from 1972 to 1975 when it was won and then lost by Arthur Hewson. However, post-war growth in the Latrobe Valley strengthened Labor over time, leading to a close result in 1974, a relatively mild anti-Labor swing in 1975, and finally a win for Labor candidate Barry Cunningham in 1980. Cunningham was swept out a decade later with the statewide backlash that cost Labor nine Victorian seats at the 1990 election, but he recovered the seat by a 0.4% margin in 1993. This was not enough to save him from even the relatively modest swing Labor suffered in Victoria at the 1996 election, when Russell Broadbent gained the seat for the Liberals with a swing of 2.5%.

Broadbent first came to parliament in 1990 as member for Corinella, a seat to the immediate west of McMillan which existed from 1990 to 1996. He was defeated at the 1993 election by Labor’s Alan Griffin, who moved to his present home of Bruce with the abolition of Corinella. Broadbent returned as member for McMillan three years later, before again experiencing the sharp end of life in a marginal seat with his defeat 25-year-old Labor candidate Christian Zahra in 1998. Zahra added 2.3% to his margin against the trend of the 2001 election, before emerging a big loser when his electorate traded Morwell and Traralgon for conservative farming and coastal areas around Leongatha and Wonthaggi. Zahra was left needing a 2.9% to retain his seat in 2004, but a 2.1% swing the other way saw it change hands for the fifth time in six elections.

Thus began a remarkable third stint in parliament for Broadbent, who went on to perform very strongly in limiting the swings against him to 0.2% in 2007 and 0.4% in 2010, before securing his hold with a swing of 7.6% in 2013. He has been assisted by a trend against Labor in the Latrobe Valley and surrounding areas, which has been equally evident at state level. Broadbent has failed to win promotion, but has generated headlines on a number of occasions with his liberal positions on asylum seekers.

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.

3,364 comments on “Seat of the week: McMillan”

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  1. [3276

    Stuff that expands on frezing.

    Acetic Acid

    Acetic acid?

    Learn something new every day. 🙂

  2. Gridiron is a further evolution of Rugby which has developed closer to League than Union.
    The big differences are the forward pass and a 1 yard rule rather than 10 metres (from memory League was 3 yards in the early 60s). In gridiron it is 4 downs which can be repeated if you make 10 yards while League is 6 tackles and handover etc. The big turn off for gridiron for me is the inordinate time between plays which are penalised in league.

  3. Zoidy

    Yes some do but the key difference is adapting to a world without computers for a period of time is i image easier than it would be to adapt to the worst case climate change forecasts.

  4. [3281

    Think of it like the stock market.

    The trend might be that the market is going up, but you will have down days.

    You cannot say that the market is trending down because of some down days.

    That’s exactly what you are doing with the weather and climate.]

    Think of it like a dice.

    Given a fair dice and fair rolls, you cannot predict the outcome of a single roll. But you can reliably predict the outcome of repeated rolls.

    As a single roll is to repeated rolls, weather is to climate.

  5. When they line up for the equivalent of a play the ball they are 1 yard apart (i may have that slightly wrong there are differences between American and Canadian rules). In league the defending team must stand back 10 metres except for the markers. In the 70s it was 5 metres and in the 60s 3 yards but the dummy half had to pass or be penalised.

  6. zoidlord@3307


    Doubt it, say that to younger generation and they might fight you.

    Wonder if children would be better off if they weren’t allowed near computers until secondary school ?

  7. Zoidy

    Sure there would be many that would be very frustrated me included but in a boarder sense i image worst case climate change will be harder to adapt too than not having a phone or computer.

  8. zoidlord@3317


    My nieces already know how to use computers, they still in primary school.

    Same as my Nephews, but would they be better of, if they learned not to rely on spell checks etc first up ?

  9. [3290
    Sean Tisme…..

    if the BOM ….can’t tell me whether it will rain tomorrow, why the fudge would a “climate scientist” know what the weather will be in 10 years?]

    In fact the accuracy of weather forecasting is one thing that has improved a great deal. Scientists are quite good at making predictions about weather and can explain the forces that drive fluctuations in weather conditions, which is a good deal more than you’re able to do.

    We have good records of past weather and we can clearly observe a whole series of changes. Climate science is able to account for the changes, whereas those such as you are unprepared to take an unbiased look at the record because it would derail your politics.

    You really are placing polemics ahead of the collected evidence and its reasoned interpretation.

  10. @MB/3318

    True, but that’s like saying, taking candy from a baby, but is not always easy.


    That’s what school is for? Also we let them play learning games 🙂

  11. Science has always been a problem for established opinion. Gallileo, Darwin, Einstein … The denialists all eventually come round.The likes of Newman Pell and Abbott are classic flat earthers, clinging to a world view that is becoming more redundant by the day.

  12. [deblonay

    Posted Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    New crisis at Fukushima

    There are Serious problems at Fukushima Power Station as a great clouds of radio active steam are suddenly emerging…none can enter the highly radioactive site but it’s feared that this mark a new and very dangeous part of the cycle…westerly wind will blow the steam clouds across the Pacific towards thhe USA/Canada]

    Sounds like the usual hyperbolic BS. Can you provide your source deblonay?

    Great Clouds? suddenly?
    Small plumes of steam have been observed on numerous occasions over the past few, cold, months. Could be from the RPV or from rainwater heated by the hot RPV.

  13. Funny neither source mentions “great clouds”. Did you add that for effect. The photo in the second source is from the days immediately after the explosion at reactor 3 when there certainly was a lot of steam. It’s inclusion with the current story seems more than a little dodgy.

    TEPCO certainly has lied but so have many bloggers.

    This still seems like typical internet BS.

  14. @Sean/3329

    oh dear.

    How has Abbott owned shorten?

    What has Abbott done in 100 days? Increased debt? Blame Pensioners and majority of tax payers and voters for health increases? Secret TPP renegotiated to screw Australia more? FTTN to screw people around?

  15. Posted Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 11:23 pm | PERMALINK

    My nieces already know how to use computers, they still in primary school.

    ——–my nephews know how to fly to mars. and they are in infants

  16. Zoidlord,

    in their first 100 days the Coalition have:

    1. Reduced illegal boat arrivals by 90%
    2. Moved towards scrapping the carbon tax, despite Labor and the Greens blocking it’s repeal and ignoring the mandate
    3. Scrapped waste such as the climate commission and other silly advisory groups
    4. Revealed the truth about the NBN rollout rather than the rosey figures Senator Conjob have been feeding us.
    5. Introduced new travel transparency protocols

  17. one day when temperature is up 2%, when greenland half melted and pacific islands submerged, when arctic clear in summer – not long off – abbott will admit he was wrong. and we have had to put up with his sinful s… about sacred earth for how many years?

  18. zoidlord… it hasn’t reached anywhere.

    It was being towed in a Westerly direction, which is interesting because Darwin is south of where it was picked up.

    Even more interesting is that there is no report of a boat arrival from our resident Christmas Island union heavy Gordon Thomson and seemingly people smuggler shipping info informer:

    So where has the boat gone, I thought you’d be onto it with your constant boat tracking.

  19. Tism #3329

    “I miss Abbott owning Bill Shorten and his cohorts.”

    I see Menzies House still hasn’t found a dictionary which includes “cohort”.

    Could you describe the “cohorts” within the Opposition that you are referring to, and with whom Mr Shorten is “cohorting”.

    If Labor MPs are “cohorting” why haven’t they been charged under the “cohorting” laws, by the “cohorting” squad?

    And why haven’t you pointed out that all this cohorting is a sure sign that AGW is a fraud?

  20. @Sean/3339

    And I thought you were so called expert here seen, since you been telling everyone off.

    It was you that linked the article, so tell us expert.


    Interesting abstract for anyone questioning the “hiatus” in AGW and who actually thinks about it. Dont have a link to the full paper though.

    Read a bit about this now and it seems that the various natural cycles to do with heat transfer in and out of the ocean modulate the surface temp changes, but there is still something having a warm fluffy blanket effect and CO2 is still the best candidate for that.

    Interesting (and a bit unsettling) to consider that this is all talking about surface temps and that the information elsewhere indicates that the deeper oceans are accumulating heat all the time.

  22. I don’t understand the need to go to Bali… there are much nicer… cleaner… safer… less likely to be bombed… destinations in Queensland.

    Not only this, but your food isn’t laced with poison like methanol. Or in this case which sounds a lot less like a dodgy prawn to me then someone measuring out the sauce in the same cup they used to measure out the herbicide.

  23. zoidlord,

    all you did was confirm my claim.

    Not to sure the Whitsunday islands have 7,785 crime cases a year.

    But the problem just isn’t crime, it’s that you are effectively entering a 3rd world country and all the problems that entails. From the dodgy police, lack of clean drinking water, toxic food to the drinks laced with methanol… all to save a few shillings on accommodation.


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