Seat of the week: Murray

The northern Victorian seat of Murray is one of a number of seats in rural New South Wales and Victoria which have drifted from the Nationals to the Liberals after long-serving sitting members retired, Sharman Stone having secured the seat once held by Jack McEwen in 1996.

Blue numbers indicate size of two-party majority for the Liberal Party. Click for larger image. Map boundaries courtesy of Ben Raue at The Tally Room.

Murray covers central northern Victoria including a 200 kilometre stretch of the river that bears its name, from Gunbower east through Echuca to Yarrawonga and Bundalong. From there it extends southwards into the Goulburn Valley region as far as Inglewood in the west and Nagambie and Euroa in the east. Its largest population centre by a considerable margin is Shepparton, home to about a third of its population, followed by Echuca, which accounts for about 10%. The electorate was created with the expansion of parliament in 1949, but its boundaries resembled those of Echuca which existed from federation until its abolition in 1937, when its territory was divided between Bendigo in the west and Indi in the east. Its dimensions have not substantially changed at any time since 1949, apart from a slight reorientation westwards when the electorate of Wimmera was abolished in 1984.

The area in question was the domain of the Country Party from its formation in 1920 until 1996, when Sharman Stone won Murray for the Liberals upon the retirement of Nationals member Bruce Lloyd. John McEwen began his federal parliamentary career as the member for Echuca in 1934 before moving to Indi when it was abolished the following term, then transferred to Murray in 1949 and remained there until his retirement in 1971. McEwen served as leader of the Country Party after 1958 and, for three weeks following Harold Holt’s disappearance at the end of 1967, Prime Minister. McEwen was succeeded on his retirement in 1971 by Bruce Lloyd, who held the seat until 1996. In a sadly typical outcome for the Nationals, the seat fell to the Liberals when Lloyd retired in 1996, Sharman Stone outpolling the Nationals candidate 43.2% to 29.7% and prevailing by 3.7% after the distribution of preferences. The Liberals had intermittently fielded candidates against Lloyd throughout his career, but always finished third behind Labor.

Sharman Stone served as a parliamentary secretary from after the 1998 election until January 2006, when she was promoted to the junior ministry as Workforce Participation Minister. After the 2007 election defeat she assumed environment, heritage, the arts and indigenous affairs, the first named being shared with shadow cabinet member Greg Hunt, before being promoted to shadow cabinet in the immigration and citizenship portfolio when Malcolm Turnbull became leader in September 2008. However, she was demoted to the outer shadow ministry position of early childhood education and childcare when Turnbull was replaced by Tony Abbott in December 2009, having supported Turnbull during Abbott’s leadership challenge, and relegated to the back bench after the 2010 election. In February 2014, Stone accused Abbott of Joe Hockey of lying about union conditions for workers at the SPC Ardmona cannery in Shepparton after the government’s rejection of a bid for $25 million in assistance put the future of its 2700 jobs in doubt. When asked at the time if she intended to remain in the Liberal Party, Stone said only that it was “to be seen how things pan out”.

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.

598 comments on “Seat of the week: Murray”

  1. ET

    [ISIS could bring US and Iranian forces fighting side by side against a common enemy.


    The US has a long history of supporting dictators so it wouldn’t be a big stretch. They are very selective about which countries need “democracy”.

  2. [535

    If the Americans act, the world hates them
    If the Americans don’t act, the world hates them]

    This is puerile, as usual. What we rely on is the US acting wisely, which, obviously, it does not always do.

  3. [Michael Rosser ‏@mik_rosser 4m
    @smurray38 Others 17!? Is there vote distribution? How much of that is PAL & NAT?

    Stephen Murray ‏@smurray38
    @mik_rosser 10% to Independents; less than 3% for PUP nationally, but higher in Qld; and less than 1% for Katter
    10:23 PM – 16 Jun 2014]

  4. [I don’t know but perhaps if Israel stopped murdering them at will more moderate views might emerge.

    That’s just an outright lie.]

    I’m not seeing anything beyond speculation, shows how desperately weak and intellectually dishonest a position you hold when you have to call obvious speculation a lie.

    Ceasing to murder and oppress may not have any moderating outcome, but it seems that in almost all places where it happens it does. Go figure.

  5. Geez that didn’t take long!

    [Kerry: US open to talks with Iran over Iraq, won’t rule out military cooperation.”]

  6. Stephen Murray @smurray38 · 12s

    Tomorrow’s #newspoll Preferred Prime Minister – Abbott 37 (+2) Shorten 40 (-5). #qanda

  7. [Stephen Murray ‏@smurray38
    Tomorrow’s #newspoll Preferred Prime Minister – Abbott 37 (+2) Shorten 40 (-5). #qanda
    10:29 PM – 16 Jun 2014]

  8. [Geez that didn’t take long!

    Kerry: US open to talks with Iran over Iraq, won’t rule out military cooperation.”]

    LoL – although I did hear a US repub I think outline how important it was for Iran to understand they wouldn’t get any payoff and certainly couldn’t expect to have any influence in Iraq …

  9. Stephen Murray @smurray38 · 13s

    Tomorrow’s #newspoll Abbott Satisfaction 30 (-3) Dissatisfaction 61 (+2); Shorten Satisfaction 34 (-4) Dissatisfaction 45 (+2) #qanda

  10. Kedrry speaks of cooperation with Iran…and maybe joint military actions

    who would have believed it possible


  11. Stephen Spencer ‏@sspencer_63 2m

    Gillard territory RT @smurray38 #newspoll Abbott Satisfaction 30 (-3) Dissatisfaction 61 (+2)

  12. AMA President ‏@amapresident 4m

    Correct gp copayment hits the most vulnerable #qanda

    AMA President ‏@amapresident 3m

    The health budget is not rising exponentially. It’s a false narrative #qanda

  13. [PeeBee
    Posted Monday, June 16, 2014 at 10:25 pm | PERMALINK
    Everything, how much does a student pay now for a medical degree at your university and what will they expected to be after the fees are deregulated?]

    I don’t know, but I think it is about $40k now and it will probably increase as the North Americans are paying much, much more.

  14. [I don’t know, but I think it is about $40k now and it will probably increase as the North Americans are paying much, much more.]

    Which North Americans at which universities?

  15. Let me answer, it is probably already cheaper for a US medical degree:

    [According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the median tuition in 2012-2013 was $28,719 for resident students at public institutions, $49,000 for nonresident students at public institutions, and $47,673 for students at private institutions. With fees and insurance the cost of attendance is $32,197 and $54,625 for resident and nonresident students at public institutions and $50,078 at private institutions]

  16. []

    Well Harvard students end with a debt about three times as high:
    “Average loan debt at graduation $104,107”

  17. [Leroy ‏@Leroy_Lynch 3m
    @smurray38 @sspencer_63 what’s the editorial angle on the Oz coverage? And is it Hudson or Shanners doing the write up?
    10:41 PM – 16 Jun 2014

    Stephen Murray ‏@smurray38 53s
    @Leroy_Lynch @sspencer_63 Figures like that? Hudson! Line’s “pox on both their houses” with Shorten’s lead shrinking from 10 to 3 in a month
    10:44 PM – 16 Jun 2014]

  18. “@sspencer_63: Gillard was Satisfaction 28, Dissatisfaction 62 when dumped RT @smurray38 #newspoll Abbott Satisfaction 30 (-3) Dissatisfaction 61 (+2)”

  19. The other thing about American Universities is the amount they are left in gifts and endowments.

    Check that Harvard page: about a quarter of their $600 million comes from donations.

  20. Psephos


    My political views are what they’ve been for the past 20 years or so: Labor.]

    What’s so funny about that comment is that Labor opposed the Iraq War.

  21. [but were not we at war yesterday with Oceania
    for the love of Orwell tell me ?]

    I was kind of hoping we are Oceania.

  22. Med school is about $200K for a degree in the US. That’s one reason their medical fees are so high as the doctors have a huge loan to pay back.

  23. badcat

    [These engines are worth “thousands” today with enthusiasts ]

    As poroti suggests, the Ground Crew had no end of fun with Robert about the new Mustang.

    The A/C were owned by them, so a pilot taking one out, getting hit by some ‘flack’ in Nth Italy and then indulging in two power dives chasing German M-110’s and then dipping the new Mustang in a lake after it developed some ‘wriggles’ (i.e. the wings were about to come off) was not a concept that appealed to the Air-frame guys.

    The R-R bit was still working until he hit the water.

    After that it was a swim job.

  24. Blair…the warmomnger gets a belting in the UK Press
    Clare Short a former Labor Minister calls Blair a”American neo-con warmonger”
    and one newspaper quesions his sanity after calling for more UK troops for Iraq and Syria


  25. CTaR1

    Have enjoyed your sergeant pilot posts. I particularly liked the bit about them getting the best planes cos they mess with their mates.

    Twas ever thus with sergeants.

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