Seat of the week: Maribyrnong

Bill Shorten’s electoral home in Melbourne’s inner north-west extends from marginal Essendon and Moonee Ponds in the east to rock-solid Labor St Albans in the west.

Red and blue numbers respectively indicate size of two-party majority for Labor. Click for larger image. Map boundaries courtesy of Ben Raue at The Tally Room.

Bill Shorten’s electorate of Maribyrnong has covered a shifting area around Essendon in Melbourne’s inner north-west since its creation in 1906. It presently extends westwards from Essendon through Niddrie and Avondale Heights to St Albans. Labor has held the seat without interruption since 1969, prior to which it was held for the Liberals for 14 years by Philip Stokes. Stokes had emerged a beneficiary of the Labor split ahead of the 1955 election, at which preferences from the ALP (Anti-Communist) candidate enabled him to unseat Labor’s Arthur Drakeford by 114 votes, in what was only Labor’s second defeat since 1910. The seat finally returned to the Labor fold at the 1969 election when it was won by Moss Cass, who secured enough of a buffer through successive swings in 1972 and 1974 to survive Labor’s electoral winter of 1975 and 1977. In 1983 he bequeathed a double-digit margin to his successor Alan Griffiths, who enjoyed a 7.4% boost when the 1990 redistribution added St Albans, which remains a particularly strong area for Labor. Griffiths was succeeded in 1996 by Bob Sercombe, who chose to bow out at the 2007 election rather than face preselection defeat at the hands of Australian Workers Union national secretary Bill Shorten.

Shorten came to parliament with a national reputation after positioning himself as the public face of the Beaconsfield mine disaster rescue effort in April-May 2006, and wielded great influence in the Victorian party factional system as a chieftain of the Right. However, Shorten was known to be hostile to Kevin Rudd, and rose no higher than parliamentary secretary for disabilities and children’s services during Rudd’s first term as Prime Minister. Shorten then emerged as one of the initiators of the June 2010 leadership coup, together with Victorian Right colleague David Feeney, and interstate factional allies Mark Arbib in New South Wales and Don Farrell in South Australia. After the 2010 election he was promoted to the outer ministry as Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation, and he then won promotion to an expanded cabinet by further taking on the employment and workplace relations portfolio in December 2011. Nonetheless, Shorten’s political stocks were generally thought to have been depleted by the political travails of Julia Gillard, whom he crucially abandoned in June 2013 to facilitate Kevin Rudd’s return. For this he was rewarded with a portfolio swap of financial services and superannuation for education.

After the 2013 election defeat, Shorten and Anthony Albanese of the Left emerged as the two candidates for the first leadership ballot held under the party’s new rules, in which the vote was divided evenly between the party membership and caucus. Albanese proved the clear favourite of the membership, in part reflecting the taint Shorten was perceived as carrying from his involvement in successive leadership coups against sitting prime ministers. However, Shorten’s 55-31 victory in the caucus vote was just sufficient to outweigh his 59.92%-40.08% deficit in the ballot of approximately 30,000 party members, the combined result being 52.02% for Shorten and 47.98% for Albanese.

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.

1,141 comments on “Seat of the week: Maribyrnong”

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  1. @Just Me/850

    Which Is why i keep referring to the Coalition Party’s plans to what the USA did in most cases with their disabled children, by putting them into attics.

    Infact, in some cases, it still happens.

    As you put it, hiding them, so we don’t officially exist.

  2. I react differently to different disabilities and I think its all due to visibility.

    I have a second or two irrational reaction when I see someone in a wheelchair or with one arm etc. Yet nothing at all when I see an old person on a walker.

    The difference is seeing old people using a walker is commonplace and seeing someone with a wheelchair or one arm etc is not.

    I think that second or two I get is what these LNP people get but for longer and they want to avoid the discomfort by hiding what discomforts them.

    Its a sickening insight how they look to their own comfort rather than face an internal demon and will punish others to achieve that.

  3. MTBW

    [John Watkins now retired and is a very decent man.]

    Such was his popularity that he turned a tough seat into a safe one for Labor. Until he retired.

    Watkins would make a great Labor leader. I doubt he could be convinced to return to politics. The NSW ALP needs him.

  4. [Its a sickening insight how they look to their own comfort rather than face an internal demon and will punish others to achieve that.]

    Psychopathic projection, onto an entire society.

    Can’t think of an historical example where it ended well.

  5. kakuru

    He is a gentleman and honest to the core. He comes from a family of five sons and his parents are just lovely.

    From wiki:

    [John Arthur Watkins (born 7 December 1955) is a former Deputy Premier of New South Wales, serving between 2005 until his resignation from Parliament in 2008. Watkins has been the Chief Executive Officer of Alzheimer’s Australia (NSW) since 2008; the Chairman of Calvary healthcare since 2011; and the eighth Chancellor of the University of New England, since 2013.]

    We ran his first campaign out of an old caravan at Gladesville then I would run back to John Faulkner’s office and run polfile letters of the electorate data base for the other staff to send out.

    He is a gem!

    We lost that election by a small margin.

    His family was always dropping in to help and we ran a bloody good campaign.

    By the time he got elected I was working for Sandra Nori – interesting to say the least.

    If I may indulge myself for a moment:

    When I returned to Faulkner’s office after the Gladesville campaign I received a letter in the mail from John Watkins mother. I still have it’.

    She started with the words “Now the captains and the kings have departed centre stage, it is time for me to thank you for everything you did for my son.”

    They are that type of family.

  6. Kevin Andrews probably believes that people with disabilities are paying for misdemeanours in a previous life.

    Another religious nutter, I wouldn’t put it past him.

  7. The wealth of a Nation should be judged by the number of its poor people.

    With this ideological extreme right wing government, the gap between rich and poor will be accelerated and we will be poorer for it.

  8. Perhaps instead of calling it a carbon”tax” it is called a Carbon Co-Payment or levy.

    Neither of these are taxes apparently

    On lower electricity consumption – more people turning off the radio/TV so they don’t have to see Abbott and his crew?

  9. From the FT (via MacroBusiness:

    [In an age of abundant liquidity, when financial markets are humming as never before, the idea that trade in emerging market debt could seize up might seem unlikely.

    But that is what some analysts are warning is at risk of happening in EM secondary debt markets, where bonds that have already been issued are bought and sold. The result could be a disorderly sell-off across EM assets if – as is widely expected – US interest rates start to rise.

    The flood of global liquidity provided under quantitative easing by the US Federal Reserve and other central banks has supported a huge increase in bond issuance by EM governments and companies. Such issuance was already on the rise before the global crisis of 2008-09, as new investors came to emerging markets in search of higher yields.

    …The exit, when it comes, looks like being crowded. Buying bonds on primary markets – where they are issued – is one thing. But selling them on secondary markets is another. As EM issuance has increased over the past decade, daily trading volume as a proportion of the outstanding debt has declined.]

    We in Australia are caught in this too, via our housing market.

    Our property asset prices have been driven up to a point where their yields (rents) match those available in the bond markets. If EM bond markets collapse (i.e. as US interest rates go up), then the rush for cash to cover outstanding loans will see inflated housing markets around the world collapse…

  10. For heaven’s sake, do you really want to fix the budget without weakening the power of spending and harming the economy?

    Get rid of that disgusting welfare to the rich policy of a PPL and raise the Medicare Levy.

    Get stuffed Andrews, Morrison, Hockey and Abbott…deadbeats!

  11. New policy from the Abbott government:

    Instead of taxing smokers by raising the prices of cigarettes with a tax, they are going to introduce a direct action approach.

    People who do not or no longer smoke will be paid an incentive for not doing so or for quitting.

    Go for it Monkey. It’s direct action, you know it’s good :mrgreen:

  12. LU

    8.78% in exchange for 4-5% you say? Er um not enough … Read on

    [The regulator’s rate already guaranteed enormous profits to the NSW distribution networks, but it wasn’t enough for them. So they appealed the decision at the Australian Competition Tribunal, enlisting the finest QCs and international experts to argue their case.

    They could afford to. The states had slipped in a rule declaring that the costs of network appeals were to be counted as “running costs” and charged to customers through electricity bills.

    Anyone who tried to speak up for consumers in this process was essentially locked out. Gerard Brody, an advocate from the Consumer Action Law Centre, says that when he tried to intervene in a 2010 network appeal, his senior counsel advised him to withdraw. If he lost, he was warned, he could be forced to pay the networks’ costs. But that wasn’t the only obstacle. “A lot of the information put to the tribunal by the electricity distributors was marked commercial-in-confidence, so we couldn’t effectively assess or challenge their claims,” says Brody.

    In NSW, the networks won their appeal against the regulator, and were allowed to claim a 10.02% cost of capital. This was not a one-off return: for every billion dollars they borrowed to spend on infrastructure, the NSW networks were now able to charge their customers an extra $100 million every year (decreasing over time as the loan was paid off). “This was just pure profit coming from consumers’ hip pockets,” says Brody. “There’s no rational, economic reason for consumers paying that sort of money.”]

    Gosh. I love that. Hands up all those who would like to be paid 5% to borrow money to build income-producing assets. Hell, if some says I can be paid 5% to borrow money, I’m putting it in the bank at 5% and making 10%. Then again, why bother with all that paperwork? Why not walk inot a bank and say they should just pay you a sum of money based on an imaginary loan you just dreamed up? If asked what the loan was for, you say “an imaginary $30 million electrical substation at Newcastle not connected to the grid because there was already one there that was also not connected to the grid and I wanted to avoid redundancy”.

    That’s how mad it is. Yet Abbott said there was no problem with the regulatory framework — it was all about the carbon “tax” and even Mar’n Ferguson backed this up. Really, If you wrote a book with this as the plot-line, it would seem like parody.

  13. MTBW
    Posted Monday, June 30, 2014 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Just heard on radio that the Libs are still denying the arrival of the boats near Christmas Island.

    The Nelson “defence” – “I see no ships” with monocular held the his blind eye

  14. Yeah, it’s disgusting, Fran.

    I’d heard most of these things through my work contacts over the last 5 years, and it’s good to finally see it all put together.

    I’ve ranted about NSW and QLD’s highly regressive stealth taxation though power price rises before, but at least the money went back into state coffers (some cold comfort). But where does the equivalent go in Vic and SA?

  15. Hey Fran, here’s another case of the mice playing the cat:
    Australian banks world’s most profitable.

    Rather than a natural monopoly, this time it’s the big players in a market with very high, legislatively-enforced barriers to entry, and yet another key component of a modern economy that can extract massive rents from average people.

    Just sit back and think about the public policy roles these organisations should play, and then look at their actions. It’s high-time some of them got the broom or at least threat with a bloody big stick.

  16. And yet, bizarrely, LU, these are the folk saying that supporting renewables or paying a carbon price is “rent-seeking”. You’d laugh if it were just a fictional account.

  17. On twitter. Spot on i say

    All this faux concern over #MH370 from those Shitheads & we disappear 2 boats w/out explanation or answer to families.
    How f@@kin shameful!

  18. @bkjabour: Government acused of watering down advice on extreme weather as it removes mention of climate change events

  19. [And yet, bizarrely, LU, these are the folk saying that supporting renewables or paying a carbon price is “rent-seeking”.]

    Trouble is, it is free-riding if you don’t contribute to the network hardening required to accomodate, say rooftop PV, or a huge aircon system. Moreover, in the former case you actually pay less per unit of energy used (not bought!) because of the non-cost-reflective tariff structure. On the other hand, distributed generation means that peak generation is cheaper to run… ahh, the pricing is *really* mixed up to the point of obfuscation. It may well have been deliberately designed that way given AER and AEMC’s history, but it was probably just laziness (E.g. I know for a fact that the biggest retailer in Qld ran their accounts on an Excel spreadsheet until the late 2000s…)

    But that’s just a distraction, because this is all very small-fry compared to the rent extraction practised by the dist and trans network companies.

  20. guytaur

    That is disgraceful.
    Hide the boats, hide the climate, hide the truth.
    What sort of government has Abbott spawned…

  21. [The Prime Minister appears to have misled apprentices by claiming they would be able to access Trade Support Loans from tomorrow, despite legislation not even passing the Parliament.

    The Prime Minister, in his message to the nation last night, has said that apprentices are able to apply for these loans:

    And from this week, there’ll be new concessional Trade Support Loans available to apprentices learning a trade. This will help apprentices to complete their studies.]

  22. vic

    Abbott couldn’t give a stuff about apprentices getting loans or money for tools. In Abbott world its user pays.

    He is probably happy the legislation is still being debated.

  23. “@GhostWhoVotes: #Morgan Poll Primary Votes: L/NP 35 (-1.5) ALP 36.5 (-1.5) GRN 12 (0) PUP 7 (+1.5) #auspol”

  24. Just got a letter from AGL to tell me my joint power/gas bill will rise soon by $4 per week, $208 PA.

    So roughly half of the benefit of carbon price repeal is now gone.

  25. Morgan interesting to see where Newspoll lies tonight… I was thinking a further shift, 52-48 to the ALP… but it will be interesting to see if the ALP rebounds.

  26. Good poll.

    Morgan 57.5 to 42.5, that converts to 54/46 to Labor fair dinkum.

    If Labor can average 55/45 in their favour over the next year, people might be serious about a monkey removal.

  27. Centre,

    With State elections coming up in Victoria, Quuensland and NSW in the next 9 months, the electorate seems in the mood to do the Libs ‘slowly”.

    The voters are proctologists. They will deal with one arsehole Government at a time!

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