Seat of the week: Goldstein

Covering established areas of southern coastal Melbourne, the electorate of Goldstein doesn’t swing much, and has provided a safe base for Andrew Robb’s parliamentary career since 2004.

Created with the expansion of parliament in 1984, Goldstein covers coastal southern Melbourne starting from Brighton, located about 10 kilometres from the city centre, and proceeding southwards through Hampton, Sandringham and Black Rock to Beamaris. The northern part of the electorate extends inland beyond the Nepean Highway to accommodate Caulfield South, Bentleigh and surrounding suburbs. The more inland areas are naturally marginal, but the affluence of the coastal suburbs has kept the seat in Liberal hands by stable margins ranging from 5.5% in 1993 to a new high of 11.0% in 2013.

Blue and red numbers respectively indicate size of two-party majorities for Liberal and Labor. Click for larger image. Map boundaries courtesy of Ben Raue at The Tally Room.

The area now covered by Goldstein was accommodated by the electorate of Balaclava in the years immediately after federation, and then by the new seat of Henty when Balaclava was pushed northwards by a redistribution in 1913. Brighton was put back into Balaclava after 1937, and the new seat of Higinbotham covered the remainder after parliament was expanded in 1949. When Higinbotham was abolished in 1969, the area was divided between Balaclava, Henty and the new seats of Hotham and Isaacs. Beaumaris and Black Rock remained in Isaacs after Goldstein was created in 1984, at which time the new electorate extended northwards to St Kilda East. It assumed a more familiar form when it absorbed Beaumaris in the redistribution of 1996, which greatly reduced the Liberals’ competitiveness in Isaacs.

The various electorates which dominated the modern area of Goldstein were at all times in conservative hands, with the partial exception of Labor’s win in Isaacs at the 1974 election. Don Chipp held Higinbotham for the Liberals from 1960 to 1969, at which time he moved to the new seat of Hotham. Balaclava and then Goldstein were held from 1974 to 1990 by Ian Macphee, who emerged as the figurehead of the party’s moderates. Macphee was ultimately defeated for preselection ahead of the 1990 election by David Kemp, an intellectual leader of the party’s rising neo-liberal tendency, an event that provided a catalyst for Andrew Peacock’s successful challenge to John Howard’s leadership in May 1989. Kemp went on to serve in the Howard cabinet from October 1997 until his retirement at the 2004 election, as Education Minister until 2001 and Environment Minister thereafter.

Goldstein has since been held by Andrew Robb, a former Liberal Party federal director who had long been spoken of as a potential candidate for safe seats in New South Wales, where he had lived for two decades. However, Robb had originally hailed from Victoria, having been raised in a working-class Catholic family that supported the Democratic Labor Party. He came to the Liberal Party via student politics and a job at the newly established National Farmers Federation, which was an assertive voice for labour market deregulation during his period as executive director after 1985. As federal director of the Liberal Party, Robb oversaw the 1990, 1993 and 1996 election campaigns, after which he set up the marketing company Acxiom for Kerry Packer. His first term in parliament was the last of the Howard government, in which he was promoted to parliamentary secretary in January 2006 and thence to the outer ministry as Vocational and Further Education Minister in January 2007.

Robb nominated for the deputy leadership after the 2007 election, but was defeated by Julie Bishop. He instead became Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister, and was briefly discussed as a leadership candidate when Malcolm Turnbull was embroiled in the “Utegate” affair in the middle of 2009. Shortly afterwards he made the surprise announcement that he was moving to the back bench owing to a depressive illness. He returned to the front bench in the finance portfolio in March 2010, from which he was resassigned to trade and investment after the 2013 election victory.

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.

845 comments on “Seat of the week: Goldstein”

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  1. A big laugh for the morning as Tea Party congressman proves unable to identify fellow Americans, even with a program and in a context where it’s normally Americans only. He was however a big wheel in aluminium wheels and ‘an outsider’.

    Ah, the land of the free! Home of the brave! Nursery of the stupid!

    [@MaddowBlog: “I’m familiar with your country; I love your country” — said the Congressman to the US gov’t officials ]

  2. psyclaw @ 947 of previous thread

    [He says that this is poisoning our society, just as happened in preWW2 Japan,]

    Wasn’t there a poll a week or so ago in which nearly 30% thought the government was still not being hard enough on asylum seekers? So the poisoning seems to be well under way with both the LNP and Labor complicit. I suspect this race to the bottom will only end when the international community steps in and things will get far, far worse before that happens.

    [One must be very apprehensive as to what actions Morriscum can conjure up and implement, to further elevate the level of antagonism he promotes …… actually torture ASs perhaps (legal torture of course).]

    It’s already happening. Psychological torture has been a feature of AS policy almost from the beginning and no doubt there has been physical violence too, albeit only ad hoc. Morrison may have ramped it up, but it began under Howard.

  3. The Sphere of Influence reappears from hiding to “dump” on Joe Hockey. Or perhaps an inkling of a warming to the inevitable by Murdoch minions?

    [BUT there is also evidence suggesting the avuncular, cuddly image had never been entirely accurate anyway. When he ran for Liberal preselection, he arranged for a friend in the audience to ask a question critical of then leader Alexander Downer so that he could deliver a rehearsed answer that made him appear skilled at dealing with hostility.

    He boasts in the book of a phone call he made as a junior minister in the financial services portfolio to an insurance company chairman: “I said Rowan, I am sending everyone down to NRMA tomorrow and they’re going to give you an enema like you’ve never had. And I rang ASIC and APRA and the ACCC — all the regulators — and I said I want you to raid the NRMA publicly and I want it to have the enema it’s never had. I rang the Tax Office, too, and said you go through the joint.”

  4. slothy

    Even the GG turned against Howard when stories about the psychological damage and violence in the desert detention camps started to filter out. They even started doing a few investigative journalism pieces on it.

    Speaking of the GG. Something remarkable has happened . It you want to read about MH17 take a magnifying glass. Overnight there has been an amazing shrinkage in coverage.

  5. Good morning Dawn Patrollers. Some heavy reading recommended today.

    If you’ve been touched by Eddie Obeid you may have cause for concern.
    Is this over the top?
    The band of MP crazies to join in at the “World Congress of Families”.
    One could take a contrary view to Hartcher’s assertion that Abbott has kept politics out it. Directly he has but indirectly it is being used to smother the politics and coverage of the budget mess.
    Mike Carlton examines the carnage in Gaza. There has been much said about why should we not be as upset over other shocking conflicts around the world as we are over this one. In this case though, the perpetrators of the extremely disproportionate action is a country to which ours is strongly aligned. IMHO anyway
    Tony Windsor on why Hockey’s budget rhetoric doesn’t stick.
    I came across this by accident when I went to the local post office to buy a 70 cents stamp and the PO guy saw the card I was going to send. He measured it for me and said it had one dimension 1 cm longer than the standard so it cost me $1.40 to send it. I was in complete ignorance of the relatively small sizes suitable for the standard 70 cents. Card wholesalers and sellers should make us aware at point of sale of the postage class for their already over priced offerings.
    Mike Seccombe – Brandis uses government money to stifle criticism. A typically high class contribution from Seccombe.
    An interesting essay on euthanasia in the light of Philip Nitschke’s deregistration.

  6. In the beginning the only thing wrong with Abbott’s response was the time needed to listen to it. If only he could speak a little faster and skip the ums. As time went on he over-stepped and he managed to make himself look like a fool; again.

    It’s starting to look as if Holland is sorting this out despite his nonsense.

    No wonder the GG is moving on from MH17. Abbott stuff it up again.

  7. Mike Carlton gives an update

    “@MikeCarlton01: The inevitable barrage of Zionist abuse has begun. Best so far: “We are the Chosen People. Get over it !””

  8. Morning all. Shouldn’t our MH17 efforts be renamed Operation Follow the Dutch? Despite Bishop’s presence and rhetoric, they are doing all the negotiations, recovering and identifying the bodies, and ensuring security. We organized a UN resolution. They have done everything else. Interestingly, they did not bother sending their minister to the site, just their forensics team.

  9. [“@MikeCarlton01: The inevitable barrage of Zionist abuse has begun. Best so far: “We are the Chosen People. Get over it !””]
    It is disturbing how many otherwise educated Jewish people have that delusion. So much for Zionism not being racism! They are a chosen race, with the rights to evict any other race from the land “god” chose for them. But they are not racists! Sure.

  10. Revealing book extract on Murdoch’s modus operandi. And that of his editors, which we are privileged to see before our very eyes.

    [But above all, the fear is generated by the people he hires to work for him. “He loves thugs,” as one of his senior executives puts it. Roger Ailes at Fox TV; Kelvin MacKenzie at the Sun; Col Allan at the New York Post; Sam Chisholm at Sky TV: they all came out of the same box, marked “bully”. And when Murdoch’s men bully, their victims really feel it. All these members of the power elite have seen what Murdoch’s news outlets can do, using their stories in the same way muggers in back alleys use their boots, to kick a victim to pulp. “Monstering”, they call it – a savage and prolonged public attack on a target’s life, often aimed at the most private and sensitive part of their existence, their sexual behaviour, inflicting maximum pain and maximum humiliation.

    Very often, this will have nothing to do with Murdoch’s own manoeuvres; it will simply be a matter of filling news space at the expense of some hapless individual who has caught the tabloid eye. Most journalists will refuse to do it, just as most men would refuse to be torturers. But some of those who carry press cards are like the droogs in Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange: they kick their victims because they love it. It sells newspapers, it pays well, it’s fun.

    A monstering from Murdoch’s droogs is a terrible experience. If the damage they did were physical – visible – the courts could jail them for years. As it is, they inflict grievous emotional harm, the kind of injury from which some victims simply never recover. Indeed, there are some who have been left suicidal by the experience. It can come out of nowhere, picking on some off-the-cuff statement or some tiny detail that has caught nobody else’s eye, least of all the victim’s, and suddenly the violence begins. It can be completely arbitrary in its choice of target. If Miss Muffet abandons her tuffet because of the approaching spider, the droogs can choose to attack her for cowardice; or to attack the spider for indecency and threatening behaviour.]

  11. [He boasts in the book of a phone call he made as a junior minister in the financial services portfolio to an insurance company chairman: “I said Rowan, I am sending everyone down to NRMA tomorrow and they’re going to give you an enema like you’ve never had. And I rang ASIC and APRA and the ACCC — all the regulators — and I said I want you to raid the NRMA publicly and I want it to have the enema it’s never had. I rang the Tax Office, too, and said you go through the joint.”]

    What the?? Junior ministers directing regulators and the ATO to heavy companies on a whim? Isn’t that a gross abuse of power?

  12. No wonder Vote 1 Combet started to look so gaunt. For BK I included the bit about our Sophie. Also find out about ” For these reasons I continued supporting Gillard’s leadership until the end. ”

    [Combet: The day Julia Gillard told me she would step aside and back me for PM

    Labor’s second term in government was difficult not only for me politically but also personally. I had a couple of medical conditions that deteriorated during this period. One day before the 2010 election, I was in parliament experiencing a terrible pain in my leg. I went to see Mal Washer, the Liberal MP and doctor, who arranged for me to be taken to hospital in a wheelchair. As I was waiting at the lift, the doors opened and there was my sparring partner Sophie Mirabella. ‘You’ll do anything to get media,’ she huffed. It turned out to be a vascular condition and I had surgery…..,

    I had also been experiencing pain in my neck, shoulder and down my right arm for a long time. Following a fall in 2012 I discovered the underlying cause of the pain was osteoporosis. ]

  13. Slothy

    Excellent question. For all their impotence and apathy, ASIC, APRA and the ACC all have statutory obligations to be independent. So if that quote were accurate, it might well be illegal. The AG is the only minister who can order a judicial official what to do (prosecute). It would be time consuming but interesting to check the relevant Acts.

  14. As Tourism Minister, Joe Hockey lobbed up to our community after the 2003 fires (which burnt out over 90% of our shire).

    Tourism had fallen off completely. Most businesses in Bright had simply closed their doors. The ones that were operating had laid off all their staff and were operating the business themselves.

    Joe rocked up with Mirabella. He immediately put his foot in his mouth by saying wtte that at least the fires hadn’t happened in the busy season (making the false assumption that Bright’s economy is linked to the ski season).

    He then made three promises —

    1. That the federal government would give $500k in aid to the community.

    2. That John Howard would visit.

    3. That the government would fund a community event to honour the work of the firies.

    What actually happened was —

    1. The Feds didn’t contribute, despite giving a similar grant to the ACT at the same time. Mirabella said it was because the State Labor government had made a bigger contribution than they’d originally committed to, and that therefore the Federal money wasn’t needed.

    2. John Howard didn’t visit. In fact, no one did. Oh, apart from members of the State Labor government.

    3. Despite Mirabella encouraging a group of locals to organise the event, at the last minute she told them the costs wouldn’t be covered, leaving them with a bill of $80k and no way to pay it. Fortunately, the State Labor government stepped in.

    Of course, Joe had totally vanished from the scene, never to be heard of again…

  15. zoomster

    That would be “hard” -> dense->thick-> stupid science in Lanfranchi’s case. What an opening line in your link. So much stupid distilled into a single sentence.

    [Women who take the pill choose partners who share a similar genetic profile causing them to lose interest in sex and become more likely to be the victim of violent assault and murder]

  16. Morning all. Thanks for the links BK.

    I’ve not followed why Combet is speaking out now, so am assuming he’s just written a book himself.

  17. confessions

    Combet has written a book which is about to be released shortly.

    Excerpts of same, and interviews by Combet, merely confirm the impossible position Labor found itself in.

  18. Zoomster 24

    Re : Hockey, it was Aristotle who first pointed out the distinction between people who wanted to be SEEN as decent or ethical and people who wanted to BE decent or ethical. Hockey definitely fits into the first category. They really only want to be popular. Aristotle said you could easily tell the difference between the two groups whenever doing the right thing involved doing something costly or unpopular. Aristotle must have known the Liberal Party was coming.

  19. victoria

    She is an example of the type of person that people like Abetz , Andrews , Bernardi and Robert Clarke cheer for. Zoomster @19 article title is

    [“Ministers to join pro-lifer who believes the ‘pill kills’ at World Congress of Families]

  20. Socrates # 15

    [So much for Zionism not being racism! They are a chosen race, with the rights to evict any other race from the land “god” chose for them. But they are not racists!]

    They are also not really the ‘right’ race either. Modern Jews are about as closely related to the Israelites as every other eastern European, with some Asian, Spanish and North Africa input too. As the geneticist Ellen Levy-Coffman has noted, they are a mosaic people mostly descended from converts to Judaism, not the direct blood descendants of the Israelites who supposedly conquered Canaan (archeology has disproved that Biblical nonsense, it never happened).

    The Palestinians have a much stronger claim to being Abraham’s kin. In fact more of them have the so called ‘Jewish gene’ than Jews do, though this is probably all junk science anyway.

  21. [Socrates

    Posted Saturday, July 26, 2014 at 8:07 am | Permalink


    Excellent question. For all their impotence and apathy, ASIC, APRA and the ACC all have statutory obligations to be independent. So if that quote were accurate, it might well be illegal. The AG is the only minister who can order a judicial official what to do (prosecute). It would be time consuming but interesting to check the relevant Acts.]

    It doesn’t say he actually rang the regulators but that he told the NRMA Chairman that he had. Just the usual Liberal bully boy bluster and proud of it to boot.

  22. victoria

    I’m inclined to think (based on the emphatic denials, and my knowledge of those making them) that ‘The Age’ is barking up the wrong tree, perhaps in an attempt to deflect responsibility away from Tomazin, whose actions seem incredibly careless, to say the least.

    That a paper whose journalists admit to hacking into a private ALP database makes such a fuss over someone acquiring information through their journalist’s own carelessness is ironic, to say the least.

    I’m actually a little surprised by how definite the ALP’s language is on this. I would have thought that the defence for any such action was clear, and that use of the information (whatever the legal and ethical arguments) would basically be what would be expected in the circumstances.

    So – given that any reasonable person would EXPECT a political party, having that information fall into their lap, to use it – the outrage by ‘The Age’ seems over the top, and the adamant tone of the ALP statements unnecessary.

    (An analogy: I once had a neighbour whose job was to pick up wrecked vehicles for an insurance company. He turned up with a Porsche on the back.

    A lawyer had left it running, with the keys in, whilst he went into the bottleshop. A 17 year old boy passing by had taken it for a joy ride.

    The magistrate who tried the case basically said that the boy had been faced with overwhelming temptation, and placed the majority of the blame on the careless owner – as did the insurance company.)

  23. Slothy

    Yes I am aware of the dubiousness of eastern European people’s claims to be descended from former occupants of Palestine. Yet many educated jews try to defend it. I dared raise the history of the Khazars here once and rapidly got some heated responses. With modern DNA technology it is increasingly easy to trace these things, but that one is studiously avoided.

    Incidentally another Israeli propaganda myth that irks me is the portrayal of all Palestinians as Arabs or muslims. Not so. Many are Marionite christians, and have been for a thousand years. They have far less rights under Israeli law than any Jewish person. A friend here is the son of a Palestinian family who emigrated after their father found it almost impossible to practice as a doctor there post 1967.

    The Israeli constitution has many of the same flaws as South African apartheid, except that the Afrikaners did not allow any Dutch resident to emigrate to South Africa and annex the homes of a black family so that they can be accomodated.

  24. Soc


    I always found the situation interesting from the point of view of political rhetoric versus reality.

    Joe rocked up, made all these promises, and the local community went off saying what a superstar he was.

    The relevant State Minister rocked up, said that he would make sure the community got the assistance they needed, but refused to commit to anything more than that as the fires were still burning and the extent of the damage wasn’t yet determined.

    The community condemned him for equivocating.

    Yet he ended up delivering, and delivering far more than Joe promised.

    Which gets me back to a basic truth – People say they want politicians to be honest with them, but they really don’t. They want politicians to say what they want to hear, and then they want them to deliver on that.

  25. victoria

    which is why I don’t think Labor was involved, even in the slightest.

    They have a clear line of defence if they did use the tapes. There’s only downsides in denying that they did – unless it’s true.

  26. Zoomster 44

    It sounds like we might be getting the politicians we deserve. Sadly I must agree. On many planning studies for major transport projects I have seen similar attitudes. Most people say they want various noble objectives, but really prefer whichever scheme impacts them least.

  27. zoomster

    [Andrew Holden, editor-in-chief of The Age, said Mr Andrews’ threats of defamation did not worry him. “We stand completely by our story, and would be happy to defend it in court,” he said.
    “The issue for Mr Andrews is whether he thinks Victorians will accept that staff within his office could behave in this way, and whether that makes them suitable to work in a Premier’s office.”
    The Age knows the identity of one Labor Party official and “at least two members of the Opposition Leader’s staff who were privy to the Ted Baillieu conversation”, he said, but had not named them because doing so would risk revealing a confidential source.
    “Certainly from The Age’s perspective we would expect the ALP to institute a thorough investigation into this,” Holden said. “There’s no question that the tape recorder was in possession of members of the ALP. There’s no question that they are the ones who cut out the Ted Baillieu conversation.”]

    Read more:

  28. AS mentioned by other posters, the Dutch are taking the lead role in investigation work on MH17. A Dutch media article I posted yesterday said they were trying to negotiate with the Ukranian government and rebel forces for safe working conditions on the ground. Consideration of armed troops was only ‘plan B’.

    Ch 10 news yesterday showed interviews of EU people in the area so perhaps the Dutch are working within the EU framework. Any Australian contribution of AFP or troops will definitely be within the Dutch/EU umbrella.

  29. Some questions for ‘The Age’ –

    1. At what stage did Tomazin realise she had lost her dictaphone?

    2. What actions did she take to find it?

    IF she realised fairly quickly that it was missing – as you would expect from a journalist who had just used it to tape a major party conference – then the obvious course of action for her was to ask if it had been handed in.

    If she had done this at any stage, there would be no need to rely on unnamed sources. Tomazin would either have been promptly handed her device, or told it was with Labor party officials. Either way, she would have had it back in her possession well before the information was leaked, there would have been no question whatsoever who the leakers were, and (given that last point) it probably wouldn’t have been leaked full stop.

    None of that having happened, I wouldn’t have been surprised that Labor party people listened to it, because that’s common practice when lost devices are found. They would have assumed it belonged to an ALP member, and thus would have listened to see if it had any identifying data.

    As I’ve been saying, the lines of defence for the ALP are fairly clear. At the most, owning up would get them a moral slap on the wrist. Making an issue of it suggests that they don’t think they deserve even that.

  30. Citizen

    Exactly. Another good name for our efforts would be Operation Bring the Cameras.

    Not a very cheering morning’s reading. The main focus of Liberal attempts to deflect attention from their budget debacle seems to be either pandering to racist fears (border security) or nationalism in a time of tragedy (MH17). Have a good day all.

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