Seat of the week: Aston

The increasingly misnamed Seat of the Week series takes a visit to Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, and a seat that has remained outside Labor’s grasp since 1990.

The outer eastern Melbourne electorate of Aston was created with the expansion of parliament in 1984, from territory that had mostly been accommodated by La Trobe since its creation in 1949. It covers the Liberal-leaning suburbs of Wantirna in the north and Rowville in the south, along with naturally marginal territory in Wantirna’s eastern neigbours Bayswater and Ferntree Gully. Labor held the seat for the first two terms of its existence, but it steadily strengthened for the Liberals over time, and is currently held by them on a margin of 8.2%.

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

The seat’s inaugural members was John Saunderson, who had gained the seat of Deakin for Labor when the Hawke government came to power in 1983. He inherited a notional Labor margin of 7.0% which fell to 3.6% at the 1987 election, before copping the full force of Labor’s statewide battering in 1990. It was then one of nine Victorian seats to fall to the Liberals, and one of three across the state to experience double-digit swings. The incoming Liberal member was Peter Nugent, a moderate noted for bucking his party’s line on indigenous issues. Nugent’s sudden death in April 2001 resulted in a by-election three months later which delivered the Howard government a morale-boosting win that predated the game-changing Tampa episode by a month, Labor’s 3.7% swing falling short of the 4.2% Liberal margin.

The member for the next two terms was Chris Pearce, a Knox councillor and managing director of an information technology company. Pearce picked up a 7.1% swing at the 2004 election, the biggest in the state in the context of a strong performance by the Liberals throughout suburban Melbourne. It was widely noted that this left the seat with a bigger Liberal margin than the famously blue-ribbon Kooyong, which was seen to typify the hold the Howard government had secured in middle-class outer suburbia. However, it equally joined many such seats in swinging heavily to Labor at the 2007 election, when an 8.1% swing reduced Pearce’s margin to 5.1%. Pearce meanwhile became closely associated with Peter Costello, and his announcement that he would bow out at the 2010 election came hard on the heels of Costello’s.

The hotly contested preselection to choose Pearce’s successor was won by Alan Tudge, a former staffer to Brendan Nelson and Alexander Downer, ahead of Neil Angus, a chartered accountant who would go on to win Forest Hill for the Liberals at the 2010 state election. Labor was vaguely hopeful that Pearce’s retirement would help add Aston to a list of Victorian gains compensating for expected losses in New South Wales and Queensland, but the 3.3% swing left Tudge with a margin of 1.8%. The subsequent redistribution cut the margin further back to 0.7%, by adding Boronia and removing Vermont, but the tide at the 2013 election flowed heavily the other way, blowing the margin out to 8.2%. Tudge subsequently won promotion to parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister.

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.

979 comments on “Seat of the week: Aston”

Comments Page 18 of 20
1 17 18 19 20
  1. [851
    Puff, the Magic Dragon.
    Posted Monday, November 10, 2014 at 10:48 pm | PERMALINK
    We used to have a lively night shift but not any more. 🙁 ]

    So sad 🙁

  2. It was was fun to watch a distinguished neuroscientist (and a Baroness to boot) display her rigour on Q and A. The young IPA fellow and the young woman who is a UN Youth Ambassador were politely yet exuberantly schooled.

  3. i’m sure its been said here before and often but i’ll have my two bob … the current budget rewards the rich industrials and mining who pay little or no tax (less now with abolition of mineral and carbon measures) and penalises those not rich – it is a disgraceful transfer of wealth by this measure alone, not to mention to the other forgone taxes and wealth. pity labor wants to offends none – small target in his attacks – that never stopped abbott but he has the elephant over his shoulder.

  4. Hunt rabbit ing on about saving forests. He could start in Tassie and the proposed forest in Eastern Highlands to protect the L Possum. Bet he doesn’t.

  5. I think Labor is doing OK. Shorten is not spooking the horses, and is leaving Abbott to be the headline. It is frustrating when we want to fight fire with fire, but I think this is a better long term plan. I see Shorten is getting better press coverage and showing more confidence. The ALP needs its healing time too.

  6. I also think it is driving Abbott bananas that Shorten is not entering the ring, so to speak. Abbott is left to punch himself in the head, which he is doing. Abbott even tried to manufacture an ALP conflict headline by attempting to seat FPMJG next to FPMKR at Goughs memorial. That must mean he is desperate to make the Opposition the story. I counsel to not take strategy as weakness.

  7. I laughed when Lil Greg Hunt threatened legal action against Albo and asked him to withdraw.

    I think the Lil Greg is starting to challenge Jamie Briggs as the Fibs resident Smartarse.

  8. Hi Lizzie,
    Yes I am okay, been a bit busy spring cleaning my Mum’s house. She went to Victoria and just got back but I did not go with her this time. I might try to get over to Victoria on my own next year, now I have a a couple of people to catch up with. 🙂

  9. That’s the least annoying IPA person I’ve seen. I don’t agree with many of what he said, but at least I can respect his views against the questions.

  10. [ Shorten is not spooking the horses, and is leaving Abbott to be the headline. ]

    Agreed. Time to let Abbott have enough rope for now and let Liberal Leadersh$t bubble away.

    Closer we get to Budget time next year they will be able to ramp it up a bit. The gift will be if the Libs persist with some of the wackier stuff that at the moment they seem to be committed to. 🙂 Dole 6 mth cut offs. PPL, GP co-payment, Uni funding cuts.

    And if they push a GST rise, without addressing some of the other ways to raise revenue then it just reinforces the “unfairness” message that is now so intimately linked to their first attempt at a budget.

  11. bishop has never impressed – what has she ever done except grandstand. she is stiff, uninteresting in content, self important. that is all. has she ever written a book? expressed an idea (longer than a sound bite?) … what did she actually accommplish in ukraine for all posturing? she is shocker in middle east and isreal – completely wrong person. maybe less errors than rest but that is peculiar recomendation

  12. ABC24 just showed a picture of the APEC leaders dressed up as Star Treck crew. Abbott was almost within shirtfronting distance of Putin.

  13. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Peter Martin looks a t a huge MYEFO blowout. This will be everyone’s fault except Hockey’s.
    On Eric Abetz’s form he couls introduce this into the APS.
    Mark Textor calls for taxes on Google and the like.
    A RAAF wife belts the government over the “insulting” ADF pay offer.
    Goodbye “shirtfront”.
    The voters are far from impressed with Hockey’s efforts on international companies’ tax avoidance,
    Some sobering noises from the Alfred Hospital.
    I wonder how well this will go down at the G20.
    The true cost of the EastWest Link.
    Richard Ackland salivates over ICA’s success in court yesterday with the Cunneen appeal.

  14. Section 2 . . .

    Why Rudd and Gillard were planned to be seated next to each other at Gough’s memorial service.,7080
    The three worst things the Liberals did yesterday.
    This is a new twist to pork barrelling!
    One chart exposes the big lie behind slashing the RET.
    Frances Abbott still just does not get t!
    Peter Martin says the costing of election promises need independent assessment.
    Alan Joyce is not yet clear of turbulence.
    How to prevent drug-related deaths.
    A Senate committee recommends that federal MP should have a free vote on voluntary euthanasia. Over to you Tone.
    Greg Jericho examines how our economy is motoring along.

  15. Section 3 . . .

    MUST SEE! David Pope transports Admiral Morrison to the Berlin Wall 25 years on.
    Ron Tandberg with a well aimed kick.
    David Rowe goes berserk on Abbott’s climate change havoc.
    Rod Clements sizes up Rebekah Brooks’ job prospects.

  16. Section 3 . . .

    MUST SEE! David Pope transports Admiral Morrison to the Berlin Wall 25 years on.
    Ron Tandberg with a well aimed kick.
    David Rowe goes berserk on Abbott’s climate change havoc.
    Rod Clements sizes up Rebekah Brooks’ job prospects.

  17. Meanwhile, headline in the CT is that Obama wants more Diggers.

    Eh, Abbott?

    Your war symbolism is a bit too scungy for the Man? Too much blouse and not enough shirt in your Iraq War Three front?

    You chose your Piper; he calls the tune; Australia suffers.

    Fool Abbott.

  18. For those of you who missed and can get it on Iview, the Fisk interview on Lateline last night was an absolute must for anyone with an interest in Iraq War Three.

    He is, as far as I know, the only MSMster who has spent a lot of time on the ground in many places in Syria. He talked to lots of people. He listened. And his analysis was fascinating.

    He is worth 40,000 Bishops.

  19. Re BW @823:
    [“Compare and contrast:

    Speak softly and carry a big stick.
    Shout your silly head off and wave a limp lettuce.”]

    That deserves a wide audience, maybe to be tweeted by someone with lots of followers.

  20. [
    William Bowe
    Posted Monday, November 10, 2014 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    I believe that to be a joke, Darren.
    Or there is one DOC and his ID has been revealed!

  21. Probably Fisk’s most interesting points were:

    (1) It is the Syrian Army not so much as Assad who is running the Syrian Government show in Syria.

    (2) The Syrian Army knows that if it loses they will be killed or run out of Syria so it is well-motivated to keep fighting.

    (3) The Syrian Army will probably eventually maintain or regain control of all main Syrian cities.

    (4) ISIL will not go away.

    (5) The Free Syrian Army mainly drinks coffee in Istanbul. The Syrian Army likes to fight the Free Syrian Army elements because they always run away whereas ISIL fighters fight to the death. (I note here that the US and Australia with it, has hitched its wagon to the coffee drinkers.)

    (6) Part of Syria is run by the Kurds with the permission of the Syrian Government. The Kurd’s Syrian War/Iraq War Three aim is a federated Syria. This is not the war aim of the Syrian Government.
    (I note here that the Kurds in Iraq seem various to be thinking about a post Iraq War Three independence or a federated government.)

    (7) ISIL is smuggling oil to… tararaa… our ally Turkey.

  22. Good Morning

    Regarding QandA last night. Hunt looked a fool for most of it. Not just fir calling Albo a liar. He also ignored the scientist on the panel over climate change.

    This morning ABC News Breakfast 24 has an exclusive interview with Senator Heffernan slamming Abbott’s free trade deal with China.


    Thanks for for the links 🙂 I also hope for the bst with your son and hope the early find out what works stages goes smoothly.

  23. I found this from fisk quite chilling

    [The great tragedy that’s happening is the destruction of the Christian communities, as we know, in northern Iraq. And now – I learned on this last trip, I spoke to the Armenian church representative in Qamishli, Father Antranig Ayvazian, and he told me, which I think has not been known before, that the entire 173-year-old church of the Armenians in Deir ez-Zor was three weeks ago blown up. In fact he gave me a photograph by Nusrah, not by ISIS – another Islamist group. That’s the picture he gave me which was secretly taken two weeks ago. In this church were the archives of the Armenian genocide in which of course 1.5 million Armenians were slaughtered and died on death marches by – where they were sent by the Turks in 1915, 99 years ago. And in the crypt of this church were many bones and skeletons and skulls of the Armenian genocide dead. And Nusrah, according to Father Ayvazian, threw the bones into the street and burned the archives. At one point they telephoned him and said, “We have your precious archives. If you’ll acknowledge that we are the legitimate government in Deir ez-Zor, we will give them back to you.” And he said, “I refuse,” and they burned all the archives. So, those precious archives of an entire people’s genocide 99 years ago have gone forever and their bones have been thrown into the streets.]

  24. Abbott is to be shown up yet again on Ebola. A side affect of Bob Geldof doing a live aid.

    Even boyband One Direction gets it more than Abbott

  25. victoria

    Fisk’s latest article in The Independent writes about the destruction of the church.

    [Islamists’ destruction of a shrine to the victims of genocide marks the latest chapter in a tragic national history. Robert Fisk reports from Qamishli, north-eastern Syria]

    More Fisk articles on Syria.

  26. Serco not doing so well.

    [The company also revealed that profits would have been flat between 2009-2013, were it not for its controversial contract running Australia’s migrant detention centres, including a facility on Christmas Island, condemned by Australia’s top human rights official for its filthy conditions and high levels of self-harm among inhabitants.]

  27. victoria

    They just repeated the Heffernan interview. He did not use the word sellout.

    However I do agree with you the secrecy means it could well be a sellout

  28. Re Guytaur @896: Hockey will bellow loudly about the blocked budget measures, backed by much of the media, but will be very quiet on all the revenue the Government threw away – the Mining Tax, the Carbon Price, Labor’s savings including a modest tax on high super pensions, cracking down on FBT rorts and so on. Plus additional spending the Government wants to introduce including Direct Inaction and PPL for millionaires.

  29. “@sarahinthesen8: Things must be worse in detention camps than we thought if Govt is finally taking Greens advice to implement a monitoring team to keep watch”

    No wonder Morrison has been quiet.

  30. Tell ya what: I saw Abbott on the TV this morning, walking about in his APEC outfit. Stick a matching fez on that guy and he’s dead set in danger of being kidnapped by a recently bereaved organ grinder.

Comments Page 18 of 20
1 17 18 19 20

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *