Call of the board: Melbourne

More gory detail on the result of the May 18 federal election, this time focusing on Melbourne, where an anticipated election-winning swing to Labor crucially failed to materialise.

Time for part four in the series that reviews the result of the May 18 election seat by seat, one chunk at a time. As will be the routine in posts covering the capital cities, we start with a colour-coded map showing the two-party preferred swing at polling booth level, with each booth allocated a geographic catchment area by means explained in the first post in this series. Click for an enlarged image.

Now to compare actual election results to those predicted by a demographic linear regression model, to help identify where candidate or local factors might be needed to explain the result. I now offer a new-and-improved form of the model that includes interaction effects to account for the differences in demographic effects between the cities and the regions. The utility of the change, if any, will become more apparent when I apply it to regional seats, which confounded the original version of the model. The coefficients and what-have-you can be viewed here – the table below shows the modelled predictions and actual results for Labor two-party preferred, ranked in order of difference between the result and the prediction of the model.

The main eyebrow-raisers are that the model anticipates a stronger performance by Labor in nearly every Liberal-held seats, to the extent that blue-ribbon Higgins and Goldstein are both rated as naturally highly marginal. While this could prove a portent of things to come in these seats, it might equally reflect a model leaning too heavily on the “secular/no religion” variable to cancel out the association between income and Liberal support in the inner cities.

As in Sydney, the numbers provide strong indications of incumbency advantages, with both Labor and Liberal members tending to outperform the model and thus appear at opposite ends of the table. I suspect this reflects both the obvious explanation, namely personal votes for sitting members, and a lack of effort by the parties into each other’s safe seats. A tendency for parties to perform more modestly when a seat is being vacated is not so overwhelming as to prevent strong results relative to the model for Labor in Jagajaga and Liberal in Higgins.

With that out of the way:

Aston (Liberal 10.1%; 2.7% swing to Liberal): Aston attracted a lot of discussion after the 2004 election when the Liberals recorded a higher two-party vote than they did in their jewel-in-the-crown seat of Kooyong. Now, for the first time since then, it’s happened again, and by a fairly substantial margin (the Liberal-versus-Labor margin in Kooyong having been 6.7%). As illustrated in the above table, the swing places Alan Tudge’s margin well beyond what the seat’s demographic indicators would lead you to expect.

Bruce (Labor 14.2%; 0.1% swing to Labor): Located at the point of the outer suburbs where the Labor swing dries up, cancelling out any half-sophomore effect that may have been coming Julian Hill’s way after he came to the seat in 2016.

Calwell (Labor 18.8%; 0.9% swing to Liberal): Among the modest number of Melbourne seats to swing to the Liberals, reflecting its multiculturalism and location at the city’s edge. Maria Vamvakinou nonetheless retains the fifth biggest Labor margin in the country.

Chisholm (Liberal 0.6%; 2.3% swing to Labor): Labor’s failure to win Chisholm after it was vacated by Julia Banks was among their most disappointing results of the election, but the result was entirely within the normal range both for Melbourne’s middle suburbs and a seat of its particular demographic profile. The swing to Labor was concentrated at the northern end of the electorate, which may or may not have something to do with this being the slightly less Chinese end of the electorate.

Cooper (Labor 14.6% versus Greens; 13.4% swing to Labor): With David Feeney gone and Ged Kearney entrenched, the door seems to have slammed shut on the Greens in the seat formerly known as Batman. After recording high thirties primary votes at both the 2016 election and 2018 by-election, the Greens crashed to 21.1%, while Kearney was up from 43.1% at the by-election to 46.8%, despite the fact the Liberals were in the field this time and polling 19.5%. In Labor-versus-Liberal terms, a 4.2% swing to Labor boosted the margin to 25.9%, the highest in the country.

Deakin (Liberal 4.8%; 1.7% swing to Labor): While Melburnian backers of the coup against Malcolm Turnbull did not suffer the retribution anticipated after the state election, it may at least be noted that Michael Sukkar’s seat swung the other way from its demographically similar neighbour, Aston. That said, Sukkar’s 4.8% margin strongly outperforms the prediction of the demographic model, which picks the seat for marginal Labor.

Dunkley (LABOR NOTIONAL GAIN 2.7%; 1.7% swing to Labor): Together with Corangamite, Dunkley was one of only two Victorian seats gained by Labor on any reckoning, and even they can be excluded if post-redistribution margins are counted as the starting point. With quite a few other outer urban seats going the other way, and a part-sophomore effect to be anticipated after he succeeded Bruce Billson in 2016, it might be thought an under-achievement on Chris Crewther’s part that he failed to hold out the tide, notwithstanding the near universal expectation he would lose. However, his performance was well beyond that predicted by the demographic model, which estimates the Labor margin at 6.6%.

Fraser (Labor 14.2%; 6.1% swing to Liberal): Newly created seat in safe Labor territory in western Melbourne, it seemed Labor felt the loss here of its sitting members: Bill Shorten in Maribyrnong, which provided 34% of the voters; Maria Vamvakinou in Calwell, providing 29%; Tim Watts in Gellibrand, providing 20%; and Brendan O’Connor in Gorton, providing 16%. The newly elected member, Daniel Mulino, copped the biggest swing against Labor in Victoria, reducing the seat from first to eleventh on the national list of safest Labor seats.

Gellibrand (Labor 14.8%; 0.3% swing to Liberal): The city end of Gellibrand followed the inner urban pattern in swinging to Labor, but the suburbia at the Point Cook end of the electorate tended to lean the other way, producing a stable result for third-term Labor member Tim Watts.

Goldstein (Liberal 7.8%; 4.9% swing to Labor): Tim Wilson met the full force of the inner urban swing against the Liberals, more than accounting for any sophomore effect he might have enjoyed in the seat where he succeeded Andrew Robb in 2016. Nonetheless, he maintained a primary vote majority in a seat which, since its creation in 1984, has only failed to do when David Kemp muscled Ian Macphee aside in 1990.

Gorton (Labor 15.4%; 3.0% swing to Liberal): The swing against Brendan O’Connor was fairly typical of the outer suburbs. An independent, Jarrod Bingham, managed 8.8%, with 59.2% of his preferences going to Labor.

Higgins (Liberal 3.9%; 6.1% swing to Labor): One of many blue-ribbon seats that swung hard against the Liberals without putting them in serious danger. Nonetheless, it is notable that the 3.9% debut margin for Katie Allen, who succeeds Kelly O’Dwyer, is the lowest the Liberals have recorded since the seat’s creation in 1949, surpassing Peter Costello’s 7.0% with the defeat of the Howard government in 2007. Labor returned to second place after falling to third in 2016, their primary up from 14.9% to 25.4%, while the Greens were down from 25.3% to 22.5%. This reflected a pattern through much of inner Melbourne, excepting Melbourne and Kooyong.

Holt (Labor 8.7%; 1.2% swing to Liberal): The populous, northern end of Holt formed part of a band of south-eastern suburbia that defied the Melbourne trend in swinging to Liberal, causing a manageable cut to Anthony Byrne’s margin.

Hotham (Labor 5.9%; 1.7% swing to Labor): The swing to third-term Labor member Clare O’Neil was concentrated at the northern end of the electorate, with the lower-income Vietnamese area around Springvale in the south went the other way.

Isaacs (Labor 12.7%; 3.4% swing to Labor): What I have frequently referred to as an inner urban effect actually extended all along the bayside, contributing to a healthy swing to Mark Dreyfus. The Liberal primary vote was down 7.4%, partly reflecting more minor party competition than in 2016. This was an interesting case where the map shows a clear change in temperature coinciding with the boundaries, with swings to Labor in Isaacs promptly giving way to Liberal swings across much of Hotham, Bruce and Holt.

Jagajaga (Labor 6.6%; 1.0% swing to Labor): Jenny Macklin’s retirement didn’t have any discernible impact on the result in Jagajaga, which recorded a modest swing to her Labor successor, Kate Thwaites.

Kooyong (Liberal 5.7% versus Greens): Julian Burnside defied a general Melburnian trend in adding 2.6% to the Greens primary vote, and did so in the face of competition for the environmental vote from independent Oliver Yates, whose high profile campaign yielded only 9.0%. Labor was down 3.7% to 16.8%, adrift of Burnside’s 21.2%. But with Josh Frydenberg still commanding 49.4% of the primary vote even after an 8.3% swing, the result was never in doubt. The Liberal-versus-Labor two-party margin was 6.7%, a 6.2% swing to Labor.

Lalor (Labor 12.4%; 1.8% swing to Liberal): The area around Werribee marks a Liberal swing hot spot in Melbourne’s west, showing up as a slight swing in Lalor against Labor’s Joanne Ryan.

Macnamara (Labor 6.2%; 5.0% swing to Labor): Talked up before the event as a three-horse race, this proved an easy win for Labor, who outpolled the Greens 31.8% to 24.2%, compared with 27.0% to 23.8% last time, then landed 6.2% clear after preferences of the Liberals, who were off 4.6% to 37.4%. The retirement of Michael Danby presumably explains the relatively weak 5.0% primary vote swing to Labor in the seven booths around Caulfield and Elsternwick at the southern end of the electorate, the focal point of its Jewish community. The result for the remainder of the election day booths was 9.7%.

Maribyrnong (Labor 11.2%; 0.8% swing to Liberal): Nothing out of the ordinary happened in the seat of Bill Shorten, who probably owes most of his 5.0% primary vote swing to the fact that there were fewer candidates this time. Typifying the overall result, the Liberals gained swings around Keilor at the electorate’s outer reaches, while Labor was up closer to the city.

Melbourne (Greens 21.8% versus Liberal; 2.8% swing to Greens): The Greens primary vote in Melbourne increased for the seventh successive election, having gone from 6.1% in 1998 to 22.8% when Adam Bandt first ran unsuccessfully in 2007, and now up from 43.7% to 49.3%. I await to be corrected, but I believed this brought Bandt to within an ace of becoming the first Green ever to win a primary vote majority. For the second election in a row, Bandt’s dominance of the left-of-centre vote reduced Labor to third place. On the Labor-versus-Liberal count, Labor gained a negligible 0.1% swing, unusually for a central city seat.

Menzies (Liberal 7.2%; 0.3% swing to Labor): Very little to report from Kevin Andrews’ seat, where the main parties were up slightly on the primary vote against a smaller field, and next to no swing on two-party preferred, with slight Liberal swings around Templestowe in the west of the electorate giving way to slight Labor ones around Warrandyte in the east.

Scullin (Labor 21.7%; 2.1% swing to Labor): Third-term Labor member Andrew Giles managed a swing that was rather against the outer urban trend in his northern Melbourne seat.

Wills (Labor 8.2% versus Greens; 3.2% swing to Labor): The Greens likely missed their opportunity in Wills when Kelvin Thomson retired in 2016, when Labor’s margin was reduced to 4.9%. Peter Khalil having established himself as member, he picked up 6.2% on the primary vote this time while the Greens fell 4.3%. Khalil also picked up a 4.2% swing on the Labor-versus-Liberal count, strong even by inner urban standards, leaving him with the biggest margin on that measure after Ged Kearney in Cooper.

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.

1,431 comments on “Call of the board: Melbourne”

  1. There is no rational argument for government funding of private schools, full stop.

    I live very close to one of these abominations and the level of overbearing privilege, partly funded by my taxes, is nauseating.

  2. briefly:

    Private schools are an institutional expression of permanent inequality. They are the inverse of under-investment in the public domain. They signify over-consumption in the private domain.

    Almost poetic!

  3. Someone posted earlier that Skynews claimed the alleger knife attacker shouted “Allu Akbar”. Ch 10 news now says it’s officially not a terrorist incident but a mental health issue.

    Trust Murdoch media to beat up a “terrorist incident”.

  4. The competition watchdog is close to launching five landmark cases against Facebook and Google over breaches of privacy, competition and consumer laws following its landmark inquiry into the tech giants.

    The cases are believed to relate to whether Facebook has breached consumer law by allowing users’ data to be shared with third parties and whether Google has collated location and other data in an unlawful way.

    The cases follow the ACCC’s landmark digital platforms inquiry and build on the $US5 billion ($7.4 billion) fine against Facebook by the US Federal Trade Commission.

    ACCC chairman Rod Sims says if Facebook and Google don’t comply they are not welcome here. “Facebook and Google either comply with our laws or they don’t do business in Australia,” chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Rod Sims told a Melbourne Press Club lunch on Tuesday.

  5. «1…2021222324252627
    Tuesday, August 13, 2019 at 5:51 pm
    Quasar @ #1297 Tuesday, August 13th, 2019 – 5:49 pm
    glad you didn’t go to PLC Croydon. My granddaughter has been going since kindy and as a teenager is insufferable!!
    I knew it! Snobs!
    Yet when people pointed out that Bill Shorten went to Xavier College. Everyone was for private schools.

  6. I watched Ch10 news and they had footage of the crazed guy with the knife jumping on a car bonnet, waving the knife and screaming Allah Akbar. Two Irish brothers and some others jumped the guy with a chair and a milk crate and held him down till the police arrived.

    One of the Irish guys was interviewed, and he said ‘We are taught to help out at home’.

    If this was in the USA, the attacker would have had an AR-15 and a drum magazine – not a kitchen knife.

  7. On the Epstein case, there is a new book out today – quite shocking. A praecis..

    Abramson shows how Trump has conspired and colluded with leaders from Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, from even before he won the presidency

    In late 2015, convicted pedophile, international dealmaker, and cooperating witness in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation George Nader convened a secret meeting aboard a massive luxury yacht in the Red Sea. Nader pitched Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Emirati Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and other Middle Eastern leaders a plan for a new pro-U.S., pro-Israel alliance of Arab nations that would fundamentally alter the geopolitics of the Middle East while marginalizing Iran, Qatar, and Turkey. To succeed, the plan would need a highly placed American politician willing to drop sanctions on Russia so that Vladimir Putin would in turn agree to end his support for Iran. They agreed the perfect American partner was Donald Trump, who had benefited immensely from his Saudi, Emirati, and Russian dealings for many years, and who, in 2015, became the only U.S. presidential candidate to argue for a unilateral end to Russian sanctions and a far more hostile approach to Iran.

    So begins New York Times bestselling author Seth Abramson’s explosive new book Proof of Conspiracy: How Trump’s International Collusion Threatens American Democracy, a story of international intrigue whose massive cast of characters includes Israeli intelligence operatives, Russian oligarchs, Saudi death squads, American mercenary companies, Trump’s innermost circle, and several members of the Trump family as well as Trump himself―all part of a clandestine multinational narrative that takes us from Washington, D.C. and Moscow to the Middle Eastern capitals of Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, Jerusalem, Cairo, Tehran, and Doha. Proof of Conspiracy is a chilling and unforgettable depiction of the dangers America and the world now face.

  8. Richard Marles went to the most expensive school in Australia, Geelong Grammar. I guess he’s a snob too. And what about Bill Shorten, snob or not now?

  9. And what is Epstein’s role? Many have wondered where the paedo got all his millions?

    According to Abramson today, Epstein was a bagman for MBS.

  10. sprocket_
    Tuesday, August 13, 2019 at 6:33 pm
    What school did you go to nath?
    Collingwood Education Centre, prep to year 12.

  11. I’m just trying to work out who are snobs and who are not. It seems on PB, you are a snob if you went to an elite private school. Unless you are a Labor parliamentarian, in which case other rules apply.

  12. nath, where did you learn to verbal people so well? Collingwood Education Center?

    Sounds like an establishment for the under privileged

  13. sprocket_
    Tuesday, August 13, 2019 at 6:41 pm
    nath, where did you learn to verbal people so well? Collingwood Education Center?
    Sounds like an establishment for the under privileged
    You are dead right!

  14. You had to be quick with your fists at Collingwood Educational Centre, or if not, quick with your mouth. I learned quickly that driving people up the wall was a special skill I possessed.

  15. Collingwood Education Center

    Apparently the alumni membership includes wearing black & white with the leader wearing a gold jacket. Apparently breaking the alumni rules require the wrongdoer to spend a night with some shady bloke known as Eddie.

  16. Vince Sorrenti’s standard line is that he went to Canterbury Boys High School where you were searched for knives and if they did not find one, they would give you one.

  17. Mexicanbeemer
    Tuesday, August 13, 2019 at 6:45 pm
    Collingwood Education Center
    Apparently the alumni membership includes wearing black & white with the leader wearing a gold jacket. Apparently breaking the alumni rules require a night with some shady bloke known as Eddie.
    In the 20s the Van Goghs were the toughest gang in that area. Known for chopping off ears. Hence the name.

  18. Morris Iemma once caused a kerfuffle by introducing Vince Sorrenti at a function as “the first man ever to move from Punchbowl to Vaucluse who wasn’t wearing a balaclava”. I presume Sorrenti fed him the line.

  19. of course Chopper Read was from Collingwood too. Therefore when he was looking for a little alteration of the head he emulated the gang of the same area.

    Problem was, you weren’t supposed to cut your own ears off, only other people.

  20. William Bowe @ #1326 Tuesday, August 13th, 2019 – 6:49 pm

    Morris Iemma once caused a kerfuffle by introducing Vince Sorrenti at a function as “the first man ever to move from Punchbowl to Vaucluse who wasn’t wearing a balaclava”. I presume Sorrenti fed him the line.

    If I had to live in Vaucluse I’d probably opt to wear a balaclava as well.

  21. CNN has a long article on the increasing Russian military presence in African countries via “private armies”. The articles examines the links between these state backed military operations and Russian access to resources in the countries affected.

    China also has a large and increasing presence in African countries with soft loans and infrastructure development linked to enhancing its influence in the region.

    Meanwhile the Australian government seems to have little interest in the continent apart from “African gangs” terrorising Melbourne diners at election time.

  22. Mexicanbeemer
    Tuesday, August 13, 2019 at 6:55 pm
    I know many suburbs had their own localised gangs but what do you know about the van Goths.
    led by 2 insane brothers they terrorised the local area and attempted to bring all Collingwood under their control. They fought it out with two other gangs and either died, disappeared or joined the police force.

  23. The most colourful youth gang of Collingwood was ‘the Australian Imps’. Top knotch pick-pockets and sneak thiefs.

    Coliingwood Soys.
    MELBOOURNE, Sunday. — The
    arrest of six boys at Collingwood has
    cleared up a- series of petty thefts
    committed in that district The boys
    belong to a gang called “The Australian
    Imps,” the leader of which, a
    boy of 13, is stated to be an accomplished
    pickpocket. The boys had
    been sleeping in the park.

  24. I hear that Bill Shorten managed to get ‘The Australian Imps’ as members of the AWU at one stage. They were however, unaware of their membership status.

  25. True story.
    ASIC lost a case against Westpac in the Federal Court today, where Westpac admitted guilt in over 260,000 instances. Costs awarded against ASIC.

    Spokesperson for ASIC said that that was fine because they didn’t run the case to win, just to test the law.

  26. adrian says:
    Tuesday, August 13, 2019 at 5:53 pm
    There is no rational argument for government funding of private schools, full stop.

    I live very close to one of these abominations and the level of overbearing privilege, partly funded by my taxes, is nauseating.
    Have you considered civil disobedience or maybe a hunger strike? What you have been doing up to now appears to be ineffective at least on this score.

  27. The notion that the imbalence in per capita education spending is in the national interest is bizarre.
    The rich have questions to answer.

  28. John Winston Howard went to Canterbury Boys High, and he says he was never bullied – though his lunch went ‘missing’ some days.

    I actually went to the same primary school as John Hewson in Beverly Hills North Public. We had to drink milk every morning recess, and got the cane for mucking around in class.

  29. Russia seems to be a favourite destination for Republicans these days. But in any case at least Huckabee has a sense of humour.

    Gov. Mike HuckabeeVerified account@GovMikeHuckabee
    Aug 12
    Enjoyed dinner on Baltic Sea with @janethuckabee & dear friends Rick and Karen Santorum. Note to media-we are not here to collude but to see if we can get the uranium back that Hillary sold. We told Vlad we could be more flexible after the election.

    Gov. Mike HuckabeeVerified account@GovMikeHuckabee
    3h3 hours ago
    How cool! A restaurant named after me in St Petersburg Russia! I get free water there for life!


  30. Itza:

    As posted earlier, Domingo has been accused of being as a lecher. Some years ago, when Sutherland was at the end of her career, singing Margaret of Valois in “Les Huguenots”, I well remember Domingo paying his respects to her in person at the AO. He received a well-deserved standing ovation when making his entrance (he wasn’t a participant in the opera), as of course did Joan at the end of the opera. There are now allegations that he took advantage of his enormous standing. His legacy’s now in tatters. It seems, viewing the allegations against him, that he’s a piece of shit, threatening up and coming female singers lest they accept his advances.

  31. Re Discussion last night with AE
    Jeff “the Fireman” Collins – one of the key players in the 1997 Lindsay shenanigans and now the expelled Labor member for Fong Lim is now on 7:30 complaining that a debt collector tried to bankrupt him.

    Eric was right about him all along

  32. I would add, that’s despite the argy-bargy of interpersonal relationships, no one should have their career curtailed by the amorous advances by one who’s far more powerful.

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