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. https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/aug/13/placido-domingo-accused-sexual-harassment

    Domingo added in his statement: “I recognise that the rules and standards by which we are and should be measured against today are very different than they were in the past.”

    No, it was always against the rules to make unsolicited sexual overtures such as putting your hand down a colleague’s skirt or kissing her lips. The difference is that the rules are sometimes getting enforced now.

  2. What will Jeff the Fireman do after the next election? Go back to being a fireman oc? Presumably he cannot return to the loving embrace of the party?

  3. He was actually a leader of the NT Bar. Problems arose because he claims he was promised the Attorney Generalship but factional issues got in the way. He was then expelled for disloyalty

  4. Washington Post Headline.

    The FixAnalysis

    How a recession could doom Trump’s 2020 reelection

    Economic forecasts are increasingly pointing in that direction. Here’s what history tells us.
    By Aaron Blake

  5. The Idiot in St Petersburg would be named after the (really boring) Dostoevsky novel.

    How long before China starts shooting protestors indiscriminately like Tiananmen Square?

  6. Mavis Davis @ #1346 Tuesday, August 13th, 2019 – 7:38 pm

    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.

    Yep, I just received this link by email. He speaks of different times and different standards. Not good. There’s one line in there where after sex at the Biltmore (LA), he leaves ten bucks on the dresser, saying he doesn’t want her to feel like a prostitute, but just wants to pay for the parking !!

    https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2019/08/12/placido-domingo-sexually-harassed-groped-women-opera-world-many-say/pFsP8Pk7DVWd1tPusTFNYM/story.html

    I’m think I remember a story that he held Australia/Australians is high regard after his son was saved from drowning by an Aussie.

    I saw him twice, at the Met – Lohengrin and Caravadossi.

    Here they are at the Met in Hoffmann (Hoffmann and Antonia), mid 70s. NYT critic, the formidable Harold Schoenberg resorted to superlatives. (Tales Of Hoffmann was the opera she first sang at the SOH.) There’s a few fun moments starting 3:40 where she leans back onto the piano to launch a few beauties into the stratosphere.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PBHCpuunKk

  7. I think Diogenes that point is reached when the Chinese media starts using the words “counter-revolutionary”.

    At the moment they are saying its “nearing terrorism”.

    The difference is individuals might be arrested or shot in the later, the former is code for send in the PLA.

  8. What is the US’s and Australias position on HK?

    The Australian Govt is pretty keen to maintain milking racist votes out of some insane anti-China chest thumping, the Foreign Minister cheered on the protests. The Trump Administration probably isn’t sure how to decide between their insane trade war against China and Trump’s love of any authoritarian Govt oppressing and killing citizens. yeah he is separating families and killing some in concentration camps but he is very keen on upscaling.

  9. Oakeshott Country:

    You’re sure you’re not a curmudgeon? You definitely seem to me that you’re anti-Labor, in contraindication to your screen persona – the once-great Doc, the youngest ever appointed to the High Court.

  10. “What is the US’s and Australias position on HK?”

    With the Coalition in power, Australia’s position will be whatever te US’s position is.

  11. With the Coalition in power, Australia’s position will be whatever te US’s position is.

    To be fair, like with concentration camps and killing innocent refugees, Turnbull got out ahead of the US on a racist based anti-Chinese rubbish. Including the absurd racist Huawei ban.

  12. nath, just so you know…

    The term “under endowed” does not necessarily refer to that which hangs around below waist level.

    Its a reasonably polite descriptor that can be relevant in a number of, or even multiple contexts.

    Although…as they say..if the cap fits??

  13. I heard a cynical suggestion on Trump’s response to any Chinese crack down and the person was openly being cynical but basically he felt Trump might like the Chinese doing their worst in Hong Kong because he might see this as an opportunity to force some kind of trade deal. Essentially he would let Hong Kong burn.

  14. but basically he felt Trump might like the Chinese doing their worst in Hong Kong because he might see this as an opportunity to force some kind of trade deal. Essentially he would let Hong Kong burn.

    There isn’t really any reason to think trumps thinking has this many steps.

  15. Bucephalus says:
    Tuesday, August 13, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    There always has been and forever will be inequality.

    In the reactionary mind things are the way they are because that is they way they have always been, always should be and always will be. Change is not possible. To entertain change is to court regret. The thing a reactionary will regret most is the effort for change. This is too much. Rather, they exert themselves like limpets. They cling to the bare rocks of the washed away past. I’ve been forced to eat a limpet. They are thoroughly disgusting. They taste of their politics.

    I really recommend the book, ‘The Leopard’, by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. It is one of the best short novels I know.

  16. Oakeshott Country:

    [‘Aren’t you the guy who called Ken Wyatt an Uncle Tom? Why would I give any consideration to your opinion?’]

    No first Australian would ever join the Tory cause. If you’re so thick to accept same, you need to fundamentally adjust accordingly.

  17. When indigenous Australians gained the franchise they got the right to decide who they voted for
    How arrogant/racist are you to deny them this right?

  18. Unfortunately I can’t link it here but an Australian has made an idiot of himself on a video on the Chinese CGTN twitter feed .

    CGTN
    ‏Verified account @CGTNOfficial
    Stranded Australian passenger: “You need to be working. Go get a job.” #HongKong

    In the video he basically tells the protestors the sooner they become Chinese the better while they are claimly telling him how the Chinese one country two systems works to which he can’t handle it.

  19. C@tmomma says:
    Tuesday, August 13, 2019 at 6:06 pm
    E. G. Theodore @ #1301 Tuesday, August 13th, 2019 – 5:59 pm

    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!
    That’s our briefly.

    Oh, you both flatter me…I did a completely mad painting on Sunday…oil….only small…called “Arcadia Reconsidered”. I will send a pic to C@t… 🙂

    (I think it’s not quite finished)

  20. I think that, slowly but surely, Hong Kong will fall under mainland control. China once needed HK as a financial clearing house for its dealings with overseas countries but Shanghai has now taken over that role. Thus China has no long term incentive to maintain HK as an entity for its external trade, commerce and financial dealings.

    HK is now linked directly into the Chinese high speed rail network and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge across the Pearl River Estuary further integrates HK into the mainland transportation system.

    The Chinese leadership will probably (and hopefully) baulk at any sort of military takeover, if only because it would receive worldwide negative coverage by the media. At a time when China is actively buying influence in countries of Africa, the Pacific and elsewhere with offers of infrastructure and concessional loans, it would be a bad look to take over HK by force. But nobody can read the mind of Xi and the sycophants who surround him…

  21. Oakeshott Country:

    [‘When indigenous Australians gained the franchise they got the right to decide who they voted for
    How arrogant/racist are you to deny them this right?’]

    Oh please stop it. You’re being stupid As if the first Australians would be better off under the Tories. Please change your screen persona; it’s an effing joke, a disgrace! There’s no way the good old Doc would countenance same.

  22. I’m think I remember a story that he held Australia/Australians is high regard after his son was saved from drowning by an Aussie.

    That was Vladimir “Call me Bobbie” Ashkenazy.

    His son was run over by a speed boat on the Greek Islands and nearly had a leg severed by the propellor.

    The Greek doctors wanted to amputate, but Ashkenazy begged them to patch him up so that he could be flown to Australia for world’s best advanced microsurgery (Ashkenazy had met pioneering microsurgeon Prof. Earl Owen, when on a concert tour here).

    The son arrived nearly dead, but alive enough to be operated on. The leg was saved and Ashkenazy has had a large soft spot for Australia ever since.

    He told me so himself, but that’s another story.

  23. I think it goes without saying that only a coalition govt will be able to deliver Constitutional recognition for Aboriginal people. This is because there is no way in hell a coalition opposition would be down with a Labor govt referendum to do so given that the coalition in opposition turn more numpty than their usual brand of numpty. And remember that history shows bipartisanship on the referendum question being posed is a necessary prerequisite to any referendum getting up.

  24. Well I guess it’s your opinion that if indigenous Australians don’t vote the way you want them to, then they must be too stupid to know what is in their best interests
    Perhaps they should be on a limited franchise or guided democracy and answer a few indicative questions before they are given a ballot

  25. Oakeshott Country @ #1360 Tuesday, August 13th, 2019 – 8:24 pm

    Don’t know but I just came across this shit-sheet on him
    https://www.google.com.au/amp/s/barbariapolitica.wordpress.com/2017/03/24/fong-lim-mla-jeff-collins-forgets-hes-supposed-to-be-living-in-darwin/amp/

    Very entertaining. I hope C@t’s shit-sheet on Albo is equally erudite

    You are a sad and lonely old man these days, pining for the Labor fjords as far as I can see, OC. Echoing a ridiculous line that Lars came up with, that has to be the saddest thing of all.

  26. briefly
    “I really recommend the book, ‘The Leopard’, by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. It is one of the best short novels I know.”
    I agree it’s one of the worlds great novels but Lampedusa was neither a progressive nor a reactionary.

  27. You were the one who said you had information on Albo that meant he could never be PM
    (I will admit that I put this in the same pile as your scoops on Gladys’ lesbian tendancies and the secret campaign meetings of senior ministers and public servants)

  28. Oakeshott Country:

    The first Australians are smarter than you think. They vote for the party they know who has their best interests at heart – clue, it ain’t the Tories, cobber. As I said hereinbefore, you’ve got an utter cheek to use as your screen persona the great Doc Evatt.

  29. Oakeshott Country @ #1387 Tuesday, August 13th, 2019 – 9:45 pm

    You were the one who said you had information on Albo that meant he could never be PM
    (I will admit that I put this in the same pile as your scoops on Gladys’ lesbian tendancies and the secret campaign meetings of senior ministers and public servants)

    Bullcrap. I said no such thing. I merely repeated what had been in the newspapers about Albanese’s close relationship with Ian McDonald. I also expressed the opinion that, if there is anything more to it it will likely be saved until such time as it can be used against him, so committed are the Murdoch media to keeping Labor out of power.

    Also, I am not allowed to say anything about Ms Berejiklian. So I guess you can keep bringing that up, safe in the knowledge that I can’t respond.

    As far as the last of your imputations, such global assertions are meaningless. But I can cope with being beaten with that sort of limp lettuce leaf.

  30. Like all groups in the electorate, indigenous Australians are a heterogeneous group who vote according to their individual lights. It is extremely arrogant to assume that they all have the same political opinion as you and even worse to call an aboriginal leader an Uncle Tom.

  31. An Inconvenient Truth:

    C@tmomma
    says:
    Tuesday, August 21, 2018 at 3:52 pm
    Albo would not survive the attack of the News Corpse Dirt File. ??

    C@tmomma
    says:
    Monday, April 23, 2018 at 4:04 pm
    Rex Douglas,
    Take it from me, Albo as leader of the FPLP would be a disaster. I know why but I’m not going to tell the likes of you.

    C@tmomma
    says:
    Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at 8:27 am
    Yes, Anthony Albanese is not the messiah for Labor. He will never be Prime Minister. Maybe use him as a burner leader. That’s all I’d ever consider.
    Not that I fancy Chris Bowen either.

  32. Bushfire Bill @ #1383 Tuesday, August 13th, 2019 – 9:25 pm

    I’m think I remember a story that he held Australia/Australians is high regard after his son was saved from drowning by an Aussie.

    That was Vladimir “Call me Bobbie” Ashkenazy.

    His son was run over by a speed boat on the Greek Islands and nearly had a leg severed by the propellor.

    The Greek doctors wanted to amputate, but Ashkenazy begged them to patch him up so that he could be flown to Australia for world’s best advanced microsurgery (Ashkenazy had met pioneering microsurgeon Prof. Earl Owen, when on a concert tour here).

    The son arrived nearly dead, but alive enough to be operated on. The leg was saved and Ashkenazy has had a large soft spot for Australia ever since.

    He told me so himself, but that’s another story.

    From the horse’s mouth !! The other story I’d love to hear, so maybe one day….

    Not to be cantankerous, and yours is an absolute certainty, but you haven’t completely dispelled the Domingo drowning story I’ve got rattling round the deep reaches of some ageing memory circuits. No matter.

    Ashkenazy is still coming here, doubtless you know, to our good fortune.

  33. Oakeshott Country:

    [‘(I will admit that I put this in the same pile as your scoops on Gladys’ lesbian tendancies and the secret campaign meetings of senior ministers and public servants)’]

    You really are a pissant, mate.

  34. ID
    Evidently they had to dub Cardinale’s voice as well as Lancaster’s in the Italian version, despite Cardinale being Italian? Her Sicilian accent was too strong.

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