In addition to yesterday’s finalisation of the state’s federal boundaries, covered in the post below, today saw the publication of a new draft state boundaries for Victoria. The current boundaries have been in effect for two terms, in which time Melbourne in particular has experienced very substantial growth, resulting in extensive changes in the proposed boundaries. The changes have occurred mostly within Melbourne, with three new seats appearing in the western suburbs and the northern and south-eastern fringes, and another three disappearing in the relatively stagnant suburbs of middle eastern and south-eastern Melbourne.
Over the fold at the bottom of this post is a display of my effort to calculate new party vote shares for the new boundaries, an endeavour complicated on this occasion by the fact that fewer than half the votes in 2018 were cast in election day polling booths, those being the only ones for which the data offers any sense of where in the electorate they were cast. The primary votes display should be straightforward enough, but two-candidate preferred is complicated by the fact that many of the results mash together counts from different electorates that involved candidates of different parties. UPDATE: Antony Green has two-party preferred estimates here.
There are six seats that I’m designating as new and a corresponding number as abolished. The former include three that are safe for Labor (Greenvale, Kalkallo and Laverton), one that is marginal Labor (Pakenham) and two that are marginal Liberal (Berwick and Glen Waverley). Three of the abolished seats are Labor (safe Keysborough and Yuroke and marginal Mount Waverley) and the other three Liberal (Ferntree Gully, Forest Hill and Gembrook, all highly marginal). Four seats change party designation, with Bass and Bayswater going from Labor to notional Liberal and Hastings and Ripon vice-versa. As explained below, Greens-held Prahran should probably be considered Labor-held on the new boundaries. All told, the results in 2018 on these boundaries would have been Labor 57 (up two), Coalition 26 (down one), Greens two (down one) and independents three.
• Growth on Melbourne’s northern fringe results in a new safe seat for Labor, with Yuroke divided into the new seats of Greenvale (margin 22.1%) and Kalkallo (20.0%).
• Similarly, growth in Melbourne’s south-eastern fringe is accommodated with the effective replacement of Gembrook, which had a Liberal margin of 0.8% at the election, by two new seats: Berwick, with a Liberal margin of 1.6%, and Pakenham, with a Labor margin of 3.3%. The suburb of Berwick formerly provided the seat of Narre Warren South with a Liberal-leaning eastern end, the loss of which boosts Labor’s margin in the seat from 6.9% to 11.1%.
• In addition to the area gained from abolished Gembrook, which includes the northern end of the town of Pakenham, the Pakenham electorate takes the southern part of the town of Pakenham from Bass. The removal of this territory from Bass weakens Labor in a seat they gained with a 2.4% margin in 2018, resulting in a notional Liberal margin of 1.9%.
• The new seat in western Melbourne, Laverton, is inevitably safe for Labor, with a notional margin of 23.6%. Its eastern end was formerly in Footscray, its west in Tarneit.
• Labor loses a safe seat in Melbourne’s south-east with the abolition of Keysborough, which is absorbed by its Labor-held neighbours.
• Eastern Melbourne loses two seats, one through the abolition of Ferntree Gully and its absorption by neighbouring Bayswater and Rowville. Ferntree Gully was held by the Liberals by 1.6% in 2018, but the changes convert Labor’s 0.4% margin in Bayswater to a notional Liberal margin of 1.2%, while Rowville remains secure for the Liberals.
• Eastern Melbourne’s other loss comes through the replacement of Mount Waverley and Forest Hill by a single new seat of Glen Waverley. I give Glen Waverley a Liberal margin of 0.8%, whereas Labor won Mount Waverley by 1.8% and Liberal won Forest Hill by 1.2%, so this technically amounts to another loss for Labor. The western parts of Mount Waverley and Forest Hill are absorbed by Box Hill and Ashwood, the latter being essentially a renamed Burwood in which I calculate a Labor margin of 2.5%, down from 3.3%.
• Prahran and Albert Park are to undergo very significant change through a territory swap that will shift St Kilda to Prahran and part of South Yarra to Albert Park. This makes the Liberals a lot less competitive in Prahran (down 5.2% on the primary vote for mine) and widens the gap between Labor and the Greens from 0.9%, which the Greens were just barely able to close on minor party preferences, to 5.3%. However, the next election will be a different ball game in St Kilda, with Labor losing the advantage of a sitting member. The exchange of South Yarra for St Kilda boosts the Liberals by around 3% in Albert Park, where Labor’s margin in 2019 was 13.1%.
• Brunswick is drawn deeper into the inner city environs of Carlton North and Fitzroy North, boosting the Greens margin over Labor from 0.6% to 2.1%.
• Ripon, which the Liberals won by 15 votes in 2018, has a notional Labor margin of 2.6% after gaining Ballarat suburbia around Alfredton from the electorate previously known as Wendouree, which now gains the colourful new name of Eureka. Eureka in turn absorbs the parts of Ballarat that were formerly in Buninyong, which in turn gains rural territory from Polwarth. This boosts Labor’s margin in Wendouree/Eureka from 10.3% to 13.2% and cuts it in Buninyong from 12.2% to 7.0%.
• Other electorates with new names are Point Cook, which is essentially a renamed Altona with a Labor margin of 12.5% rather than 14.6%; and Morang, which is very much the old electorate of Mill Park and remains extremely safe for Labor.
• Smaller changes to significant seats include Hastings’ gain of coastal townships around Balnarring from Nepean, which turns the 1.1% Liberal margin into a notional Labor margin of 0.3%; Eildon’s gain of the Melbourne fringe suburb of Hurstbridge from Yuroke, which cuts the Liberal margin from 2.4% to 0.2%; Croydon’s gain of territory from northern Bayswater, which cuts the Liberal margin there from 2.1% to 0.5%; and changes to Ringwood that boost Labor’s margin from 2.8% to 3.5%.