Aston by-election minus one day

A belated look at the first federal by-election since the Albanese government came to power.

Tomorrow is the day of the federal by-election for Aston, for which I have produced an overview page here. As is now customary, this site will features its acclaimed live results updates, along the format you can see on the seat pages for the New South Wales election, and may very well be the only place on the internet where you will find results reported at booth level. I discussed the by-election with Ben Raue at The Tally Room for a podcast on his website that was conducted on Monday, though there was nothing I said in it that wouldn’t hold at this later remove.

The only polling I’m aware of is a report yesterday for Sky News that Labor internal polling pointing to a status quo result with the Liberals retaining a margin of 52-48. However, the poll also found local voters far more favourable to Anthony Albanese (56% approval and 26% disapproval) than Peter Dutton (21% approval and 50% disapproval).

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.

95 comments on “Aston by-election minus one day”

  1. My thinking is that there are lot of voters in Aston who aren’t yet in a position to acknowledge that the coalition are a pack of shysters. They jumped aboard the middle class gravy train in the 90’s and are not ready even now to give it up, when society is fracturing into have’s and nots before their eyes.

    A Liberal win for the true believers in a party of targeted government largesse (as long as its not targeted to the bludging poor of course).

  2. On the ground the LNP have pushed resources into the booths they usually win and put little into booths that lean Labor. There is no enthusiasm for the Libs except from the old rusted on brigade. There are plenty of them in outer eastern Melbourne.
    Working for a LABOR WIN, but history tells us the Libs will hold by a small margin.

  3. It will be a miracle if Labor win here. 13 times in a row its been a Liberal seat since 1990. All through Howard, Abbott, Turnbull, Morrison eras and was still a Lib seat.

  4. ParkySP – 1254pm

    You may be onto something there. An article in today’s Age looks at the median time that houses are held by an owner in various suburbs and areas of Melbourne. The longest median was 22.3 years in Vermont South, plumb in the middle of Aston. Thus the demographics maybe reflect many people who first bought there 20-25 years ago and whose offspring are not quite old enough to be partnered themselves and struggling to do the same as their parents.

    https://www.theage.com.au/property/news/the-melbourne-neighbourhoods-no-one-wants-to-leave-20230330-p5cwpa.html

  5. ParkySP @ #50 Saturday, April 1st, 2023 – 12:54 pm

    My thinking is that there are lot of voters in Aston who aren’t yet in a position to acknowledge that the coalition are a pack of shysters. They jumped aboard the middle class gravy train in the 90’s and are not ready even now to give it up, when society is fracturing into have’s and nots before their eyes.

    A Liberal win for the true believers in a party of targeted government largesse (as long as its not targeted to the bludging poor of course).

    They work hard for their bludging off the taxpayer money! So you better treat them right in government!

  6. They always do. And their signage seems to predominate.
    Still, there was a Morgan Poll that has attracted little comment but which gave Labor a winning lead.

  7. Had a look at the census data for Aston. Quite a large Chinese population but against that looks rather middle Australia, and also large car use, hence the Libs emphasising the roads they would have built. Bit of a puzzler but it may well be one of those electorates tracking to Labor long term

  8. C@t, we know it from NSW experience, the Liberals will have spent a lot on postal votes, and if Labor is ahead by less than 3% on election eve, you know the outcome.
    In other words, Labor will need to be leading 52-48 in Aston on election night before they start counting pre polls and postals to be slightly sure of overall victory.

  9. Dutton going on about roads Labor canned. The same roads the liberals didn’t build when they had a chance?
    Interesting stats of how people in the outer suburbs like this in and around Aston don’t move house.
    I guess if people moved there with young families and the schools and facilities are good they might be reluctant to move away from places they and their kids like and feel comfortable in.
    I wonder how the Liberal candidate’s kids will feel being moved from inner city Melbourne to outer suburban Aston.
    I know mine wouldn’t have been impressed with such a shift.
    I’m not really that hot on whether a candidate actually lives in an electorate, but I reckon parties need to find people who can identify with the area they are standing in.
    What does an inner city barrister who serves on the Melbourne City Council know of the issues affecting the lives of people in the outer suburbs?
    And is married to a sneering senior journalist from the Murdoch press.
    Real grass roots Australians.

    Edit: the Keneally shambles is a case in point

  10. Aston has a big public transport black hole centered around Wantirna South, Scoresby and Rowville where residents are more than 5km from the nearest railway station (and quite often you have to go backwards to get to that station). It means that residents vote for more road projects to “solve” their issues when if they actually put some rail tracks down, the are could have had its traffic problems fixed…

  11. I know the history etc etc but the other thing to consider is the electorate generally doesn’t like it when MPs leave office of their own volition very close to an election and history shows you can see swings against the party holding the seat.

    I can pretty much see anything from the Libs retaining, to a clear Labor win.

    I actually don’t expect a swing against the ALP on 2PP, primary, maybe… but I expect a PV swing against the Libs they may struggle to get back in preferences.

  12. Dr Fumbles Mcstupid @ #67 Saturday, April 1st, 2023 – 4:01 pm

    Well I never, the ABC24 has coverage of the byelection, good job i bought beer and buffalo wings today

    There’s going to be a fair amount of switching in the Grime residence with StKilda v Bombers on 7 and Aston on 24,well at least till Anthony calls it at 7.55 pm.

  13. How long do you reckon it will take to count the votes?

    Also, does anyone know what the postal vote counting regimen is?

  14. Alpha Zero @ #64 Saturday, April 1st, 2023 – 3:14 pm

    Aston has a big public transport black hole centered around Wantirna South, Scoresby and Rowville where residents are more than 5km from the nearest railway station (and quite often you have to go backwards to get to that station). It means that residents vote for more road projects to “solve” their issues when if they actually put some rail tracks down, the are could have had its traffic problems fixed…

    Should have extended the Burwood Hwy tram line at Vermont Sth shops down to Knox City with stops at Bunnings/Vermont Private Hospital, MST , the Knox School.

  15. On a 2.8% margin along with first spot on the ballot paper, and the combined Dutton-Deeming-Tudge Effect, Labor has chance.
    Never underestimate the ability of the Victorian branch of the Liberal Party to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
    Jeff Kennett laid solid foundations many years ago.

  16. It seems as though there is no Aston By-election coverage on the ABC in NSW. I looked at ABC24 and I couldn’t see it there either, even though it’s supposed to be the national ABC channel.

  17. Dr Fumbles Mcstupid:

    Saturday, April 1, 2023 at 4:01 pm

    [‘Well I never, the ABC24 has coverage of the byelection, good job i bought beer and buffalo wings today.’]

    Also on Sky regional, channel 53.

  18. Grime @ #54 Saturday, April 1st, 2023 – 1:57 pm

    Victoria @ #49 Saturday, April 1st, 2023 – 12:37 pm

    Does the electorate of Aston know that the liberal candidate Roshena Campbell is other half of Herald Sun political editor James Campbell who regularly appears on ABC Insiders

    The slouching pontificator no less.

    I’m not sure how the spouse affects the candidates chances.

    I mean, Labor partisans still voted for Gai Brodtmann despite her partner being Chris Uhlmann.

  19. C@tmomma @ Saturday, April 1, 2023 at 4:22 pm

    It seems as though there is no Aston By-election coverage on the ABC in NSW. I looked at ABC24 and I couldn’t see it there either, even though it’s supposed to be the national ABC channel

    C@t, it’s showing on my program guide on ABC24 from 6pm. I’m in Newcastle.

  20. My memory of economics says if you increase the supply of money, prices go up – and I suppose if you increase the government supply of money for one particular purchase it has the same effect.

    https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/locked-out-of-home-ownership-thank-john-howard-and-the-seat-of-aston-20230329-p5cwgd.html

    “Two years ago, a study by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute found that Australian governments had spent more than $20.5 billion on first home buyer schemes in the previous decade.

    And what of the supposed benefits of those massive handouts to first home buyers?

    It had made housing affordability worse by driving up property prices and leaving existing homeowners richer, the study found.”

  21. @Rocket Rocket says:
    Saturday, April 1, 2023 at 4:39 pm

    My memory of economics says if you increase the supply of money, prices go up – and I suppose if you increase the government supply of money for one particular purchase it has the same effect.

    https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/locked-out-of-home-ownership-thank-john-howard-and-the-seat-of-aston-20230329-p5cwgd.html

    “Two years ago, a study by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute found that Australian governments had spent more than $20.5 billion on first home buyer schemes in the previous decade.

    And what of the supposed benefits of those massive handouts to first home buyers?

    It had made housing affordability worse by driving up property prices and leaving existing homeowners richer, the study found.”
    ___________________________

    Even simpler than that, in first year macro you learn about the effect of subsidies and Govt transfers on demand – a grant or Govt payment is directly translated to an increase in the price of the good when all other factors are the same.

    Blind freddy could see that giving the First home grant would push up prices by the amount, but then we had building grants and other handouts that compounded over time. One of the fun things were people buying houses in childrens names to get the grants.

    Best way would have been stamp duty exemptions for first home buyers.

    Another example of rebates having pushing up prices was the Howard LPG conversion incentive for $1500. Before cost to convert was around $2000, afterwards $3500-$4000

  22. Paul The Avenger @ #75 Saturday, April 1st, 2023 – 4:34 pm

    C@tmomma @ Saturday, April 1, 2023 at 4:22 pm

    It seems as though there is no Aston By-election coverage on the ABC in NSW. I looked at ABC24 and I couldn’t see it there either, even though it’s supposed to be the national ABC channel

    C@t, it’s showing on my program guide on ABC24 from 6pm. I’m in Newcastle.

    By George! You’re right! ABC 21, I believe. 🙂

  23. Kevin Bonham pointed out that the swing away from Libs in the lower house was the same as the swing in the upper house.

    What that seems to suggest is that it wasn’t an anti Tudge vote in 2022. Indeed, Tudge may have still had a personal vote. We assume that candidates with scandals aren’t popular locally, but the reelection of Gareth Ward in Kiama should put that idea to bed, especially on the right.

    But what that would also mean is that the Liberals are even further behind than the margin implies, particularly with the new candidate living in Brunswick and being on City of Melbourne council. Labor tweeted a funny photo of Brunswick MP Tim Read (Greens) working the booths with Campbell in show.

    This could go either way. I’m disappointed the Greens didn’t try harder especially once it became clear it wasn’t a crowded non-major party field and they were well positioned to pick up a protest vote on a swag of issues.

    Interesting analysis that there might be lots of voters in their early 20s living with their parents in the seat – I remember a few think pieces about this with around the teal seats, with kids dragging their parents into voting for climate action.

  24. Is Josh Frydenberg not standing in Aston because he has resumed his professional tennis career?
    He was a gun in his day* (*by Victorian Liberal Party standards – which, to be fair, comes with pretty low expectations).

  25. ‘Dr Fumbles Mcstupid says:
    Saturday, April 1, 2023 at 4:49 pm

    @Rocket Rocket says:
    Saturday, April 1, 2023 at 4:39 pm

    My memory of economics says if you increase the supply of money, prices go up – and I suppose if you increase the government supply of money for one particular purchase it has the same effect.

    https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/locked-out-of-home-ownership-thank-john-howard-and-the-seat-of-aston-20230329-p5cwgd.html

    “Two years ago, a study by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute found that Australian governments had spent more than $20.5 billion on first home buyer schemes in the previous decade.

    And what of the supposed benefits of those massive handouts to first home buyers?

    It had made housing affordability worse by driving up property prices and leaving existing homeowners richer, the study found.”
    ___________________________

    Even simpler than that, in first year macro you learn about the effect of subsidies and Govt transfers on demand – a grant or Govt payment is directly translated to an increase in the price of the good when all other factors are the same.

    Blind freddy could see that giving the First home grant would push up prices by the amount, but then we had building grants and other handouts that compounded over time. One of the fun things were people buying houses in childrens names to get the grants.

    Best way would have been stamp duty exemptions for first home buyers.

    Another example of rebates having pushing up prices was the Howard LPG conversion incentive for $1500. Before cost to convert was around $2000, afterwards $3500-$4000′
    ——————————–
    I would have thought the test of the policy is whether it made a difference to first home buyers, and, if so, at what rate.

  26. The ABC doing their best to boost the Liberals by basically repeating their campaign speaking points all day today. Labor scrapped road funding in Aston in case you missed it and oh… power bills are going up. It is a disgrace!

  27. ‘Dave from Wagga says:
    Saturday, April 1, 2023 at 5:11 pm

    Is Josh Frydenberg not standing in Aston because he has resumed his professional tennis career?
    He was a gun in his day* (*by Victorian Liberal Party standards – which, to be fair, comes with pretty low expectations).’
    ———————–
    Mr Frydenberg has been canvassing with the Lib candidate by way of a media opportunity.

  28. The previous Aston by-election, my venerable friend Pat Freestone (she was still going at 105) opined that “that toffy mob will never vote Labor”. She was right then.

    Have times changed?

  29. It reflects the fact that they hate Dutton and frydenburg.

    It’s a walkover.

    Oldies and RWNJs voting Libs. Everybody else not.

    Victorian Libs did not help prancing about in the nazi issue.

    Time will tell. We will see.

    I’m a green by the way.

  30. Moira Deeming is an albatross around the neck of the Victorian branch of the Liberal Party, at both state and federal level.
    Is there a One Nation vacancy in the Vic LC, or could one be made possible by way of resignation?
    Moira Latham. Mark Deeming. Same same.

  31. Mabw says:
    Saturday, April 1, 2023 at 5:19 pm
    “It reflects the fact that they hate Dutton and frydenburg.

    It’s a walkover.

    Oldies and RWNJs voting Libs. Everybody else not”

    I doubt it’ll be a walkover, but if the Libs lose then Dutton will be up against it from all quarters.

  32. Rocket Rocket says:
    Saturday, April 1, 2023 at 5:37 pm

    PaulTu

    If the Liberals lose will the Sky team blame Dutton for being too left wing? Seems to be their go-to strategy!
    ____________

    If the Libs lose, it will be clear they should’ve nominated Deeming. Or Deves. Or Latham

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