Margin: Labor 11.1%
Location: Northern Melbourne, Victoria
The candidates (ballot paper order)
KITTEN LEIGH SNAPE
Jenny Macklin’s electorate of Jagajaga was created with the expansion of parliament in 1984, and covers suburbs in north-eastern Melbourne from Heidelberg and Ivanhoe out to North Warrandyte in the east. Its present area was mostly in the electorate of Bourke from federation until 1926, which accounted for northern Melbourne including Brunswick and Reservoir; Flinders and Indi from 1922 to 1937, which respectively covered its western suburban and eastern interior regions; Deakin from its recreation in 1937 until 1955, at which time Ivanhoe was absorbed by Batman; and Diamond Valley in its eastern parts from 1969 to 1984. When created in 1984, Jagajaga extended north to Bundoora and had the Yarra River as its eastern boundary, with Eltham and its surrounds accommodated by Casey and Menzies. Its present configuration was largely adopted at the redistribution which took effect at the 1996 election.
Jagajaga was in part the successor to abolished Diamond Valley, although that seat’s extension into rural areas further to the north made it a marginal seat that went with the government of the day at each election during an existence that ran from 1969 to 1984. Diamond Valley was won narrowly for Labor in 1983 by Peter Staples at the expense of Liberal incumbent Neil Brown, who would return to parliament in 1984 as member for Menzies and later became deputy Liberal leader (and was more recently a contentious appointment to the panel that appoints ABC board directors). Staples secured the considerably more accommodating electoral territory of Jagajaga in 1984, which had a notional Labor margin of 8.4%, and retained the seat until his retirement in 1996, in which time his closest shave was a 2.6% winning margin amid the Victorian anti-Labor backlash of 1990.
Staples was succeeded by Jenny Macklin, a former researcher and state ministerial staffer and member of the Socialist Left. Macklin retained the seat by 2.7% on her electoral debut and secured slightly stronger margins over the the next three elections, followed by strong successive swings that pushed her margin out to 9.0% in 2007 and 11.5% in 2010. After the 2001 election she rose to the position of deputy leader, a position she maintained until Kim Beazley was deposed by Kevin Rudd in December 2006, at which point she made way for Julia Gillard. Macklin also exchanged her education portfolio for family and community services and indigenous affairs, which retained without interruption throughout the six-year saga of the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd government. The only change to her workload in government was an exchange of housing for disability reform in December 2011.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.