Victorian election 2014

Bendigo West

Margin: Labor 3.1%
Region: Northern Victoria
Federal: Bendigo

Candidates in ballot paper order



Family First

Liberal (bottom)

Labor (top)


Rise Up Australia

Country Alliance




RESULTS MAP: Two-party preferred booth results from 2010 state election showing Liberal majority in blue and Labor in red. New boundaries in thicker blue lines, old ones in thinner red lines. Boundary data courtesy of Ben Raue of The Tally Room.

PAST RESULTS: Break at 1999 represents effect of the subsequent redistribution.

DEMOGRAPHICS: Based on 2012 census. School Leavers is percentage of high school graduates divided by persons over 18. LOTE is number identified as speaking language other than English at home, divided by total population.

Bendigo West encompasses the city of Bendigo to the west of the rail line that divides it from south to north, and also extends southwards through rural territory to cover another substantial regional centre in Castlemaine. Labor’s strength in the latter makes it naturally the stronger of the two Bendigo seats for Labor, although that is presently obscured by the strength of Jacinta Allan’s personal vote in Bendigo East. The redistribution has transferred 1400 voters around Elphinstone in the south-east of Bendigo West to Macedon, while in the north it gains 800 voters immediately to the north-west of the city from Bendigo East, and loses 900 voters further to the west to Ripon. The changes have added 0.2% to the Labor margin.

The present configuration of Bendigo into Bendigo West and Bendigo East was established when the earlier electorate of Bendigo was divided in 1985, which marked a return to a state of affairs which had existed between 1904 and 1927. Earlier still, Bendigo had been accommodated by the single electorate of Sandhurst, reflecting the city’s original name, which elected between one and three members from the establishment of the Legislative Assembly in 1856 until the electorate’s abolition in 1904. Labor was generally dominant in the city until the Bendigo electorate fell to the Liberals in 1964, remaining with them until the Cain government came to power in 1982.

For the first 14 years after Bendigo East and Bendigo West were recreated in 1985, the former was held by the Liberals and the latter by Labor, except in 1992 when Liberal candidate Max Turner won Bendigo West from Labor’s David Kennedy as part of Jeff Kennett’s landslide win. However, both seats were won by Labor when regional Victoria turned against the Kennett government in 1999, and have remained with them ever since. Bendigo West was recovered for Labor in 1996 by Bob Cameron, a former lawyer and stalwart of the Socialist Left faction, and successive swings over the next two elections left him with a margin of 15.9% in 2002. Cameron served as a minister throughout the years of the Bracks-Brumby government, before bowing out at the 2010 election.

The seat was then retained for Labor by Maree Edwards, an electorate officer to Cameron, who suffered a 7.6% swing fuelled in part by the loss of her predecessor’s personal vote. Edwards reportedly won preselection with the assistance of Jacinta Allan and a peace deal between Labor Unity and the Socialist Left that ensured Cameron would be replaced by a factional colleague. Her Liberal opponent at the election will be Michael Langdon, the chairman of Bendigo Health. The Liberals originally endorsed Jack Lyons, a partner in a local earthmoving company, but he stood aside in early August after what James Campbell of the Herald-Sun described as “hundreds of offensive offensive sexist and racist posts on his Facebook page”. Lyons initially defended the entries to Campbell as “jokes”, but a statement that he had withdrawn his candidacy emerged shortly after from state party director Damien Mantach.

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