Victorian election 2014


Margin: Liberal 16.6%
Region: Southern Metropolitan
Federal: Kooyong (88%)/Higgins (12%)

Outgoing member: Ted Baillieu (Liberal)

Candidates in ballot paper order




Liberal (top)

Labor (bottom)




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.

To be vacated at the election by former Premier Ted Baillieu, the electorate of Hawthorn covers the inner-eastern suburb itself and its similarly affluent eastern neighbour Camberwell. The redistribution has extended the eastern boundary from Wattle Valley Road to Highfield Road, adding 1000 voters from Burwood and 750 from Box Hill. The electorate has the state’s highest median income, and is accordingly a blue-ribbon Liberal seat. Labor’s only member in the seat’s 121-year history was Charles Murphy, who was elected in 1952 and ended up on the Anti-Communist Labor side of the 1955 split, before losing the seat in the election held later that year. Baillieu came to the seat at the 1999 election in succession to senior Kennett government minister Phil Gude.

Following his resignation as Premier in March 2013, Baillieu moved to the back bench, but intimated the following October that he might seek to return to the ministry. In particular, it was thought that Baillieu wished to remain in politics to influence the succession to Denis Napthine. When no position was found for Baillieu in the March 2014 reshuffle, it was widely interpreted as a signal that party powerbrokers wished for him to make his prestige seat available to someone else. It was not until late August that Baillieu announced he would do so, angering many in the party who believed he should not have left it so close to the election. Among the critics were Jeff Kennett, a long-time factional associate of Baillieu, who said he was “very disappointed” in his “selfish” act.

The preselection duly attracted two particularly strong contenders in John Pesutto, legal counsel to Denis Napthine with a background as an industrial lawyer, and John Roskam, director of the Institute of Public Affairs. The short time frame meant the preselection was determined by the party’s administration committee rather than a local party ballot, which was thought to have disadvantaged Pesutto, who reportedly had the support of local branches. However, Pesutto also proved able to win the favour of the administration committee, after what John Ferguson of The Australian described as “a concerted campaign by forces loyal to former Premier Ted Baillieu”.

This made it third time lucky for Pesutto after unsuccessful federal tilts for Kooyong in 2010 and Deakin in 2013, when he respectively lost out to Josh Frydenberg and Michael Sukkar. Roskam had also been in the hunt for Kooyong in 2010, and threw his weight behind Pesutto when he bowed out. Other candidates in the field were Sue Smethurst, a senior journalist at Australian Women’s Weekly, and Ralph Krein, a staffer to Burwood MP Graham Watt.

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