Margin: Nationals 30.2%
Region: Northern Victoria
Federal: Murray (57%)/Mallee (43%)
Candidates in ballot paper order
LAURIE J. WINTLE
NIGEL ANTHONY HICKS
2010 BOOTH RESULTS MAP
PAST RESULTS (SWAN HILL)
RESULTS MAP: Two-party preferred booth results from 2010 state election showing Nationals majority in green 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.
Murray Plains is a new electorate in the north-west of Victoria, brought into existence by the abolition of the Nationals-held seats of Swan Hill and Rodney, which respectively provide its western and eastern halves. The old Swan Hill electorate provides it with 18,000 voters, the remaining 27,000 coming from Rodney. The Nationals candidate for the new seat will be Peter Walsh, deputy leader of the Nationals and the member for Swan Hill. The member for Rodney, Paul Weller, agreed that the new electorate should go to Walsh, and ended up settling for the essentially unwinnable fourth position on the joint Coalition ticket for the Northern Victorian upper house region.
The new electorate covers a 200 kilometre stretch of the Murray River from Nyah to Undera, and is bounded to the west by Mildura and to the east by Shepparton. The major population centres are the river towns of Swan Hill in the west and Echuca in the east, which were respectively focal points of Swan Hill and Rodney, together with Kerang, Kyabram and Rochester further to the south. The abolition of the two seats brings to an end long histories for each, Rodney having existed without interruption since the establishment of the Legislative Assembly in 1856 (leaving the Melbourne electorates of Brighton, Richmond and Williamstown as the only three that can continue to make that claim), and Swan Hill having done so since 1904. Neither electorate was ever held by Labor.
The National/Country Party had an unbroken hold on Rodney going back to 1944, while Swan Hill was held for the Liberals by Alan Wood from 1973 to 1983. Barry Steggall recovered Swan Hill for the Nationals upon Woods retirement in 1983, and was succeeded in 2002 by Victorian Farmers Federation president Peter Walsh. Another VFF president, Noel Maughan, was the member from 1989 to 2006, when he was succeeded by Weller. Walsh immediately secured the deputy leadership upon entering parliament, and has retained it ever since. He gained a shadow cabinet berth in the agriculture and country water resources portfolios when a coalition agreement was reached in February 2008, and had his portfolio load slightly amended in government to agriculture and food security.