Victorian election 2014


Margin: Labor 10.3% versus Greens
Region: Northern Metropolitan
Federal: Batman

Candidates in ballot paper order



The Basics Rock ‘n’ Roll Party

Labor (top)

Family First

Animal Justice



Greens (bottom)




RESULTS MAP: Two-party preferred booth results from 2010 state election showing Labor majority in red and Greens in green. 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.

Covering Melbourne’s inner north-east, from Northcote north through Thornbury to southern Preston and west through Fairfield to Alphington, Northcote has been part of the second-tier of potentially winnable seats for the Greens, along with Melbourne, Richmond and Brunswick. Northcote has consistently been the weakest of the four prospects for the Greens, their best result being a 7.9% margin in 2002, reflecting its older age profile, smaller population of university students and large number of voters from the Labor-supporting Greek community. The Liberals“ direction of preferences to Labor in 2010 caused the Labor margin to increase by 1.1%, despite the Greens gaining 3.5% on the primary vote and Labor losing 7.7%. The electorate has been only slightly affected by the redistribution, which redraws its northern boundary to add 3300 voters west of Plenty Road while removing 2200 voters to its east, both transfers involving the suburb and electorate of Preston.

Labor’s hold on Northcote goes back to 1927, and its past members have included John Cain Senior, who held the seat from its creation until his retirement in 1957. The next member was Frank Wilkes, who was Opposition Leader from 1977 until he was deposed by John Cain Junior in 1981. Tony Sheahan, who served as Treasurer in the final year of the Kirner government, held the seat from 1982 until his mid-term retirement in 1998. The subsequent Labor preselection was won by Mary Delahunty, a celebrity candidate by virtue of her role as presenter of the Victorian edition of ABC TV’s 7.30 Report. After a variable career as a minister, Delahunty bowed out at the 2006 election citing ill health, although it had previously been reported she was under pressure to make way for ministers left homeless by the reduction in the size of the Legislative Council.

The initial expectation was that Delahunty’s vacancy would be contested by two rivals from the Labor Unity faction: Fiona Richardson, factional convenor and wife of party state secretary Stephen Newnham, and Kathy Jackson, the then state secretary of the Health Services Union, who has more lately been a central figure in the controversies surrounding the union and the Royal Commission into trade union corruption. However, Steve Bracks intervened to enforce a deal that secured the seat for Richardson. This allowed her existing position on the Western Metropolitan upper house ticket to go to Justin Madden, who had hitherto hoped to be accommodated in the upheaval caused by Legislative Council reform by moving to the lower house seat of Bundoora. Despite suggestions Richardson might suffer electorally from local displeasure over the manner of her endorsement, she was elected with a primary vote majority and an 8.5% two-party margin over the Greens.

Richardson was immediately appointed parliamentary secretary entering parliament, her responsibilities shifting from education to Treasury and finance in the reshuffle that followed Steve Bracks’s departure in July 2007. She entered the shadow minister following the 2010 election defeat in the public transport portfolio, but stood aside after being diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2013. After six months of treatment, she returned in early 2014 in the less demanding innovation and small business portfolios. The Greens candidate is Trent McCarthy, one of three Darebin councillors representing Rucker ward, which covers Northcote and Thornbury.

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