Aston – Australia 2013

LIB 0.7%

Incumbent MP
Alan Tudge, since 2010.

Geography
Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Aston lies entirely within Knox local government areas, covering all of Knox council with the exception of some parts in the north east. Suburbs include Bayswater, Boronia, Knoxfield, Scoresby, Wantirna and Rowville.

Map of Aston’s 2010 and 2013 boundaries. 2010 boundaries appear as red line, 2013 boundaries appear as white area. Local government areas are marked as green lines. Click to enlarge.

Redistribution
Aston moved to the east in the redistribution, losing those parts in Whitehorse local government area (Vermont and Vermont South) to Deakin. Aston gained areas around Boronia from La Trobe. The redistribution cut the Liberal Party’s margin from 1.8% to 0.7%.

History
Aston was first created as part of the expansion of the House of Representatives in 1984, and has always been a marginal seat, although the seat has been consistently held by the Liberal Party for the last two decade and the Liberals pushed the seat out of ‘marginal seat’ territory at the 2004 election.

Aston was first won in 1984 by ALP candidate John Saunderson, who had previously been elected to Deakin at the 1983 election. Saunderson held on with a smaller margin in 1987 before losing with a 7% swing at the 1990 election.

The seat was won in 1990 by Peter Nugent (LIB). Nugent was known as a moderate Liberal who supported human rights issues. He was reelected with a slim margin in 1993 and pushed his margin out to almost 6% in 1996, and was re-elected again in 1998. Nugent died in April 2001 of a heart attack, triggering the Aston by-election.

The Howard government was not performing strongly in the first half of 2001, having seen disastrous results in state elections in Queensland and Western Australia and the loss of the blue-ribbon Brisbane seat of Ryan in another federal by-election.

The Liberal Party’s candidate, Chris Pearce, managed to hold on with 50.6% of the vote, limiting the anti-Liberal swing to 3.7%, which was seen as a strong result for the government, and the beginning of the turnaround which saw the Howard government returned at the 2001 election.

Pearce was reelected with just over 56% in 2001, and pushed his margin to over 63% in 2004, the largest victory margin in Aston’s history. Pearce was again re-elected in 2007, although his margin was cut to 5%.

In 2010, Pearce retired and the Liberal Party’s Alan Tudge won the seat with a reduced margin. The ALP gained a 3.3% swing, reducing the margin to 1.8%.

Candidates

  • Rupert Evans (Labor)
  • Jennifer Speer (Rise Up Australia)
  • Steve Raymond (Greens)
  • Alan Tudge (Liberal)
  • Brad Watt (Palmer United Party)
  • Tony Foster (Family First)
  • Charity Jenkins (Sex Party)

Assessment
If the ALP is to win a majority in the House of Representatives, they will need to gain a net four seats. Aston is the third-most marginal Coalition seat in the country. Considering that Victoria has been better for Labor in recent years than the rest of the country, this seat could be vulnerable.

Alternatively, Tudge can be expected to benefit from a new personal vote as a sitting member running for re-election for the first time.

2010 result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Alan Tudge LIB 39,733 46.85 -3.86
Rupert Evans ALP 32,725 38.58 -0.26
Salore Craig GRN 8,206 9.67 +4.44
Rachel Hanna FF 4,153 4.90 +1.43

2010 two-candidate-preferred result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Alan Tudge LIB 43,901 51.76 -3.29
Rupert Evans ALP 40,916 48.24 +3.29

Polling booths in Aston at the 2010 federal election. South in yellow, Central in blue, North East in green, North West in red.

Booth breakdown
Booths have been divided into four areas: Central, South, North East and North West. Those parts transferred from La Trobe are included in North East.

The Liberal Party won a majority in the south and the north west. The ALP won a majority of 51.7%  in the centre of the seat and a larger 4.5% margin in the north east. The ALP’s vote peaks in the area previously included in La Trobe.

Voter group GRN % LIB 2PP % Total votes % of ordinary votes
South 8.00 52.73 20,231 30.23
North East 10.91 45.49 19,527 29.18
Central 9.76 48.28 15,879 23.73
North West 9.19 52.88 11,286 16.86
Other votes 10.79 54.53 18,878

Two-party-preferred votes in Aston at the 2010 federal election.