Mallee – Australia 2013

NAT 23.3%

Incumbent MP
John Forrest, since 1993.

Map of Mallee's 2010 and 2013 boundaries. 2010 boundaries marked as red lines, 2013 boundaries marked as white area. Click to enlarge.
Map of Mallee’s 2010 and 2013 boundaries. 2010 boundaries marked as red lines, 2013 boundaries marked as white area. Click to enlarge.

Geography
North-western Victoria. Mallee covers a large area in the corner of Victoria, bordering New South Wales and South Australia. Mallee covers Gannawarra, Buloke, Hindmarsh, Horsham, Mildura, Northern Grampians, Swan Hill, West Wimmera and Yarriambiack council areas. Mallee includes the centres of Mildura, Ouyen, Swan Hill, St Arnaud, Warracknabeal, Stawell and Horsham.

Redistribution
Mallee previously only covered part of the Northern Grampians council area. The recent redistribution saw Mallee gain the remainder of the council area, including the town of Stawell, from the seat of Wannon.

History
Mallee was created at the redistribution before the 1949 election as part of the expansion of the House of Representatives. It has always been held by the Country Party and its successor National Party.

The seat was won in 1949 by the Country Party’s Winton Turnbull. Turnbull had stood for office for the Country Party before the Second World War, but was captured in the fall of Singapore and was a prisoner of war for over three years. Turnbull won Wimmera in 1946, and moved to the new seat of Mallee in 1949.

Turnbull held Mallee for the next two decades, and retired at the 1972 election.

Mallee was won in 1972 by Peter Fisher, who held Mallee for another two decades, until he retired in 1993.

Mallee was won in 1993 by John Forrest, also of the National Party. Forrest has been re-elected at every election since 1993.

Candidates

  • Chris Crewther (Liberal)
  • Mark Cory (Palmer United Party)
  • Amy Mulcahy (Sex Party)
  • Vince Cirillo (Katter’s Australian Party)
  • Chris Lahy (Citizens Electoral Council)
  • Allen Ridgeway (Independent)
  • Jan Macallister (Greens)
  • Tim Middleton (Rise Up Australia)
  • Neil Buller (Family First)
  • Andrew Broad (Nationals)
  • Michael Coldham (Country Alliance)
  • Lydia Senior (Labor)

Assessment
On paper Mallee is the safest Coalition seat in the country. There is no danger of Labor challenging the Nationals’ hold. However, the Nationals will be facing a challenge from the Liberals, for the first time since 1993. In 1993, the race between John Forrest and his Liberal challenger came down to 736 votes after preferences. This seat will definitely be a seat to watch.

2010 result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
John ForrestNAT54,39966.79+2.85
Bob ScatesALP16,19819.89-1.96
Helen HealyGRN6,4007.86+3.69
Carl CarterFF4,4565.47-1.06

2010 two-candidate-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
John ForrestNAT60,61174.41+3.14
Bob ScatesALP20,84225.59-3.14
Polling places in Mallee at the 2010 federal election. Central in green, East in blue, Mildura in orange, South in yellow. Click to enlarge.
Polling places in Mallee at the 2010 federal election. Central in green, East in blue, Mildura in orange, South in yellow. Click to enlarge.

Booth breakdown
Booths have been divided into four areas. Booths in Buloke, Hindmarsh and Yarriambiack council areas, as well as those in the southern parts of the Mildura council area, have been grouped as “Central”. Those in Gannawarra and Swan Hill have been grouped as “East”. Those in Horsham, Northern Grampians and West Wimmera have been grouped as “South”. The booths in the main urban centre of Mildura, as well as some nearby booths close to the Murray River, have been grouped as “Mildura”.

The Nationals won a two-party-preferred majority in all four areas, ranging from 67.8% in the south to 78.3% in the east.

For the purposes of this table and the following maps, two-party-preferred votes for the Liberal candidate for Wannon in the area around Stawell are treated as Nationals votes.

Voter groupGRN %NAT 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Mildura10.9870.6919,28931.41
South6.6067.7516,09726.21
East5.3978.3314,07322.92
Central5.6576.9911,94719.46
Other votes8.2674.8324,397
Two-party-preferred votes in Mallee at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Mallee at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Mildura at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Mildura at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Horsham at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Horsham at the 2010 federal election.

43 COMMENTS

  1. Well done on all 150 Ben.

    Apparently the Libs close nominations this Friday (June 7).

    In 1993 the Nats only outperformed the Libs by 5 points, 37-32, so it’s not a lay-down for the Nats, but you’d have to give them pretty strong favouritism.

  2. Congrats Ben on finishing all 150 electorates and the Senate previews. Great effort.

    Libs have probably done them selves a bit of a disservice no pre-selecting earlier. With a good candidate, and some solid campaigning (say a year) they might have had a real chance. A bit like Susan Ley in Farrer when Tim Fischer retired.

    Horsham/Southern part of the electorate is more blue blood squatocarcy (ie liberal voters) than the north of the electorate with the war farm settlements / irregators that tend to favour the Nats. A taxi driver (always a reliable source of political insight) in swan hill suggested to me that the Nats would be in trouble when Forrest retired because places like swan hill had changed since the early 1990s. That said, the State Nats have done pretty well over the last few elections and I think they won a three cornered contest for Mildura not that long ago.

    Nats to retain but closer than you might expect and Libs have done themselves a disservice by not pre-selecting earlier.

  3. Mildura’s a weird one. It was held by a conservative independent, Russell Savage, from 1996 to 2006 (when he was blasted out with a 24.5% swing). Every election since 1996 has had an independent vote above 30%, and the Nats didn’t challenge the sitting Lib in 1992 or 1996 (coalition agreement, I suppose), so the last normal three cornered contest was way back in 1988, when the Libs just scraped in.

    In 1988, the Nats lost 20% of their primary vote, but still beat the Libs 38-32… Labor must’ve put the Libs #2 on their HTV cards. I remember reading somewhere about Vic Labor swapping their preferences around in the 80’s to alternately hurt the Libs and try to wipe out the Nats… any Vics know more about that?

  4. Vic Lab did try to throw their preferences about. Accounts for Warrnambool being won by Nats who then consolidated.

  5. From the ABC:

    “The Victorian Liberal Party says it has had to extend its nomination period for the federal seat of Mallee, due to overwhelming interest from its members.

    The party is one of seven vying for the seat at this year’s election, including its Coalition partners the Nationals.

    Nominations were due to close on Friday but the deadline was extended to Wednesday.

    The party’s administrative committee is expected to make a decision in the near future.”

  6. Broad, a fella from Bridgewater and Bendigo, not even from the electorate, versus a Mallee boy, Crewther, who grew up in Horsham and whose family farmed up Jeparit way. I know who I’ll be voting for.

  7. There’s far more to that story Nick:

    “THE Victorian division of the Liberal­ Party is believed to have struck a preference-­exchange deal with the ALP that will virtually ensure a Liberal win in Mallee at the looming federal poll.

    A win for the Liberal candidate, Chris Crewther, would break the Nationals’ 64-year grip on Mallee, which until now has been the safest Nationals­ seat in Australia.

    A preference deal, under which the ALP’s preferences in Mallee would flow to the Liberal candidate ahead of the Nationals’ candidate, Andrew Broad, would add insult to injury for the Nationals, who have already made known their displeasure that their Coalition partner has decided to field a Liberal candidate in their safest seat.

    The quid pro quo for Labor is that the deal involves the Liberals preferencing the ALP candidate for the metropolitan­ seat of Melbourne, ahead of the sitting member, Greens MP Adam Bandt. “

  8. http://www.sunraysiadaily.com.au/story/1613661/update-no-deal-say-liberals/?cs=1259

    UPDATE: VICTORIAN Liberal Party state director Damien Mantach claims the party is not cooking up a deal with the Labor Party.

    The Sunraysia Daily reported today that the Liberal Party had struck a preference-­exchange deal with the ALP that would virtually ensure a Liberal win in Mallee at the looming federal poll.

    But Mr Mantach said this was not the case.

    “I wish to clarify some points reported in today’s Sunraysia Daily,” he said.

    “The Liberal Party has no deal regarding preferences in Mallee with the Labor Party.

    “It is inaccurate and presumptuous to imply that a deal is likely. Anyone suggesting otherwise is making these claims without any knowledge of the facts.”

  9. Wow these Libs have no team loyalty and dont they learn from history.
    This sounds like what happened in NSW last time – try to win the Nationals seat of Riverina – lost. The resources they put into that set fighting their coalition partners should have been put into seats fighting Labor.
    The Nats should now stand in Murray – as that is a Nat seat.

  10. This has to be the ultimate safe seat. It’s only been held by Country/Nationals since its creation in the 40s. The Lib/Nat 2CP of 1993 notwithstanding, the Country/Nationals have won the seat with more than 15% margin in all but three times, with Labor’s best performance having been in 1951, where the margin was 11.7%. And Labor’s primary vote has actually been on the decline over the last 20 years, likely in part due to the Greens vote improving.

    Of course, in 1993, the Nationals only held off a challenge by the Liberals by the skin of their proverbial teeth, with the 2CP margin being 0.5%. That was also the last time that there was no incumbent in the seat (the same Liberal candidate also ran in 1987, and didn’t get enough support to get into the 2CP), so the Liberals do have a real chance, I think.

    What makes this the seat to watch, in my opinion, though, is that it also has PUP and KAP candidates. At the height of One Nation, they managed to poll over 12% in Mallee, and PUP and KAP seem to be getting at least as much interest as ONP got. If we suppose that KAP draws votes mostly from Nationals, and PUP mostly from Liberals, and the numbers for Nats and Libs would have been similar to what they were in 1993, then we could actually see a five-corner race in the seat, with the Greens (being in sixth position; CEC will be lucky to break 1%) at around 8% and the best performer being the Nationals at about 25-28%.

    I could be mistaken, but I think Greens preferences may end up being a major deciding factor in how this seat plays out. I’ll discount the idea of Greens preferences flowing to PUP, as that seems rather unlikely, but I could see them flowing to KAP, Labor, or a combination of KAP, Labor, and Liberals. If they flow 50/50 to KAP and Labor, and PUP votes also flow to KAP, then KAP should get ahead of both Labor and the Liberals when it’s down to four candidates. And Labor voters may end up putting KAP above Libs or Nats, which could push KAP past the Nats. Which would mean it would then come down to how Libs voters preference between KAP and Nats (and if they’re voting Libs in a Nats seat, I could see them putting KAP above Nats).

    Of course, this is assuming that the Liberals manage to perform similarly to how they did in 1993, in terms of Libs vs Nats, and that Labor and the Greens manage to hold steady in primary vote.

  11. @Glen – one other thing about preferences in seats like Mallee (or O’Connor or Manonra(sic?)) is that it is almost impossible for any party other than the Nationals/Libs to man all the polling booths due to the large number of booths (and the small number of voters at each booth). It follows that the preferences are more likely to go anywhere. Accordingly, the scenario you outline is not incredibly farfetched as to be implausible. However, the Libs or more likely Nats will win.

  12. Mallee locals will prefer a genuine country boy in Broad who has strong experience in agriculture and is clearly a clever guy, having won a Nuffield Scholarship. Crewther is a political hack who falsely and illegally enrolled in Horsham and will be the puppet of another political hack in Michael Ronaldson if he wins. No wonder a lot of local Libs were annoyed to have this guy imposed on them from Melbourne without a local vote.

  13. In reply to the comment above, it is a prime example of why someone should always get their facts straight before going on a rant as Chris Crewther is in fact legally, not illegally enrolled as the AEC clearly states that when someone is at university or living overseas they can remain enrolled in their permanent home address.
    This is straight from the AEC, “Your real place of living is your permanent residential address. This is the address you intend to return to even if you are living somewhere else temporarily. For example, while studying at university you can remain on the electoral roll for your home address”.
    As for the selection process, I have no idea how that worked but as I understand it, Chris Crewther had strong support in the Mallee for preselection and it is only a small number unhappy with it, with the majority of Mallee Liberal members supporting him.

    I think a key factor in the Liberal vs National thing is that Chris Crewther is actually from the Mallee, having grown up in Horsham and attended Horsham College and Murtoa Secondary College wheras Andrew Broad is a fly in candidate that the Nationals have chosen to put in this seat. Broad is not from the Mallee and has only recently moved to the Mallee after being preselected as a candidate. To me that looks like he does not really care about this area, having no ties to it and only moving here when it was going to further his goals of becoming a politician.

    I have met Chris Crewther before as well as his father Barry who lives and works in Horsham and they are both good, hardworking, genuine people. Chris is definitely passionate about the area, and cares deeply about it and I’m pretty sure it will always hold a special significance for him as it is where he was raised. As I said before, he grew up in Horsham but also his parents were born in the Mallee in Jeparit and Mildura and his grandparents and ancestors farmed in the Mallee at Ellam and Carwarp. I have seen some people attacking him for moving away to study law but as it is not possible to study law in the Mallee, then I fail to see how this can be held against him.

    On the contrary I think that his experience with law and politics can only be an assett to the Mallee, as he has two masters degrees, years of experience as a lawyer including as an international lawyer in Kosovo, as well as having worked as a political advisor so he should already know how politics works and how to get the Mallee the best deal possible as a Federal MP.

    Andrew Broad has tried to paint Chris Crewther as having everything handed to him and fed with a silver spoon but as Andrew Broad bought his first farm at 22 years old paying $400,000 for it, perhaps it is the other way around as I don’t know of many 22 year olds that can afford $400,000 (which would be a lot more now factoring in inflation) without a wealthy family funding them. Andrew Broad also owns his own plane which is ironic for a fly in candidate.

    Having seen both Broad and Crewther speak, I get the impression that Chris Crewther is genuine when he says he wants to make the Mallee a better place and I have no doubt that he will speak up and fight for it as he definitely has strong feelings for the area and is well equipped with the skills and knowledge to make good things happen for the region.
    Perhaps I’m wrong but I get the impression that Andrew Broad is only in it for himself and a political career, that he doesn’t really care about Mallee and is only running here because it’s where the Nationals stuck him. Some have also speculated that his role as VFF president was merley a stepping stone to politics. He talks big but the Nationals have held the seat for the past 20 years and achieved next to nothing as they don’t have to do anything because it’s the safest seat in the country.
    With either Crewther or Broad most likely to win the seat, perhaps a Liberal candidate may be what’s needed to remind Canberra that we don’t always vote blindly for the Nationals, and help with getting some much needed funding which I’m sure Crewther could make happen.

  14. It is possible to study law in the Mallee. I know someone doing it. You just can’t study it on-campus.

    Horsham is not in the Mallee. The seat of Mallee may include it, but mallee trees don’t natively grow around Horsham. Horsham is the capital of the Wimmera.

  15. But Crewther’s current job is for factional heavy Michael Ronaldson, who’s website states his office is located at Collins St, Melbourne. Hence Crewther would be working in Melbourne and Canberra. Not studying and not living overseas, so unless he has commuted from Horsham to Melbourne daily (which I haven’t seen it stated anywhere), the enrolment is dodgy.

    I also wouldn’t say building the Wimmera-Mallee Pipeline was nothing. That was delivered by the NP while Forrest was in. Just because Forrest wasn’t a prominent loudmouth or frontbencher doesn’t mean he did nothing. That’s why his majority kept increasing.

  16. AC – as a senator for Victoria, I’d assume that Ronaldson would have business in various parts of Victoria. Perhaps as a “political adviser”, his job was to advise on rural issues?

    I’m not actually getting into the argument, because I neither know anything specific about the two candidates nor care that much about which one wins. I just thought I’d point out that one needn’t actually live in the Melbourne area in order to work for a senator whose office is in Melbourne.

  17. Good point mc, perhaps I should have clarified about the law thing. I did mean study on campus. Also should’ve said seat of Mallee, not the Mallee. My point is, Crewther is still from the electorate that he is running for wheras Broad isn’t.

    About the pipeline AC, also a good point that it isn’t next to nothing as it was a pretty big thing. But it’s still the only major initiative to show for over 20 years of holding the seat.

    As for Crewthers work details and history I just googled him and found him on LinkedIn. Check out this link and judge for yourself: http://linkd.in/14GSxMb

    And about the whole not permanantly living in the electorate of Mallee thing (cheers mc) I’m pretty sure if it was a dodgy enrollment, he would’ve been disqualified because those that raised the complaint tried everything they could to damage his candidacy and got nowhere with it. Chris grew up in the Mallee electorate in Horsham, worked hard and aimed high to achieve success in law at home and abroad, and now wants to use his experience to serve the people he grew up with. What is wrong with that?”

  18. Why wasn’t there a local pre-selection on this for the Liberals? I remember reading there were about 5 or so nominations so it wasn’t like nobody was interested, but the Liberal head office in Melbourne just decided it. It certainly doesn’t help the Liberals look engaged with the local area.

  19. http://www.crikey.com.au/2013/08/19/tips-and-rumours-946/

    Sounds like people are upset with Crewther’s US style tactics. Even if there is a Do Not Call Register exemption for political parties, it would be nice if they were polite enough to exclude those on the register from their mass call-out. But when your campaign is run out of Melbourne one can’t expect your puppeteers to understand local values.

  20. I predict the Nationals to win. At state level they’ve bounced back in the last decade and we’ve also seen it at federal level (e.g. Gippsland).

  21. I have already voted and KAP first and Nats and Libs 11 12 it is about time we have a change we get bugger all being the safest seat in all of Australia.

  22. the people are tired of being mothballed. john from nhill, you are right about the nats parachuting in a captains pick over a local. how ever the libs candidate, whilst he may have been born here he has spent his adult life in canberra, melbourne and overseas. he is a city lawyer. both candidates from LNP are about as relevant to this electorate as the mango growers association of QLD.
    we need new blood. is the one consistant i here from the people. that does not translate to support for me but it does mean that this is the seat to watch. so far it has only been myself and the katters candidate that have put forth plans for the Mallee. yet we get no media exposure unless we pay for it. (with the exception of the mildura weekly) they have taken the time to give each candidate fair representation and i will give credit where due.
    my concern is that while im not a big chance of winning, the lack of media attention to minors means issues such as coal seam gas mining and the national gas price being linked to the world price gets no attention unless the big boys pick it up. not many ppl realise that we will be paying 3x the current price for gas if this happens with no economic benefit for our nation.
    so i ask the media, and the general public, take notice of your minor candidates, the issues they bring forth, and if you support what they are trying to do, put them 1 on the ballot paper and your usual preference number 2. this kind of protest vote is how u send a clear message that u want your major parties to sit up and listen.

    oh and please visit mark cory for mallee on face book and read my 16 point plan for Mallee.

    thankyou, Mark Cory

  23. I guess it’s no news to anybody that the Greens don’t do well in this part of Australia, but they crashed from 7.7% to 2.8%. That surely includes a bunch of Liberal types who don’t like the Nats, who voted Green in 2010 but Liberal when their preferred party ran. The redistribution cut 0.2% from the Green vote by adding bits from Wannon, a Lib seat – might be a hint of that there?

  24. Was recently part of this electorate where I worked for a period of time after a redistribution took me out of Wannon….. You are right Bird…. Greens are not poular at all in the Wimmera/Mallee. I am suprised they even bother at all… waste of resources in a very traditional part of Australia where I have got to say the people are 1st class down to earth decent citizens……

  25. Greens bother not least because running helps with their statewide total for the Senate vote. Also gives people who hold those views a chance to express them in the electoral process.

  26. Yere I can see that Doug but I would be looking at concentrating on getting another couple of members in the house and directing the relatively limited resources that way before I worried about seats like Mallee that you have no hope whatsoever in. The few people that are green minded in Mallee will know where to put the number 1 on the senate ballot paper…….

  27. Well I agree they wouldn’t spend much …(although they lost the deposit in Mallee for a start) But thats my point the cost benefit analysis would still be zero. Strategically I would be pumping it into Batman and Wills and try and get Bandt a pal or 2 in the house and forget the odd bush seat…… The only thing green in the mallee at the moment is the grass………

  28. It’s statically proven that people are more likely to vote for your party in the senate if they are also represented on the HoRs ballot – same reason all minor parties run in unwinnable seats.

  29. Yere but financially major parties and PUP are in a position to do so. Not sure if greens that flushed…… I still reckon Mallee is one seat you could make an exception regarding this…..

  30. It costs just $1000 to nominate, so about $40k to nominate for each seat in Victoria. Given the ETU gave $300k to Adam Bandt, I have no doubt that the Greens can comfortably nominate in every seat. It’s called respecting your supporters, even when they only make up a few percent of the electorate.

  31. Thats fine if the party is happy with below average performances such as the one they got in this election. I am sure the 2000 or so people who voted for them in Mallee will be rapped. (2.8%) I just thought for the sake of 3 or 4 electorates you would be better off chanelling more into seats you actually can win and take it up from there…… Its make or break time for the Greens especially with people like big Clive hovering around with unlimited funds……

  32. Thats your opinion Ben. I am just suggesting that the Greens appear to be marking time at the moment and need to look at other options to strengthen their position. This is a fact and some people don’t like facts which is why Labor are where they are at the moment. My point is they are not going that well that they can afford to run candidates in hopeless electorates. If thats silly then so be it…… I am sure people will try and suger coat the election result but thats where parties go wrong because reality has to be faced one day….

  33. I’m with Ben on this one – strategic issues on Greens campaigning I am sure will be carefully reviewed. As an issue this has got to be down the bottom of the list

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