Wills – Australia 2013

ALP 23.5%

Incumbent MP
Kelvin Thomson, since 1996.

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

Geography
Northern Melbourne. Wills covers most of the City of Moreland and small parts of Moonee Valley and Yarra council areas. Key suburbs include Brunswick, Moreland, Coburg, Pascoe Vale, Oak Park, Glenroy, Hadfield and Fawkner.

Redistribution
Strathmore was transferred to Maribyrnong, and areas in southern Brunswick and northern Fitzroy were transferred from Melbourne.  This increased the Labor margin from 22.6% to 23.5%.

History
Wills was created for the 1949 election as part of the expansion of the House of Representatives. Apart from a period in the early 1990s, it has always been held by the Labor Party.

Wills was first won in 1949 by the ALP’s Bill Bryson. He had previously held the seat of Bourke from 1943 to 1946. Bryson served as a member of the ALP until the split of 1955, when he joined the new Labor Party (Anti-Communist), which became the Democratic Labor Party. He lost the seat at the 1955  election.

The seat was won in 1955 by the ALP’s Gordon Bryant. Bryant served as a minister in the Whitlam government from 1972 to 1975, and retired in 1980.

Wills was won in 1980 by former President of the ACTU, Bob Hawke. Hawke was in the rare position of a politician who was already a significant national figure in his own right before entering Parliament, and he was immediately appointed to the Labor frontbench. Hawke failed in an attempt to replace Bill Hayden as Labor leader in 1982, but was successful in another attempt on the very day that Malcolm Fraser called the 1983 election, and he won that election, becoming Prime Minister.

Hawke won re-election at the 1984, 1987 and 1990 elections, but in 1991 he was defeated in a caucus leadership ballot by Paul Keating, and he resigned from Parliament in 1992.

The 1992 Wills by-election was a remarkable campaign, with 22 candidates standing. The seat was won by former footballer Phil Cleary on a hard-left socialist platform. Cleary’s victory was overturned in the High Court due to his status as a public school teacher on unpaid leave, shortly before the 1993 election. He was re-elected at the 1993 election, and held the seat until his defeat in 1996.

Wills was won back for the ALP in 1996 by Kelvin Thomson, a Victorian state MP since 1988. Thomson was appointed to the Federal Labor shadow ministry in 1997, and remained on the frontbench until early 2007. He was on the backbenches until he became a Parliamentary Secretary in February 2013.

Candidates

  • Dean O’Callaghan (Independent)
  • Tim Read (Greens)
  • Adrian Trajstman (Sex Party)
  • Margarita Windisch (Socialist Alliance)
  • Concetta Giglia (Family First)
  • Anne Marie Murray-Dufoulon (Palmer United Party)
  • Shilpa Hegde (Liberal)
  • Kelvin Thomson (Labor)
Polling places in Wills at the 2010 federal election, showing which out of the Liberal Party and the Greens polled a higher primary vote. Click to enlarge.
Polling places in Wills at the 2010 federal election, showing which out of the Liberal Party and the Greens polled a higher primary vote. Click to enlarge.

Assessment
On paper, Wills is a very safe seat. The Greens are only 3.2% behind the Liberal Party on primary votes – if the Greens were to overtake the Liberal Party they would likely come much closer to winning than the Liberal Party. That, however, is unlikely to take place in the 2013 election.

The Greens are the second-highest polling party in the southern half of the electorate, as indicated in the map on the right, but the Greens aren’t quite as strong as in Melbourne or Batman. If the Greens were to overtake the Liberal Party, the ALP would still have a substantial margin, depending on how the Liberal Party directs preferences.

2010 result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Kelvin ThomsonALP43,71851.81-5.08
Claude TomisichLIB20,08023.79-0.76
Mark RileyGRN17,38120.60+6.78
Daniel MumbyFF1,3201.56+0.13
Paul RobertonDEM7340.87-1.46
Trent HawkinsSA7260.86+0.14
Craig IsherwoodCEC4290.51+0.25

2010 two-candidate-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Kelvin ThomsonALP61,29772.64+0.24
Claude TomisichLIB23,09127.36-0.24
Polling places in Wills at the 2010 federal election. North-East in orange, North-West in green, South in blue. Click to enlarge.
Polling places in Wills at the 2010 federal election. North-East in orange, North-West in green, South in blue. Click to enlarge.

Booth breakdown
Booths have been divided into three areas:

  • North-East – Coburg, Fawkner and other suburbs.
  • North-West – Glenroy, Pascoe Vale and other suburbs.
  • South – Brunswick and other suburbs.

The ALP topped the poll in all three areas, varying from 45.9% in the south to 56.1% in the north-east.

The Liberal Party came second in the two northern areas, with the vote varying from 16.3% in the south to 27.4% in the north-west.

The Greens came second in the south with 34.2%, with the lowest Greens vote being 12.6% in the north-west.

Voter groupGRN %LIB %ALP %Total votes% of ordinary votes
North-West12.5727.4356.3324,24038.36
North-East18.5821.5256.0920,64632.67
South34.1516.3345.9018,30528.97
Other votes23.4524.6947.5520,177
Labor primary votes in Wills at the 2010 federal election.
Labor primary votes in Wills at the 2010 federal election.
Liberal primary votes in Wills at the 2010 federal election.
Liberal primary votes in Wills at the 2010 federal election.
Greens primary votes in Wills at the 2010 federal election.
Greens primary votes in Wills at the 2010 federal election.

17 COMMENTS

  1. Isn’t Thompson a parliamentary secretary now? Cleary’s victory owed a lot to his support of high tariffs.

  2. Geoff—

    Indeed he is. He was appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Trade at the February reshuffle this year.

  3. Wills is a little different from neighbouring Batman in that it still contains some areas that are relatively good for the Liberals (Strathmore North, Pascoe Vale, Oak Park), meaning it’s much harder for the Greens to finish second here.

    Note again though, how the Green vote basically dies out after you get north of Bell Street.

  4. Kelvin Thomson is now Parliamentary Secretary for Schools. Mr Thomson draws votes from Green constituency due to more than four decades of environmental activism in north-western Melbourne. I am not sure what Mr Robinson is referring to as Mr Thomson won seat in 1996 from independent and local football legend Phil Cleary (not other way around?). Mr Thomson has taken a (losing) Labor primary vote of 42% in 1993 to 50% in 1996 (from memory the only seat which Labor gained that year) and more than 50% ever since, and making Wills one of the safest seats for Labor.

  5. Safe Labor retain. The only possible interest here is whether the Greens finish second, and that won’t happen in 2013.

  6. So far there’s been nothing but a dribble of token campaign leaflets from both sides. Nothing at all from the Greens so far. A few Kelvin Thomson signs about, have seen no signs for the Liberal or Green.

    Makes for a great relief after living in a marginal seat last time……

  7. Mark Mulcair, there are Liberal posters along the Coburg and Glenroy shopping strips, a mobile billboard roaming and more than half the electorate has been letterboxed. Shilpa Hegde is also at train stations in the mornings and at shopping centres on Saturdays. Plus pre-poll is being manned unlike previous elections.

    That’s a much bigger Liberal effort than usual.

  8. The Liberals are pretty much invisible in Wills apart from a mobile billboard driving around, a handful of shop posters and one garden sign in Hadfield. The Liberal’s Shilpa Hegde lives along way from the electorate in Lower Templestowe, and has avoided the two Wills candidates debates. By contrast Labors’s Kelvin Thomson has a well-organized campaign including more than 150 garden signs spread throughout the electorate and hundreds of shop posters. The Green’s Tim Read and Senate candidate Janet Rice have up to 100 garden signs mainly in Brunswick and Coburg. The Nofibs website has given excellent coverage (in reports by John Englart) of the various campaigns in Wills. The Rupert Murdoch owned Moreland Leader has given its characteristically right-wing coverage of Federal politics, and continues to offend its readership by publishing selected stories and letters..

  9. MT, I have to say my experience is closer to Lex’s than yours. I think we got one leaflet from Hedge and that was before the campaign started! I would guess the Greens are putting in a big effort around Brunswick but up here in Pascoe Vale I have seen very little from the Greens or the Liberals so far.

    Admittedly there’s not much from Thomson either apart from a few yard signs. This is a safe Labor seat and it looks like everybody knows it.

  10. Thomson’s primary vote back to 46% now.

    Big swing in Gowanbrae booth – minus 14.3% against KT.

    Greens vote static – will gain on LNP in absent and pre-poll, retreat on postals. LNP likely to finish second as predicted above. As always, GP vote recedes to the north, though perhaps some slight GP increase in that direction this time.

  11. Kelvin Thomson’s two party preferred is currently sitting on 71% and the highest Labor (two party-preferred) vote in electorate in Australia. The reduction in Thomson’s primary (5%) is similar to that of high profile Bill Shorten (6%) in Maribyrnong, and modest compared with other neighbouring electorates such as Batman where David Feeney lost 10% of Labor primary and Melbourne where Cath Bowtell lost 11% of Labor primary and disasters further west (11, 12 and 18% losses in Labor’s primary vote in Gorton, Gellibrand and Lalor, respectively). The Green vote in Wills also suffered a minor reduction in primary (1%) despite standing an excellent candidate in Dr Tim Read and they still have a chance of overtaking LIberals on preferences. Reductions in the primary vote of Thomson and Read are mainly explained by a plethora of minor parties (Australian Sex Party, Palmer United, Family First, Save the Planet /independent and Socialist Alliance) which skimmed off 10% of primary vote. Thomson’s drop in primary vote in the booth of Gowanbrae is most likely explained by influx of new residents who are yet to be familiarized with the work of their Federal member – some in the local Gowanbrae Residents Group have been mightily impressed by their local member, so expect a large bounce in Thomson’s primary in Gowanbrae booth next time, and once the word gets around to new residents.

Comments are closed.