Cooper – Australia 2019

ALP 0.6% vs GRN

Incumbent MP
Ged Kearney, since 2018.

Cooper covers parts of the inner north of Melbourne. Batman covers all of the City of Darebin as well as parts of Yarra and Whittlesea. Cooper covers the suburbs of Fairfield, Northcote, Thornbury, Preston, Reservoir and Kingsbury.

Cooper is a new name for the seat of Batman. Cooper lost the strip of territory in Whittlesea council at the northern end of the seat, including parts of Bundoora, while the seat spilled over into Moreland council area (taking in parts of Coburg North) and lost a small area to the seat of Melbourne. These changes reduced Labor’s margin from 1.0% to 0.6%.

Batman was a long-standing Melbourne electorate, and for most of its history it has been held by Labor MPs.

The seat was first won in 1906 by Protectionist candidate Jabez Coon. Coon held the seat for only one term before losing it to Labor candidate Henry Beard in 1910. Beard was a former Labor state MP, and died only months after his election to the House of Representatives.

The ensuing by-election in 1911 was won by the ALP’s Frank Brennan. Brennan held the seat for the next twenty years, serving as Attorney-General in the Scullin government from 1929 until 1931. At the 1931 election Brennan lost his seat and the Scullin government was defeated, with Batman being won by UAP candidate Samuel Dennis.

Dennis only held on for one term, losing to Brennan in 1934. Brennan held the seat for another fifteen years, retiring in 1949.

Batman was won in 1949 by the ALP’s Alan Bird, a former Mayor of Northcote. Bird was re-elected throughout the 1950s, returning to the Northcote mayoralty for one year in 1958. He died in office in 1962.

The 1962 by-election was won by Williamstown mayor Sam Benson. Benson was re-elected in 1963 but in 1966 was expelled from the ALP over his support for the Vietnam War. He managed to win election as an independent in 1966. Benson retired in 1969, and the seat went to Labor candidate and Collingwood mayor Horace Garrick in 1969.

Garrick was re-elected at the 1972, 1974 and 1975 elections, but lost preselection in 1976 to Brian Howe, who won the seat at the 1977 election. Howe became a junior minister upon the election of the Hawke government in 1983, and was promoted to Cabinet following the 1984 election. Howe became Deputy Prime Minister in 1991 after Paul Keating moved to the backbench following a failed challenge to Bob Hawke’s leadership, and Howe held the position until 1995. He retired at the 1996 election.

Howe was succeeded in 1996 by former ACTU president Martin Ferguson. Ferguson went straight into the Labor shadow cabinet and was a shadow minister for the entirety of the Howard government, and joined the Cabinet in 2007 after the election of the Rudd government. Ferguson resigned from the ministry in early 2013, and retired at the 2013 election.

Batman was won in 2013 by Labor candidate David Feeney. Feeney had been a Senator since 2008, but had been demoted to the marginal third position on the Labor ticket. Feeney was elected in Batman, and was re-elected with a smaller margin in 2016.

David Feeney was forced to resign in early 2018 due to his inability to demonstrate that he had renounced his British citizenship before running for federal parliament. The subsequent by-election was won by Labor’s Ged Kearney, who gained a 3.4% swing.


This seat was very close in 2016 and was again close at the 2018 by-election, but Kearney will likely be strengthened by her incumbency at the next election.

2016 result

Alex Bhathal Greens 32,64536.2+9.836.7
David Feeney Labor 31,78035.3-6.035.0
George Souris Liberal 17,92419.9-2.619.7
Joel MurraySex Party2,3172.60.02.6
Caitlin EvansAnimal Justice1,5031.7+0.31.7
Philip SuttonIndependent1,5091.7+0.91.6
Elizabeth SyberMarriage Equality6820.8+0.80.7
Maurice OldisRenewable Energy Party5930.7+0.70.7
Franco GuardianiIndependent4800.5+0.50.5
Geoffrey CicutoAustralian Cyclists Party3860.4+0.40.4
Russell HaywardAustralian Progressives2820.3+0.30.3

2016 two-candidate-preferred result

David Feeney Labor 45,97751.0-9.650.6
Alex Bhathal Greens 44,12449.0+9.649.4

2016 two-party-preferred result

David Feeney Labor 64,64571.7+0.872.0
George Souris Liberal 25,45628.3-0.828.0

2018 by-election result

Ged KearneyLabor36,84043.1+7.9
Alex Bhathal Greens 33,72539.5+3.3
Kevin BaileyConservatives5,4716.4+6.4
Miranda SmithAnimal Justice2,5283.0+1.3
Yvonne GentleRise Up Australia2,2172.6+2.6
Teresa van LieshoutIndependent1,2451.5+1.5
Debbie RobinsonLiberty Alliance1,1861.4+1.4
Mark McDonaldSustainable Australia9511.1+1.1
Adrian WhiteheadIndependent7450.9+0.9
Tegan BurnsPeople’s Party4960.6+0.6

2018 by-election two-candidate-preferred result

Ged Kearney Labor 46,44654.4+3.4
Alex Bhathal Greens 38,95845.6-3.4

Booth breakdown

Booths have been divided into three areas: north, central and south. The southern area is centred on Northcote. The central area is centred on Preston and Thornbury. The northern area is centred on Reservoir.

The two-candidate-preferred vote in 2016 varied from 65.8% for Labor in the north to 62.7% in the south, and was roughly tied in the centre. The Liberal primary vote ranged from 15.7% in the south to 22.7% in the north.

Labor’s two-candidate-preferred at the 2018 by-election was 52.4% in the centre and 63.8% in the north. The Greens polled 57.9% in the south.

2016 booth breakdown

Voter groupLIB prim %ALP 2CP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes23.252.414,76716.8

2018 by-election booth breakdown

Voter groupALP 2CP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes63.711,59213.6

Election results in Cooper at the 2016 federal election
Toggle between two-candidate-preferred votes (Labor vs Greens) and Liberal primary votes.

Two-candidate-preferred votes (Labor vs Greens) at the 2018 Batman by-election

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  1. The Greens candidate wasn’t present at the Greens campaign announcement and doesn’t seem to be getting the “winnable seat” treatment, while Adam Pulford in Wills still is.

    I think the Greens have decided the messaging issues of running a high profile campaign against Ged Kearney weren’t worth it for an “incoming Labor government” election. They seem to be similarly quiet on Grayndler and Sydney. This would mean every Greens “target seat” has either a Liberal incumbent, or a Labor Right candidate (Macnamara, Wills, Richmond) – this will help the Greens a lot with clear messaging about their intentions this election.

    Victorian Socialists should do well here from disgruntled Greens voters, but not enough to threaten Kearney either directly or via preferences.

    At any rate, without a high profile Greens candidate and an effort to paint the seat as winnable, it’s an ALP retain.

  2. Was in Northcote today not one Greens’ poster to be seen, a few Labor & Vic Socialists, big change from 2016

  3. Does the average punter actually understand or care about what faction a candidate belongs to? (Admittedly I do vote based on this level of granular detail – but I’m a major politics geek.)
    Arguably the ALP factions are more about patronage than ideology, and the so called “right” tend to be centrists with the exception of the Shoppies – and even then not all Shoppies are created equal…
    I haven’t seen any Greens material in Wills accusing Khalil of being “right wing” or messaging tailored around this…

  4. Paco
    In most seats no, but green voters DO know the ALP factions, since many will have friends etc in there and many of the older ones will have been ex ALP members.

    Remember the greens and the ALP left draw from the SAME pool. Issues such as Adani and renewables etc are well known.

  5. Pacochick
    Welcome. Is this your first time post ?. Liked both, but unfortunately the seats themselves aren’t as interesting as what you said. What are you’re thoughts on Melbourne, & Bandt ?

  6. Very big chance from 2016 and the by-election.

    The greens candidate has barely any likes or supporters on Facebook.

    Easy hold for Labor

  7. I’m going to say that labor will hold this seat comfortably. They botched their chances in the by-election and the treatment of Alex Bhathal has left a sour taste in their mouths. I’m expecting a big swing to labor and progressive minor parties.

  8. Agreed, Labor will increase their margin in Cooper this time around. There seems to have been little Greens attention on winning the seats north of the river this time, their attention is more focused on Macnamara, Higgins & Kooyong in the south & east.

    Strategically it’s probably clever in the long term because they have long been accused by Labor of only targeting Labor seats, whereas two of their three main targets this time are Liberal-held, with the Labor seat being vulnerable to the Liberals at some stage (certainly not this election) and having such a tiny 3PP margin vs Labor, particularly after the addition of Windsor, that it would be crazy not to focus attention on.

    I think the Greens do better in Labor seats when Labor are in government, not opposition. So it’s a good idea to target Liberal seats in an election where the Liberals are possibly headed for a double-digit backlash in Melbourne’s inner southeast, killing the perception that they only take seats off Labor, letting Labor get as big a majority as possible, and then target the northern suburbs next time when Labor are in government and they can focus on where they have fallen short on particular issues while governing.

    Ged Kearney is a huge upgrade over Feeney too so I imagine a lot of Labor-left voters who voted Greens in 2016 and returned to Labor in 2018 will likely stick with them for a while.

  9. Yep can’t see the Greens winning here if they couldn’t win it in a by election with no lib running. Shows what impact a strong candidate running has

  10. Greens should be able to pick this one up after a term of Labor government (unless Shorten’s Labor turns out to be super progressive), but this election Kearney is heading for a sophomore surge and the Greens are at a low point in terms of organisation locally. There may be some buyers remorse for Ged Kearney’s failure to change Labor’s policy, but not enough to get a swing to Greens even on byelection figures.

    I also think they don’t want the hassle of being seen to target progressive Labor MPs in an incoming Labor government election. They aren’t going in hard on Albo or Plibersek either.

  11. I personally don’t think we will see big swings to Labor, despite the incumbency. The Greens may have run a poor campaign locally, but their national campaign has been pretty well thought out. I think perhaps a 1-3% increase in margin.

    A liberal running would remove primary votes from the ALP’s column probably.

  12. Terrible result for the Greens here, even allowing that Labor have a far better candidate this time around.

    Never mind winning, the Greens are barely beating the Liberals into second place!

  13. Ridiculous changing the name from Batman as John Batman and John Pascoe Fawkner founded the Port Phillip settlement in 1834 now know as Melbourne. Batman’s wife Eliza gave her name to Mt Eliza near Frankston too.

    Cooper is a more modern historical figure from the period around WW2 but his name could have been given to a new electorates in Melbourne rapidly increasing population.

  14. Adrian
    Left wing subversives want all names of those who brought British civilisation to Australia wiped off face of the atlas and history books.
    They regard Batman as part of a right wing conspiracy. However the time to argue this was during the redistribution not by winging about it a few years later.
    In recent Qld redistribution just about every resident of Highfields sent in a submission demanding that the draft map be rejected and that they put back into Darling Downs???? And taken out of Groom???? ie they were part of Toowoomba not Bundaberg.

  15. I have heard that Batman shot or displaced a few blacks who were stealing, but I have not seen any proof and other people were killed or displaced during the colonial era but most aborigines died of disease brought here by settlers like what happened in Tasmania and on other continents. It does not change the fact that Batman and Fawkner got the settlement going in 1834 and helped establish agrarian industries too.

    If the land had not been settled predominately by Anglo-Saxon/Celts bringing with it the excellent form of British government and justice which the state and commonwealth later copied we now could be speaking French, Portuguese, Spanish or Dutch or even American God forbid. Look at all those basket cases countries in South America, USA, Philippines etc.

  16. Think Highfields was part of Toowoomba Nth the more marginal seat and a part that votes heavily non labour
    the redistribution proposed moving that into an alt seat the nats led a campaign against that


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