Corangamite – Australia 2019

LIB 0.02%

Incumbent MP
Sarah Henderson, since 2013.

South-western Victoria. Corangamite covers suburbs on the southern fringe of Geelong and then extends as far west as Colac. As well as parts of Greater Geelong, Corangamite covers all of Surf Coast, Colac Otway and Queenscliff councils, as well as a majority of Golden Plains Council. The main towns outside of Geelong are Ocean Grove, Torquay, Colac and Winchelsea.

The seat of Corangamite shifted to the east, taking in the Bellarine peninsula from Corio. Corangamite lost the southern Geelong suburbs of Belmont, Highton and Wandana Heights to Corio, and lost rural areas on its western edge, including Colac, to Wannon. These changes reduced the Liberal margin from 3.1% to a very slim 0.02%.

Corangamite was an original federation division, and a seat which changed hands often in early years, before becoming a solid conservative seat in the latter half of the 20th century.

It’s first member was Chester Manifold of the Protectionists, but he retired due to ill-health at the 1903 election and the seat was won by Grafton Wilson for the Free Traders. Wilson was defeated in 1910 by the ALP’s James Scullin, who held the seat for one term before being defeated by former member Manifold, who returned to contest the seat for the Liberals. Manifold, whose son, Sir Chester, was a state MP and a famed horse-breeder and racing administrator, held the seat until he died at sea in 1918.

The December 1918 by-election saw the first use of preferential voting for the federal parliament. Scullin returned to contest the seat for the ALP, and topped the primary vote, but was comfortably defeated on preferences by the Victorian Farmers Union’s William Gibson. Scullin would subsequently win the seat of Yarra in 1922 and serve as Prime Minister from 1929-32.

Gibson held the seat for the Country Party, serving as Postmaster-General and Minister for Works and Railways until his defeat in 1929 by Labor’s Richard Crouch, who had previously been a Protectionist/Liberal MP for Corio from 1901-1910. Crouch then lost to Gibson in 1931, who served one more term before winning election to the Senate in 1934.

Geoffrey Street of the UAP, who would serve as Defence Minister in Menzies’ first government, won Corangamite in 1934 and held it until his death, along with two other ministers, in a plane crash in 1940.

Allan McDonald, a former state MP, won the seat for the UAP in 1940, and quickly became a minister in the Menzies government. He unsuccessfully contested the UAP leadership in 1941 and 1943, and remained on the backbench when the Liberals returned to power in 1949. He died in 1953, and was succeeded by Daniel Mackinnon, who had previously been MP for Wannon.

Mackinnon retired in 1966, and was succeeded by Tony Street, son of the former member Geoffrey, who served as a minister in various portfolios in the Fraser government and subsequently retired in early 1984.

Stewart McArthur won the seat in 1984, and held it until defeated by the ALP’s Darren Cheeseman in 2007. Cheeseman was re-elected in 2010, and lost to Liberal candidate Sarah Henderson in 2013. Henderson was re-elected in 2016.


  • Ian Erskine (Rise Up Australia)
  • Libby Coker (Labor)
  • Simon Northeast (Greens)
  • Naomi Adams (Animal Justice)
  • Damien Cole (Independent)
  • Sarah Henderson (Liberal)
  • Neil Harvey (United Australia)
  • Mandy Grimley (Derryn Hinch’s Justice)
  • Assessment
    Corangamite is incredibly marginal and could go either way.

    2016 result

    Sarah Henderson Liberal 45,68746.4-1.843.7
    Libby Coker Labor 30,26730.8-1.334.1
    Patchouli Paterson Greens 11,27311.5-0.412.1
    Patrice NelsonDerryn Hinch’s Justice Party3,0393.1+3.12.3
    Alan BarronFamily First1,9061.9+1.01.3
    Andy MeddickAnimal Justice1,7391.8+1.82.2
    Michael LawrenceIndependent1,5191.5+1.51.1
    Courtney DaltonDrug Law Reform1,2691.3+1.30.9
    Louis RoweLiberal Democrats8710.9+0.90.6
    Nick SteelRise Up Australia8470.9+0.61.2

    2016 two-party-preferred result

    Sarah Henderson Liberal 52,29153.1-0.850.0
    Libby Coker Labor 46,12646.9+0.850.0

    Booth breakdown

    Polling places in Corangamite have been divided into five areas. The booths in the Colac Otway, Golden Plains and Surf Coast council areas have been grouped. Polling places in the Greater Geelong council area have been split between those in the Geelong urban area (“Geelong”) and those on the Bellarine peninsula (which also includes Queenscliff council area).

    The largest population concentration is in the Bellarine area.

    The Liberal Party only won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in two out of these five areas, with 50.3% in Golden Plains and 50.9% in Colac Otway. The Liberal majority relies on larger majorities on the pre-poll and other votes.

    Labor won a majority in the three more populous areas, ranging from 50.5% in Surf Coast to 54.6% in Geelong.

    The Greens primary vote ranged from 8% in Golden Plains to 20.3% in Colac Otway.

    Voter groupGRN prim %LIB 2PP %Total votes% of votes
    Surf Coast16.949.511,00312.6
    Golden Plains8.050.34,8715.6
    Colac Otway20.350.91,8102.1
    Other votes11.551.915,83218.1

    Election results in Corangamite at the 2016 federal election
    Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and Greens primary votes.

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    1. Redistribution killed Libs hope of retaining. They have a better chance in Jagajaga.

    2. Removing Colac was a no-brainer, but I’m still not convinced that the changes around Geelong were necessary, especially breaching the strong boundary of the Barwon River. If Corio continues to grow, this area will probably need to go straight back to Corangamite in the future.

      The Liberals’ one hope is that they might be able to do better in the areas added from Corio (where they wouldn’t have put in much of an effort before), but all things being equal it’s hard to see them holding on here.

    3. The territory swaps with Corio were necessary to unite the Bellarine peninsula. The divided peninsula had been a complaint of the old boundaries. My submission contained very similar territory swaps in order to effect this outcome (although I kept Moolap in Corio because it seems to me more of a piece with the Geelong suburbs than the peninsula).

      I agree that the Liberal underperformance in the newly added areas understates Henderson’s margin on paper.

    4. BJA F Ryan
      Are you suggesting that a Lib win would create momentum ?. Isn’t it always fraught to make a suggestion of state, to Fed voting ?

    5. good example of the impact of population changes….this seat along with Wannon post 1955 used to be safe anti labour now has very little of the western districts in it……with Geelong over spill will be marginal… on current boundaries marginal labour…. interesting future impact … will Wannon change to marginal

    6. Agreed Mark Mulcair – The Liberals could possibly hold this with a sandbagging campaign introducing the Bellarine peninsula to their new local member. Switching from a safe seat MP to a marginal seat MP will make a difference (and I haven’t heard many good things about Marles). Bellarine would also be one of the seats the Liberals would hope to pick up at the state election – it was actually a notional Liberal seat at the 2014 election.

      South Barwon is another good indicator; an LNP held marginal seat being (actively) contested by the former ALP member for Corangamite.

    7. Still a long way to go but an early poll out from ReachTel has the libs on 32% primary vote to labor on 40%. I’m expecting this to be one of the first seats to go on the night

    8. If the 2016 election was repeated this would have been a Labor gain if the voters from 2019, were the ones in 2016 election. Because of demographic changes here, So notionally i think Labor has this narrowly because of demographics, The new margin is counting dead voters, So it should be Labor 72, Coalition 72 notionally

    9. what would be the vote on state election figures? at least 55/45 alp way maybe 60/40……… look at the map no big blue………. minus Colac this will be a labor win

    10. Not sure why Sarah Henderson is contesting as even the most optimistic Coalition prospect has them losing here. They are more likely to gain Herbert,Lindsay than hold this.

    11. Henderson the incumbent MP, of course she’d be contesting and putting on a brave face as generations of MPs before her, who were destined to lose their seats, have done in the past.

      I’m predicting that Corangamite will be the first seat decided on the election night and that Labor they’ll get an above average swing. Losing the consistent Liberal territory of Highton, Colac as well as picking up the more variable Bellarine, which is shifting demographically in Labor’s favour, Corangamite will become a more reliable seat for the ALP going forward. Neighbouring Corio may conversely become more marginal, albeit less variable and thus still reliable for Labor.

    12. Highton is trending Labor strongly however. Henderson spent massively in 2010, billboards everywhere, but this time not seeing much.

    13. Matt Colac was the only safe liberal area of this seat now it is lost to liberals in this seat

    14. Sarah Henderson wasn’t seated well in tonight’s budget, I’m used to seeing her in frame right behind the PM and Treasurer. A sign the government has given up on winning her seat?

    15. @Jen, Sarah Henderson is now an Assistant Minister, they get moved a few seats across.

      The MPs that are seated directly behind the PM/Treasurer are backbench MPs. Nonetheless, I imagine the Libs have given up on Corangamite – long ago.

    16. Corangamite & Dunkley are basically automatic labor gains. What will be interesting to see is if the other seats will fall as Victoria is traditionally a boring state to watch in federal elections.

    17. Could someone explain why the ABC has this seat as notational labor? I thought it was a knife edge for the liberals after the gerrymander.

    18. I do my own redistribution calculations while Antony does his own. They’re mostly very similar but there’s some variation. This seat is so close that this variation is enough to flip the seat. Without looking closely at both our methodologies I couldn’t tell you what causes the difference. The seat is basically a dead heat.

    19. There’s a seat poll from the Geelong advertiser which has the LNP ahead 52-48, which just goes to show how inaccurate seat polling is because I’ll eat a hat if that’s the result.

    20. Boatswain,

      The “Geelong Advertiser” is not really much of an indicator for polling. It’s a local rag that is predominantly bought and read by Older people. Older people generally vote conservative anyway.

    21. No chance Henderson holds on based off the state election. This seat is like 10% Labor if you go by state results, Considering Darren Cheesemans 4% mvictory in South Barwon, She has no chance to hold here, She would have to convince a good few thousand voters who voted ALP at the stateelection. To vote for her Federally. And i know very well that they do not like Christian conservatives here. This will be the easiest Labor gain of the night. The question will be, will Labor manage to make it notianlly safe by cracking 7%

    22. Daniel.

      Sarah Henderson’s 2016 results were about 10% above the 2014 state election result in Bellarine. She is a formidable campaigner and has a very high local profile – and is popular – my Labor voting father in law who lived in the area spoke highly of her. However, she has no margin and there is demographic change in the fast growing South Geelong / Torquay corridor which will count against her. Only a miracle could save her but unlikely to be a huge swing.

    23. Imagine my shock when I return from a holiday to find yet another person harping on about statewide results. Of course there is some overlap between voting intention. But some on this site really do seem hellbent on extrapolating statewide results as if they’re gospel. If you’re being consistent, then purported Labor strength in Victoria is surely balanced by strong Liberal performance in Tasmania and NSW. However, no one seriously thinks that just because Oatley, Kogarah and East Hills all swung to the Liberal Party, that Coleman isn’t in incredible danger in Banks.

      A lot of commentators are still predicting Coalition annihilation in Victoria. Almost all of this prognostication is based purely on the state election and not on any solid numbers. Indeed, Newspoll is only showing a modest swing between 1-2%. It’s fine if people think otherwise, but let’s not pretend its rooted in anything more than a general feeling that Morrison is not appealing to Victorians. Assuming Labor hold Corangamite (which if they do, won’t be more than by 1-2%), I think Labor will be lucky to win more than 2 seats (Chisholm and La Trobe).

    24. W of S
      IF there is going to be such a massive statewide swing in Victoria say maybe even 4%. Isn’t it then likely that such a swing would be balanced by an equivalent swing in NSW, & QLD ?. The votes have to be made somewhere. Big thing will be the next Newspoll on Sunday. Will it be 50-50 ?

    25. CFA issue was big in the last election. I was in the town of Bannockburn and local volunteer brigade was campaigning very hard against ALP. The issue has pretty much died now. Not sure if CFA scare campaign did have an impact on the small swing but if it did this may have been one of the seats to do so.

    26. Polling suggests this seat is line ball. That defies logic if Labor are headed for government, which says to me Labor aren’t doing as well in Vic as people are suggesting.

    27. individual seat polling tends to be very inaccurate….. there in my opinion is not any large lib voting centres now Colac was moved to wannon

    28. Feel the Bern,

      While I agree with your assessment (see my gigantic post above) I’m not sure Corangamite is the right seat to use as an example. Sarah Henderson has been well-noted as an incredibly hard-working MP who is running a ‘hyper-local’ campaign according to the Australian. This means the race here is much more atypical from the rest of the state methinks. Although Mick is right in pointing out that individual seat polling is notoriously inaccurate, this poll does accord with noises from both campaigns that the race here is tight.

      The Liberals will almost certainly do worse in the rest of the state. Whether they do badly enough to lose many seats is a debatable proposition.

    29. @Wreathy of Sydney, thanks for the response. If Henderson holds this and Morrison sneaks into government again, I’d be making sure she is a very high up minister.

    30. My mother in law, who I know spends a lot time considering her vote, announced that she would be voting for Sarah Henderson because she delivers a lot for the electorate , and also because she thinks the ALP candidate is in her words ” a real lightweight”. Still can’t see Sarah Henderson winning but she will have given it a serious crack. If she loses, I wonder if they would try to get her to go to state politics….though the next federal election will be before the next state election.

    31. Redistributed
      Agree with both you , & Nana !!. Would like to see SH as the next Premier !!. Overall a truly valiant effort that ought to receive the benefit deserved. Won’t happen, but still have an intuition. Maybe it is just a perverse desire to hear all the pundits try and explain an aberrant result……

    32. Have to give credit to Henderson (and to a lovely bit of pork barreling) that this seat is still close when it should be a clear labor gain. I’d still expect labor to win since the margin is effectively 0, but it would be a shocking result compared to 6 months ago if she held it against the trend

    33. Boaty1025
      You have to also have to give credit to the total vacuousness of Libby Coker. A decent candidate would have put this one away. IN 2016 she so reminded me of your fed MP (MT). When i hear someone like Coker i start wondering if she can actually think for herself, let alone conceive an original idea. .
      I seriously doubt we’ll hear anything from her before her concession speech in 2022.

    34. Sarah Henderson did indeed get a swing to her in the areas transferred from Corio, but it was nowhere near enough to overcome the rest of the seat.

      Some pretty strong pro-Labor swings along the Surf Coast and Great Ocean Road. The Greens outpolled the Liberals at Aireys Inlet, and came close in a couple of other booths down that way.

    35. With Melbourne commuters, a University & lots of public sector workers Geelong is going same way politically as Bendigo & Ballarat – SH will be last Lib MP here for a long time

    36. GR,

      Not sure about that. Geelong is big enough to have two seats, so the (relatively) good Liberal areas in southern Geelong will never be swamped by the massive Labor margins in the north. Any redistribution that puts Highton back into the seat would probably tip it back Liberal again.

    37. Henderson is just another left-wing ABC automaton who became a Liberal MP because her mother was one too. Another backstabber removed from the partyroom can only be a positive.

    38. The Sheriff – Actually Henderson worked for commercial TV stations in Melbourne from 1982-92 before moving to the ABC. She received a Walkley Award for the coverage of the Port Arthur massacre. She had about 10 years in politics in an electorate that has flip flopped between the two major parties earlier. He mother was a good minister in the Kennett government before dying of cancer. I met Ann Henderson when she attended a forum in Albert Park before she became ill.

    39. From todays OZ Strewth column Alice Workman

      Them’s fighting words

      Sarah Henderson made a declaration on Monday morning that shook some of her Liberal colleagues. The Victorian senator told Sky News she was the “de facto member for Corangamite”. Last we checked she lost her seat and returned to Canberra only after former cabinet minister Mitch Fifield departed for the UN. The actual member for Corangamite, Labor’s Libby Coker, told Strewth: “My predecessor can’t quite get over the fact that in May 2019 she was dumped by the people of Corangamite, despite $3bn of funding promises … and despite the Coalition being returned to office.” By Strewth’s calculations the Liberals’ 41 campaign promises in the marginal seat were the equivalent of $26,500 per voter! Coker continued: “Now she has been parachuted back into the Senate without facing an election. Voters in the rest of regional Victoria — Ballarat, Warrnambool, Bendigo — must be a little peeved with the Senator’s obsession with Corangamite, the place where she lives and where she lost. Voters chose who they want as the Member for Corangamite and it wasn’t Sarah Henderson. If Ms Henderson has the illusion that she and the policies of the Coalition are so popular … then I would welcome her resigning her Senate spot and standing again at the next election.”


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