Gippsland – Australia 2019

NAT 18.2%

Incumbent MP
Darren Chester, since 2008.

Eastern Victoria. The seat of Gippsland covers most of the East Gippsland and Latrobe Valley regions, stretching as far west as Morwell and Traralgon.

Gippsland expanded slightly to take in Yallourn North from McMillan. This change reduced the Nationals margin from 18.4% to 18.2%.

The seat of Gippsland is an original federation electorate. It has always been held by conservative candidates, and has been held by the Country Party and National Party continously since 1922.

Gippsland was first won in 1901 by Allan McLean, a former Premier of Victoria and opponent of federation. McLean was a member of the Barton-Deakin protectionist party, but was at odds with their alliance with the Labour party. He was re-elected in 1903, but in 1904 he effectively left the Protectionist party to join the Free Trade ministry of George Reid. The ministry lasted for eleven months, and at the 1906 election McLean was defeated by George Wise, a Protectionist candidate.

Wise refused to join the Fusion in 1909 and defeated the Liberal candidate as an independent in 1910. In 1913, however, he lost to Liberal candidate James Bennett. Wise won back the seat, again as an independent, in 1914, and joined the new Nationalist party in 1916. He served briefly as a minister in the Hughes government from 1920 to 1921. Wise lost the seat in 1922 to the Country Party’s Thomas Paterson.

Paterson served as a minister in the Coalition government from 1926 until its defeat in 1929. He served as Deputy Leader of the Country Party from 1929 to 1937, and served as a minister again in the Lyons government from 1934 until the 1937 election. He retired from Parliament at the 1943 election.

The Country Party’s George Bowden won Gippsland in 1943. He held the seat until his retirement in 1961, and despite serving through twelve years of conservative rule, he never reached ministerial rank.

Peter Nixon won Gippsland in 1961. He joined the cabinet in 1967, and served in Coalition governments through to 1972 and again for the entirety of the Fraser government, before retiring at the 1983 election.

In 1983, Gippsland was won by Peter McGauran. McGauran held the seat for the Nationals for the next quarter century. He served as a junior minister in the Howard government from 1996 to 2005, barring a year from 1997 to 1998 when he was forced onto the backbench for his involvement in the ‘travel rorts’ affair. He was promoted to Cabinet in 2005 and was a senior member of the Nationals by the time of the 2007 election. He moved to the backbench in 2007 and retired from Parliament in 2008.

The 2008 Gippsland by-election was won by Nationals candidate Darren Chester, who defeated a challenge from both the Liberal Party and the Labor Party. Chester has been re-elected three times.


  • David Snelling (Shooters, Fishers and Farmers)
  • Neville Phillip Tickner (Conservative National)
  • Kerri Jane Brewer (United Australia)
  • Antoinette Holm (Labor)
  • Sonia Buckley (Independent)
  • Darren Chester (Nationals)
  • Deb Foskey (Greens)
  • Assessment
    Gippsland is a safe Nationals seat.

    2016 result

    Darren Chester Nationals 50,30956.3+2.655.8
    Shashi Bhatti Labor 17,87020.0-3.120.2
    Ian Onley Greens 7,0027.8+2.17.8
    Ben BuckleyLiberal Democrats4,4445.0-0.45.0
    Brian HeathFamily First3,0683.4+1.63.4
    Cherie SmithIndependent1,5771.8+1.81.8
    Peter DorianRise Up Australia1,5131.7+1.31.7
    Peter GardnerRenewable Energy Party1,3841.5+1.61.5
    Christine SindtIndependent1,3791.5+1.51.5
    Ashleigh BelsarAustralian Christians7460.8+0.80.8

    2016 two-party-preferred result

    Darren Chester Nationals 61,10668.4+2.668.2
    Shashi Bhatti Labor 28,18631.6-2.631.8

    Booth breakdown

    Booths have been divided into four areas. Polling places in East Gippsland and Wellington shires have been grouped together. Polling places in the Latrobe Valley have been split between the towns of Traralgon and Morwell.

    The Nationals won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all four areas, ranging from 51.7% in Morwell to 74.2% in Wellington.

    Voter groupNAT 2PP %Total votes% of votes
    East Gippsland72.915,85017.6
    Other votes64.27,3268.1

    Two-party-preferred votes in Gippsland at the 2016 federal election

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    1. The redistribution prior to the 2004 election split the Latrobe valley between Gippsland and McMillan. This turned a safe Coalition seat and a marginal Labor seat into two marginal Coalition seats.

      In practice the decline of the Labor vote has meant they’ve both turned out to be safe Coalition seats.

      It was thought that the Latrobe valley would eventually be reunited in Gippsland, perhaps making Labor competitive here. More than decade later the Latrobe valley remains split. Even if it were to happen, Gippsland is now so safe it wouldn’t matter anyway.

    2. Yes, like Monash, the story is the gradual decline in the Labor vote in the Latrobe Valley. Having Morwell as effectively 50-50 would have been unthinkable even a decade ago.

    3. Will be interesting to see what effect the Anyone But Nats movement has down here, but Gippsland remains the one seat that the NP has held continuously throughout its history as a party.

      Bit weird to see that Melbourne Uni student union hacks are going all the way to Longford to protest though!

    4. Perhaps significant to see swings to the Nationals in most of the ‘coal mining booths’: Morwell, Churchill, and Yallourn.


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