Hotham – Australia 2019

ALP 4.2%

Incumbent MP
Clare O’Neil, since 2013.

Southeastern Melbourne. Hotham covers the suburbs of Clarinda, Heatherton, Oakleigh, Huntingdale, Clayton, Notting Hill, Mulgrave and Wheelers Hill. It covers parts of Kingston, Glen Eira, Greater Dandenong and Monash council areas.

Hotham shifted north, gaining Oakleigh, Huntingdale and Clayton from Chisholm, and also gaining Notting Hill, Mulgrave and Wheelers Hill from Bruce. Hotham lost Moorabbin, Cheltenham, Heatherton and Dingley Village to Isaacs, and part of Springvale South to Bruce. These changes reduced the Labor margin from 7.5% to 4.2%.

Hotham was originally created as a safe Liberal seat, but changes turned it into a safe Labor seat, and the ALP has held it continuously since 1980.

The seat was first won in 1969 by Liberal Party minister Don Chipp. Chipp had previously held the seat of Higinbotham since 1960, but the seat was abolished in 1969.

Chipp served as a minister in the Liberal government until the election of the Whitlam government in 1972. He was briefly included in Malcolm Fraser’s caretaker ministry after the dismissal of the Whitlam government in 1975, but was not included in the ministry after the election.

Chipp resigned from the Liberal Party in 1977, and later that year became the leader of the newly-formed Australian Democrats. He was elected as a Senator for Victoria at the 1977 election, and remained in the Senate until his retirement in 1986.

The seat of Hotham was retained by the Liberal Party in 1977, with the seat won by Roger Johnston.

Johnston lost in 1980 to Labor candidate Lewis Kent. Kent held Hotham for the next decade. At the 1990 election, Kent moved to the new seat of Corinella, where he lost to Liberal candidate Russell Broadbent.

Hotham was won by former ACTU president Simon Crean. Crean has held the seat ever since.

Crean immediately entered the ministry upon his election in 1990, and served in the ministry until the Howard government won the 1996 election.

Crean served as a senior Labor frontbencher, and became the party’s deputy leader after the 1998 election. Following Kim Beazley’s defeat at the 2001 election, Crean was elected Leader of the Opposition.

Crean’s leadership was fraught, and he resigned from the leadership in late 2003 without leading the party to an election. He continued to serve in a senior frontbench role, and was appointed Minister for Trade after the election of the Rudd government in 2007.

Crean took on Education Minister when Gillard became Prime Minister in June 2010, and after the 2010 election shifted to take on Arts, Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government.

Simon Crean was sacked as a minister in March 2013 after calling for a leadership spill and calling on Kevin Rudd to challenge Gillard’s leadership. This is the first time in 23 years in Parliament that Crean has not held a frontbench position.

Simon Crean retired in 2013, and was succeeded by Clare O’Neil. O’Neil was re-elected in 2016.


Hotham is a marginal seat, but would likely only come into play if there was a swing against Labor, which seems unlikely at the moment.

2016 result

Clare O’Neil Labor 39,88145.8-1.443.1
George Hua Liberal 32,51237.3+0.240.3
James Bennett Greens 8,0429.2+0.79.1
Helen Ann JegesAnimal Justice2,5933.0+3.02.5
Tatiana RathboneFamily First2,1062.4+0.32.6
Peter VassiliouRise Up Australia2,0302.3+0.71.6

2016 two-party-preferred result

Clare O’Neil Labor 50,10457.5+0.254.2
George Hua Liberal 37,06042.5-0.245.8

Booth breakdown

Polling places in Hotham have been divided into three parts: east, north-west and south-west.

Labor won a majority of the two-party-preferred in two areas: 54.6% in the north-west and 61.2% in the south-west. The Liberal Party polled 50.7% in the east.

Voter groupALP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes51.917,74818.9

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

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  1. Easy ALP hold, but one to watch for 2022. Clare O’Neil is a “rising star” in Labor but Hotham isn’t a safe Labor seat on these boundaries. She has never lived in the electorate.

    Would like more info on how well she does as a local member.

  2. Agree, Labor hold. If there’s another Vic redistribution between 2019 and 2022 as expected, that could have a(nother) big impact on this seat. It’s a pretty weird boundary at the moment…

  3. PJ, yes it’s a bit of an odd mix with these boundaries. They united Oakleigh and Clayton, which made enormous sense, but it’s not got some odd appendages that would probably be better off in neighbouring seats.

    I agree that it will be fascinating at the next redistribution, as it’s one of those seats that will probably get bumped around get a bit. Even a fairly small movement north or south could have a big impact on the margin.

  4. My local member.

    Never seen her, in the last five years had two generic flyers. Zero comments in local media.

    To be honest i don’t like her chances, you look at the 2010 archive you see a lot of the residual booths in Hotham’s western end of the electorate have put in a 10% swing to the Libs over the decade. I can’t think of another part of Victoria where that’s happened. for example, My local booth, Bentleigh Central, has gone 56% lib it was 53% ALP back in 2010. And the libs have put zero effort here.

    Current trends on urban infill and planning permits means i would expect Mcnamara and Higgins to be over quota at the next redistrubution. The drift we’ve seen in Cooper and Wills towards the CBD will start in the SE and I think Hotham will slide up the Dandenong rail line as to align itself along Tucker/Kooyong Road in the west (moving into Malvern East and Murrumbeena) and exit City of greater Dandenong in the east (out of Springvale).

    So, you hit on the nail John. ALP to win in 2019, 2022 or an earlier redistribution to decide it.

    But no Clare has no personal vote to rely on. Most people people around here wouldn’t know who she is.

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