Nicholls – Australia 2019

NAT 22.2%

Incumbent MP
Damian Drum, member for Nicholls since 2016.

North-western Victoria. Murray covers all of Greater Shepparton, Moira and Campaspe council areas and parts of Strathbogie and Mitchell council areas. The largest towns in Murray are Shepparton and Echuca.

Nicholls is a new name for the seat of Murray. The seat shifted to the east, losing the Loddon area to Mallee, and also lost Euroa and Violet Town to Indi. Nicholls gained Puckapunyal and Seymour from McEwen, and a small area from Indi. This change reduced the two-party-preferred margin from 24.9% to 22.2%.

Murray was created at the 1949 election. It has always been held by Coalition parties. It was held by the Country Party and National Party until 1996, when it was won by the Liberal Party.

The seat was first won in 1949 by the Country Party’s John McEwen. McEwen had previously held Echuca from 1934 until it was abolished in 1937, and then held Indi from 1937 until 1949.

He served as a minister in the Coalition government from 1937 to 1941. He then became a minister in the Menzies government in 1949. McEwen became Country Party leader in 1958.

When Robert Menzies retired in 1966 McEwen became the most senior figure in the government, with tremendous influence over the Country Party’s larger ally, the Liberal Party.

When Prime Minister Harold Holt disappeared in late 1967, McEwen briefly served as Acting Prime Minister, and he vetoed the choice of the Treasurer, William McMahon, leading to Senator John Gorton moving to the House of Representatives and becoming Prime Minister. McEwen retired from Murray in 1971.

The 1971 by-election was won by Bruce Lloyd, also of the Country Party. Lloyd served as deputy leader of the National Party from 1987 to 1993, and retired in 1996.

At the 1996 election, the Liberal Party stood Sharman Stone, and the Nationals stood John Walker. The ALP candidate was pushed into third place, with Stone polling 43% of the primary vote, and winning on preferences.

Stone held Murray for twenty years, winning the seat seven times before retiring in 2016.

The Nationals’ Damian Drum ran for Murray in 2016 against Liberal candidate Duncan McGauchie. Drum was elected with a margin of 5.1% against the Liberal Party.


  • Damian Drum (Nationals)
  • Jeremy Parker (Independent)
  • Andrew Bock (Independent)
  • Stewart John Hine (United Australia)
  • Bill Lodwick (Labor)
  • Nickee Freeman (Greens)
  • Rikkie-Lee Tyrrell (One Nation)
  • Nigel Hicks (Independent)
  • Assessment
    In the absence of a Liberal challenger, this seat is extremely safe for the Nationals.

    2016 result

    Damian Drum Nationals 31,10535.3+35.332.7
    Duncan Mcgauchie Liberal 28,19432.0-29.431.9
    Alan John Williams Labor 13,18815.0-5.817.1
    Ian Christoe Greens 3,8804.4+0.54.4
    Robert DanieliAustralian Country Party3,5564.0+4.03.9
    Fern SummerIndependent3,3233.8+3.83.5
    Andrew BockIndependent1,4671.7+1.71.4
    Yasmin GunasekeraRise Up Australia1,1951.4+0.71.4
    Diane TeasdaleIndependent1,0371.2+1.21.0
    Nigel HicksIndependent8441.0+1.01.6
    Jeff DavyCitizens Electoral Council2270.3-0.10.2

    2016 two-candidate-preferred result

    Damian Drum Nationals 48,52755.1
    Duncan Mcgauchie Liberal 39,48944.9

    2016 two-party-preferred result

    Duncan McGauchie Liberal 65,92074.9+4.072.2
    Alan John Williams Labor 22,09625.1-4.027.8

    Booth breakdown

    Booths have been divided into four areas. Polling places in the Campaspe, Greater Shepparton and Moira council areas have been grouped along council lines. The remaining area have been grouped as ‘south’.

    The two-party-preferred vote for the coalition ranged from 55% in the south to 77.8% in Campaspe.

    Voter groupNAT 2PP %Total votes% of votes
    Greater Shepparton74.521,93424.3
    Other votes67.810,71211.9

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

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    1. I believe the margin is overinflated due to 2016 having both a Lib and Nat running and taking votes. I’m expecting a correction with only one coalition candidate running, but the margin will still be around 15%

    2. Lachlan
      Interesting theory. Have you taken into consideration the Sophomore surge from around 20,000 new voters ?

      I’m wondering how Nichols might be squeezed in the next redistribution ? Will Campaspe go to Bendigo,will there be another exchange between Indi, & Nichols ?.Will there be another push into McEwen ?

      Thank christ we are rid of that idiot Sharman Stone . Hallelujah

    3. John, the reason people were suggesting that were mostly the same reasons as 2010, the population growth (or lack thereof) in the northern divisions is making it really difficult to keep 3 seats on the VIC/NSW border without major changes, or the sort of funnel shape division that is now Nichols.

      Nichols is destined to be either abolished, or squeezed even more to take the northern border off the Murray, but I would have no clue when either could occur.

    4. Also, I forgot to add this to the comment above, Nichols won’t be changed in the next redistribution as it will still be in the tolerances, albeit falling in population.

      That is unless Victoria gains a 39th seat, which is a real possibility.

    5. I really hope a Senate expansion is moved in the next parliament for various reasons well teased out in other threads.

      Vic would expand by 6 seats in the lower house and it seems like most seats in Vic could benefit from being a little smaller.

    6. It’s pretty unlikely that you could fit Shepparton into either Indi or Mallee. Nicholls will stay on the map, even if its reshaped from a northern Victorian seat into central Victorian seat. (It’s almost like they dropped the name Murray in preparation for this.)

    7. McEwen would most likely expand northwards to include Shepparton. This was the AEC’s plan in 2010 before they received hundreds of objections to the plan.

    8. If you were re-implementing the abandoned 2010 proposal now, you’d call that seat Nicholls. McEwen would be the Macedon Ranges seat they called Burke.

    9. Mick, Nats wouldn’t allow a Lib to run, coalition agreement prevents it.

      Drum will win easily, but I suspect the margin will be quite a bit smaller

    10. The agreement doesn’t prevent it, it doesn’t stop them from running in Open seat’s. There is no agreement that either party cannot run against Incumbent member’s Unless you have a source Lachlan? Even if the agreement ended there is no way the National’s would support a Labor goverment, they would likely give supply to the liberal’s

    11. Hi Daniel

      Liberal’s ruled out running, evening though they have the loophole of it technically being a new seat. Their reasoning; the redistribution was minimal and to run would go against the spirit of the Coalition agreement.

    12. Interesting logic Myles given that one could say the same Benalla becoming Euroa yet the Libs still forced a 3-cornered contest there.

      Damian Dumb being able to become an MP in both state and federal politics is a shocking indictment of Aussie politics – the man is thicker than two planks.

    13. And he’ll still probably get 62-65% 2PP unfortunately
      I reckon Shepp swings to being a more 60/40 nat situation, but the swings in the non-Mitchell shire area will probably go to the nats and pad their margin a little bit.

    14. See what happens at the candidate forums. Damian Drum has refused to show up to the two that were organised by one of the Independents.

    15. True Liberal candidate this time is Jeremy Parker. Only candidate that cares about water and dealing with drug crime.


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