Gippsland South by-election, 2015

March 14, 2015

Cause of by-election
Former Nationals leader and Deputy Premier Peter Ryan resigned on 2 February 2015.

Margin – NAT 15.7%

Geography
Southeastern Victoria. The seat covers South Gippsland Shire and southern parts of Wellington Shire, and covers the towns of Foster, Korumburra, Leongatha, Mirboo North, Port Albert, Port Welshpool, Rosedale, Sale, Venus Bay and Yarram.

History
Gippsland South has existed continuously as a Legislative Assembly district since 1859. Apart from one term in the 1970s, the seat has been held by the Country/National Party continuously since 1929.

The seat was won in a 1922 by-election by Nationalist candidate Walter West. He lost his seat in 1927 to independent Henry Bodman, who died seven months after winning the seat. In the ensuing by-election, West regained his seat.

In 1929, West lost to the Country Party’s Herbert Hyland in 1929. He served as a minister in a number of governments from 1936 to 1952. In 1955 he was elected Leader of the Country Party. He served in this role until 1964, and held his seat until his death in 1970.

Gippsland South was won in 1970 by the Liberal Party’s James Taylor. He held the seat for one term before losing in 1973. He later served a term as an MLC for Gippsland province from 1976 to 1982.

The seat was won in 1973 by Neil McInnes of the Country Party. He switched to the Liberal Party in 1980, and lost his seat at the next election in 1982.

Tom Wallace won the seat in 1982 and held it until his retirement in 1992.

Peter Ryan won the seat in 1992. He remained a backbencher for the extent of the Kennett government, but he was elected Leader of the National Party after the 1999 election, and immediately moved to end the coalition agreement with the Liberal Party. Ryan led the Nationals at the 2002 and 2006 elections, and in 2008 restored the Liberal-National coalition.

In 2010, the Liberal-National coalition won power in Victoria. Ryan served as Deputy Premier in the Baillieu and Napthine governments, as well as serving in a variety of portfolios. Peter Ryan stepped down as Nationals leader shortly after the Coalition lost power at the 2014 election, and resigned from Parliament in February 2015.

Candidates

Assessment
While the Nationals are the favourite to win, the Liberal Party are challenging for the seat, and it’s hard to predict how these two parties will fare, considering how rarely we see Liberal/National contests.

2014 result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Peter RyanNationals20,46857.3-6.6
Lynn PsailaLabor7,81921.9+3.0
Ian OnleyGreens3,4369.6-0.3
Deb MeesterCountry Alliance1,8535.2-2.2
Phil PiperIndependent1,0933.1+3.1
Patrick WintertonRise Up Australia1,0763.0+3.0

2014 two-party-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Peter RyanNationals23,50365.7-6.9
Lynn PsailaLabor12,28934.3+6.9
Polling places in Gippsland South at the 2011 NSW state election. East in blue, North East in red, South in yellow, West in green. Click to enlarge.

Polling places in Gippsland South at the 2011 NSW state election. East in blue, North East in red, South in yellow, West in green. Click to enlarge.

Booth breakdown
Booths in Gippsland South have been divided into four areas: east, north-east, south and west. East and North-East are contained within Wellington Shire, while South and West are in South Gippsland Shire.

The Nationals two-party-preferred vote ranged from 60.5% in the south to 72.2% in the east.

The Greens vote ranged from 6.9% in the east to 16.7% in the south.

Voter groupNAT 2PP %GRN %Total votes% of votes
West65.410.09,06925.4
North East67.37.67,22220.2
South60.516.73,5139.8
East72.26.92,9628.3
Other vtes64.99.112,97936.3
Two-party-preferred votes in Gippsland South at the 2011 NSW state election.

Two-party-preferred votes in Gippsland South at the 2011 NSW state election.

Greens primary votes in Gippsland South at the 2011 NSW state election.

Greens primary votes in Gippsland South at the 2011 NSW state election.

 

About the Author

Ben Raue is the founder and author of the Tally Room.

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