Bass – Victoria 2018

LIB 4.6%

Incumbent MP
Brian Paynter, since 2014.

Eastern Victoria. Bass covers regional areas to the southeast of Melbourne, including areas on the eastern side of Western Port. Bass covers Bass Coast Shire, southern parts of Cardinia Shire, and a small part of the City of Casey. It stretches from outer suburban Pakenham to the rural towns of Lang Lang and Wonthaggi and the coastal tourist centres of Phillip Island and Inverloch.

Bass was created at the 2002 election, replacing the former seat of Gippsland West.

Gippsland West had been held by Kennett government minister Alan Brown from 1992 until late 1996, when he resigned to serve as Victoria’s Agent General.

The 1997 by-election was won by Susan Davies, an independent candidate who had previously been a member of the ALP. Davies supported the new Bracks minority government.

Davies contested the notional Liberal seat of Bass in 2002, as did Liberal MLC Ken Smith, whose South-Eastern province had been abolished in the redistribution.

Davies polled 21.8%, falling into third place, and Smith held the seat with a slim 0.6% margin. Smith increased his margin to 5.5% in 2006, and further again to 12.6% in 2010.

Ken Smith was elected Speaker of the Legislative Assembly following the 2010 election. Smith’s Speakership was difficult in a chamber governed by a very slim coalition majority, and his position was constantly challenged by the Labor opposition. He resigned as Speaker in early 2014 after coming into conflict with rebel Liberal MP Geoff Shaw.

Smith retired at the 2014 election, and was succeeded by Liberal candidate Brian Paynter.


Bass is a marginal Liberal seat, but Labor would be doing quite well if they won here.

2014 result

Brian Paynter Liberal 18,00845.3-10.2
Sanjay Nathan Labor 11,65929.4+0.6
Clare Le ServeIndependent4,28910.8+10.8
Ross Fairhurst Greens 3,6139.1-2.6
David AmorCountry Alliance9692.4-0.9
Paul ReidAustralian Christians6511.6+1.6
Angela DorianRise Up Australia5241.3+1.3

2014 two-party-preferred result

Brian Paynter Liberal 21,66454.6-7.8
Sanjay Nathan Labor 18,04945.4+7.8

Booth breakdown

Booths in Bass have been divided into three parts. Those polling places around the Pakenham area have been grouped together, while the remainder of the electorate has been split into central and south.

The Liberal Party won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all three areas, ranging from 51.1% in the south to 62.7% in the centre.

Primary votes for independent candidate Clare Le Serve ranged from 4.6% in Pakenham to 16.1% in the south.

Voter groupIND prim %LIB 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes7.257.05,27813.3

Election results in Bass at the 2014 Victorian state election
Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and primary votes for independent candidate Clare Le Serve.

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  1. Susan Davies wasn’t an independent in anything but name, she was for all practical purposes a Labor MP.

    Leading up to 2002, there were reports that Labor had invited her to officially re-join the party as the Labor candidate. I assume she refused because she felt ‘Independent’ would go down better in a conservative seat, but unfortunately for her, Labor did so spectacularly well in 2002 that they finished second in Bass despite themselves.

    Had she simply stood as Labor candidate, she almost certainly would have won.

  2. Bass has a smaller margin than many of those swingy eastern suburbs seats, so it must be theoretically winnable for the Andrews government.

    I had wondered if the smallish margin was down to the inclusion of Pakenham; but its booths are only slightly less Liberal leaning than the seat as a whole.

  3. At the moment, I’d rate this Likely LIB retain, but if Labor gets some wind in its sails, that could change

  4. This should be a Liberal retain, quite easily. An independent ran last time who polled quite strongly, which saw an above average swing against the Liberals, making this seat look more marginal than it actually is.

    There will surely be a correction in the margin if there is no reasonably high profile independent challenger this time around but even then, something pretty spectacular would have to happen for the seat to change hands.

  5. Whilst this seat leans Lib it is conceivable that Labor could snatch it in the future.
    Pakenham is growing fast and can be quite swingy at times, the areas in the seat in Casey LGA are growing extremely fast and saw a rather big swing in the electorates of Holt and LaTrobe.
    As well Wonthaggi has historically been Labor leaning due to its time as a coal mining town.
    This has probably slipped beyond Labor this coming election but it definitely has the potential to be a swing seat.

  6. It must be remembered that Ken Smith the former member retired in 2014 so the current member would get some sophomore surge this time.

    Bass will also change substantially at the next redistribution as it is 20% plus over quota – presumably due to growth around Pakenham.

  7. Unions, Labor & Libs are all doorknocking, Brian is personally likeable, so I imagine he’ll hold it for the Liberals, with incumbency helping him, but Jordan Crugnale will be receiving a big primary swing, I imagine LIB 52-48 ALP

  8. I believe this will actuslly be a Labor gain because of Pakenham. In the 2016 Federal election the booths in Pakenham all experienced 7-12% swings to Labor, well above the state average, and every booth was won by Labor. Area also experiencing a lot of growth.

  9. Liberal Hold, This is near Flinders a Reasonably Liberal Leaning seat, Labor can only win if they win a landslide

  10. *Correction* Looking at the results in Flinders 2016 (This seat was in Flinders in 2016) There just won’t be a way Labor can win this unless they win areas like Inverloch, Its possible but an uphill task

  11. In 2014, Clair le Serve was a local councillor running against the development of the port of Hastings. Her vote was concentrated very much in the south of the elctorate. This issue is now largely off the table so the Lib margin may not be as small if a lot of those votes go back to them.

  12. Labor seems to be going hard, signs everywhere. Liberals also have a lot of signs up.

    Seems the indy is preferencing Labor – coudl be crucial.


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