Richmond – Victoria 2018

ALP 1.9% vs GRN

Incumbent MP
Richard Wynne, since 1999.

Inner Melbourne. Richmond covers most of the City of Yarra, covering the suburbs of Abbotsford, Burnley, Clifton Hill, Collingwood, Fitzroy, Richmond and parts of Fitzroy North.

Richmond was first created as a two-member district in the first Victorian Legislative Assembly in 1856. Both seats were held by unaligned members until 1889, when one of the two seats was won by the ALP.

In 1904, Richmond became a single-member district. It was first won by unaligned member George Bennett, who had been one of the two members for Richmond since 1889.

In 1908, the ALP’s Edmond Cotter won Richmond. He held it continuously from 1908 until 1945. In 1945, Richmond was won by Stan Keon, who left in 1949 to take the federal electorate of Yarra. He went on to be expelled from the Labor Party in 1955 and helped found the Democratic Labor Party.

In 1949, Richmond was won by Frank Scully, also of the ALP. He served as an assistant minister in the Cain government until 1955, when he left the ALP as part of the split that saw the creation of the Democratic Labor Party. He won re-election in Richmond in 1955 and became leader of the DLP in the Victorian Parliament from 1955 to 1958, when he lost the seat to the ALP’s Bill Towers. The ALP has held the seat ever since.

Towers held the seat until 1962, when he was succeeded by Clyde Holding. Holding became leader of the Victorian ALP from 1967, losing the 1970, 1973 and 1976 elections. In 1977 he moved to the federal seat of Melbourne Ports, and served as a minister in the Hawke government, and retired in 1998.

Richmond was held from 1977 to 1988 by Theo Sidiropoulos, and was won in 1988 by Demetri Dollis. In 1999, Dollis was disendorsed by Labor leader Steve Bracks, and was replaced by former Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Richard Wynne.

Wynne served in a variety of frontbench roles in the Bracks and Brumby governments.

Wynne faced serious challenges for his seat in 2002, 2006 and 2010 by the Greens. In 2010, Wynne’s primary vote dropped by 9%, and would have likely lost the seat to the Greens barring a decision by the Liberal Party to preference Labor over the Greens. Wynne suffered a further swing in 2014, but managed to win a fifth term.


Richmond will be fiercely contested. Richmond is now surrounded by Greens seats on three sides, and the margin of 1.9% is anything but safe. The Greens will be buoyed by the 2017 Northcote by-election swing, but the recent result in Batman is a reminder that a swing to the Greens is not inevitable.

2014 result

Richard Wynne Labor 13,34933.3-3.9
Kathleen Maltzahn Greens 12,61531.5+2.9
Weiran Lu Liberal 8,30820.7-2.0
Stephen JollyIndependent3,4078.5-0.2
Nevena SpirovskaSex Party1,3363.3+0.5
Miranda SmithAnimal Justice5781.4+1.4
Sarah KnightFamily First3170.8+0.8
Tom KeelIndependent1920.5+0.5

2014 two-candidate-preferred result

Richard Wynne Labor 20,79851.9-4.5
Kathleen Maltzahn Greens 19,30448.1+4.5

2014 two-party-preferred result

Richard Wynne Labor 29,30373.1+2.7
Weiran Lu Liberal 10,79926.9-2.7

Booth breakdown

Booths in Richmond have been divided into three parts: central, north and south.

Labor won a large 58% two-candidate-preferred majority in the south, while the Greens won smaller majorities of around 51-53% in the centre and north.

The Liberal Party came third, with a vote ranging from 12.6% in the centre to 26.6% in the south.

Voter groupLIB prim %ALP 2CP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes22.446.97,92119.8

Election results in Richmond at the 2014 Victorian state election
Toggle between two-candidate-preferred votes and Liberal primary votes.

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  1. Maltzahn has been a very controversial candidate choice, to the point that a sizable portion of rank and file Greens say that they won’t support her. Do you reckon this unpopularity factor might have something to do with Richmond staying (closely) Labor, especially given that Bandt dominated nearly all the booths in the area in 2016?

  2. If anyone other than Kathleen Malzahn was standing as the Greens candidate, almost anyone, I’d chalk this up as an almost certain Greens gain. She simply does not have the wide appeal and her controversial social views don’t appeal in a progressive electorate such as this. In light of this, and the fact that there is significantly more high profile opposition to her than in the past, I predict this will be retained by Labor.

    Over the last two Federal Elections, Adam Bandt won every single polling place in this area. At the 2014 State Election, Malzahn lost most of them – I suspect a lot of those who voted Greens at the 2013 Federal Election lodged a protest vote against Malztahn by voting for the Sex Party and Stephen Jolly in 2014, before returning to the fold at the 2016 Federal Election and I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a large protest vote against the Greens again in 2018. It boggles the mind that they’d continue to shoot themselves in the foot like this.

  3. Another seat where you wonder if the rising Green tide will finally reach the threshold. Incumbency may be the one thing that saves Richmond for Labor.

  4. Does anyone know if the Libs are going to stand here? The libs have selected candidates for strong ALP seats like Footscray, Kororoit and melton (for example) but nothing for here and Brunswick and nominations close in little over three week.

  5. I think Batman 2018 proved that the Greens can’t just sail in with demographic change; both the Labor and Greens candidate choice matters.

    This is why, despite great showings in Melbourne 2016 (aside from Ascot Vale, Richmond was arguably the least strong Greens area in the electorate) the Greens performed relatively poorly in 2014. Many in the Greens are unhappy about the choice, and would prefer that a more progressive candidate would run. I imagine that many will vote Greens for the Upper House but vote Labor in the Lower, either directly or through a minor party preference.

  6. Sandbelter – I don’t believe so. Sitting out of marginal ALP v Greens contests like Northcote, Brunswick & Richmond (which is seen to help the Greens) is a tactical move to force the ALP to put more resources into contesting those seats, resources which could otherwise be used in marginal ALP v LIB seats.

    Safe ALP seats like Footscray, Melton & Kororoit don’t have that tactical reason to sit out of because the ALP don’t have a legitimate threat from either side to have to spend much protecting themselves from.

  7. Kathleen Maltzen is one of the behind the scenes string pullers. She is also, according to Fiona Patton, leader of sex/reason party, why that party hates the greens.
    Some comment she made about brothels in europe.

    So a couple of the best Greens are kicked out because they disagree with Kathleen, and many of the rest of us follow.

    Her and her friends were the reason for the so called bully claims in Batman as well.

  8. I have no idea why they keep preselecting her given all the alienation that happens. Reason Party preferences alone will hurt the Greens in the Legislative council.

    She may be all kinds of great and I believe her when she says she’ll vote for decriminalisation, but she has spent her life advocating for a policy that is in direct opposition to Greens policy. It would be like a former mining or banking Industry lobbyist running for the Greens. When there’s a gap that big in your CV, surely there are better people to run in one of your most winnable seats.

  9. She is definitely a drag on the Green ticket but I think Kathleen Maltzahn is still the favourite to win. Despite the Sex Party’s hatred of Maltzahn the Sex Party primary vote has been fairly low and the preference flow to Maltzahn surprisingly high, implying that the sex-work policy issue surrounding this candidate gets considerably more pundit attention than the electorate gives it. The largest effect is probably to diminish Green volunteer engagement for Maltzahn’s campaigns specifically which would explain why the vote has stagnated here at state level but not federal or local elections or in similar/neighbouring areas, squeezing those last few votes out the the electorate takes a lot of work that seems to be missing.

    Nevertheless she only has herself to blame for being opposed or at least in a grey area about a Greens policy for so long, although her statement in this campaign might be strong enough to erase doubts:

    “If I am elected to state parliament, I will vote in keeping with Victorian Greens policy, and will vote against the Nordic model, including if the Liberal Party introduces it. I will not abstain from the vote. Their agenda is anti-women and I have spent my career fighting for women’s rights.”

    If she loses she shouldn’t be the candidate again. On the flip side if she does get elected and votes against a Nordic model bill in parliament she’d be vindicate.

  10. Labor hold because of the Candidate (The Greens Candidate) And the latest Newspoll has Labor 54-46 if there is a primary vote swing to Labor here i don’t think this seat can fall to the Greens, If Bernadi’s Conservatives have a candidate here it will be over for The Greens, Bernadi would never advise his party to Preference The Greens over the Labor party, Just look at the Batman Preference deals when the Greens did worse and the Labor vote was up

  11. Bennee, I believe Maltzahn. I also think the evidence base has developed against the Nordic Model over time and opposition in 2018 could come from a genuine place; genuine enough that when it comes to the vote I trust her to follow party policy.

    I also don’t completely trust the likes of Vixen Collective, especially after seeing them post “what about other industries with exploited foreign workers?” in response to a tweet about human trafficking.

    However the single issue campaigning against her is going strong, following her around like a bad smell, and the worst part is that the Greens don’t seem to be able to respond to it effectively. They have called the police on protesters and shut them out, while more skilled politicians would figure out how to hear them out, especially when they’re likely in agreement on 90-100% of Greens policies.

    There definitely seems to be a large enthusiasm and goodwill gap.

    The Greens should be seen as dead certs, especially since Richard Wynne is at the centre of two of the Greens major campaign issues (planning and coal). However they don’t have a planner or an environmental scientist running in Richmond. They have someone who spent most of her adult life running an organisation that she can’t really talk about.

    Reason were total duds at the Northcote byelection, Jolly is running in the upper house, and there’s every chance the Liberals won’t run – that’s why I wouldn’t rule Maltzahn out, but commentators are right to put Richmond as far less likely than Brunswick.

  12. John – the libs appear to be standing but apparently running an open ticket. That’s code to a liberal voter “they’re as bad as as each other” .

    Since lib voters will decide this seat (and Brunswick) the big big thing for the Greens that will attract Liberal voters are: 1) they don’t break contracts; and, 2) they are not beholden to their union sponsors but to their members and voters. It will be interesting to see if they can attract these voters….as to move beyond their inner city ghettos they will have to move out of their progressive agenda and build alliances with voters who don’t necessarily share them.

  13. Very interesting factors at play here. It is still yet to be confirmed which of the 5 inner-city seats the Liberals will run in but an open ticket is looking pretty firm. It would be very tempting for the liberals to let labor get swamped in Brunswick (likely) and possibly Richmond – but they have to also have to think of their upper house votes.

    Sandbelter, I disagree that swinging voters/Greens voters would contemplate a Liberal vote due to Labor + union forces as the VicLiberals are seen to be just as beholden to their new religious/far right party stackers. Also, the religion in public schools policy would not be appealing to any inner-city, educated voter. The only angle the Liberals have in Richmond is the anti- safe injecting room one.

    Whether the Liberals run in these 5 seats will affect the results, however the open ticket option may diminish this effect and Labor have said they are campaigning as if there will be no Liberal candidate. Time will tell.

  14. HI Major Tom,
    Sorry I must have been confusing. I agree completely about what you’ve said, I don’t think Greens will ever vote liberal over the ALP and I think best the libs can hope for is that under an OPV arraignment that their preference extinguish. I also agree that libs tie themselves up in knots over religion when people have very reasons to stay away from religion, and also most Australian have a healthy suspicion of bosses in general.

    The point i was trying to make is that not always will the deciding voters be to the left of the spectum. In the inner city five and it appears also Preston and Pascoe Vale, it is the liberals preferences split that will decide the outcome, and who ever attracts these wins completely.

    I was trying to says to win theses seats the Greens are going have to find common ground with liberal voters to gain their preferences flow. To me the two points an which the liberals and Greens are aligned (from a liberal perspective) namely: 1) they (the Greens) don’t break contracts; and, 2) they (the Greens) are not beholden to union sponsors (or business for that matter) but to their members and voters.

  15. Latest YouGov Galaxy poll of this seat has Labor at 49% primary and 54% 2PP. I think this will be a Labor hold, even with the Liberals sitting out.

  16. With no Liberal candidate to supply Labor with preferences and no Socialist candidate to take Green primary votes, despite her obvious baggage, Maltazhn goes inot the final week as favourites for me.

  17. Labor are now running ads specifically targeting the Greens, and apparently trying to paint them as sexist: “Allegations of bullying and harassment of female members…..”, “are they really as progressive as they claim when they treat women like this….”, etc.

    (Although the Jane Garrett issue blowing up again has probably neutralised this line of attack)

  18. While I am not an legal psychotropic drug user (I dont even smoke tobacco) however I dont really care one way or the other about drug users but I really hate drug dealer scum. The drug Mr Big’s should be executed perhaps at a youth events like the St Kilda Festival on the music stage in between acts. I dont know why the Liberals are proposing closing the drug injection room as it does not add up politically. It is in a non Liberal area were the ALP and Greens will be fighting it out at the election.

  19. It’s all the more ironic that they are announcing a policy that pretty much only impacts the one electorate they decided to not even run in.

    Obviously they don’t have a chance there anyway but if they feel so strongly against the injecting room, field a candidate to campaign against it. Don’t vacate the field and crusade from a distance against something that’s clearly supported locally.

    It’s like Guy is trying to turn away the remaining inner city Liberal voters. Can’t imagine it will be a vote winner across the river in Prahran.

  20. Trent – Mathew Guy is a light weight leader like Morrison. The ALP will win in Victoria unless there is a 1999 Kennett style upset. Andrews reminds me of Kennett as they both got things done when Premiers.

  21. Off topic, But could anyone link me to the TV Sky news Forum debate Andrews and Guy participated last night in Frankston? Cheers


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