South Barwon – VIC 2018

LIB 2.9%

Incumbent MP
Andrew Katos, since 2010.

Western Victoria. South Barwon covers areas to the south of Geelong, including the southern suburbs of Geelong, Torquay, Bellbrae, Moriac and Mount Duneed. A majority of the voters live in the City of Greater Geelong, and the electorate also covers eastern parts of Surf Coast Shire.

South Barwon was created for the 1976 election. The seat was held by the Liberal Party from 1976 until 2002, when the ALP won the seat.

South Barwon was first won in 1976 by the Liberal Party’s Aurel Smith. He had previously won the seat of Bellarine when it was created in 1967 and held it until it was abolished in 1976. He held South Barwon until his retirement in 1982.

The Liberal Party’s Harley Dickinson won South Barwon in 1982. He held the seat until 1992. In 1992 he resigned from the Liberal Party to contest South Barwon as an independent, but lost the seat to the Liberal candidate, Alister Paterson.

Paterson was re-elected in 1996 and 1999, but in 2002 he lost to former Geelong mayor Michael Crutchfield. South Barwon’s demographics had changed as Geelong had grown, and become a marginal seat. Crutchfield was re-elected in 2006.

In 2010, Labor MP Michael Crutchfield was defeated by Liberal candidate Andrew Katos. Katos was re-elected in 2014.


South Barwon is a very marginal Liberal seat, and could be vulnerable if Labor gains a statewide swing.

2014 result

Andrew Katos Liberal 18,86946.3-1.2
Andy Richards Labor 13,61833.4-2.1
Lisa Ashdowne Greens 5,02312.3+3.2
Nick WallisSex Party8062.0+2.0
Jamie OverendAnimal Justice7781.9+1.9
Steven ThompsonFamily First7691.90.0
Kevin ButlerDemocratic Labour Party4721.20.0
Stephen CharaCountry Alliance4591.1-0.1

2014 two-party-preferred result

Andrew Katos Liberal 21,56352.9-2.0
Andy Richards Labor 19,23147.1+2.0

Booth breakdown

Booths in South Barwon have been divided into three areas.

A majority of voters live in the Geelong urban area, and these voters were split into Grovedale and Highton. The remainder of the electorate has been grouped as “South”.

The Liberal Party won a large 57.5% majority in Highton, while Labor won smaller majorities in the south (50.8%) and Grovedale (54.8%).

The Greens vote ranged from 9% in Grovedale to 19.6% in the south.

Voter groupGRN prim %LIB 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes13.354.66,52916.0

Election results in South Barwon at the 2014 Victorian state election
Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and Greens primary votes.

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  1. While at first glance I tend to think this is a Lib hold, there has been substantial housing growth near Waurn Ponds and a new residential area just North of Torquay, mostly of the student or young family demographic (WP) and the commuter/sunchaser variety (nearer Torquay), all of which may benefit Labor.

    Labor is also running the former federal member, Darren Cheeseman, who presumably has a strong local profile and his running would indicate they think they can win it.

    Perhaps a roughie for election night.

  2. Can confirm that this is definitely a top-tier target for Labor, who will be aiming to gain this seat to offset any potential losses to the Greens in inner Melbourne.

    Indeed, if anyone can gain this seat, Darren Cheeseman is someone who can. He certainly has a history of scraping across the line against the odds (Corangamite 2010 comes to mind).

  3. I disagree, whilst demographic changes have been favourable to Labor, Andrew Katos has a strong following and would be the favourite to be returned.

    Labor’s Darren Cheeseman moved away from Geelong and only moved back to contest South Barwon. Prediction – fairly strong swing to Katos here.

  4. Who would’ve thought that “PJ” and “PRP” are arguing on ideological grounds rather than debating the actual politics.

    “No you’re wrong”
    “No you’re wrong”

  5. Live in this electorate and ordinarily a labor voter but will find it very difficult to vote for Cheeseman against Katos who actually lives in the area. Didn’t see Cheeseman doing much as a federal MP and can’t see him doing much in the state role either. Very unfortunate choice, would’ve voted labor for anyone but him. Should’ve selected Alison Marchant, at least she lives around here.

  6. This should have been an easy gain for Labor. The sitting member has been ineffective and the electorate is becoming increasingly progressive. Labor unfortunately chose to preselect a former MP, who was equally ineffective. Labor needs to learn that to comfortably win progressive seats like South Barwon they need to preselect progressive candidates with a high local profile. The Greens’ Marian Smedley and independent Damien Cole will both have a good showing here, with their preferences ensuring Labor gets over the line. Cheeseman should not take the growing progressive vote in South Barwon for granted. He will need to take a stand on progressive issues – over-development on the coast, public transport to Geelong’s south and Torquay, climate change, renewable energy, refugees and coastal pollution if he is to fight off a future challenge by a strong independent or Green candidate.

  7. There’s also a division between the beach and the towns to consider. Highton / Grovedale (and other 3216 areas) won’t be as strong for the candidates who live at the beach, and vice versa. The local issues are too diverse for a candidate to have a focused and cogent campaign narrative. The electorate would make more sense if it was all of one or the other. i.e. The beach deserve their own member and so do the townies, (who are 20-30 kilometres apart). On balance it’s Andrew Katos for the win but he needs to be seen as local and not be too much associated with Matthew Guy.

  8. Have been told Damien Cole may be a wildcard independent, at least around Torquay and Jan Juc. Campaigning on overdevelopment of Surf Coast towns. His preferences will go to Labor (at #5 on his htvc, but Libs are #7), might make a few % difference.

  9. @Daniel – This seat, while trending Labor, has tended to be more Liberal than not, and Labor won it in 2002 and 2006. With a Liberal incumbent (and Cheeseman only moving back to contest this), I’d favor Katos holding.


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