Cooper – Australia 2019

ALP 0.6% vs GRN

Incumbent MP
Ged Kearney, since 2018.

Cooper covers parts of the inner north of Melbourne. Batman covers all of the City of Darebin as well as parts of Yarra and Whittlesea. Cooper covers the suburbs of Fairfield, Northcote, Thornbury, Preston, Reservoir and Kingsbury.

Cooper is a new name for the seat of Batman. Cooper lost the strip of territory in Whittlesea council at the northern end of the seat, including parts of Bundoora, while the seat spilled over into Moreland council area (taking in parts of Coburg North) and lost a small area to the seat of Melbourne. These changes reduced Labor’s margin from 1.0% to 0.6%.

Batman was a long-standing Melbourne electorate, and for most of its history it has been held by Labor MPs.

The seat was first won in 1906 by Protectionist candidate Jabez Coon. Coon held the seat for only one term before losing it to Labor candidate Henry Beard in 1910. Beard was a former Labor state MP, and died only months after his election to the House of Representatives.

The ensuing by-election in 1911 was won by the ALP’s Frank Brennan. Brennan held the seat for the next twenty years, serving as Attorney-General in the Scullin government from 1929 until 1931. At the 1931 election Brennan lost his seat and the Scullin government was defeated, with Batman being won by UAP candidate Samuel Dennis.

Dennis only held on for one term, losing to Brennan in 1934. Brennan held the seat for another fifteen years, retiring in 1949.

Batman was won in 1949 by the ALP’s Alan Bird, a former Mayor of Northcote. Bird was re-elected throughout the 1950s, returning to the Northcote mayoralty for one year in 1958. He died in office in 1962.

The 1962 by-election was won by Williamstown mayor Sam Benson. Benson was re-elected in 1963 but in 1966 was expelled from the ALP over his support for the Vietnam War. He managed to win election as an independent in 1966. Benson retired in 1969, and the seat went to Labor candidate and Collingwood mayor Horace Garrick in 1969.

Garrick was re-elected at the 1972, 1974 and 1975 elections, but lost preselection in 1976 to Brian Howe, who won the seat at the 1977 election. Howe became a junior minister upon the election of the Hawke government in 1983, and was promoted to Cabinet following the 1984 election. Howe became Deputy Prime Minister in 1991 after Paul Keating moved to the backbench following a failed challenge to Bob Hawke’s leadership, and Howe held the position until 1995. He retired at the 1996 election.

Howe was succeeded in 1996 by former ACTU president Martin Ferguson. Ferguson went straight into the Labor shadow cabinet and was a shadow minister for the entirety of the Howard government, and joined the Cabinet in 2007 after the election of the Rudd government. Ferguson resigned from the ministry in early 2013, and retired at the 2013 election.

Batman was won in 2013 by Labor candidate David Feeney. Feeney had been a Senator since 2008, but had been demoted to the marginal third position on the Labor ticket. Feeney was elected in Batman, and was re-elected with a smaller margin in 2016.

David Feeney was forced to resign in early 2018 due to his inability to demonstrate that he had renounced his British citizenship before running for federal parliament. The subsequent by-election was won by Labor’s Ged Kearney, who gained a 3.4% swing.


This seat was very close in 2016 and was again close at the 2018 by-election, but Kearney will likely be strengthened by her incumbency at the next election.

2016 result

Alex Bhathal Greens 32,64536.2+9.836.7
David Feeney Labor 31,78035.3-6.035.0
George Souris Liberal 17,92419.9-2.619.7
Joel MurraySex Party2,3172.60.02.6
Caitlin EvansAnimal Justice1,5031.7+0.31.7
Philip SuttonIndependent1,5091.7+0.91.6
Elizabeth SyberMarriage Equality6820.8+0.80.7
Maurice OldisRenewable Energy Party5930.7+0.70.7
Franco GuardianiIndependent4800.5+0.50.5
Geoffrey CicutoAustralian Cyclists Party3860.4+0.40.4
Russell HaywardAustralian Progressives2820.3+0.30.3

2016 two-candidate-preferred result

David Feeney Labor 45,97751.0-9.650.6
Alex Bhathal Greens 44,12449.0+9.649.4

2016 two-party-preferred result

David Feeney Labor 64,64571.7+0.872.0
George Souris Liberal 25,45628.3-0.828.0

2018 by-election result

Ged KearneyLabor36,84043.1+7.9
Alex Bhathal Greens 33,72539.5+3.3
Kevin BaileyConservatives5,4716.4+6.4
Miranda SmithAnimal Justice2,5283.0+1.3
Yvonne GentleRise Up Australia2,2172.6+2.6
Teresa van LieshoutIndependent1,2451.5+1.5
Debbie RobinsonLiberty Alliance1,1861.4+1.4
Mark McDonaldSustainable Australia9511.1+1.1
Adrian WhiteheadIndependent7450.9+0.9
Tegan BurnsPeople’s Party4960.6+0.6

2018 by-election two-candidate-preferred result

Ged Kearney Labor 46,44654.4+3.4
Alex Bhathal Greens 38,95845.6-3.4

Booth breakdown

Booths have been divided into three areas: north, central and south. The southern area is centred on Northcote. The central area is centred on Preston and Thornbury. The northern area is centred on Reservoir.

The two-candidate-preferred vote in 2016 varied from 65.8% for Labor in the north to 62.7% in the south, and was roughly tied in the centre. The Liberal primary vote ranged from 15.7% in the south to 22.7% in the north.

Labor’s two-candidate-preferred at the 2018 by-election was 52.4% in the centre and 63.8% in the north. The Greens polled 57.9% in the south.

2016 booth breakdown

Voter groupLIB prim %ALP 2CP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes23.252.414,76716.8

2018 by-election booth breakdown

Voter groupALP 2CP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes63.711,59213.6

Election results in Cooper at the 2016 federal election
Toggle between two-candidate-preferred votes (Labor vs Greens) and Liberal primary votes.

Two-candidate-preferred votes (Labor vs Greens) at the 2018 Batman by-election

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  1. The Greens candidate wasn’t present at the Greens campaign announcement and doesn’t seem to be getting the “winnable seat” treatment, while Adam Pulford in Wills still is.

    I think the Greens have decided the messaging issues of running a high profile campaign against Ged Kearney weren’t worth it for an “incoming Labor government” election. They seem to be similarly quiet on Grayndler and Sydney. This would mean every Greens “target seat” has either a Liberal incumbent, or a Labor Right candidate (Macnamara, Wills, Richmond) – this will help the Greens a lot with clear messaging about their intentions this election.

    Victorian Socialists should do well here from disgruntled Greens voters, but not enough to threaten Kearney either directly or via preferences.

    At any rate, without a high profile Greens candidate and an effort to paint the seat as winnable, it’s an ALP retain.


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