Corangamite – Australia 2019

LIB 0.02%

Incumbent MP
Sarah Henderson, since 2013.

South-western Victoria. Corangamite covers suburbs on the southern fringe of Geelong and then extends as far west as Colac. As well as parts of Greater Geelong, Corangamite covers all of Surf Coast, Colac Otway and Queenscliff councils, as well as a majority of Golden Plains Council. The main towns outside of Geelong are Ocean Grove, Torquay, Colac and Winchelsea.

The seat of Corangamite shifted to the east, taking in the Bellarine peninsula from Corio. Corangamite lost the southern Geelong suburbs of Belmont, Highton and Wandana Heights to Corio, and lost rural areas on its western edge, including Colac, to Wannon. These changes reduced the Liberal margin from 3.1% to a very slim 0.02%.

Corangamite was an original federation division, and a seat which changed hands often in early years, before becoming a solid conservative seat in the latter half of the 20th century.

It’s first member was Chester Manifold of the Protectionists, but he retired due to ill-health at the 1903 election and the seat was won by Grafton Wilson for the Free Traders. Wilson was defeated in 1910 by the ALP’s James Scullin, who held the seat for one term before being defeated by former member Manifold, who returned to contest the seat for the Liberals. Manifold, whose son, Sir Chester, was a state MP and a famed horse-breeder and racing administrator, held the seat until he died at sea in 1918.

The December 1918 by-election saw the first use of preferential voting for the federal parliament. Scullin returned to contest the seat for the ALP, and topped the primary vote, but was comfortably defeated on preferences by the Victorian Farmers Union’s William Gibson. Scullin would subsequently win the seat of Yarra in 1922 and serve as Prime Minister from 1929-32.

Gibson held the seat for the Country Party, serving as Postmaster-General and Minister for Works and Railways until his defeat in 1929 by Labor’s Richard Crouch, who had previously been a Protectionist/Liberal MP for Corio from 1901-1910. Crouch then lost to Gibson in 1931, who served one more term before winning election to the Senate in 1934.

Geoffrey Street of the UAP, who would serve as Defence Minister in Menzies’ first government, won Corangamite in 1934 and held it until his death, along with two other ministers, in a plane crash in 1940.

Allan McDonald, a former state MP, won the seat for the UAP in 1940, and quickly became a minister in the Menzies government. He unsuccessfully contested the UAP leadership in 1941 and 1943, and remained on the backbench when the Liberals returned to power in 1949. He died in 1953, and was succeeded by Daniel Mackinnon, who had previously been MP for Wannon.

Mackinnon retired in 1966, and was succeeded by Tony Street, son of the former member Geoffrey, who served as a minister in various portfolios in the Fraser government and subsequently retired in early 1984.

Stewart McArthur won the seat in 1984, and held it until defeated by the ALP’s Darren Cheeseman in 2007. Cheeseman was re-elected in 2010, and lost to Liberal candidate Sarah Henderson in 2013. Henderson was re-elected in 2016.


  • Libby Coker (Labor)
  • Damien Cole (Independent)
  • Neil Harvey (United Australia)
  • Sarah Henderson (Liberal)
  • Simon Northeast (Greens)
  • Assessment
    Corangamite is incredibly marginal and could go either way.

    2016 result

    Sarah Henderson Liberal 45,68746.4-1.843.7
    Libby Coker Labor 30,26730.8-1.334.1
    Patchouli Paterson Greens 11,27311.5-0.412.1
    Patrice NelsonDerryn Hinch’s Justice Party3,0393.1+3.12.3
    Alan BarronFamily First1,9061.9+1.01.3
    Andy MeddickAnimal Justice1,7391.8+1.82.2
    Michael LawrenceIndependent1,5191.5+1.51.1
    Courtney DaltonDrug Law Reform1,2691.3+1.30.9
    Louis RoweLiberal Democrats8710.9+0.90.6
    Nick SteelRise Up Australia8470.9+0.61.2

    2016 two-party-preferred result

    Sarah Henderson Liberal 52,29153.1-0.850.0
    Libby Coker Labor 46,12646.9+0.850.0

    Booth breakdown

    Polling places in Corangamite have been divided into five areas. The booths in the Colac Otway, Golden Plains and Surf Coast council areas have been grouped. Polling places in the Greater Geelong council area have been split between those in the Geelong urban area (“Geelong”) and those on the Bellarine peninsula (which also includes Queenscliff council area).

    The largest population concentration is in the Bellarine area.

    The Liberal Party only won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in two out of these five areas, with 50.3% in Golden Plains and 50.9% in Colac Otway. The Liberal majority relies on larger majorities on the pre-poll and other votes.

    Labor won a majority in the three more populous areas, ranging from 50.5% in Surf Coast to 54.6% in Geelong.

    The Greens primary vote ranged from 8% in Golden Plains to 20.3% in Colac Otway.

    Voter groupGRN prim %LIB 2PP %Total votes% of votes
    Surf Coast16.949.511,00312.6
    Golden Plains8.050.34,8715.6
    Colac Otway20.350.91,8102.1
    Other votes11.551.915,83218.1

    Election results in Corangamite at the 2016 federal election
    Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and Greens primary votes.

    Become a Patron!


    1. Redistribution killed Libs hope of retaining. They have a better chance in Jagajaga.

    2. Removing Colac was a no-brainer, but I’m still not convinced that the changes around Geelong were necessary, especially breaching the strong boundary of the Barwon River. If Corio continues to grow, this area will probably need to go straight back to Corangamite in the future.

      The Liberals’ one hope is that they might be able to do better in the areas added from Corio (where they wouldn’t have put in much of an effort before), but all things being equal it’s hard to see them holding on here.

    3. The territory swaps with Corio were necessary to unite the Bellarine peninsula. The divided peninsula had been a complaint of the old boundaries. My submission contained very similar territory swaps in order to effect this outcome (although I kept Moolap in Corio because it seems to me more of a piece with the Geelong suburbs than the peninsula).

      I agree that the Liberal underperformance in the newly added areas understates Henderson’s margin on paper.

    4. BJA F Ryan
      Are you suggesting that a Lib win would create momentum ?. Isn’t it always fraught to make a suggestion of state, to Fed voting ?

    5. good example of the impact of population changes….this seat along with Wannon post 1955 used to be safe anti labour now has very little of the western districts in it……with Geelong over spill will be marginal… on current boundaries marginal labour…. interesting future impact … will Wannon change to marginal

    6. Agreed Mark Mulcair – The Liberals could possibly hold this with a sandbagging campaign introducing the Bellarine peninsula to their new local member. Switching from a safe seat MP to a marginal seat MP will make a difference (and I haven’t heard many good things about Marles). Bellarine would also be one of the seats the Liberals would hope to pick up at the state election – it was actually a notional Liberal seat at the 2014 election.

      South Barwon is another good indicator; an LNP held marginal seat being (actively) contested by the former ALP member for Corangamite.

    7. Still a long way to go but an early poll out from ReachTel has the libs on 32% primary vote to labor on 40%. I’m expecting this to be one of the first seats to go on the night

    8. If the 2016 election was repeated this would have been a Labor gain if the voters from 2019, were the ones in 2016 election. Because of demographic changes here, So notionally i think Labor has this narrowly because of demographics, The new margin is counting dead voters, So it should be Labor 72, Coalition 72 notionally

    9. what would be the vote on state election figures? at least 55/45 alp way maybe 60/40……… look at the map no big blue………. minus Colac this will be a labor win

    10. Not sure why Sarah Henderson is contesting as even the most optimistic Coalition prospect has them losing here. They are more likely to gain Herbert,Lindsay than hold this.

    11. Henderson the incumbent MP, of course she’d be contesting and putting on a brave face as generations of MPs before her, who were destined to lose their seats, have done in the past.

      I’m predicting that Corangamite will be the first seat decided on the election night and that Labor they’ll get an above average swing. Losing the consistent Liberal territory of Highton, Colac as well as picking up the more variable Bellarine, which is shifting demographically in Labor’s favour, Corangamite will become a more reliable seat for the ALP going forward. Neighbouring Corio may conversely become more marginal, albeit less variable and thus still reliable for Labor.

    12. Highton is trending Labor strongly however. Henderson spent massively in 2010, billboards everywhere, but this time not seeing much.

    13. Matt Colac was the only safe liberal area of this seat now it is lost to liberals in this seat


    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here