Dunkley – Australia 2019

ALP 1.0%

Incumbent MP
Chris Crewther (LIB), since 2016.

South-Eastern Melbourne. Dunkley covers all of the City of Frankston and part of the Shire of Mornington Peninsula. Main suburbs include Frankston, Sandhurst, Skye, Carrum Downs, Langwarrin and Seaford.

Dunkley shifted north, gaining Carrum Downs, Sandhurst and Skye from Isaacs, and losing Mornington to Flinders. These changes flipped the seat from a 1.4% Liberal margin to a 1% Labor margin.

Dunkley was created in 1984 as part of the expansion of the House of Representatives. It has almost always been a marginal electorate, and swung back and forth regularly in the 1980s, although the Liberal Party managed to hold onto the seat since 1996, although often by slim margins.

The seat was first won in 1984 by Labor’s Bob Chynoweth. Chynoweth had won Flinders at the 1983 election, defeating new MP Peter Reith, who had won a by-election for the seat four months earlier. Chynoweth moved to Dunkley following the redistribution.

He held the seat in 1987 before losing to Liberal candidate Frank Ford in 1990. Chynoweth won the seat back in 1993.

A redistribution before the 1996 election saw Dunkley become a notional Liberal seat, and Chynoweth was defeated by Liberal candidate Bruce Billson. Billson held Dunkley for twenty years until his retirement in 2016, and was succeeded by Liberal candidate Chris Crewther.


Dunkley is a very marginal seat. The redistribution will help Labor gain the seat but the incumbent Liberal MP won’t make it easy.

2016 result

Chris Crewther Liberal 38,15842.7-6.041.1
Peta Murphy Labor 29,62033.2+2.336.5
Jeanette Swain Greens 8,6169.6+0.39.5
Ruth StanfieldDerryn Hinch’s Justice Party5,5106.2+6.25.0
Tyson JackAnimal Justice1,9262.2+2.22.9
Michael RathboneFamily First1,3931.6-0.41.3
Joseph ToscanoIndependent1,1321.3+1.31.1
Tim WilmsLiberal Democrats1,0371.2+1.20.9
Jeff ReaneyAustralian Christians6770.8+0.80.6
Lin TregenzaRise Up Australia6820.8+0.20.6
Sally BaillieuArts Party5420.6+0.60.5

2016 two-party-preferred result

Chris Crewther Liberal 45,92551.4-4.149.0
Peta Murphy Labor 43,36848.6+4.151.0

Booth breakdown

Polling places in Dunkley have been divided into three parts: central, north and south.

Labor won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in two out of three areas, with 52.8% in the centre and 59.5% in the north. The Liberal Party polled 65.7% in the south.

Voter groupALP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes47.217,45119.3

Two-party-preferred votes in Dunkley at the 2016 federal election

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  1. You can really see the difference between the public housing and lower rent areas in northern Frankston, and the “multi-million dollar mansion on a hill overlooking the bay” suburbs of Frankston South and Mount Eliza.

    This will be an interesting contest. The Liberals would still have held Dunkley on these boundaries for most of the last two decades (probably only 1998 and 2010 they’d have lost).

  2. A very clear divide.

    This is another seat where The Greens can play a key role; they would be able to reach the “mansion on a hill overlooking the bay” voters in a way that Labor can’t – with a lot of those mansions being surrounded by leafy bushland.

    The fundamentals of Frankston are appealing and I can see it gentrifying in coming years (apparently house prices have doubled). Labor should be careful with their preselection or else the member won’t last long.

  3. This is now my division, having be redistributed out of Isaacs.
    I haven’t heard a peep from Chris Crewther, but maybe that’s because there’s still the Vic state election in November.
    I have seen a couple of things around for Peta Murphy, who will be the Labor candidate already.

    I’m not sure The Greens will have much impact with the “mansion on a hill” types though. The bayside mansions in Frankston South and Mt Eliza are actually grander and richer than those in Brighton. This is the part of Melbourne where Brighton aspires to so I would suggest that is blue-ribbon Liberal seats. That 80 buried at Toorak College is proof of that.

    I will be interesting to see how much the State Governement plays into this, especially with the No Sky Rail campaign in Seaford.

  4. I do recall reading about how many very wealthy people have actually registered their mornington peninsula holiday homes as their primary addresses (it was an article about Portsea overtaking Toorak as the wealthiest postcode).

    The election will likely be May 2019 – 6 months after the state election. The state election campaign will be enormous in both this seat and Isaacs, but 6 months is a long enough time for the federal campaign to be distinct.

    If any of those sand belt seats do end up flipping however, the performance of the new members will be important.

  5. The redistribution is a killer for the Libs. Reports on the ground are that the new Liberal MP Chris Crewther looks outclassed by his Labor opponent, who got a 4.1% swing at the last election and now just needs to hold that vote.

    The bellwether for this seat will not be Labor’s north or the Liberals’ south, but the working families of Langwarrin. They swung massively to Labor at the last Federal election and if they stick the Liberals will struggle.

  6. It’s remarkable just how few booths Crewther won yet still managed to win…

    This seat was always going to vulnerable to a redistribution.

    Reckon Labor to hold/win, even if they don’t win nationally.

  7. I expect the ALP will gain this seat although it is closer than it looks from the above booth numbers. At the last election the ALP polled very strongly in Langwarrin and scored impressively strong TPP in a few other booths.

    In light of recent Liberal Party leadership issues I believe the Liberals will get hammered although Morrison might appeal more to Dunkley type than Turnbull did.

  8. Barry

    Depends on your definition of ‘working class” as I would say Langwarrin as more middle class.

  9. Barry

    Depends on your definition of ‘working class” as I would say Langwarrin as more middle class. even so I agree with you that they will be critical to the outcome.

  10. Oof. Crewther was already goners one way or the other – the redistribution had already left him dead in the water, but getting seen investing in a company that you’ve been spruiking for commonwealth grants for is a very bad look. Even if it wasn’t a sec 44 breach it would still look corrupt.

    At least with all the citizenship ones there’s usually a level of plausible deniability…

    As a Dunkley resident, I look forward to seeing him gone.

  11. Daniel I would assume so; in the event of by-elections already preselected candidates tend to get a 2-for-1 deal (ie. Tim Murray running in Wentworth, and Alex Bhathal running in Batman before she dropped out in the wake).

  12. @ Daniel & KrispyNachos

    Yes – Peta Murphy (who ran and lost by a few % in 2014) was announced as the Labor candidate a while ago. She would run regardless whether it was a by-election held tomorrow or a full federal election held next May. I live in Dunkley, she’s been pretty visible already over the past few months gearing up for whenever the election is finally held.

    I’m actually wondering though – if Crewther is knocked out under sec 44, does it have to go to a by-election, or can Morrison just suck it up and call a general election?

  13. Considering every other MP forced to a by-election has been returned and considering its almost certain he wont hold the seat in a general election then I would suggest the ALP just sit back and let this term end without forcing a by-election, and and I think a by-election would be held on the old boundaries.

  14. Peta Murphy was unlucky not to win last time, previously if a candidate polled so strongly in the Karginal/Ballam Park and Langwarrin areas then they would have won the seat.

  15. @Expat: if he is found ineligible, the writs will be issued for the by election, but the writs can be discharged if a general is called.

  16. Byelections can be called off with a general election being called. I suspect though that since Liberal, Labor and Kerryn Phelps all have a vested interest in the election not being called before the NSW election, they’ll find a way to delay Dutton and Crewther’s referrals while still making them suffer politically (eg pushing for referrals while Bob Katter is out of town)

  17. Will be interesting to see how this impacts on the State seats of Frankston and Carrum too. There is now a growing list of local Liberal MPs who have exploited their privileged positions for personal gain. Of Geoff Shaw, Bruce Bilson and Chris Crewther, this latest act (Crewther promoting a company in parliament, congratulating on it for the Commonwealth grants it got, and then investing in it for personal gain) actually looks the shadiest of them all. This will surely flow over into the state and federal campaigns – whether or not it gets to the High Court.

  18. As was predicted, huge swings to Labor across all Dunkley booths at the State election. Some booths in Liberal heartland of Mount Eliza – with zero Labor campaigning – swung 15% towards Labor in the State election. The dumping of Malcolm Turnbull and the problems of the Federal MP make this an impossible prospect for the Federal Liberals.


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