Dunkley – Australia 2019

ALP 1.0%

Incumbent MP
Chris Crewther (LIB), since 2016.

Geography
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.

Redistribution
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.

History
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.

Candidates

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

2016 result

CandidatePartyVotes%SwingRedist
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
Informal6,1516.4

2016 two-party-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%SwingRedist
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
Central52.826,39929.1
North59.520,69922.8
South34.36,7327.4
Other votes47.217,45119.3
Pre-poll48.619,34821.3

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

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63 COMMENTS

  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.

  19. Charlie, you’re right that there has been a poll in the field over the last week (I got called). But the rumours down here are that this poll – not sure if it was Labor or Liberal – shows that the seat is all but gone for Libs.

  20. roughly add results of Frankston and Carrum together to get the flavour of this seat at least 60/40….. then take a bit off for what is left of the Mornington Peninsula on posts above this could even be neutral…. I consider this now a labor aligned Marginal and a certain gain for the alp

  21. Agree with Mick’s summation of the current “colour” of this seat. Certainly, if LAB manages to completely balls things up between now and election day and/or the LAB candidate is caught in some act of gross impropriety, they could end up failing to win Dunkley but on the current state of things, this looks a fairly certain gain for LAB.

  22. I got a Labor flyer in the mail this week with what looks like seven big announcements the Labor candidate has already made for a first term ($30m womens sports centre at Jubilee Park, $48m health hub, $35m car park at Frankston station, $25m for local schools, unspecified $ funding for the new TAFE development, and matching the Libs announced funding of rail line to Langwarrin and Baxter, and for $30m upgrades to Ballarto Road). If the claim that the Libs cannot point to one major infrastructure project delivered in their six years of government is correct, this is looking like a really uneven contest. If the Libs still care about this seat, they will surely be making some announcements soon.

  23. Barry’s comment about polling raises issues
    1) No one should be able to ring a do not call number unless
    A they reveal who they are and who their customer is
    B all participants should be entitled to a copy of poll results no later than 48 hours after customer has received the result

    Currently most seat polls are never made public unless it suits political party to do so. Increased transparency will result in increase in accuracy of polls.

  24. Maybe Charlie made a typo but I would be more than surprised if this isn’t an easy ALP win, these boundaries coupled with how the government is traveling and a strong ALP candidate against an MP that doesn’t strike me has being a great local MP in the manner that Billson was would point to a ALP win.

  25. Another Labor announcement this week in Dunkley – 40 new government jobs for Frankston, making the Council happy. Labor seems way out front on the big stuff, with a new car park at the station, Jubilee Park sports hub and the hospital’s Health Futures Hub already framing the campaign. Libs have added problem that anything they announce now is just matched my Labor and neutralised. Libs are also now using only their B team Ministers for visits to Dunkley, a sure sign.

  26. This will be a close contest. Chris Crewther has held the seat for the last term and on his performance as an MP alone should retain it.
    Chris has been a tireless worker and fundraiser for the electorate with many schools, sporting clubs, local emergency service organisations and special needs causes gaining much needed assistance and funding from Chris’ efforts.
    Politics aside, he is an outstanding MP and hopefully the electorate will see this on polling day and not be blinded by party rhetoric.

  27. Interesting to read how many either say they don’t know Chris Crewther or think he has no chance of winning Dunkley. Very interesting. I see Chris at the Frankston Station regularly, early on weekday mornings. I see him at the Frankston Dolphins Sunday Market on a regular basis too. He seems to be in many places speaking to and listening to his electorate. So far he has brought nearly $400 million into Dunkley in 3 years for all kinds of projects, clubs, sporting venues and public transport, especially the $228 million for the Baxter railway duplication and electrification. He has worked really hard for his constituents. All I have seen from the Labor candidate is a repeat of the local policies and funding Chris Crewther has previously announced.

  28. Chris is an outstanding MP! As a MP, I expect them to listen, understand & address the concerns and issues of the people in his electorate and Chris Crewther had been tireless at this. From genuinely supporting education, health, transport, safety, children, elderly, local businesses etc he has given me faith in government. ‘Genuine’ is the operative word for him. It is fantastic to see he’s not ‘out of touch’ with the community.

  29. If the swing is on, being an outstanding MP as above posters have claimed he is won’t be enough. Just as some voters vote for the incumbent MP, many also vote based on the leader or the party. Judging by the state election results not to mention that Victoria doesn’t seem to have warmed up to the Morrison government, Crewther would be one of the first casualties. The redistribution also means he has to improve his vote to retain his seat – the current political environment would make that very tough.

  30. The Chris Crewther claim that he has ‘delivered’ $400m is nonsense. It is all ‘promised’ in the future if he wins (which is very unlikely) – not ‘delivered’ at all. The whole community knows that the local Liberals have not delivered one major project in this electorate in their entire six years of government. Happy to be corrected on that (please name the major projects delivered!) The Libs have refused to contribute to every major State Labor infrastructure project – of which there have been many worth over a billion dollars – level crossings, station precinct, TAFE, hospital, etc. On policy, the Liberals do not appear to be matching Federal Labor’s Thompsons Rd, Lathams Rd, Golf Links Rd, Frankston TAFE, Frankston station car park, Health Futures Hub, Jubilee Park sports centre or $26m schools funding. Both sides backing Baxter Rail and Ballarto Rd. So Labor appears to have about ten major projects promised for first term – whereas Liberals have not ‘delivered’ one major project in six years. The contrast could hardly be greater.

  31. There are comments in the Flinders thread that the Liberals have pulled out of this seat and are redirecting resources to save Hunt. However Crewther is also making announcements (that he shouldn’t) based on grant programs that haven’t been opened yet, so that’s a sign the Liberals haven’t completely given up here.

    Not seeing any signs of buyers remorse from the Vic election though.

    Prediction: ALP Gain

  32. Chris Crewther on the front page of Frankston Times this week for announcing community environment grants that don’t yet exist, on the same day that it was revealed that he has spent more than any other MP in the country on last minute taxpayer-funded election advertising. Local Liberal campaign feels like it is falling apart, but it is still a very small margin and there is still a lot of pork barreling for small local projects.

  33. Liberals in even more trouble in Dunkley, as Budget papers revealed that funding has been withdrawn from the Frankston-Baxter rail project this coming year, and that the $165m that Chris Crewther said was all in year five of the program was never actually there at all. This will create another headache for the Libs in the weeks ahead. Meanwhile, no major announcement from either side in Dunkley in the first week – suggesting that they both know where this is all heading.

  34. @Barry can’t find anything about Baxter Electrification having its funding cut, can you verify and post your source

  35. @Darren Budget papers show 2019-20 funding reduced from $10m to $1.5m, while government’s Budget infrastructure pipeline shows the funding is over six years (compared to Crewther’s public claims that it would be done in four, with the remaining $165m funding in year four, which we now know it isn’t). Total Federal funding – by both sides – is $225m, for a project that is estimated to cost $800m+.

  36. As a greedy, selfish Mountie Mansion owner, I only care about my mansion having new, sexy features. So I was delighted when Labor added Fibre to the Premises internet to my mansion. The installation was beautiful! It used microtrenching. So it was barely noticeable and that clown Bill Morrow lied to me about it nuking my roses: bastard!

    Labor rock! My Labor super all fibre internet has never let me down over three years!
    Labor for the win! Crewther is a loser: Crewther’s anti-fibre witchhunt must be stopped!
    Thank you Labor! Making my Mountie mansion great again!

  37. One week down. Only small announcements from both sides this week, leaving local Libs still failing to match Labor funding for $35m car park at Frankston station and $30m Jubilee Park stadium. Oddly, the local Lib MP seems to be picking a fight with the State Govt, the one that just won this area in a landslide! The campaigning itself looks to be a rather boring nil-all draw. A ton of negative advertising coming from the Libs but no major Minister from either side turning up to the electorate. It looks like the LIbs are pumping all of their efforts into Flinders.

  38. Libs won’t bother defending this seat. If Morrison is literally sandbagging in Deakin with Sukkar than they sure as hell won’t hold on here in Dunkley

  39. One thing to remember with marginal seats is not just which ones can be saved, but which ones do they want to save. I think the wet and dry factions are fighting over whose seats they should put effort into saving. Dry Morrison won’t go out of his way to save Wet section 44 liability Crewther., while young and deeply conservative Sukkar is very valuable to many in the Liberal party.

  40. Boaty1025
    It is impossible to hold something already lost. The libs have no chance of raining Dunkley, & would be foolish to try. I doubt Sukkar is struggling in Deakin, i’ll predict the swing in Menzies is larger.

  41. AEC ballot paper for Dunkley. As with Corangamite, Labor (4th) come out on top of Liberals (6th). Likely Labor preferences flows coming from positions 1, 2 and 5. Likely Lib preference flows from 3, 7 and 8. Task just got harder for the Liberals in both Corangamite and Dunkley.

    1. Hinch Justice Party
    2. Animal Justice Party
    3. United Australia Party
    4. ALP
    5. Greens
    6. Liberal Party
    7. Fraser Anning Party
    8. Rise Up Australia

  42. Barry, I am not 100% that the Justice Party will preference Labor, considering Liberals took a hard line in crime to the State Elections, which is the sole focus of that party.
    I do agree with most, Dunkley voters look at promises, not at budget constraints and where the money comes from, so will likely be a Labor wipeout for the seat.

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