Flinders – Australia 2019

LIB 7.0%

Incumbent MP
Greg Hunt, since 2001.

Geography
Flinders covers most of the Mornington Peninsula, including Sorrento, Rosebud, Dromana, Hastings, Somerville and Mornington.

Redistribution
Flinders previously covered the northern and eastern shores of Western Port, but lost these areas to Holt and Monash. Flinders gained the suburb of Mornington from Dunkley. These changes cut the Liberal margin from 7.8% to 7%.

History
Flinders is an original federation electorate, and has a long history of having been held by conservative parties, with Labor only winning the seat three times, and no Labor MP managing to win re-election in Flinders.

The seat was first won in 1901 by Free Trader Arthur Groom, a former member of the Victorian colonial Parliament. Groom was not an active member of the first Parliament, and retired in 1903.

Flinders was won in 1903 by another Free Trade candidate, James Gibb, who had served in the Victorian Legislative Assembly in the 1880s. He held the seat for one term. Gibb left Flinders in 1906 in an attempt to defeat William Lyne in the NSW seat of Hume. Lyne was a former Premier of NSW and a prominent Protectionist minister, and easily saw off Gibb.

Flinders was won in 1906 by former Victorian Premier William Irvine. Irvine joined the merged Liberal Party in 1909. He served as a senior minister in Joseph Cook’s government from 1913 to 1914. He left Parliament to serve as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria in 1918.

The 1918 Flinders by-election was won by Nationalist candidate Stanley Bruce. Bruce was appointed Treasurer in 1921. After the 1922 election the Nationalists had to rely on Country Party support to remain in government, and as a price for their support the Country Party demanded the replacement of Billy Hughes as Prime Minister, which saw Bruce appointed Prime Minister.

Bruce won re-election at the 1925 and 1928 elections, but his government came undone in 1929 when Billy Hughes led a group of Nationalist rebels across the floor in opposition to industrial relations legislation, and Bruce lost his majority.

Bruce’s Nationalists not only lost the federal election, but Bruce himself was defeated in Flinders by the ALP’s Jack Holloway. Holloway was secretary of the Melbourne Trades Hall Council, who had stood against Bruce in protest at the government’s arbitration policies.

Holloway was a leading left-winger in the Labor caucus during the Scullin government, and moved to the safer seat of Melbourne Ports in 1931. Holloway had served as an assistant minister for much of the Scullin government, and he went on to serve as a minister in the Curtin and Chifley governments, retiring in 1951.

Bruce won back Flinders in 1931 for the newly-formed United Australia Party. Bruce was appointed as a minister without portfolio in the Lyons government, and soon went to London to represent the Government. He resigned from Parliament in 1933 to serve as High Commissioner to London from the Australian government. Bruce served in the role until 1945, playing a key role in Australia’s participation in the Second World War. Bruce went on to serve in the House of Lords.

The 1933 Flinders by-election was won by James Fairbairn, who had served briefly as a UAP state MP before moving to federal Parliament. Fairbairn regularly flew aircraft and was appointed as Minister for Civil Aviation in the Menzies government in 1939. He served as the first Minister for the Air, with responsibility for the Royal Australian Air Force, and served as a key minister in the war effort until his death.

Fairbairn died in a plane crash in 1940. He was flying from Melbourne to Canberra along with four crew and five other passengers, including two other ministers and the Chief of the Defence Staff, and the plane crashed on approach to the airport in Canberra.

Fairbairn died only one month before the 1940 federal election, so no by-election was held. Flinders was won at the ensuing election by Rupert Ryan of the UAP. Ryan held the seat for the UAP and the successor Liberal Party until his death in 1952.

The 1952 Flinders by-election was won in a surprise result by the ALP’s Keith Ewert. He lost the seat at the 1954 federal election to Liberal candidate Robert Lindsay.

Lindsay held the seat until 1966, serving on the backbenches for twelve years.

In 1966, Flinders was won by Liberal candidate Phillip Lynch. Lynch quickly rose to ministerial rank, serving as a minister from 1968 until the defeat of the McMahon government in 1972.

Lynch became Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party under Billy Snedden after the 1972 election. He continued to serve in that role under Malcolm Fraser’s leadership.

Lynch served as Treasurer from 1975 to 1977, when he was forced to resign from the ministry due to allegations of tax minimisation. He was only out of office for a month before returning to Cabinet. Lynch retired from Parliament in 1982.

The 1982 Flinders by-election was won by the Liberal Party’s Peter Reith. The by-election took place in December 1982, but he never took his seat, as Fraser called a double dissolution in March 1983.

Reith had won Flinders at the 1982 by-election with a small margin, and lost the seat to the ALP’s Bob Chynoweth in 1983. He won the seat back in 1984. Chynoweth moved to the new seat of Dunkley, holding it until 1990, and again from 1993 to 1996.

Reith joined the Liberal frontbench in 1987, and served as Deputy Leader and Shadow Treasurer from 1990 to 1993. He served as Minister for Workplace Relations in the Howard government from 1996 to 2000, and then as Minister for Defence from 2000 until his retirement in 2001.

Flinders was won in 2001 by Greg Hunt, a former advisor to Alexander Downer in the 1990s. Hunt has been re-elected in Flinders five times, and has served as a cabinet minister since 2013.

Candidates

Assessment
Flinders would typically be considered a safe Liberal seat, but the intervention of Julia Banks could change the dynamics of the race. Public polling also suggests Labor could have a chance of winning off the back of a big swing in Victoria.

2016 result

CandidatePartyVotes%SwingRedist
Greg Hunt Liberal 52,41251.6-3.750.5
Carolyn Gleixner Labor 27,45927.0+1.827.6
Willisa Hogarth Greens 10,86810.7+1.011.0
Ben WildAnimal Justice4,3474.3+4.33.8
Yvonne GentleRise Up Australia3,3813.3+2.82.6
Shane W LewisIndependent3,1073.1+3.12.5
Others1.9
Informal3,8633.7

2016 two-party-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%SwingRedist
Greg Hunt Liberal 58,68357.8-4.057.0
Carolyn Gleixner Labor 42,89142.2+4.043.0

Booth breakdown

Polling places in Flinders have been divided into four parts: east, north, south and west.

The Liberal Party won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all four areas, ranging from 53% in the west to 58.4% in the north.

The Greens came third, with a primary vote ranging from 9.9% in the east to 20.9% in the south.

Voter groupGRN prim %LIB 2PP %Total votes% of votes
North10.858.415,92417.5
West12.653.013,32914.6
East9.953.311,07712.2
South20.954.64,8615.3
Other votes9.760.615,84017.4
Pre-poll9.957.830,05733.0

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

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91 COMMENTS

  1. This morning at Melbourne airport ,Malcolm Turnbull praised the qualifications of Julia Banks.

    As Greg Hunt was one of the ringleaders in cutting down Turnbull,can imagine that the Ex PM would be delighted to see the incumbent beaten at the next election.

    oh the irony…Turnbull funding a campaign to dispose of Hunt

  2. the Phantom Bantam – I watch Q&A all the time and yes Banks was great. I like your screen name too.
    In my electorate of MacNamara I use screen name “Cars Rule OK” sometimes if it is a survey on more bike lanes or parking restrictions and fees.

  3. This is a safe liberal seat turning into a marginal seat by development and demographic change. The contest this election, assuming Julia Banks runs in the seat, will come down to if she will get a high enough primary to overtake Labor and gain the Labor preferences. If she does not, assuming her preferences flow to Labor, there is a chance for it to be a Labor gain.

    The state election exhibited extremely strong swings against the Liberal Party in its constituent electorates including the changing of hand of both Nepean and Bass. It is worth noting that Sportsbet has this seat as Labor 1.70, Coalition 3.50 and Julia 4.50. I’m not as sure of a Labor victory here, but clearly there is something going on to prompt Labor to be the favourites. I’d like to hear more of your experiences, Red Hill Billy.

  4. Most of the people i know in the area have had at least one call I have received two survey calls one was quite stupid asking about preferences but didnt make sense so hung up also received a robocall from Greg dutton -hunt the election of the Labor candidate in the state election will be a plus for labor federally I think Age today reports Labor to target the seat as well as Dunkley so i reckon liberal resources might be stretched
    Could be every man for himself Personally I find it hard to see Banks running third to Labor but i might not be surprised if hunt runs third after Banks he is on the nose

  5. On the ground, there is a real feeling of backlash against Greg Hunt here (beyond even the generally large swings in the state election). While the Sportsbet odds suggest Labor is odds on to pick this up, that must still be considered a big ask. Liberal resources are swinging into this seat and out of Dunkley (which is considered gone). And Greg Hunt has suddenly surfaced in his electorate.

  6. Joshie

    Disagree that Flinders is changing due to “development and demographic change” firstly it has a fairly stable population which is generally older or wealthier and large parts of the Peninsula are off-limits to development. This seat should be an easy Liberal hold but it currently looks like being a potential ALP gain.

    The ALP has for sometime done well around Hastings and Rosebud. The state seat of Hastings extends beyond the federal seat of Flinders to include areas around Langwarrin which is in Dunkley and the state seat of Mornington includes Mt Eliza which is in Dunkley.

    My assessment is that the ALP are a real chance here except the test will be can they overcome any backlash from the large retiree population.

  7. Local intel is that the Liberals are redirecting their resources from Dunkley (ground campaign reduced to a few loyal troopers) to Flinders. Greg Hunt is busier than he has ever been before (and has everyone asking, why only now?) Julia Banks interview on The Project was a killer and shows that she is up for the fight. While she has few resources to fight the Liberal machine with, don’t be surprised if Malcolm Turnbull shows his face for Banks. This would hurt Hunt with the moderates. The new Labor candidate is also close to the new State member for Nepean, a seat that everyone also thought unwinnable. So this is now a real three-cornered contest. My tips on local issues that will matter: (i) funding for Rosebud Hospital (Hunt vulnerable for favouring private over public hospitals), (ii) franking credits (will benefit Hunt with so many self-funded retirees), (iii) the environment and climate change (another reason for locals to punish Hunt).

  8. Is the My Health Record having much of an effect there as an issue, does anyone know? Or any other decisions he’s made as health minister?

  9. Greg Dutton – Hunt is definitely on the nose in Flinders. Not sure if enough to swing the seat to Labor or Banks
    Get up has chosen to target Flinders and i believe ALP is also First time for a long time any one has seriously challenged in this seat so you never Know
    ALP candidate Josh Sinclair was the successful campaign manager for Chris Brayne (ALP) who took the “safe” seat of Nepean from the libs at the state election Flinders pretty much contains Nepean plus a bit more

  10. Julia Banks’ local campaign is hitting its stride. Banks appeared this week at the Louisa Dunkley Forum organised by the Committee for Greater Frankston (but with many Peninsula folk in attendance). Louisa Dunkley, who the electorate around Frankston is named after, was a feminist who fought for equal pay for women last century (an irony is that there has never been a woman to hold the seat named after her). It is safe to say that those present at the Forum – even the Liberals – didn’t have a lot of love for Greg Hunt. While it must still be considered a longshot, more and more people think Julia Banks is a real chance to take Flinders.

  11. Good to see Greg Hunt appearing in question time for the last time

    Hunt,the man who would be Dutton’s deputy is on the way out……thank goodness

  12. I don’t actually see Julia Banks getting much traction. Running in a completely different electorate to the one you represent isn’t a great look, and I don’t think she has much credibility as a moderate Liberal. I don’t think she’ll make the runoff.

    However if she has enough of a volunteer base to fully staff booths, she can get the ALP elected at the expense of her former party if she so chooses. The problem for the ALP is that former Liberals and liberal styled independents often preference Liberals above Labor to make themselves more palatable to people who usually vote Liberal – however if I remember correctly Banks is running to get revenge on Hunt.

    Having said all that I think Hunt is actually in trouble in this seat. He presents the image of a moderate Liberal, but it will be very easy for Labor to prove that he’s anything but. Nepean’s new Labor MP should be a help.

    Prediction: Narrow ALP Gain, but hard to say without seeing Banks’ HTV

  13. Greg Dutton – Hunt is pulling out all stops and splashing around money in the electorate as if it was somebody elses. Done a big mail out to the electorate A2 size brochure Would have cost a bit Not hearing much about the other candidates Also HUGE billboards for Dutton – Hunt appearing around the traps on rural properties

  14. The Dutton-Hunt combination is being talked about a lot in Flinders (and even more so as Dutton keeps saying stupid things). Hunt is suddenly announcing a lot of local projects, but he is a polarising figure who is struggling to defend not only his role in the leadership coup, but also his time as Environment and Health Minister (hardly Coalition strong points). The feeling is that Hunt might hold on, but it is a long way from done if Julia Banks can get a solid campaign going.

  15. Julie Bishop and Julia Banks all smiles when they “coincidentally” ran into each other yesterday morning at DOC in Mornington.

    Reckon the moderates amongst the recent Liberal retirees are quietly supporting independents in the seats held by the right wing Dutton/Morrisonites? Mal supporting Kerryn, Julie maybe supporting Julia… C Pyne been hanging around with any likely candidates?

  16. Julia Banks showing how much she cares for the environment by nailing coreflutes to every second tree she can find in the electorate Would be spending more than $40 a day on nails Not sure how she manages to feed herself

  17. The article in the Daily also mentions that Alex Turnbull is bankrolling Julia Banks’ campaign. So if Billy from Red Hill is wondering where she gets the money for the nails from…

    I would assume that Alex’s dad might also chip in a few bucks for payback.

  18. Noticed a few of Julia Banks’s signs being defaced in the electorate
    Pretty sure it wouldnt be the labor Party since she has preferenced them above Dutton Hunt
    Wonder which party might be responsible ?

  19. Reckon Banks in particular will do well in the Westernport suburbs concerned by the proposed AGL development (Hastings, Bittern, Crib Point, Balnarring, Shoreham etc.). She has made opposition to it a central campaign issue and Flinders is already a fairly environmentally conscious area, as evidenced by the strong Greens vote. Hunt is also opposed to it but didn’t have a strong track record as environment minister, and his party’s environmental credentials are questionable, to say the least, and state Labor is supporting the proposal which may have a backlash on Sinclair.

  20. On-the-ground feel is that Julia Banks is killing Greg Hunt in local campaigning. None of this reported in the national media, but very strong message locally.

  21. FWIW, there were a ton of Julia Banks posters up in the main drag of Mornington last week. Out on the Moorooduc Highway it was mostly Hunt though.

    Down in Balnarring what stood out wasn’t candidate posters, it was all the anti-AGL posters.

    Seeing how big the anti-Lib swing was in Nepean in the state election, Banks could be a real shot. Haven’t seen any polls though.

  22. Don’t know what will happen here but a Mornington Peninsula seat should be liberal always
    as it is not certain suggests l8bs unpopula

  23. Notice the greens are preferencing Banks before Labor Thays a coup for Banks and might make the race for second spot close and put her in a winning position
    Hunt must be very nervous
    Hunts absence at the save Westernport rally last night (Tuesday May 1) was noticed and commented on by Banks
    Attending a liberal party function in Canberra ?
    Maybe he has given up

  24. Will be interesting to see if there is a Malcolm Turnbull or Julie Bishop intervention still to come in the seat of Flinders. While in normal circumstances, this seat would definitely be Liberal, these are not normal circumstances. We have Julia Banks, Labor and the Greens all gunning for Greg Hunt, and they just might get him. Electorate angry with Hunt over many years of neglect.

  25. Work on the ground is that the Labor candidate Joshua Sinclair is making big gains in Flinders. based on actually having policies to sell. Hunt struggling to fight Julia Banks on the one hand and Josh Sinclair on the other. Sinclair reportedly has more to come, whereas it feels like Hunt’s goose is cooked.

  26. Barry or anyone else close to Flinders

    Any word on how the retirees around Mornington, Rosebud and Rye are reacting to the ALP’s purposed changes to franking credits and negative gearing?

  27. Michael Kroger has stated that he “will have plenty to say about Julia Banks after the election”. I guess he doesn’t want to give her any publicity before. Julia is really so delightfully evil, vengeful & treacherous, i’d find it hard not to vote for her !!. Canberra deserves no less !! However i think these qualities may play out against her.
    LIB HOLD

  28. Hi Winediamond,
    Those were fascinating insights into the character of Julia Banks in your May 14 post.
    Flinders, Dickson and Farrer will be vying as the headline acts on Election Night.
    I suspect, however, your forecast of Hunt’s survival might be wrong.

  29. Banks must take votes away from the libs so it is a fair bet that preferences will decide this one. Dynamics Similar to Higgins and Earrings but lib vote is weaker…as are the greens. Would say this is a 3 way contest….with alp/ libs/ and one in the mix

  30. NumberCruncher
    So glad you enjoyed them !!. However i don’t think you grasped, or understood just how serious i really was. I WOULD vote for Julia, Just as i would for Lady McBeth herself !!. “To destroy, is to create” unfortunately this is not understood well enough.
    It is doubtful that your “headline acts” will be that exciting, but i suppose it all comes down to what you are looking for ?. I’d suggest that the tightest races will be, or maybe the upsets, Perhaps even a dark horse.
    MY nominations
    Tightest Gilmore, EM, Solomon, Braddon, Bass,Swan, Banks, Robertson, Longman Forde,
    Upsets Casey, Pearce, Farrer, Cowper, Macquarie,
    Dark horse Reid, Griffith,, Higgins, Lingiari, Farrer

    Cheers WD

  31. It is very hard to see Greg Hunt winning this seat. And the only way I can see Julia Banks winning it is if she comes second or a very close third behind the ALP, and then she would have to get a good preference flow from the Greens. And if Julia Banks does come third, Greg Hunt would have to depend on a huge leakage of her preferences to win.

  32. Apparently Julie Bishop talking to plenty of local Liberals – on behalf of Julia Banks, telling them not to vote Liberal!

  33. The fact that this will go to preferences is already big news. If Hunt only has a primary with a 3 in front of it rather than a 4, you would think that he would struggle to win. Even if Banks only peels of 15% from Hunts primary vote then whoever is placed 2nd would appear to have a very good chance once prefs are allocated.

  34. Forgot to mention that as of yesterday Flinders is #2 in the country for votes already cast within the seat (33,157 votes), just 500 less than Hinkler. Indeed, one of 4 Vic seats in the top 4 (#3 Indi 31430, #4 Fraser 30164).

    AEC figures state that 20% of Victorians have already voted statewide.

  35. Vic AEC Sate Electoral Officer just stated on 774 with Raf that by Friday evening he estimates that 66%-70% of voters in Flinders will have voted early!

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