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

  • Greg Hunt (Liberal)
  • Assessment
    Flinders is a reasonably safe Liberal seat – there would need to be a large swing for the seat to change hands.

    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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    9 COMMENTS

    1. Only chance for this to flip is if Greg Hunt retires, which won’t happen, His high profile will save this seat for the liberals, I predict a 55-45 TPP Against Labor here

    2. Daniel

      I think a lot will depend on how voters feel about Greg Hunt’s role in the change of leadership, on paper Flinders should be an easy hold for the Liberals however the ALP do well in places like Hastings, Rosebud and Tanty Park which is a small booth between Mt Eliza and Mornington. If we see a landslide Liberal defeat then I think Flinders could be as high up the pendulum for in endangered seats, in a landslide the safer seats sometimes move more than the marginals.

    3. This seat will narrowly go Coalition 54-46 maybe 53-47 at the most for the coalition based on the victoria election results, Especially when you look at how close Hastings came, and look at Nepean

    4. I’d say Greg would be lucky to hold on by less than a percent based on the Vic election results.

      Don’t forget Bass was also lost to Labor.

      If Hunt survives, it won’t be by much.

    5. RPR

      Agree Hunt looks to be in trouble, however the Bass side of Westernport bay is no longer in the federal seat of Flinders.

    6. the only times labor has won here… I think 1952 and 1983 was when Frankston was in the seat….; liberal hold the most likely result

    7. Greg Hunt supported the Howard/Downer Iraq invasion in 2003 something I and some others on the Defence, Foreign Affairs and Trade Committee of the Victoria Division of the Liberal Party opposed. Hunt was part of the recent reactionary pro wing right Dutton party room attempted coup which failed. He has been around for far to long and needs to get the boot at the next Commonwealth general election. I left the Liberal Party in June 2003.

    8. I don’t see Flinders being within reach. Despite their poor showing, the Libs would still triumph on state figures. This seat is Nepean (ALP 51%) plus the vast majority of Mornington (Lib 55%) and Hastings (Lib 51%). There’s no overlap with Bass on the new boundaries.

    9. David

      The headline figures would suggest your assessment is correct, however the Liberals strongest part of Mornington was Mt Eliza which is in Dunkley, and with Hastings, a large part of the vote is outside the Flinders electorate.

      Even though I think Greg Hunt is in some trouble, as this seat as a large retiree population then the ALP’s franking credits and negative gearing policies will be tested and while the polls are showing a strong swing towards the ALP, a 7% margin may well be close to the high watermark in Victoria with three strong Liberal seats around that margin.

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