Higgins – Australia 2019

LIB 7.6% vs GRN

Incumbent MP
Kelly O’Dwyer, since 2009.

Geography
Higgins covers suburbs in the inner south-east of Melbourne. Its suburbs include South Yarra, Prahran, Toorak, Carnegie, Malvern, Glen Iris, Murrumbeena and Hughesdale. Most of the seat is covered by Stonnington LGA, as well as southern parts of Boroondara LGA and small parts of Glen Eira and Monash LGAs.

Redistribution
Higgins lost Windsor to the renamed seat of Macnamara, and gained Murrumbeena and Hughesdale from Hotham. It isn’t possible to precisely estimate the Liberal vs Greens margin for the new seat, but the closest estimate suggests a drop from 8% to 7.6%.

History
Higgins was first created in 1949 when the Parliament was expanded in size. Its first member was Harold Holt, who had previously been Member for Fawkner in the same part of Melbourne. Holt was a minister in the Menzies United Australia Party government at the beginning of the Second World War.

Holt returned to the ministry in 1949 as Minister for Immigration. He became Menzies’ Treasurer in 1958 and became Prime Minister upon Menzies’ retirement in 1966.

Holt disappeared in sensational circumstances in December 1967 while swimming at Cheviot Beach in Victoria. Higgins was won by new Prime Minister John Gorton in a 1968 by-election. Gorton had previously been a Senator and was required to move to the House of Representatives.

Gorton held the seat continously until the 1975 election. Following Malcolm Fraser’s accession to the Liberal leadership Gorton resigned from the Liberal Party and sat as an independent. At the 1975 election he stood for an ACT Senate seat and Higgins returned to the Liberal Party.

Roger Shipton won the seat in 1975 and maintained his hold on the seat until 1990, when he was challenged for preselection by Peter Costello. Costello held the seat from 1990 until his 2009 resignation, triggering a by-election.

The ensuing by-election became a contest between the Liberal Party’s Kelly O’Dwyer and the Greens candidate, prominent academic Clive Hamilton, as the ALP refused to stand a candidate. O’Dwyer won the seat comfortably, and was re-elected in 2010, and again in 2013. O’Dwyer was re-elected with a smaller 8% margin against the Greens in 2016.

Candidates
Sitting Liberal MP Kelly O’Dwyer is not running for re-election.

Assessment
Higgins is a reasonably safe seat – the Greens would need a big swing to win here, but there is probably potential for growth in Greens support.

2016 result

CandidatePartyVotes%SwingRedist
Kelly O’Dwyer Liberal 46,95352.0-2.451.6
Jason Ball Greens 22,87025.3+8.524.2
Carl Katter Labor 13,49514.9-9.116.5
Nancy BassettNick Xenophon Team2,0072.2+2.22.1
Eleonora GulloneAnimal Justice1,3441.5+1.51.6
Rebecca O’BrienMarriage Equality1,2651.4+1.41.3
Jessica TregearDerryn Hinch’s Justice Party1,2641.4+1.41.3
Robert KennedyLiberal Democrats1,0931.2+1.21.1
Others0.3
Informal3,5503.8

2016 two-candidate-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%Redist
Kelly O’Dwyer Liberal 52,35958.057.6
Jason Ball Greens 37,93242.042.4

2016 two-party-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%SwingRedist
Kelly O’Dwyer Liberal 54,79860.7+0.860.1
Carl Katter Labor 35,49339.3-0.839.9

Booth breakdown

Booths have been divided into four areas: central, north-east, south-east and west.

The Liberal Party won a majority of the two-candidate-preferred vote (against the Greens) in three out of four areas, ranging from 53.2% in the west to 59.9% in the centre. The two-candidate-preferred vote was a tie in the south-east.

Labor’s primary vote ranged from 13.1% in the centre to 26.1% in the south-east.

Voter groupALP prim %LIB 2CP %Total votes% of votes
West14.153.215,03916.2
South-East26.150.014,26715.4
Central13.159.912,00013.0
North-East14.757.09,0299.8
Other votes16.061.619,32620.9
Pre-poll15.160.822,90924.7

Election results in Higgins at the 2016 federal election
Toggle between two-candidate-preferred votes (Liberal vs Greens) and Labor primary votes.


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147 COMMENTS

  1. When i look for possible surprises, I look to see how many booths held by less than 55% TPP. In Higgins we see about 13 to 14 such booths, if some of those booths move against the sitting MP then the seat can either become very marginal or flip. Compare Higgins with Goldstein (8) and Kooyong (4), neither of those two seats have as many marginal booths as Higgins does and this is why Higgins is viewed by some as a seat to watch if the swing is on.

  2. Looking at the 2PP results on the map, noting all those question-mark booths without a Liberal-Greens 2PP around Hughesdale were Labor booths (ranging between 51-62% TPP), I honestly think the only part of the seat that’s safe for the Liberals is the Toorak-Malvern-Glen Iris heartland.

    Prahran, South Yarra, Glen Huntly, Carnegie & Hughesdale already have a 2PP favouring the Greens (or ALP in the area that’s moved over from Hotham) and will likely swing further in that direction.

    Murrumbeena, Malvern East and Ashburton were only marginal 30% in some booths), so a base is already there to build upon.

    In any case, even if those suburbs remain relatively stable for the Liberals, the rest of the electorate is vulnerable to enough of a swing to make the seat marginal; and if the Liberal swings from 60%+ to closer to the 55% range, you have to wonder if that will be enough?

  3. Sorry it looks like I accidentally deleted a whole section out of the middle of that so it makes no sense!! Please ignore the above comment, it was supposed to be the below:

    Looking at the 2PP results on the map, noting all those question-mark booths without a Liberal-Greens 2PP around Hughesdale were Labor booths (ranging between 51-62% TPP), I honestly think the only part of the seat that’s safe for the Liberals is the Toorak-Malvern-Glen Iris heartland.

    Prahran, South Yarra, Glen Huntly, Carnegie & Hughesdale already have a 2PP favouring the Greens (or ALP in the area that’s moved over from Hotham) and will likely swing further in that direction.

    Murrumbeena, Malvern East and Ashburton were only marginal <55% Liberal suburbs that will most likely be 50-50 at best for the Liberals with some booths flipping to marginal Greens/ALP.

    These suburbs are all vulnerable to enough to swing to the Greens/ALP without even needing a Phelps type of independent in the race.

    This only leaves the Toorak, Armadale, Malvern & Glen Iris heartland where the Liberals will need to rely on their stable vote. Wentworth showed those type of suburbs are vulnerable to a big swing to an independent, but whether or not they can swing much to the Greens is a different story. Although those suburbs already have a Greens primary vote about 3-4 times higher than comparable Wentworth suburbs (30% in some booths), so a base is already there to build upon.

    In any case, even if those suburbs remain relatively stable for the Liberals, the rest of the electorate is vulnerable to enough of a swing to make the seat marginal; and if the Liberal heartland even swings from 60%+ to closer to the 55% range, you have to wonder if that will be enough to counter the rest of the seat?

  4. I think the state election in 3 weeks could give an indication of what sort of swings we may expected in the Liberal heartland.

    Obviously state & federal comparisons are never that reliable, but if anything the state election should favour the Liberals considerably more than the federal election because the state Liberals tend to do better than their federal counterparts in Victoria, the state polls are closer, and the issues the federal Libs are having will obviously have a smaller impact on the state election than they will on the federal one.

    The state seat of Malvern is obviously very safe and will have nothing to see regarding state results, but it will be interesting to see if there is even a 2-3% swing away from the Liberals in a state seat that’s not even on the Greens or ALP’s radar where federal issues are only a distraction, what will that say about how those same booths might swing in Higgins where federal issues are front & centre and the Greens will be targeting the seat aggressively?

  5. Trent, you are being overly optimistic about the Greens chances in Higgins short term and long term.

    The loss of Windsor is a blow to the Greens and there is too much Liberal terrain all in the seat.

    Murrumbeena and Hughesdale are more expensive and affluent than in the past and less Green friendly than other parts of Higgins.

    The Liberals will hold this seat comfortably and probably extend the margin in future on the current boundaries.

  6. Stan, Actually they are unlikely to extend the margin with O’Dwyer She isn’t the most likeable local member she will hold on but your being sarcastic if you think she can hold on until she retires.

  7. I have no optimism at all for the long term, I just think in the 2019 election specifically where the Libs are likely to be destroyed across the board, seats like this which have a more progressive type of Liberal voter are likely to have a bigger post-Turnbull swing and a near 50-50 result isn’t so far fetched.

    Obviously I still think O’Dwyer is the favourite but it’s far from guaranteed this time around.

  8. If the Libs get anywhere near 50-50 in Higgins that would be a wipeout scenario that leaves them in opposition for at least 3 terms. The Wentworth result was unique due to Turnbulls departure to New York. And we had his son campaigning for the Greens.
    The Liberals are a big chance to be defeated nationally by their biggest margin ever but Higgins is unlikely to be a repeat of Wentworth.
    My prediction is 53 to 56 percent 2PP for the Libs in Higgins, depending on the effectiveness of the actual election campaign.
    A poor campaign like the last one and it becomes a marginal seat, a decent campaign and it stays a relatively safe but almost marginal seat at 55 or 56 percent.

  9. Oh of course I would never be suggesting a swing anywhere near what was in Wentworth, which was 18%.

    Polls are consistently pointing to about a 5% national swing though, so even with a uniform swing that would reduce the margin to 2.6%.

    However it’s the seats with a Wentworth-like demographic who will probably feel the swing the hardest. Outer suburban seats, areas around the Sutherland Shire and QLD are probably likely to be more Morrison-friendly. The most recent QLD poll had the federal Libs at 50-50 in QLD (posted on Poll Bludger this morning).

    So while I’m not suggesting a Wentworth wipeout, I think inner Melbourne Liberal seats (and particularly Higgins which has more Greens & Labor friendly pockets, more diverse suburbs, a less popular member and a smaller margin than Kooyong & Goldstein) definitely have the potential for the Turnbull factor to add an extra 1-2% above the national swing, and in Higgins that extra 1-2% brings the 2PP very close to 50-50.

    I still think the Liberals will hang on but I think it will be very close with a <2% margin and will be a seat to watch.

  10. Ladies and Gents, i was wrong, after the election results yesterday, Higgins could either fall or go down to postal votes! If Labor is able to mount such a ferocious campaign and the Libs put in another weak effort, they are done and will be pushed to hold even their safest seats.

  11. Agree. I had a hunch the whole time that the Liberals could lose Higgins, but wasn’t sure if I was just being too optimistic.

    Living in Prahran I knew the 7-8% swing that’s needed was possible in the west of the electorate, and I knew marginal middle class areas like Murrumbeena, Hughesdale, Carnegie & Glenhuntly could very easily swing 7-8% too, but the heartland throughout Toorak, Malvern & Armadale was the question mark.

    Voters in the state seat of Malvern swung more than 10% away from the Liberals which is massive. Meanwhile polling places in suburbs like Glenhuntly, Carnegie & Murrumbena were recording Labor 2PPs of over 60% and either Labor or the Greens (whoever tops the 3PP count) is likely to win Prahran with a margin close to 60-40 with polling places in Prahran itself recording 2PPs close to 70% vs the Liberals!

    Hopefully 2019 will be the end of O’Dwyer!

  12. The Toorak Central polling place had a Liberal 2PP of 50.5% yesterday and that’s as “Liberal Heartland” as you can get! If the Liberals can only manage 2PPs in the 50s in Toorak, they have no chance of even coming close in most of the other suburbs.

  13. Should be one to watch on the night. the knifing of Turnbull won’t go down well here you’d think, but whether the swing is big enough to flip the seat is another matter

  14. Trent on the Prahran state result with Toorak Central and Toorak West has the VEC got those results mixed up because Toorak West which is more South Yarra and is usually the more marginal of the three went 59%-41% Liberal meanwhile Toorak Central went 50.5%-49.5% Liberal.

    General Higgins comment

    I see the ALP have already preselected their candidate for the seat, and the thing I will be interested to see is how this seat reacts to some of the ALP’s purposed tax changes.

    If the Liberals only get 50.5% in Toorak Central and only mid 60s in the main Toorak booth (Malvern) then Higgins will be very close.

  15. Further to Trent and my comment about Toorak Central booth, in the above graph we see Toorak Central booth has returning 73%, meanwhile on the weekend that was reduced to 50% although some of regular voters might be residences of Malvern and in the Malvern part it was 66%.

  16. The addition of the early votes very late is causing the election count to be very slow and provide and an inaccurate reflection of the final count, especially in Caulfield, where Labor had a huge lead and was then over-run by early votes!
    Something must be done about this as more and more people are voting early!

  17. Yes the Liberals are toast federally too but the reality is that at a state level, we virtually have a one party state like California. And Labor has been dominant in Victoria for 2 decades now.
    Labor has won five of the last six elections since 1999 in Victoria, the Liberals fluked a narrow win in 2010 after 11 years of Labor rule.
    Even in Queensland, only Campbell Newman’s LNP has won just one election in 2012, since 1989.
    Labor is the king of state politics!
    At the federal level, the parties until recently have been far more competitive in elections.
    That is why i would be sceptical of those trying to equate state seat results with federal seats.

  18. I agree Stan, this post-count has been really volatile. In today’s updated results, Brighton’s 2PP swung a full 2% back to Labor after absent votes were counted, reducing the Liberal 2PP from 53% to 51%. If a 2% swing back to Labor was replicated in Caulfield where the Liberal lead is 1.8% and no absent votes have been counted yet, that would actually put Labor back in the lead.

    Pencil – It’s Toorak West in the above map that has the 73% Liberal result (and was 59% on the weekend) and Toorak Central was only 61% in the above map (and 50.5% on the weekend). I think the VEC got the polling places right.

    The Toorak West polling place is north of Toorak Rd near Grange Rd & Toorak Village and is more conservative and ‘exclusive’; whereas Toorak Central is down closer to Malvern Rd and Hawksburn Village, a little more diverse as its near where Toorak, Prahran & South Yarra all meet, and generally has the weakest Liberal result of all Toorak polling places.

    In other news, the Herald Sun published a poll today of about 1000 Higgins voters that indicated a 53-47 Labor win on primary votes of 38% Liberal, 32% Labor and 19% Greens. It’s obviously rubbish – a federal seat poll 6 months out from the federal election, only days after a state eletion – but regardless of the poll being meaningless I do think a Liberal loss is likely.

    After seeing what kinds of swings are possible on Saturday, I’m predicting 2PPs around the following:
    65-35 against the Libs in Prahran
    60-40 against the Libs in Glen Huntly, Carnegie & Hughesdale
    55-45 against the Libs in Murrumbeena, South Yarra & Ashburton
    50-55 to the Libs in Armadale, Malvern, Malvern East and the Toorak Central polling place
    55-60 to the Libs in Toorak & Glen Iris

  19. Stan – I agree about skepticism with overlaying state results onto federal seats and vice versa, even though I do it myself sometimes to get an idea of trends. But in Victoria’s case, our federal results have been very similar overall to our state results when you think that in the same time Labor have won 5 of 6 state elections, they’ve also won the most Victorian seats in every federal election during that same time.

    I think 1996 was the last federal election where the Liberals won more seats in Victoria. Even in the 2013 Liberal landslide, the ALP still got more of the 2PP vote in Victoria. So it’s true that we’re very much a one party state but I think that applies at both state & federal levels (whereas Queensland is very much the opposte).

  20. Trent, Thanks for that, I must of just assumed Toorak Central would have meant the booth in the middle.

  21. California is not a 1 party state, The other party almost won the Governorship, But about this seat, Owdyer is not very popular here and if you add the polls and the victoria result, She will fall, Unsure if she will fall to Labor the Greens or an Independent that’s the question

  22. Daniel, I think you will find the Democratic candidate for governor, Newsom, beat his Republican opponent by about 2.8 million votes. That’s a thrashing. California is pretty much a one-party state, with only 7 Republicans in its 53-member House congressional delegation. The only political differences are moderate vs progressive on policy issues.

  23. Daniel I think you might be confused with the USA Senate race in California which was close to 55-45 (54.3%-45.7% to be precise) but was Democrat versus Democrat. The Democrat versus Republican Gubernatorial race is 61.8%-38.2%.

    California is absolutely a one party state in the modern era. I doubt the Republicans will find a candidate like Reagan of Schwarzenegger any time soon.

  24. While acknowledging state results are meaningless for federal elections and vis versa, however I did a rough cross check to see how potentially close seats like Higgins might be and while the follow result only covers about 60% of the Higgins electorate.

    I included the full result from Malvern, and the booth results from the other electorates excluding booths on the very fringe of the electorate eg South Yarra and Glenhuntly East. And for simplicity I treated the TPP in Prahran as Lib v ALP eventhough that isn’t how it was.

    The result was

    Liberals 29,859
    ALP 30,082

    I did a similar exercise for Kooyong and found Frydneyberg was on 52% from about 60% of the vote.

  25. Interesting numbers Pencil!

    And while also acknowledging your point that state results can be meaningless for federal elections, if anything I think the difference between the 2 will be even worse for the Liberals in the federal election.

    The Liberals’ state campaign was horrendous, but:
    – Polling has consistently been worse for the Libs in Victoria in federal polls than state polls
    – Any negative impact the federal turmoil had on the state result will have a much bigger and more direct impact in the federal election
    – At state level the Liberals had a decent candidate in Prahran, and while I don’t really know much about O’Brien’s personal standing in Malvern, Kelly O’Dwyer is deeply unpopular so from a a candidate perspective they are more disadvantaged in Higgins than the state seats
    – While Matthew Guy was really unpopular, their policies were at least focused Victoria whereas the Sydney-centric federal Libs in particular are seen to have abandoned and neglected Victoria altogether and have aimed their policies at winning over Queenslanders
    – Leader. Again, Matthew Guy was atrocious. But to the affluent Liberal voters of Melbourne, would a hardliner from Doncaster really an even more negative factor than an evangelist from Cronulla who barely acknowledges that Melbourne exists?

    Unless something miraculous happens, I can’t see how the federal swings won’t be larger than the state swings, because there’s not a single positive factor I can think of that the federal Liberals would have over the state Liberals. Everything is even more negative for them.

  26. Pencil, Did the greens get more primary votes than 2016? If you can figure that out? Did the Greens improve?

  27. Daniel

    I only looked at the TPP numbers, people have been saying the Greens did poorly and in someways they did but I would argue that this election was always going to be difficult for the Greens with a strong performing ALP government with a strong progressive record and the Greens need a big ticket item to focus their campaign on, this time they didn’t have that so considering the circumstances I think the Greens did okay, they picked up Brunswick while holding Melbourne and Prahran, and while they did lose Northcote they did score a swing to them so that isn’t entirely a bad result.

  28. I haven’t looked at the overlapping Malvern & Oakleigh polling places, but the primary vote swings in Prahran were:

    Greens: +3.32%
    Labor: +3.04%
    Liberals: -10.28%

    So Prahran was a rare seat where the Greens actually had a (slightly) better swing than Labor.

  29. greens did poorly overall but in Prahan still roughly the same from 2014………. they won Brunswick….. failed to retain Nortcote (by election).. failed in Richmond and I think a swing against in Melbourne but not enough to lose……… upper house only retained 1 seat

  30. With reports that Kelly O’Dwyer is quitting politics – does this mean that Higgins is lost to the Liberal Party??? Who will pick it up Labor or Greens?

  31. Labour Gain. Only for 1 term though. It will be interesting to see how well the Greens do. It doesn’t matter if they held Malvern. That was extremely close and a small swing would tip this from the State election results

  32. Higgins won’t be moving from the Liberal party. At worst they may not get over 50% of first preferences, but I doubt their vote will drop enough for either Greens or Labor to pick this up. Depending on the candidate of course. Barring a very strong independent of course.

  33. Malvern doesn’t matter though Jake. Look at the Malvern result’s it was a very safe seat and look at the margin now!

  34. Jake the Liberals only polled 52% primary vote in 2016 with Turnbull as leader so if the polls are right then this seat is going to preferences.

    Due to Kelly O’Dwyer deciding not to recontest the seat, that either tells us the polling is very bad or the seat is line ball, although O’Dwyer is right in the sense that being a federal polly is a time demanding job.

    Will be interesting to see how this impacts the eventual result because from talking to people in the seat, O’Dwyer is not popular even among Liberal voters.

  35. Agree with Daniel, Higgins either stays Liberal or goes to the ALP for a term.

    The ALP seem to have the stronger candidate and the removal of Windsor and the adding of areas around Murrumbeena should see the ALP move ahead of the Greens.

    The state election result should give the ALP some confidence because in recent years they have seen a decline in their vote around Ashburton which largely returned and plenty of Liberals voted ALP for the first time in their lives and that kind of break-through is key because changing vote for the first time can be very difficult hence why safe seats mostly remain so regardless of how hopeless that party or local MP is performing.

    The other thing the ALP will be pleased about is the Liberals usual “he is a union hack” seemed to have failed with the Andrews government so its possible it will fail against Shorten.

  36. And the question would be how much personal vote Odwyer had. You could argue she didnt due to the fact Costello held it with larger margins. But you could counter that argument because of demographic changes and redistributions This will certainly will be decided by less than 2% either way. And it all depends where Christian Democrats and Conservative preferences go, and maybe One Nation if they stand since we all know where Green preferences will go.However i think John Pesutto wouldnt be a bad fit for this seat since he recently lost his state electorate of hawthorn, he could have another crack at a federal seat. This isnt very far from Hawthorn so if he runs i reckon he can win. Small L sensible liberal

  37. Kelly O’Dwyer retiring at next election makes sense as she has most likely gone as far as she can as a good minister and who wants to be in opposition for a long time anyway after the next election, after being a minister. I think parliament should not be a career for life. A few terms (3 or 4) is plenty of time for an MHR to achieve something.

    Interesting read in The Age today (19 Jan 19) showing the background of federal MP in 1988 and 2018. As we know there are a larger group of lawyers, unionist and staffers but the staffers (advisers) percentage increase was outrageous. In 1988 it was just over 3% but in 2018 it was just over 39%. Advisers often have a degree in politics, have worked as an electorate officer or are a ministerial adviser then shortly after pop up are pre-selections and get selected as a candidate. They are hardly representative of the general community though being uni types and “gofers” in an office.

  38. I don’t think the Christian Democrats usually run in Victorian seats? One Nation generally don’t either, particularly near the inner city, and I don’t know if Australian Conservatives will either. They sat out the state election.

    This seat will be genuinely close 3 way contest this time, similar to Prahran in 2014. The Liberals need a primary vote of 45% to win the seat, realistically, and a 7% swing against them is pretty likely considering Prahran and Malvern both had primary vote swings of 10% against them, and as much as the Victorian Liberals and Matthew Guy were a terrible product, inner Melbourne generally likes the Sydney-centric federal Liberals even less.

    The Greens had an 8% advantage over Labor in 2016 but as has been mentioned, the redistribution adding the more Labor-friendly Hughesdale and Murrumbeena while losing the Greens stronghold of Windsor (47% primary vote in 2016), along with a general pro-Labor swing, will even that right up.

    It’ll be close. But I don’t see the Liberals getting more than 44-45% primary vote and that will make the 2PP count very close. The Liberals lost Prahran in 2014 with a 44.8% primary vote.

    Also, the 3 state seats that Higgins mostly overlaps have the following margins:
    All of Malvern – 6% to Liberals
    Most of Prahran – 7.4% to Greens
    Some of Oakleigh – 15.8% to Labor (although it’s the least ALP areas in Oakleigh that are in Higgins)

    A real mixed bag. Malvern makes up the heart of the electorate though but if they vote like they did in the state election, I don’t think that 6% buffer in the Liberal “heartland” will be enough to overcome the Greens advantage in Prahran (close to 70% Greens 2CP in November) and South Yarra, and ALP vote in Murrumbeena, Carnegie, Hughesdale (all over 60% ALP 2PP in November).

  39. To clarify when I refer to the almost 70% 2CP in Prahran I’m referring to the Prahran & Prahran East polling places, not the entire seat where I know the Greens 2CP was only 57.4%.

  40. Also polls don’t decide elections. Voters do (polls do not matter). Some may suggest the retirement of Dwyer will help the Liberals but i dont think it will help them that much. I think they can only win if a woman is nominated. Not nominating a white man like they did it 4/5 seats, the party is becoming increasingly sexist, and will soon be defeated badly. They need quotas. Also the polls in this electorate are tied the last time i checked ghostwhovotes. So with the polls tied, thats a bad sign for the coalition. And may need to secure prefernce deals here. Because the polls could be right

  41. Just got robo-called for a Higgins seat poll by U-Comm, which looks like it was commissioned by either Peter Costello or a group pushing for his return.

    Started with the usual questions, who would you give your first preference to (interestingly the order was Liberal, Greens, Independent then Labor last); and who would you preference out of Liberal or Labor.

    Then it went onto a series of questions about Kelly O’Dwyer’s resignation like the usual “Would it make you more or less likely to vote for the Liberals”, then interestingly a very push-poll style question “How *concerned* are you that Kelly O’Dwyer has pushed for a female replacement, ruling out the possibility of a better qualified male candidate for the Liberal Party?”

    At that point I suspected it may have had something to do with Costello or Pesutto; then the next question was “If Peter Costello was the Liberal candidate, would you be more or less likely to vote for the Liberal Party?” and finally… Wait for it…

    “Do you believe Peter Costello is the only person who can lead the Liberal Party to victory in the upcoming election?” The phrasing of that question actually made me laugh out loud!

    But anyway, it looks like Peter Costello might be seriously considering a return if his camp are commissioning polls.

  42. Costello would easily lose this, The electorate has moved on from conservatism. (Just like how some other people should) But nevertheless Katie should be the new member for higgins as long as she doesn’t do any gaffes

  43. I think Costello would hold it as he is a good fit for Higgins but I think the Liberals will go with someone new like Katie Allen.

  44. Katie Allen does seem like the best fit for them being local paediatrician with “small l” values, however she had a -10% swing against her across Prahran and while most of that electorate is by far the least Liberal voting section of Higgins, the biggest swing was actually in a Toorak booth (-18% in Toorak West) which would have to be a troubling sign for the Liberals considering Toorak is more representative of Higgins’ core demographic than the Prahran/Windsor area.

    I’d say that massive swing was despite Katie Allen being the candidate rather than because of it, because I agree she’s probably the best fit for them and is actually a Toorak local herself (so you’d think she’d do the best in Toorak), so I honestly think at this point the selection of candidate in this electorate will make little difference to overcome the brand damage, which was ironically articulated best by Kelly O’Dwyer’s summation of how the voters see the party.

  45. The latest post on Poll Bludger confirms the poll was commissioned on behalf on interests wanting a Costello return, and that the result was 52-48 to Labor:

    “There is also a uComms/ReachTEL poll in The Australian from the scene of the week’s other big retirement announcements, the Melbourne seat of Higgins. Conducted on Thursday from a sample of 860 for interests who wish to bring about the return of Peter Costello, the poll finds Labor with a two-party lead of 52-48. This compares with a 10.7% margin for retiring Liberal member Kelly O’Dwyer in Liberals-versus-Labor terms, although it’s perfectly in line with how the electorate voted at the election. It was in fact the Greens who finished second in 2016, but the poll suggests that is unlikely to be repeated this time: after exclusion of the 8.4% undecided, the primary votes are Liberal 40.3%, Labor 27.1% and Greens 19.3%.”

  46. I find it odd if a group a pushing for Peter Costello to return. Surely Costello has not given his nod to the idea. Costello refused to be of leader of the opposition after Kevin’s Rudds win in 2007 probably because he assumed it would be a 10 year Labor government. When Tony Abbott looked like he would win Costello wanted to get back in parliament and had a fall out with Michael Kroger over it Kroger said on ABC radio.

    Costello only option if he wanted to be leader would be to stand in Higgins and contest the leadership after Scott Morrison loses the next Federal election. Obvisously Costello would have to win Higgins to do it. This idea from commentators of Costello contesting the next election outside of parliament as leader is Looney talk and would turn the government into a even bigger farce.

    I doubt Costello is seriously considering this and is more likely this idea of him coming back into parliament is being pushed by a couple hangeroners who haven’t moved on.

  47. electorate level polls are not reliable….. also margin of error is I think higher greater than 5%……. but given who conducted the poll this one is more suspect. On state election figures the 6 % margin in Malvern would not over come the balance else where. I would have suspected Kelly to win if she contested… but as she is not an unknown candidate has 6 months to make themselves known. It appears the greens are unlikely to win here especially with a swing to labour. Vic swing as per bludger track is I think 5.5% this if uniform would make the seat close. ….. line ball

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