Kooyong – Australia 2019

LIB 12.8%

Incumbent MP
Josh Frydenberg, since 2010.

Geography
Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Kooyong covers most of the Boroondara council area, including the suburbs of Hawthorn, Kew, Camberwell, Canterbury, Mont Albert and Balwyn.

Redistribution
Kooyong expanded to the east, taking in Mont Albert and Mont Albert North from Chisholm. This change reduced the Liberal margin from 13.3% to 12.8%.

History
Kooyong is an original federation electorate, and has always been held by conservative parties, by the Free Trade Party for the first eight years and by the Liberal Party and its predecessors since 1909. It was held from 1922 to 1994 by only three men, all of whom led the major conservative force in federal politics.

The seat was first won in 1901 by Free Trader William Knox. He was re-elected in 1903 and 1906 and became a part of the unified Liberal Party in 1909. He won re-election in 1910 but retired later that year after suffering a stroke.

The 1910 by-election was won by Liberal candidate Robert Best. Best had previously served as a colonial minister and a Protectionist Senator from 1901 to the 1910 election, when he lost his seat in the ALP’s majority victory, and had served as a minister in Alfred Deakin’s second and third governments. Best returned to Parliament, but didn’t serve in Joseph Cook’s Liberal government or Billy Hughes’ Nationalist government.

At the 1922 election, Best was challenged by lawyer John Latham, who stood for the breakaway Liberal Union, a conservative party running to personally oppose Billy Hughes’ leadership of the Nationalist Party. Despite winning the most primary votes by a large margin, Best lost to Latham on Labor preferences.

John Latham was elected as one of five MPs for the breakaway Liberal Party (two of whom had previously been Nationalist MPs and retained their seats as Liberals in 1922). The Nationalists lost their majority due to gains for the Liberal Party and Country Party, and were forced to go into coalition, and the Country Party demanded Billy Hughes’ resignation as Prime Minister. With Stanley Bruce taking over as Prime Minister, the five Liberals, including Latham, effectively rejoined the Nationalist Party, and Latham won re-election in 1925 as a Nationalist.

Latham served as Attorney-General in the Bruce government from 1925 to 1929, when the Nationalists lost power, and Bruce himself lost his seat. Latham became Leader of the Opposition, but yielded the leadership to former Labor minister Joseph Lyons when they formed the new United Australia Party out of the Nationalists and Labor rebels. Latham served as the unofficial Deputy Prime Minister in the first term of the Lyons government (when they governed without the need for support from the Country Party), before retiring at the 1934 election. Latham went on to serve as Chief Justice of the High Court from 1935 to 1952.

Kooyong was won in 1934 by Robert Menzies. Menzies had been elected to the Victorian state parliament in 1928 and had served as Deputy Premier in the United Australia Party government from 1932 to 1934. He was immediately appointed Attorney-General in the Lyons government. He served in the Lyons government until 1939, when he resigned from the Cabinet in protest over what he saw as the government’s inaction. This was shortly before the death of Joseph Lyons in April 1939, which was followed by the UAP electing Robert Menzies as leader, making him Prime Minister.

Menzies’ first term was rocky, with the Second World War being declared in September 1939. He managed to retain power with the support of independents at the 1940 election, but after spending months in Europe on war strategy in 1941 he returned home to opposition within the government, and was forced to resign as Prime Minister and UAP leader. He was replaced as leader by Country Party leader Arthur Fadden, who was followed soon after by Labor leader John Curtin.

Menzies worked in opposition to reform the conservative forces, who suffered a massive defeat at the 1943 election. In 1944 and 1945 he put together the new Liberal Party, which took over from the moribund United Australia Party and a number of splinter groups. He led the party to the 1946 election and won power in 1949.

Menzies held power for the next sixteen years, retaining power at elections in 1951, 1954, 1955, 1958, 1961 and 1963, and retiring in January 1966.

The 1966 Kooyong by-election was won by Andrew Peacock, then President of the Victorian Liberal Party. Peacock rose to the ministry in 1969 and served in the ministry until the election of the Whitlam government in 1972. He served as a senior frontbencher during the Whitlam government and became Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Fraser government in 1975. He moved to the Industrial Relations portfolio in 1980, but resigned from Cabinet in 1981 due to supposed meddling in his portfolio by the Prime Minister. He launched a failed challenge to Fraser’s leadership and moved to the backbench, although he returned to Cabinet in late 1982, a few months before Malcolm Fraser lost power.

After the 1983 election, Peacock was elected leader, defeating John Howard, who had served as Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party for the last few months of the Fraser government. Peacock led the party into the 1984 election, reducing the Hawke government’s majority. With rising speculation of a leadership challenge from Howard (still deputy leader) in 1985, he attempted to replace Howard as deputy leader, but the party room re-elected Howard. This caused Peacock to resign as leader and Howard was elected Leader of the Opposition. Howard led the Liberal Party to a bigger defeat in 1987. Howard was challenged by Peacock in 1989, and Peacock led the Liberal Party to the 1990 election. Despite winning a majority of the two-party preferred vote, Peacock didn’t win enough seats, and he resigned as leader immediately after the election.

Peacock remained on the frontbench under the leadership of John Hewson and Alexander Downer, and retired in 1994. Peacock was appointed Ambassador to the United States upon the election of the Howard government in 1996, and served in the role until 1999.

Kooyong was won at the 1994 by-election by Petro Georgiou, the State Director of the Victorian Liberal Party. Georgiou was a former advisor to Malcolm Fraser and a key proponent of multicultural government policies. Georgiou’s main opposition came from Greens candidate Peter Singer, due to the absence of a Labor candidate. Singer managed 28% of the primary vote, which remained a Greens record until the 2009 Higgins by-election, but it wasn’t enough to seriously challenge the Liberal hold on Kooyong.

Georgiou positioned himself strongly as a moderate within the Liberal Party and despite his impeccable credentials in the Liberal Party and as a policy advisor, he never held a frontbench role in the Howard government. He was openly critical of the Howard government’s refugee policies in the final term of the Howard government. He faced a strong preselection challenge in 2006, but managed to win more than two thirds of votes in the preselection. He managed to win re-election in 2007 with practically no swing against him, despite the Liberals suffering large swings across Australia.

In 2010, Georgiou retired, and he was succeeded by fellow Liberal Josh Frydenberg. Frydenberg was re-elected in 2013 and 2016.

Candidates

Assessment
Kooyong is a safe Liberal seat.

2016 result

CandidatePartyVotes%SwingRedist
Josh Frydenberg Liberal 52,40158.2+2.557.6
Marg D’Arcy Labor 17,82519.8-2.620.5
Helen Mcleod Greens 17,02718.9+2.318.6
Angelina ZubacIndependent2,7503.1+2.42.9
Others0.4
Informal1,8232.0

2016 two-party-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%SwingRedist
Josh Frydenberg Liberal 57,00763.3+2.362.8
Marg D’Arcy Labor 32,99636.7-2.337.2

Booth breakdown

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

The Liberal Party won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all four areas, ranging from 55.5% in the south-west to 63.3% in the north-east.

The Greens came third, with a primary vote ranging from 14% in the north-east to 25.2% in the south-west.

Voter groupGRN prim %LIB 2PP %Total votes% of votes
South-East18.462.716,19516.8
North-East14.063.314,57315.1
North-West20.160.912,74813.3
South-West25.255.510,83211.3
Other votes17.365.721,34822.2
Pre-poll18.964.520,50821.3

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

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21 COMMENTS

  1. Greens are that little bit weaker here than in Higgins. They could take a run at Frydenberg, especially since he’s environment minister, and there may be a “nobody else has ever tried” swing to be won.

    However they don’t really have a base. For Higgins, Greens have Prahran and before that they were regularly on Stonnington council.

    Here, Booroondara has single member wards, and Hawthorn hasn’t been held by Labor since the 50s.

    It’s a much tougher mountain to climb than Higgins.

  2. Finishing second here would be a legitimate goal for the Greens. Perhaps a few of those booths around Swinburne Uni could turn Green in a 2CP vs the Liberals.

    But there’s way too much old-school conservative territory here for the Liberals to be under serious threat.

  3. Mark M
    Now that he Yarra has been breached (as a boundary), do think there is any chance of Kooyong moving north into Ivanhoe ?

  4. I would not view the straddling of the river in the north-east as a precedent for breaching the Yarra elsewhere. On the contrary, Menzies straddles the Yarra precisely to avoid other unnecessary crossings. If the next redistribution requires more transfers between the east and the north then Menzies can be that release valve.

    If Kooyong needs to expand, its community-of-interest surely lies east to Box Hill/Surrey Hills/Burwood or south to Glen Iris, not north to Ivanhoe.

  5. WD,

    No, if Kooyong needed to keep gaining electors, I think it is far more likely that the boundary would simply extend along Elgar Road to take in the rest of Mont Albert and Surrey Hills. It could even go further south to Burwood Highway if needed.

    Also, even if they needed to add more territory on the northern bank to a ‘southern’ seat, they would probably just make adjustments through Menzies instead of having a second seat jump the river.

  6. I don’t see Kooyong moving north of the Yarra, there may be a time when Richmond is added to the seat. I could see the AEC creating a seat that covers the Toorak/Malvern end of Stonnington, Richmond, Hawthorn and maybe Kew however I think its more likely that Kooyong will continue to move eastward towards Box Hill or southward into Glen Iris.

    John

    A few years ago, the area around Glenferrie Rd Oval elected the former Federal ALP for Kooyong candidate to the local council. The seat of Hawthorn would be competitive for the ALP if the seat was based on its 1950s boundaries with covered parts of Richmond and excluded the Camberwell half of today’s seat.

    The area around Swinburne tends to have more flats and smaller houses which wouldn’t be out of place in Fitzroy which explains why the Liberal vote is softer compared to the rest of the seat.

    The Swinburne booth is the one marked in red and the two booths to the south of it are typically marginal booths although the Liberals enjoy clear primary vote leads in both booths.

  7. I wonder if the controversy surrounding the donation to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation will hurt Frydenberg’s vote. It seems to be getting more and more media attention.

  8. Frydenberg will never lose here, the Greens even with a modest campaign should very easily sail into second.

    The most interesting part being that booths around Hawthorn are only 55-45 2CP Lib-Labor, if that was Lib-Green it would have been 53-47. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hawthorn was the Greens outside target at the upcoming state election.

  9. Some Guy
    It ought to. Unfortunately (FOR Malcolm) there has been an association formed between the “donation” (Theft of Commonwealth funds !) & the drought. Something about priorities !……..

  10. L96

    If the Greens can improve their vote in Camberwell which we see above is about 10% lower than the Hawthorn booths, then the Greens could be a chance of picking up Hawthorn.

    Kooyong looks beyond the Greens or the ALP however if this seat was to move into Box Hill or into Richmond then it will move towards becoming a marginal, although in light of the recent leadership carry on it will probably return to a sub10% margin.

  11. Frydenberg being deputy PM should offset all the other factors that will make the Liberal vote collapse in Victoria.

  12. Reports in the Australian the Labor party will run a strong campaign in this seat. A ReachTel poll put out commissioned by a union has Labor ahead 52-48 in this seat on two party preferred and Liberals primary vote dropping 18% to 40% while Labor is on 29% and the Greens 15% . In the article some Liberals suggest their concerned while others have suggested Labor is bluffing to unnerve Liberal MP’s and suggested a independent would more likely be a contender. Some Liberals sources concede they may have to move resources in the seats of Kooyong and Higgins that would be instead going into other seats.

    The article suggests the Liberals would likely make up ground during the election to hold Kooyong and Higgins. But it also notes in the state election three of the four state seats in the Kooyong are now held by Labor.

  13. on state figures…. this seat Higgins and maybe goldstein would be close……….. but I would expect all 3 liberal mps to be respected given the nature of those seats

  14. Talk of Labor winning Kooyong is fanciful. Whatever some dodgy poll might show.

    To say Labor holds three of the four overlapping state seats is superficially true but very misleading. The overlapping seats are Kew (Lib 55%), Hawthorn (ALP 50.4%) and small parts of Box Hill and Burwood. Though Labor won the latter two seats, both are more Liberal leaning in their eastern ends (i.e. the parts overlapping Kooyong).

    If you’re less sceptical than I am, you can still get very juicy odds of 20-1 on a Labor win here.

  15. Political Nightwatchman, Please give me links to Seat polls, i cannot find them, other than that its all fabricated, I have not found a single seat poll on the Polling websites, Please provide me with a link source

  16. > both are more Liberal leaning in their eastern ends (i.e. the parts overlapping Kooyong)

    That should read western ends.

  17. David

    The Liberals suffered very large swings across the Balwyn/Mont Albert end of Box Hill and in the Kooyong based booths in the state seat of Burwood. The other day I did a rough booth check and found Frydenberg was on 52% from around 60% of the Kooyong electorate.

    Depending on who the ALP candidate is and how the campaign goes then Kooyong could be close but 12.8% should be enough for Frydenberg to survive.

    There has been a bit of a misconception surrounding the Hawthorn result, people have focused on the Swinburne part of the area, however the Liberals lost a booth in Camberwell and one in Canterbury South.

  18. To demonstrate how big the booths were in the state election take a look at the TTP graph above

    -The Canterbury South booth – The 65% booth just below the word Canterbury, that went to the ALP
    -Auburn South booth – The 66% booth just below Hawthorn East, that was held by the Liberals on 52%
    -Auburn North booth – the 57% booth just to the right of the Swinburne booth shown in red, that went ALP by 57%

    The ALP also won the Greythorn booth in Balwyn, just unheard off.

    These kind of swings happened across the seat.

  19. Frydenburg is very likely to hold Kooyong the swing here will probably be well above the national average but I doubt it will be enough for Labor to win. Labor are a better chance than 20 to 1 odds to win, I’d think more like 10 to 1 at this rate, but it would need a 1943 scale of landslide or more for it to change hands.

  20. I lived in Kooyong in the last years the local MHR Sir Robert Menzies was PM before he retired and very WASP and “churchy” it was back then too. No pubs or bad behaviour either. My sister and I went to nice Protestant school like Camberwell Grammar School, Canterbury and Methodist Ladies College, Kew.

    We boys in the school cadet unit could shoot and hit the target with the .303 Rifle, Owen Machine Carbine and the Bren Light Machine Gun. Oh, for the good old school day. The ALP tried to close school cadet down nationally but that failed in the end.

    Lots of future actors and musicians at the school when I was there too like the late Greg Ham (Men at Work band), Kim Gyngel (Very Small Business), Andrew McFarland (Glitch and Play School).

    Some said back then (no one I knew) according to some newspapers that they did not like Mr Menzies “except all those who voted for him” at every election as Barry Humphreys once said in a TV interview.

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