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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104 COMMENTS

  1. @name You make it sound like the Liberals are going to get a swing towards them in Kooyong, rather than being challenged by Labor, the Greens and Yates. In the state election, Hawthorn went to Labor so there is definitely anger against the Liberals for their instability, but also their lack of action on climate change. State issues aren’t going to play much of an impact.
    The skyrail thing is on the border of the electorate and will only affect a small group of NIMBYs who obviously don’t realise that Citylink goes right through the same area. The private school funding is not an issue and also a flat out furphy as Labor was offering better for private schools too until Tehan did his deal, and Labor are still offering more funding for public schools. Don’t think the Burnley Melb Uni campus is a big issue at all. Finally though there are many people with negative gearing and franking credits, they were most likely already Coalition voters, and whether those small l Liberal voters of Kooyong turn their back on the party will have more to do with whether they can stomach the Turnbull knifing and climate change inaction or not.

  2. The railway easement in the centre of the freeway from the city to Doncaster still has not seen a train line built as promised in the later 1960’s when the freeway was completed.

  3. Skyrail has actually turned out to be a net vote-winner for Labor. The anti-skyrail hysteria was mostly Lib astroturfing.

  4. Expat – Yes it appears so according to the article I read a few days ago in a Melbourne newspaper.

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