Kooyong – Australia 2019

LIB 12.8%

Incumbent MP
Josh Frydenberg, since 2010.

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

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%.

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.


Kooyong is a safe Liberal seat.

2016 result

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

2016 two-party-preferred result

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
Other votes17.365.721,34822.2

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

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  1. Burnside and Yates are competing for some of the same voters. Burnside will draw votes from both Labor and liberal but 80 % plus will return to labour. Yates as a ex lib should draw more votes from the libs maybe predominately more… say 80% his preferences will probably favour the libs but by how much . Alp will gain votes probably at the expense of the libs.All this increases the chances of Freudenberg not receiving an absolute majority should he dip below say 45% he would be worried.

  2. Why did Burnside choose not to be a Greens Political Party member for so long and only became a member a week before being pre-selected.

    I find it hard to believe that unendorsed candidates suddenly do a U turn days before endorsement. It is not only the Greens that face these Road to Damascus candidates.

    Greens do have a significant membership hurdle for wealthy to bounce over a mandatory monthly bank deduction membership fee. This automatic bank deduction payment would be a big hurdle to cross with bank distrusting potential members.
    This Auto Bankroll deduction may only apply to Qld Greens.
    From a party perspective it eliminates the problem of in financial members who are a considerable administrative burden for all voluntary organisations.

  3. I dont think Burnside and Yates voters, who normally vote Liberal at other times, will put Labor ahead of Liberal further done on the ballot paper. Why would they as generally speaking Liberal candidates in the electorate were good candidates from Menzies to now? I noted yesterday Burnside was not wearing his Dame Edna type glasses.

  4. Julian Burnside is 69 years old so if elected, unlikely, he may not even last a full term.

  5. The Greens candidate in the last election got 18.6% of the vote and this will be a hard act to follow for Burnside. Also the former Greens candidate from last week, who is the same women as for 2016, appears to have been dumped this time for Burnside. I thought only Labor and Liberal did this at times.

  6. The only way Josh Frydenberg is threatened by any of this is if–
    1. Greens/Burnside put Yates 2nd and Labor 3rd on their HTV and get it in all voters’ hands;
    2. Labor put Yates 2nd and Greens 3rd on their HTV and get it in all voters’ hands; and
    3 Yates gets his HTV in all voters’ hands.
    Three big asks.
    If Yates is not in the top two after the fourth candidate’s preferences are distributed, Josh Frydenberg will be reelected.

  7. Who follow HTV cards these days I wonder and larger numbers of voter either vote early or use postal votes? Even when I was in the Liberals (1994-2003) – I was not an Iraq War monger – I put Liberal first and Labor further down with the right wing nutters like Family Farce and Rise Up Australia etc at the bottom. Not that it mattered that much as in my electorate the ALP always won but with declining support.

    I think HTV card at poling places should be banned.

  8. Kooyong is one of the easiest Divisions in the country to man. Any candidate who fails to offer a HTV in hands of 99% is not competent to run a chook raffle. The missing 1% allows for toilet breaks. In effect any candidate who can not achieve this is not trying or has no support,friends or family.

  9. Adrian Jackson
    Your optimism for 69 year olds means that this will be the last Federal election for you and I. I had hoped to be a thorn in politicians feet for a few more elections.

  10. Andrew – You could be right as we start popping off provided were are not smokers, heavy drinkers, druggies or still have stressful jobs or lifestyle. Of the 100 or so 1973 Army officer graduated from OCS Portsea (now closed) about 20 are dead already mostly from cancer for the Aussies who have died.

  11. Based on the language, they sure are putting in a lot of hope, hype and expectation that Burbside will pull off an upset.

    It’s a double-edged sword, however. Historically, the Greens have been very poor when it comes to over-hyping and under-achieving with their own electoral results. This causes burnout and people disengage. When people done engage, they don’t volunteer nor do they empty their pockets of money.

    Burnside will no doubt bring some people back in as well as bring in some new faces. If by some miracle he’s successful, the party will no doubt get an infusion of new energy. However, what happens when he fails to pull off the expected upset? Burnout and disengagement will be heavy. We’ve seen this play out in the inner north of Melbourne. We’re seeing this play out in Higgins (which is majorly deflated on the ground compared to 2016) and to a lesser extent Macnamara.

    I’ll go as far to say that I expect the Greens won’t even finish in the top 2 in Kooyong, even with Burnside as the candidate.

    I actually predict tha Labor will get an above average swing towards them. This, combined with brand Greens being broadly on the nose in Victoria, will blunt any positive swing to the Greens and Yates will knock out more of the Liberal primary vote. I also know that, following the state election results, the unions consider Kooyong as outlier seat (even if Labor don’t) and are putting in some resources/effort here as part of the Chande the Rules campaign, including a field organiser. That will give a boost to Labor.

  12. The new Greens candidate needs to replace the original pre-selected woman candidate above.

    Reading website J-Wire today my ALP MHR Danby (Melbourne Ports) has attacked Greens Burnside and supported Liberal Frydenberg. Bazaar stuff but shows that a Hebrew background is more important to Danby than his party or another reason could be that the ALP candidate for Kooyong may not be from Danby’s shrinking far right ALP faction.

  13. Adrian
    I do not care one iota how Jewish Mr Danny is and I thought Ben had made it clear this topic was off limits.

  14. Andrew – you seem more interested in the preservation of the far right MP, be they in the ALP or NLP etc. Australian far right MP’s are backward and destructive, just listen to Turnbull’s criticism of them on ABC radio today in a BBC interview.

  15. Former “Savage Club” member Julian Burnside is still not shown as the Greens candidate as I pointed out above on 07 Mar 19.

  16. In the Australian it was reported Labor sources believe Julian Burnside has made a huge strategic mistake running as a Greens candidate. They have suggested if he ran as an independent he would have had a much better chance of knocking off Josh Frydenberg.

  17. I couldn’t stand Julian Burnside. Not a nice person. He might be a barrister but rather sleazy so
    far as I’m concerned

  18. Margaret

    That’s interesting considering I once wrote him an email regarding refugees and he reply with a nice detailed email and included a nice poem and I’e seen him around Collins St and elsewhere and he is pretty approachable.

  19. A spokesman from GET UP was on the John Faine show in ABC Radio Melbourne this morning about false claimed on Get up phone poling that Josh Frydenberg was part of the coup against Turnbull when he wasn’t.

    The Get Up young punk was very evasive, even a start ass, for most of the interview. He did not know his facts calling Frydenberg the Deputy PM and Finance Minister which are both incorrect and Faine picked him up on that too. The Deputy PM is the Nationals leader and Frydenberg is the Treasure.r

  20. Get up and the alp are different…. they have good ideas some times…. but they are their own creature with their own agenda.

  21. They have probably mostly died off now but 30 years ago Kooyong Liberals were a hot bed of antisemitism – and I mean the REAL thing – of the German variety. Indeed the N word would not be out of place.

    I imagine that that has largely gone now (or completely), but there could be residual still.

  22. @Maverick

    That’s a big allegation, got any details you can share? The story of Lyenko “I’m technically not a Nazi because I never put the uniform on” Urbanchich is well-known, but he was a Sydney Lib.

    But either way, seeing as some of Frydenberg’s family escaped the holocaust, I assume any literal Nazis that may have been in the branch have all long since died off.

  23. Maverick – what is your proof and did you live in Kooyong and what was the address? What school did you go too. The local state High School has a good reputation and still has, I understand. I assume you do not live there now if it was as bad as you say.

    I lived in Kooyong at 16 Almond St, North Balwyn from 1964-1977 but my parent retired and moved to NSW to be near mums relatives in 1977 (she died in 1982). Dads relatives were from Victoria. Actually I was in the Army from 1972 but returned for visits and remained on the Kooyong electoral roll at Almond St until 1980 when I moved to Albert Park and later Middle Park.

    From 1964 to 1971 I went to Box Hill Grammar (later called Kingswood College) and then Camberwell Grammar School and never came across any Jews or anti Semitism. My sister at MLC Kew had a few Jewish friends at that school.

    Most in our area went to church on Sunday and we came home to a chicken roast dinner (oven cooked while we were away at church) and watch World Championship Wrestling and Point of View with the later BA Santamaria but we were not convinced by his clever oratory.

  24. Adrian, no GetUp doesn’t get funding from the ACTU or unions. There were a few donations in the past but you won’t find any recent donations from unions.

  25. Sir Robert Menzies, an anti communist, was Kooyong MHR until he retired in 1966. Menzies was anti Nazi too when Australia backed Great Britain in 1939 to fight them.

    Barry Humphries in an interview remarked when it was stated everyone dislike Menzies, “except these that voted for him” for decades.

  26. Adrian
    I was convinced by Bob Santamaria’s writings. With no TV my viewing of Bob was limited although at one stage I was listening in to a remote NSW regional station later in week on an old 5 Band MW/SW/LW radio set.
    You can still hear BAS on U tube. Not all episodes of course.
    Australia owes a
    Huge debt to Bob Samtamaria
    For keeping the Coms out of Trade Unions and keeping the ALP out of office for so long. Even Menzies supposedly voted DLP in old age.

  27. Andrew – Never read any National Civil Council (NCC) stuff only watch Bob on TV every Sunday at about 2pm. I know all about the ALP split with the old DLP formed and Liberal preference went to the DLP in Victoria too. The DLP was strong in Victoria with a few Senators. I remember the DLP TV ads and jingles. However the DLP was mostly a Roman Catholic organisation with a very few Protestants. In East Keilor in the early 1960’s The Milleara Progress Association was run by a DLP fellow called Jim Marmion (Roman Catholic) and Dad (Methodist) was Secretary but we moved to North Balwyn soon after. Dad is still alive and with it a 95 years old.

  28. The catholicity of old DLP is overstated. Arthur Callwell got it right when he said DLP was a party with a lot of Catholics in it not a Catholic Party.

    I as a school leaver from a C of E background found a party that I could fullly support.

    In 1970 DLP had 5 Senators 4 Catholic and 1 Protestant. Queensland’s only MP was

    When DLP was reformed in Queensland
    Conveyor of meeting was and elected Secretary was Anglican
    Elected President AnglicaMembership Officer Lutheran
    Additional 3 Committee members RC
    Branch Chaplain a Bishop of Anglican persuasion.

    The DLP old and new supported Judaoe – Christian principles but had no difficulty in accomodating a Jewish MP from Vince Gair’s Cabonet

    In 2010 the Queensland candidates included had a majority of Protestants including a Plymouth Bretherin/ Baptist Candidate.

    Catholicism was
    More overt in Victoria but Senator Little was Protestant ( Prebterian I think)

    Santamaria who started political life as a part employed by Roman Catholic Church formed NCC in 1962? When Church directed Bishops not to take part in politics. NCC gradually de Catholicised to anguish of some of its Catholic membership.

    Overt Catholicism was replaced by Ecumenical Christianity in both DLP and NCC in 1960’s..

  29. THANK YOU Adrian and Andrew for posting…. interesting history. I suspect I born 1955 are younger than you both.

  30. A now deceased Packer, who owned Channel nine then, gave the NCC free air time. “Point of View” was for only 10 or 15 minutes each week.

  31. Expat

    Sorry out all day.

    It is NOT an allegation but certain fact regarding one old guy who was the president of a local branch who together with a much younger but a bit wacko guy gave vent to their very antisemitic views. The older guy was writing a book in his retirement on a very, very, very explicit NAZI theme. I would prefer not to even repeat it here – too shocking.

    However as you very correctly said, times have changed and they have probably all moved on. Indeed it is probable that these two were just a pair of old school hangouts and the libs even then had well and truly moved on. It is also possible that what I was getting was some sort of internal factional Liberal banter between the old guard and new guard and explicit anti semitism may have been a factor. Who knows – it is almost thirty years ago now.

  32. Andrew
    I did live in Kooyong, but was well past school age. We are talking about one old guy who was President of one of the liberal branches. He seemed to have some acolytes.

    However it was the first (and only) time I have ever encountered frank antisemitism. That is why it stuck in my memory. Oh and the guy was my next door neighbour. He was handing out HTV at Mt Albert when the frank anti semitic conversation occurred. I did not socialise with this neighbour but we were on nodding acquaintance and chatted at trains stations etc.

  33. Adrian
    point of view 5 minutes and in Qld at least on Channel On(now Ten).Point of View articles reprinted on 1 Quarto (slightly smaller than A4) Page in Newsweekly. My understanding is that it was not aired for free. Probably Radio broadcasts were for fee. Newsweekly still going and provides reliable news from a Social Justice perspective.

    Newsweekly has outlasted Century Communist Papers Tribune and Guardian and even The Bulletin.It,s foot soldiers are still active If arthritic .
    One week last year two days in a row two letters in Australian from old Groupers. I am proud to have been associated with them.

    Adrian will be fully aware of the Anti semitic element that were active in parts of Kooyong Liberals but I suspect these followers of Eric Butler have now departed and are guests of Yarweh.

  34. Would be amazed if Labor won this but Richmond 1990 when Labor lost 8.5% on primaries but won on green independent preferences does come to mind.

  35. Once Andrew mentioned the name Eric Butler the story comes together. I didn’t realise there were Butlerites in the Liberal party down here… I thought that was mostly a Country Party thing. Or was Butler himself in the Kooyong branch of the Liberal Party?

    On another tack, is it correct that Butler was a member of the Anglican Synod in Melbourne?

    Let’s get back to actually talking about the seat though – ReachTel had Labor leading 52-48 in Kooyong last December, although that will have subsided somewhat.

    There was another seat poll done in April, but I don’t think it has been fully released – I didn’t see results for 2PP or Frydenberg’s first prefs, except to say that the primaries were Labor 20%, Greens 17% and Yates 10% (which sound about right on past results). Didn’t say what Frydenberg’s primary vote was, although we can assume Yates’ vote has come from his, and Frydenberg’s personal vote would therefore be somewhere in the mid 40s. He should still win from there.

  36. Expat I had a few issues with that poll.

    1) It didn’t include Frydenberg’s primary
    2) Didn’t show the other vote as there are a few other candidates
    3) The poll had the ALP gaining 1%. I find this odd because the ALP has a stronger candidate this time as well they seem to be putting more effort in then previously with a number of senior people visiting the seat, and the government is seeking a third term in office so I would have thought we would see more movement in the ALP vote
    4) The Greens down by 1%, this could be due to a stronger ALP vote or Yates but at the same time the Greens have a higher profiled candidate than they usually run

  37. Pencil
    Yes League of Rights were redoninantly rural and strongest in Qld, NSW and WA but they targetted all parties all regions all states.

    Unfortunately like the Coms in the Unions League of Rights infiltrated and took over branches of all parties. ALP still proscribe membership of League and NCC but not Communist Peace Fronts or Environmental vandals.

  38. Independent candidate Oliver Yates ( a former Liberal) rang ABC Radio Melbourne (John Faine) this morning saying the local council was making it difficult for Yates after council officers visited his home at varying times, including at 8pm, about a trailer he is using. About 6 of the councillors are Liberals. Sounds like a misuse of council resources and unreasonable too about the trailer. Its rare that a by-laws council officer would working in the street after 5pm too.

  39. I saw a Yates sign (demanding global warming action) being towed around last week and, ironically for the global warming warrior, it was being towed by a gas guzzling Landcruiser. What a hypocrite!

  40. Considering the limited car parking around parts of Kooyong, the trailer is pretty big so Yates would be better to just use a standard vehicle and cover it with his campaign material.

  41. I lived in Kooyong from 1964-77 and in North Balwyn, and beyond, there was plenty of parallel parking in the street and the homes had driveways too.

  42. Apparently, there’s single-seat polling here that suggests that it’s a tight race between Frydenberg and Julian Burnside (of the Greens), currently tracking 52-48 in favour of the Liberals, with 8% currently unsure of how they’re voting.

    I don’t expect it to fall to the Greens, but if it’s even close to the polling number, the Liberals will likely be freaking out about the longer-term trend for the seat.

  43. Frydenberg should hold, but the result will be a good excuse for him to distance himself from the regressive right of the Liberal Party moving forward.

  44. @Glen

    The polling was in the Guardian this morning. It had the following primaries:

    Lib 41%
    Green 21%
    Lab 16%
    Oliver Yates 9%

    This still leaves 13% in the others and/or unconfirmed.

    If the Labor voters have enough sense to preference the Greens, Burnside may get close. Yates isn’t telling people how to preference, but he said in an interview today that he personally would prefer Burnside to Frydenberg.

    Either way, Frydenberg’s had to dump a lot of $$ here to hold on, which will have drained resources from their campaign elsewhere.

  45. The Greens are very good at ‘talking up’ their chances and not delivering. It does look like Wentworth and North Sydney in 2007 and their was talk that the Libs would lose. My feeling is that both Higgins and Kooyong will be held by the Libs at about 52-53%. Close but not close enough.

  46. I agree, as much as I would like Frydenberg to lose, it will probably be a good scare for him, but nothing more.

  47. LT Smash May 13, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    “Frydenberg should hold”

    Very true, the sense on the ground is that ALP state issues are sticking like mud so no support going federal. Some key issues are demolition of historic homes, State Minister just reversed Currajong House demolition approval. Level crossing state wanted skyrail, but Federal funding will make it below ground. Schools funding is better under Liberals as the high private school parents and grandparents. Closing and then selling the Melburn Uni campus in Hawthorn when there is need for public facilities while the electorate expands is irritating everyone locally. Very high negative gearing awareness in the electorate. Very high share ownership so awareness of franking credits. and there will be more niche issues important to local groups.

    All four issues are found in most households here.


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