La Trobe – Australia 2019

LIB 3.2%

Incumbent MP
Jason Wood, since 2013. Previously 2004-2010.

La Trobe covers the south eastern fringe of Melbourne and parts of the Dandenong Ranges. Major centres include Berwick, Narre Warren and Pakenham. It covers parts of Cardinia and Casey local government areas.

La Trobe shifted east, losing Ferntree Gully to Aston and also losing Belgrave, Mount Dandenong and Macclesfield to Casey. La Trobe then gained Pakenham and Nar Nar Goon from McMillan. These changes increased the Liberal margin from 1.5% to 3.2%.

La Trobe was first created after the Second World War when the House of Representatives was expanded at the 1949 election. The seat was first won by Richard Casey, who had previously been an MP and minister before resigning from Parliament in 1940 to serve in a variety of diplomatic roles during the war.

Casey served as a minister for eleven years before resigning in 1960. John Jess won the seat for the Liberal Party in a by-election that year and held the seat until his defeat in 1972, when Whitlam’s national victory swept Tony Lamb into La Trobe. He lost the seat in 1975 and later returned to Parliament serving in the seat of Streeton from 1984 to 1990.

Marshall Baillieu won the seat for the Liberals in 1975 and held it until 1980. That year he was defeated by Peter Milton who held it until 1990 for the ALP. Bob Charles defeated Milton in 1990 and held the seat until 2004, during which he served on the shadow ministry from 1994 to 1996.

Charles retired in 2004 and he was succeeded by Jason Wood. Wood’s 5.8% margin in 2004 was cut to 0.5% in 2007, but he held on in the face of the election of the Rudd government. In 2010, Wood was defeated by Labor candidate Laura Smyth. La Trobe was one of only two seats that the ALP gained off the Coalition in an election where Labor lost ground and lost its parliamentary majority.

Jason Wood won back La Trobe in 2013, thanks to a 5.7% swing, and was re-elected in 2016.


La Trobe is a marginal seat and could well fall if Labor has a good result.

2016 result

Jason Wood Liberal 39,10842.2-3.844.1
Simon Curtis Labor 29,05231.4-0.732.1
Tom Cummings Greens 9,77310.6+0.58.3
Julieanne Lynette DoidgeDerryn Hinch’s Justice Party3,9224.2+4.22.9
Leah FolloniAnimal Justice2,6772.9+2.93.2
Jeffrey BartramFamily First2,2732.5+0.62.9
Martin LeahySex Party2,1032.3-0.51.4
David FentShooters, Fishers & Farmers1,3211.4+1.41.0
Leslie HughesLiberal Democrats1,1881.3+1.31.6
Margaret QuinnRise Up Australia1,1801.3+0.52.0

2016 two-party-preferred result

Jason Wood Liberal 47,64951.5-2.653.2
Simon Curtis Labor 44,94848.5+2.646.8

Booth breakdown

Polling places in La Trobe have been divided into three areas: north-east, south-east and south-west. The south-west covers those polling places in the Casey council area. The south-east includes the major centre of Pakenham.

The Liberal Party won a slim 50.6% majority in the south-west and a larger 55.7% majority in the north-east. Labor won 52.9% in the south-east.

Voter groupLIB 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes55.216,43620.0

Two-party-preferred votes in La Trobe at the 2016 federal election

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  1. The CFA dispute would have hurt them here last time. An issue like that could flare up again, but if Labor isn’t doing well in mortgage belt then they aren’t doing well anywhere.

    The Greens should also do better; they have broken through in Cardinia council and would have a certain appeal in the Dandenong ranges (Ben could you add a Green vote overlay?).

    ALP Gain with any decent effort.

  2. Labor’s strength in Pakenham is surprising, especially since it was locked in the safe Liberal seat of McMillan.

    One to watch. I tend to think this is more winnable than Chisholm.

  3. local MP Jason wood is very popular, growth in Pakenham will have changed the electoral profile of the seat somewhat since 2016, if the ALP are polling 55% in vic at election time then this seat could be in play. Bit early to make a call.

  4. I live in this electorate and I must admit Jason Wood is despised, Last time around Labor actually had a swing here larger then the overall statewide swing in the face of the CFA issue which probably had its most fertile ground in La Trobe.
    This is probably one of the main targets for Labor after Dunkley and Corangamite.

  5. @Sandbelter Jason Wood isn’t particularly well liked or respected, even by alot of Libs in the electorate. He isn’t active in the community all that much, never really shows his face unless he’s on sky news, granted all he speaks about is anti african dog whistling.

  6. I may be ignorant but I thought Pakenham was well and truly an outer suburb of Melbourne and not at all like a Gippsland town.

    That doesn’t strike me as 50/50 territory. Labor will certainly try harder here than in the old McMillan

  7. Pakenham probably would’ve been considered a Gippsland town 15 years ago much like Berwick 30 years ago. That being said nowadays its much more mortgage belt with a high swing tendacy, on the other hand Berwick and Beaconsfield have remained fairly Liberal, although those areas did swing about 7% to Labor at the last election.

  8. L96 Wood may be a virus , but to what do you attribute his immunity, if not longevity !?. He has been around for 15 years.

    David Walsh
    i agree that La Trobe seems, appears far more vulnerable than Chisholm

  9. Wood isn’t well regarded or well liked. His still failed to garnish a personal vote. Berwick/Beaconsfield are strong Libs area, while Pakenham tends to be more Labor. Simon’s been more active than his counterpart, who’s the incumbent MP! The boundary changes only hurts Labor in the 2PP as Greens primary vote has suffered with the strongest areas including 2 booths which Greens won on primary have left to Casey. Also, worth noting Labor have a campaign office in Pakenham and I’d be leaning towards La Trobe being a Labor gain. I was on the booth in 2016 and CFA issue was big. Wood is latching onto the state Gov’t again. But voters want to talk about federal issues, their is a tag on Wood that his just there protecting the banks and big end of town that his struggled to shake off.

  10. John

    “The Greens should also do better; they have broken through in Cardinia council and would have a certain appeal in the Dandenong ranges (Ben could you add a Green vote overlay?).”

    3PP they got 15.56%. High “other” vote here including Animal Justice and Sex party.

  11. Wood doesn’t really have a personal vote; I would say in combination with the CFA issue, the Liberal vote is otherwise “natural”. It’s probably a bit of a bellwether seat still; Labor will win it if they win government. However strong demographic change will inevbiatbly favour Labor.

  12. I recently heard that Wood is one of Victorian protagonists pushing for Dutton, in my opinion that would be a nail in his coffin. Dutton isn’t liked all that much in Victoria and Morrison isn’t liked that much either but not to the same level as the aforementioned Dutton.

    The one thing that favours Labor here is Pakenham and since it was previously in McMillan where Labor didn’t do a lot of targeted on the ground campaigning means that the Labor vote there is probably softer than if they had put more effort in there last time.

    My guess would be 53-47 Labor

  13. Doesn’t matter if Gembrook didn’t fall Labor, Doesn’t change the fact Wood will lose, There was Massive swings to Labor in the Warren electorates

  14. Gembrook had a massive swing of 8% to Labor. If anything close to that is replicated in La Trobe Labor wins this easily. The parts of La Trobe that lie in the Narre Warren seats or Cranbourne seats already vote Labor.


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