Macnamara – Australia 2019

ALP 1.2%

Incumbent MP
Michael Danby, member for Melbourne Ports since 1998.

Inner south of Melbourne. Macnamara covers the port of Melbourne, St Kilda and Caulfield. Other suburbs include Elwood, Balaclava, Elsternwick, Ripponlea, Middle Park, Albert Park and South Melbourne.

Macnamara is a new name for Melbourne Ports. The seat gained Windsor from Higgins, which reduced the Labor margin from 1.4% to 1.2%. The gap between Labor and the Greens at the key exclusion point was also reduced from 1.1% to 0.3%.

Melbourne Ports was an original Federation electorate. After originally being won by the Protectionist party, it has been held by the ALP consistently since 1906, although it has rarely been held by large margins.

Melbourne Ports was first won in 1901 by Protectionist candidate Samuel Mauger, who had been a state MP for one year before moving into federal politics. Mauger was re-elected in 1903 but in 1906 moved to the new seat of Maribyrnong, which he held until his defeat in 1910.

Melbourne Ports was won in 1906 by Labor candidates James Mathews. Mathews held Melbourne Ports for a quarter of a century, retiring in 1931.

Mathews was succeeded in 1931 by Jack Holloway. Holloway had won a shock victory over Prime Minister Stanley Bruce in the seat of Flinders in 1929, before moving to the much-safer Melbourne Ports in 1931. Holloway had served as a junior minister in the Scullin government, and served in the Cabinet of John Curtin and Ben Chifley throughout the 1940s. He retired at the 1951 election and was succeeded by state MP Frank Crean.

Crean quickly rose through the Labor ranks and was effectively the Shadow Treasurer from the mid-1950s until the election of the Whitlam government in 1972. Crean served as Treasurer for the first two years of the Whitlam government, but was pushed aside in late 1974 in the midst of difficult economic times, and moved to the Trade portfolio. He served as Deputy Prime Minister for the last four months of the Whitlam government, and retired in 1977.

Crean was replaced by Clyde Holding, who had served as Leader of the Victorian Labor Party from 1967 until 1976. He won preselection against Simon Crean, son of Frank. Holding served in the Hawke ministry from 1983 until the 1990 election, and served as a backbencher until his retirement in 1998.

Holding was replaced by Michael Danby in 1998, and Danby has won re-election at every subsequent election, although never with huge margins, and a margin as small as 3% in 2004 and 1.4% in 2016.

Sitting Labor MP Michael Danby is not running for re-election.

Macnamara is a very complex seat with great variations in the vote across different booths. The Liberal Party has a significant lead on the primary vote, but Greens preferences were enough to push Labor ahead in 2016. The Greens are close to overtaking Labor, at which point Labor preferences would decide the result. Any of the three parties could conceivably win. It’s not clear what impact Michael Danby’s retirement will have on the seat – there’s evidence that his presence as an incumbent helped Labor in some parts of the seat and hurt them in others.

2016 result

Owen Guest Liberal 35,53341.9+0.941.9
Michael Danby Labor 22,89727.0-4.726.6
Steph Hodgins-May Greens 20,17923.8+3.624.2
Robert Millen SmythAnimal Justice1,6852.0+2.02.0
Henry Von DoussaMarriage Equality1,3491.6+1.61.6
Levi Mckenzie-KirkbrightDrug Law Reform1,3481.6+1.61.5
Peter HollandIndependent1,3931.6+1.61.6
John B MyersIndependent4250.5+0.50.5

2016 two-party-preferred result

Michael Danby Labor 43,57351.4-2.251.2
Owen Guest Liberal 41,23648.6+2.248.8

Booth breakdown

Booths have been divided into three areas: Port Melbourne, St Kilda and Caulfield.

Labor won a large 61.7% majority of the two-party-preferred vote in St Kilda, and half of the vote in Caulfield. The Liberal Party polled 51.2% in Port Melbourne.

On a primary vote basis, the three areas look very different. The Greens topped the primary vote in St Kilda, with Labor a distant third. In Port Melbourne and Caulfield, the Liberal Party topped the primary vote, with Labor second and the Greens in third place.

Voter groupGRN prim %ALP prim %LIB prim %ALP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
St Kilda35.325.931.161.717,71220.0
Port Melbourne21.627.744.748.816,76418.9
Other votes19.326.545.847.022,89025.8

Election results in Macnamara at the 2016 federal election
Toggle between two-party-preferred votes, Labor primary votes, Liberal primary votes and Greens primary votes, as well as a map showing which party topped the primary vote in each booth.

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  1. Yet another candidates forum I spotted on the internet. This time the three main candidates (Lab, Lib, Grn) will speak at the Southbank Residents Association forum on 16 Apr 19, 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, at South Melbourne Primary School, 129 Ferrar St. This is a new school recently built next to City Rd light rail stop on the No 96 tram route.

  2. Despite the small current margin, I’m not sure why this seat is still getting mentioned as a possible Victorian gain for the Liberals in some media (ie. Barry Cassidy tonight on Insiders and an article on The Age last week).

    With the usual disclosure that obviously state & federal results can be quite different, I have looked at some state numbers within Macnamara.

    If you combine the entire state seats of Albert Park & Caulfield which make up the bulk of Macnamara (acknowleding that a small part of Caulfield isn’t in Macnamara), these are the results including postal, absentee, provisional & pre-poll results:

    Primary Vote:
    Liberal – 39%
    Labor – 39%
    Greens – 15%

    Labor – 56%
    Liberal – 44%

    This doesn’t look too awful for the Liberals yet, except when you factor in that firstly the only part of these state seats NOT in Macnamara is actually friendlier for the Liberals than the above result, and more importantly that the biggest exclusion to these results are the overlapping part of Prahran.

    I didn’t include Prahran in the above yet for two reasons – firstly it’s a much smaller section so the absentee/postal vote etc is harder to measure; and secondly because it was a Greens v Liberals 2PP.

    However, these were the primary votes in the Prahran booths that overlap Macnamara:

    Labor – 37%
    Greens – 35%
    Liberals – Only 19%

    The Greens v Liberal 2CP in these Prahran booths was a massive 74-26 so I would expect an ALP v LIB 2PP to be similar (at least over 70% ALP).

    So when you look at an ALP 2PP of 56% across Albert Park + Caulfield, remove one of the Liberals’ stronger areas, then add another 3 suburbs where the Liberals couldn’t even get a 20% primary vote, that’s a 2PP of roughly 60-40 in the overlapping state seats.

    Again, don’t get me wrong, state elections are very different and I think in particular the Greens will do a lot better (at the expense of Labor) in the federal election than in the state election. But the reality is that the Liberals will need the same voters as the state election to swing about 10% in their favour compared to how they voted in November to win this seat. It’s just not going to happen.

  3. Trent

    It is a narrow margin and the demographics would be why its kind of seen as a possibility, in any election all major political parties have target seats so MacNamara is probably on the Liberals target list due to it being on a 1.3% margin with no ALP incumbent and the demographics are fairly friendly to the Liberals so they ought to be competitive against an ALP offering changes to taxation that potentially adversely impact a large segment of the electorate, however the Liberals have kicked a few own goals by dropping Tunrbull and failing to come up with a clear climate change policy so the ALP will probably hold this seat with a swing to them.

  4. The Liberals in this seat would be Turnbull small-l liberals. If the Liberals are in any kind of trouble in Higgins or Kooyong, which they seem to be, they’re doomed here.

    Kate Ashmor also seems to be tanking at candidates forums and other public appearances. Her finger pointing shouty performance at the Australian Jewish News rally may have sabotaged her chances of picking up orthodox voters that used to vote for Danby.

    This seat is a Labor vs Green competition and it will come down to who’s better at picking up disgruntled Liberals.

    The thing that could blow this all out of the water is Ashmor doing so badly she comes 3rd, giving the seat to Labor with her preferences.

  5. They are good points and I don’t think it will swing as hard to Labor as the overlapping area did in the state election. It’s certainly not going to swing to the Liberals though, particularly when the loss of the ALP incumbent is probably seen as a positive for 90% of those in the electorate who were aware of him. I think it’s hard to imagine at least a 4-5% swing away from the Liberals not happening in an overwhelmingly progressive (albeit affluent) seat this like this, especially when the overlapping area swung by closer to 10% just 6 months ago.

  6. John that would be a really interesting outcome and it’s not too far fetched either. You make great points about Kate Ashmor’s performance also.

    I see the federal result of Macnamara most likely being closest to the state result of Prahran in November, where all 3 parties had pretty close primary votes (all within the 28-34% range) resulting in an easy 2PP win against the Liberals by whoever finishes higher out of Labor & the Greens, but the spanner thrown in the works for the Greens would be if the Liberals tank so much that they don’t actually finish in the top 2.

    I think it’s the least likely outcome but it is definitely possible.

    I’ve mentioned before I think the automatic association between affluence and voting conservative can sometimes be overdone and Macnamara to me is a good example of that. This seat was well & truly gentrified a decade ago but has stayed in Labor hands. It’s not really any more gentrified now than it was in 2016 or even 2013 so I don’t see demographic changes as a factor. And apart from Caulfield it doesn’t have the “old wealth” of seats like Higgins & Kooyong.

  7. I just notices a poster in the window of a local shop for another candidate, Chris Wallis, Independent. Website is

    I got my first election junk mail today. It was a postal vote application form from the ALP. As I will be early voting on 29 Apr 19 and not postal voting I will mail the application form back to the ALP in the reply paid envelope provided so they can dispose of this recyclable waste correctly.

  8. Josh Wilson and Senator Lines – another two in addition to Melissa Parke that have expressed controversial remarks about Israel/Jews.

    Will it hurt them in this seat, given such a huge Jewish population? Potentially IMO, but not enough to lose the seat/dampen the swing to Labor in any meaningful way.

    Having said that, clearly BS thinks the comments are a problem for Labor generally, hence his rush to quash them.

  9. Wealthy of Sydney – Hebrews make up about 10% of my electorate and many other voters like left wingers from Elwood and sensible centre Liberal as well as other moderates, like me, oppose Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians. The Liberal and Labor candidates are both from Caulfield’s Hebrew community so the vote will be split but I think not as neurotic about Israel as the ineffective Danby was.

    The Hebrews are not a cohesive community with many political and religious factions bickering constantly and with “leader” heading various small propaganda groups. The electorate is the home of the Jewish school that once protected a paedophile head mistress who decamped to Israel and is awaiting extradition back to Australia. Also the electorate is the home of Zionist You Tube fanatic Avi Yemeni.

  10. W of S
    Nah BS is worried about his wealthy benefactors. Guess which community is dominant ?? hint Pratt etc

    Sometime i’d like to hear your solution to the ME problem. I would say that i am amazed at the Israeli MODERATION of their response to constant attacks. I often like to ask ‘What do you think we would do if we had an adversary lobbing missiles at us say from Geelong, to MELBOURNE. Killing civilians constantly. How do you reckon Australians would react ??. Your’e ex military, might i suggest a fairly primal one . eg the Japs in New GUINEA. Or perhaps how terrified the GERMANS were of the Australian love of hand-to hand combat.
    I seriously doubt we would be as restrained

  11. @AJ,

    Didn’t mean to imply that there was a monolithic voting bloc, only that naturally, some people WILL be turned off by the comments.

  12. winediamond – Simple, Israel should adopt multiculturalism. The three monotheistic religions are nearly identical and worship the same one God. Better still Israelis, and other in Palestine affected in this conflict, should become atheist like me and life would be much simpler.

    Even in Macnamara 30% of voters have no religion and that percent is growing with every census and others baptised never go to church as adult and this is reflected in so many religion buildings are closed, reused for another purpose or my favourite bulldozed for apartment developments.

    I loved the old Soviet films in Russia in the 1930’s when many Orthodox churches and cathedrals came crashing down. “Religion is the Opium of the Masses” as Karl Marx said. I hate religion but I am not a Maxist.

  13. Adrian
    Fundamentally i agree with you. However i believe you are confused in one important way. People are god botherers because they need the simplicity of a 2 dimensional reality life etc. good bad, right wrong black white etc. These pilgrims resist the 3 dimensional world of grey.
    As a Reiki Master i believe in “the great spirit” (dai ko myo), However i’ve always been a vehement opponent of religions. Something of a paradox.
    i refused to have WD junior baptised. Hilariously he is never happier than when declaring (with deliberate menace ) his religion as “HEATHEN” !!!. ” perhaps “Vikings” has added some new intensity !?

    My prediction of Israel is that an Arab will deliver a WMD , & then we will find out how many nuclear warheads Israel (does not !!?) have . It has been 25 years but i’m still convinced that it will happen.
    Peace will never happen. Neither side is willing to give enough.

  14. The Middle East appears to be an election issue only in Macnamara. This is the way it should stay. I think Adrian’s preoccupation with religion and especially the religion of the ALP candidate is a distraction.

  15. Andrew
    i’d say it’s an issue in Blaxsland, Watson, Fowler, & McMahon, some Melbourne seats too, But i’m not sure which ones. However the issue is yet to be exploited

  16. Adrian

    I would call the Christian bible belt is more the area around Lilydale in Casey then Andrews in Menzies but in saying that both seats were strongly in support of the gay marriage survey. Menzies has a large Greek population which may follow the orthodox faith.

  17. The bible belt in Melbourne is probably Chisholm, Menzies, Deakin, Aston, Casey and even pockets of Kooyong, as well Holt is an epicentre for evangelicals especially of migrant backgrounds.

  18. Totally agree Mick and especially in Macnamara, despite the constant obsessing over winning the Jewish vote which in reality is only about a quarter the size of the “No religion” vote.

    This seat won’t be won or lost in Caulfield, the least densely populated part of the electorate which will probably be cut out of the seat in the next redistribution anyway, and where a significant chunk of the population is probably already rusted onto the Liberals.

    Even with Danby as MP, the Liberal PV ranged between 45-51% in Caulfield compared to only 28-30% for Labor. So how much of the Caulfield vote is really up for grabs with his retirement and/or the impact of Labor candidates’ views & comments about Israel? I think it’s way overstated and the reality is that most of the demographic people think could swing to the Liberals are already voting Liberal anyway, so very few votes will actually change.

    Macnamara will be won or lost in the bayside suburbs between Port Melbourne and Middle Park where voters are economically conservative but otherwise very progressive, which makes them susceptible to significant swings based on how conservative or “moderate” the Liberal leader & social agenda is perceived to be.

    The most important question will probably be whether Labor or the Greens pick up more of the swing in those suburbs.


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