Macnamara – Australia 2019

ALP 1.2%

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

Geography
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.

Redistribution
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%.

History
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.

Candidates

Assessment
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

CandidatePartyVotes%SwingRedist
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
Others0.2
Informal3,7564.2

2016 two-party-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%SwingRedist
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
Caulfield20.129.444.750.08,5509.6
Other votes19.326.545.847.022,89025.8
Pre-poll23.825.343.549.622,80625.7

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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Ben Raue is the founder and author of the Tally Room.If you like this post, please consider donating to support the Tally Room.