Wannon – Australia 2019

LIB 9.2%

Incumbent MP

Dan Tehan, since 2010.

Geography
South-western Victoria. Wannon covers the southwestern corner of Victoria, including Warrnambool, Portland, Ararat and Hamilton. Wannon covers Pyrenees, Ararat, Corangamite, Central Goldfields, Glenelg, Moyne, Southern Grampians and Warrnambool council areas.

Redistribution
Wannon expanded to the north, taking in Stawell from Mallee, and to the east, taking in Colac from Corangamite and a small area from Ballarat. These changes increased the Liberal margin from 9% to 9.2%.

History
Wannon is an original federation seat, having been created for the 1901 election. It has mainly been held by the Liberal Party and its predecessors, with the exception of a number of short periods when it was held by the ALP, with the ALP last holding the seat up to the 1955 election.

Wannon was first won in 1901 by Free Trade candidate Samuel Cooke. Cooke was a former minister in the Victorian colonial government, and he held the seat for one term before heading overseas in 1903.

He was succeeded in 1903 by another Free Trader, Arthur Robinson, who was a former colonial/state MP in the Victorian Parliament. Robinson held the seat for one term, losing in 1906. He went on to return to the Victorian Parliament and serve as a state minister.

The ALP’s John McDougall won Wannon off Robinson in 1906, campaigning against Robinson’s anti-union views. McDougall was re-elected in 1910, but lost in 1913, and failed to return to the House of Representatives in other seats at the 1914 election, a 1915 by-election and the 1917 election.

McDougall was replaced in 1913 by Liberal candidate Arthur Rodgers. Rodgers served as a minister in the Hughes government from 1920 to 1922 He held the seat until the 1922 election, when he lost to the ALP’s John McNeill. Rodgers won the seat back in 1925, before again losing to McNeill in 1929. McNeill served as a minister in the Scullin government, before losing the seat yet again in 1931.

The United Australia Party’s Thomas Scholfield won the seat in 1931, and held it until 1940, when he lost to the ALP’s Donald McLeod. McLeod held the seat for most of the next decade, losing it in 1949 to the Liberal Party’s Daniel Mackinnon.

Mackinnon only held the seat for one term, with McLeod regaining the seat in 1951. Mackinnon went on to win the neighbouring seat of Corangamite in a 1953 by-election, and held it until 1966.

At the 1954 election, McLeod was challenged by Liberal candidate Malcolm Fraser. McLeod defeated Fraser with a 17-vote margin.

In 1955, McLeod retired, and Fraser won the seat with a comfortable margin.

Fraser was a right-winger within the Liberal Party, and sat on the backbenches for a decade before joining the ministry in 1966. He served first as Minister for the Army, then Minister for Education and Science, and then Minister for Defence.

In 1971, he resigned from the ministry in protest at John Gorton’s interference in his portfolio, triggering a party room vote which saw a tied vote, and John Gorton was replaced as Prime Minister by William McMahon.

Fraser served as a minister in the McMahon government and on the opposition frontbench in the first term of the Whitlam government. After Billy Snedden’s loss in 1974 Fraser challenged for the leadership. Under Fraser’s leadership, the Liberal Party obstructed Gough Whitlam’s government in the Senate, which eventually led to Whitlam being dismissed by the Governor-General in late 1975, and Fraser became Prime Minister.

Fraser won the 1975, 1977 and 1980 elections, but lost in 1983, and retired from Parliament shortly after.

The 1983 by-election was won by David Hawker, also of the Liberal Party. Hawker served as an opposition whip from 1989 to 1990 and as a frontbencher from 1990 to 1993, and again as a whip until the 1996 election.

Hawker served as a backbencher in the Howard government from 1996 until the 2004 election. Hawker was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives after the 2004 election, and served in the role until the 2007 election.

Hawker retired in 2010, and the seat was won by Dan Tehan. Tehan was re-elected in 2013 and 2016.

Candidates

Assessment
Wannon is a reasonably safe Liberal seat.

2016 result

CandidatePartyVotes%SwingRedist
Dan Tehan Liberal 47,51353.2-0.550.4
Michael David Barling Labor 27,41130.7+1.230.0
Thomas Campbell Greens 7,2648.1+1.78.2
Michael John MccluskeyIndependent4,0484.5+4.53.6
Bernardine AtkinsonIndependent3,0193.4+3.42.7
Others5.1
Informal3,6814.0

2016 two-party-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%SwingRedist
Dan Tehan Liberal 52,62559.0-1.159.2
Michael David Barling Labor 36,63041.0+1.140.8

Booth breakdown

Booths have been divided into six areas. The three local government areas in the north-east of the seat have been grouped together. The three in the south-east have also been grouped together. Polling places in the other four local government areas have been grouped along council boundaries.

The Liberal Party won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all six areas, ranging from 51.6% in Warrnambool to 64.7% in Moyne.

Voter groupLIB 2PP %Total votes% of votes
South-East62.515,65015.7
North-East55.410,57310.6
Warrnambool51.610,39210.4
Moyne64.76,3036.3
Glenelg56.86,1656.2
Southern Grampians64.55,5095.5
Other votes60.512,59112.6
Pre-poll59.232,65632.7

Two-party-preferred votes in Wannon at the 2016 federal election

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15 COMMENTS

  1. Why didn’t the Nationals contest in 2010? Liberals have been in for a long time but why is this particular rural seat the exception?

  2. Exchanging Colac for Maryborough makes sense from a community of interest point of view. It’s more clearly a Western Districts seat now.

    John, the Western Districts have always been more Liberal than National…..it’s one of those rural areas where the Nats just don’t seem to do well.

  3. Warnambool is the biggest town in the area and one of stretching alp vote …… it is possible that favourable boundaries plus a 5% plus swing to labor could make this seat marginal…..also over spilled from Ballarat will add to alp vote

  4. The one issue with the new boundaries for Wannon is that it gets uncomfortably close to Ballarat.

    As for Maryborough, judging from the redistribution objections its residents are no happier in Mallee than they were in Wannon. Unfortunately Maryborough just happens to be one of those puzzle pieces that gets kicked around for the sake of numerical requirements.

  5. The new boundaries for Wannon were a sensible redistribution outcome. Colac in – Maryborough out – makes for good community of interest. The next redistribution could get interesting as Wannon and Mallee will most likely need to gain voters. Wannon can go into Corangamite but there aren’t many votes to gain – or start eating into the Ballarat suburbs.

    Some radical surgery might need to be done to resolve an impasse in Northern and Western Victoria. Either Mallee or Nicholls would be candidates to go with Ballarat flipping west rather than east.

  6. After the Wagga byelection, all the Liberal (not National) held rural seats are a lot more interesting. I’m not sure who could come out of the woodwork to take this seat, but I wouldn’t rest easy if I was Dan Tehan. This is especially the case as Victoria is the most hostile state to conservative Liberals.

  7. Maryborough honestly belongs in Bendigo. I know that Kyneton has a stronger claim to being part of Bendigo than Maryborough does, but Kyneton could easily be accommodated in an alternative seat like Mcewen than Maryborough in either Wannon or Mallee, from a community interest point of view.

  8. KN, the problem isn’t balancing the numbers in Bendigo, the problem is that Mallee would be under quota. If not Maryborough, then where does Mallee get its extra voters from? Most of the proposals that tried this ended up placing parts of Greater Bendigo in Mallee and/or Nicholls.

    It seemed more sensible to me to leave all of ‘Bendigo’ in the seat of that name. As DW said above, unfortunately Maryborough seems to be one of those puzzle pieces (like Macedon Ranges) that gets shifted around to make up the numbers in different seats.

  9. Redistributed – I think the AEC has already flagged its long term intentions with Nicholls drifting southwards into Mitchell shire

  10. no will vote liberal ahead of National………… since 1955 it has been liberal held……….. but on State election figures adding Ripon and South west coast together would be liberal by roughly 3%

  11. This is rural heartland, only conservative parties will do well here, turnbull liberals would lose here, even menzies liberals, dutton type people are well liked here, Polwarth is trending conservative, so i see this going nationals eventually, youll see

  12. Labor ceased to win here after 1955….. but they managed to stay within 60/40 split in recent times……. the bigger towns Portland Warnambool and maybe Arrrat are areas of improving labor votes. Hamilton seems to be moving the other way.

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