Northcote – Victoria 2018

GRN 5.6% vs ALP

Incumbent MP
Lidia Thorpe, since 2017.

Inner north of Melbourne. Northcote mainly covers the southern suburbs of Darebin council, as well as the northeastern arm of Yarra council. It covers the suburbs of Alphington, Fairfield, Northcote, Thornbury and parts of Preston.

Northcote was first created for the 1927 state election, and in that time has always been held by the ALP.

Northcote was first won in 1927 by John Cain, who had previously been the Member for Jika Jika since 1917. Cain became leader of the Victorian ALP in 1937, and led the party through extended periods of hung parliaments. He served as Premier briefly in 1943 when the Labor-supported Country Party government fell, and served as Premier for two years from 1945 to 1947, before losing the 1947 election badly.

In 1952, John Cain won the state election, and governed as Premier until 1955, when Labor MPs from the Catholic “Movement” faction crossed the floor and brought down the government. These MPs formed the basis of the Democratic Labor Party. Cain remained as leader of the ALP until his death in 1957 while campaigning for the ALP in a Queensland state election.

The 1957 Northcote by-election was won by the ALP’s Frank Wilkes. He became the ALP’s deputy leader in 1967, and became leader in 1976. He served as leader until 1981, when he was replaced by John Cain Jr, who won government in 1982. Wilkes served as a minister in the Cain government until his retirement in 1988.

In 1988, Northcote was won by Tony Sheehan, who was Member for Ivanhoe from 1982 to 1985, when he lost the seat to the Liberal Party. He served as a minister in the final years of the Labor government, serving as Treasurer in 1992 before the Liberal Party won the state election that year. He retired in 1998.

The 1998 by-election was won by former ABC newsreader Mary Delahunty. She served as a minister in the Bracks government from 1999 to 2006, when she retired.

In 2006, Northcote was won by Fiona Richardson, and she was re-elected in 2010 and 2014. Richardson became Minister for Women and Minister for Prevention of Family Violence following the 2014 election.

Richardson died in August 2017. The subsequent by-election was won by Greens candidate Lidia Thorpe, thanks to an 11.6% swing.


  • Lidia Thorpe (Greens)

Thorpe will be an incumbent MP, but won’t have had very long to build up an incumbency advantage. While Thorpe won comfortably, we’ve since seen a substantial swing back to Labor in the same area at the federal Batman by-election. Thorpe is the favourite to win re-election but this seat is not safe.

2014 result

Fiona Richardson Labor 15,92841.0-3.1
Trent McCarthy Greens 14,10136.3+4.4
Anthony D’Angelo Liberal 6,40716.5-3.2
Jamie McCarneyBasics Rock ‘N’ Roll1,0432.7+2.7
Georgina PurcellAnimal Justice6781.7+1.7
Helen FennFamily First3901.0+1.0
Bryony EdwardsIndependent3240.8+0.8

2014 two-candidate-preferred result

Fiona Richardson Labor 21,78356.0-4.2
Trent McCarthy Greens 17,08844.0+4.2

2014 two-party-preferred result

Fiona Richardson Labor 21,78356.0-4.2
Trent McCarthy Greens 17,08844.0+4.2

2017 by-election result

Lidia Thorpe Greens 16,31945.2+8.9
Clare Burns Labor 12,77935.4-5.6
Vince FontanaIndependent1,8645.2+5.2
Dean RossiterLiberal Democrats1,4974.1+4.1
Laura ChippIndependent1,1523.2+3.2
Nina LenkAnimal Justice7732.1+0.4
Philip CooperIndependent4361.2+1.2
Russell HaywardIndependent3601.0+1.0
Joseph ToscanoIndependent3310.9+0.9
Nevena SpirovskaIndependent2150.6+0.6
Brian SanaghanIndependent2080.6+0.6
Bryony EdwardsIndependent1540.4-0.4

2017 by-election two-candidate-preferred result

Lidia Thorpe Greens 20,13755.6+11.6
Clare Burns Labor 16,08044.4-11.6

Booth breakdown

Booths in Northcote have been split into three parts: north, south-east and south-west.

Labor won a majority of the two-candidate-preferred vote against the Greens in all three areas at the 2014 election, ranging from 52% in the south-west to 62% in the south-east.

The Liberal Party came third with a vote ranging from 14% in the south-west to 19% in the south-east.

At the 2017 by-election, the Greens won a majority of the two-candidate-preferred vote in all three areas, ranging from 55% in the south-east to 60% in the south-west.

2014 booth breakdown

Voter groupLIB prim %ALP 2CP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes17.752.98,00120.6

2017 by-election booth breakdown

Voter groupGRN 2CP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes52.112,73735.3

Election results in Northcote at the 2014 Victorian state election
Click on the ‘visible layers’ box to toggle between two-candidate-preferred votes and Liberal primary votes.

Two-candidate-preferred votes at the 2017 Northcote by-election

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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.