Ovens Valley – Victoria 2018

NAT 16.6%

Incumbent MP
Tim McCurdy, since 2014. Previously member for Murray Valley 2010-2014.

Geography
Northern Victoria. Ovens Valley covers the towns of Bright, Cobram, Glenrowan, Myrtleford, Wangaratta and Yarrawonga, and is centred on Wangaratta. The electorate covers the entirety of Wangaratta Shire, the eastern half of Moira Shire, and most of Alpine Shire.

History
Ovens Valley is a successor to the electorate of Murray Valley. Murray Valley was first created in 1945, and was always held by the Country/National Party, until it was renamed in 2014.

The seat was first won in 1945 by George Moss. He became leader of the Country Party in 1964, and served in that role until 1970. He retired from Murray Valley in 1973.

Murray Valley was won in 1973 by the National Party’s Bill Baxter. In 1976, a redistribution shifted Murray Valley’s boundaries, and he decided to contest the neighbouring seat of Benambra, where sitting National Thomas Mitchell was retiring after 29 years. Baxter topped the poll on primary votes but was defeated by the Liberal candidate.

Baxter then moved to the Legislative Council, winning a by-election for North Eastern Province in 1978. He held his seat until1984, when he resigned to run against the sitting Liberal MP for the overlapping federal seat of Indi, coming third on primary votes. He won back his Legislative Council seat at a 1985 by-election, and served until 2006, when his Legislative Council seat was abolished and he unsuccessfully attempted to win the Legislative Assembly seat of Benambra.

Murray Valley was won in 1976 by the National Party’s Ken Jasper. Jasper was re-elected in Murray Valley nine times, and retired in 2010.

Nationals MP Tim McCurdy won Murray Valley in 2010, and moved to Ovens Valley in 2014.

Candidates

Assessment
Murray Valley is a very safe Nationals seat.

2014 result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Tim Mccurdy Nationals 20,39455.5-0.5
Gail Cholosznecki Labor 8,14722.2+2.5
Jamie Mccaffrey Greens 3,69410.0+3.7
Julian FidgeCountry Alliance3,4429.4+3.6
Ray DyerIndependent1,0993.0+3.0
Informal1,7304.5

2014 two-party-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Tim McCurdy Nationals 24,50266.6-2.7
Gail Cholosznecki Labor 12,30533.4+2.7

Booth breakdown

Booths in Ovens Valley have been divided into four parts. Those polling places in the town of Wangaratta have been grouped, and the remaining booths were split into three areas. Those polling places in Wangaratta Shire outside of the town itself were grouped as “Central”, those in Alpine Shire were grouped as “East”, and those in Moira Shire were grouped as “West”.

The Nationals won a large majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all four areas, ranging from 60.9% in the east to 73.3% in the centre.

The Greens primary vote ranged form 6.3% in the west to 14.3% in the east.

Voter groupGRN prim %NAT 2PP %Total votes% of votes
West6.369.35,71115.5
Wangaratta12.263.94,97313.5
East14.360.93,4369.3
Central9.773.33,0838.4
Other votes13.461.63,3789.2
Pre-poll9.267.316,19544.0

Election results in Ovens Valley at the 2014 Victorian state election
Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and Greens primary votes.

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14 COMMENTS

  1. Holy crap, I’ve just read that McCurdy is facing a trial for fraud and was released ON BAIL. Hows that Law and Order going for you LNP? Surely they’ll move him on?

  2. There’s a strong Independent candidate nipping at the Nationals heals in Ovens Valley. Tammy Atkins is mounting a campaign similar to the one run by Cathy McGowan federally.

    Given the trouble McCurdy finds himself in, I wouldn’t be surprised if this seat falls to the Independent.

  3. There’s the real potential for a Shepparton 2014 style upset here this time I think. especially with McCurdy’s issues.

  4. Innocent until proven guilty may be a fundamental principle of law but any sort of criminal charge is not a good look electorally. The NP hardheads should take him into a room for a quiet chat and persuade hime to go quietly – if all else fails – disendorse. Messy but necessary.

  5. Absolute lunacy from the nets if they stick with McCurdy. I suspect he will go but who would they in mind for the seat when he does?
    What are the odds on the Independent winning at this stage?

  6. There’s a report from the Border Mail today, which I can’t read because it’s paywalled, but which apparently says Labor may not field a candidate here, apparently so as to clear the field for the independent. Not being able to read the full report I’m somewhat skeptical if this is a misreading by the local journalists, as this would seem a highly unlikely move.

  7. ALP has had a good record in fielding candidates in nearly all seatsUnlike Libs they seem to think that electorate has a right to an ALP candidate even if candidate is trounced.

  8. Labor only got 1.58 upper house quotas in the Northern Victoria region and Ovens Valley wasn’t even their worst seat. In the preference cut up Jaclyn Symes, Labor’s 2nd Legislative Council candidate, was only ~150 votes from being excluded in 7th below Jenny O’Connor the Greens candidate.

    They would be truly barking mad to run dead anywhere.

  9. @Nick C – here’s the article:
    LABOR is increasingly unlikely to field a candidate in the battle for Ovens Valley at the upcoming Victorian election which could translate into a major boost to independent Tammy Atkins’ chances of winning the seat.

    With less than two months before election day, Labor has not announced a candidate for Ovens Valley despite confirming candidates for neighbouring, Benambra and Euroa, in Mark Tait and Fionna Deppeler-Morton respectively.

    The Border Mail attempted to contact Labor assistant state secretary Kosmos Samaras about a candidate being named after a Wangaratta branch official said she couldn’t comment.

    Four years ago, Melbourne-based party staffer, Gail Cholosznecki, was announced as the candidate about three months before the election and despite a low profile, spending minimal time in the electorate and being unable to appear at a major candidates’ forum she still managed to attract 22 per cent of the primary vote.

    In 2010, Labor’s Lachlan Enshaw polled 20 per cent of the primary vote when incumbent Tim McCurdy stood as the successor to long-serving Nationals’ representative, Ken Jasper.

    On both occasions Mr McCurdy polled just over 50 per cent of primary votes and was duly elected.

    But with the backing of the Voices For Indi movement and a high public profile due to her time on Wangaratta Council, Ms Atkins’ vote could be further boosted without Labor or the Greens in the mix.

    If Mr McCurdy’s vote dropped below 50 per cent the seat will be declared on preferences and the National Party could lose another one-time heartland to an independent.

    Four years ago another independent, Suzanna Sheed, beat Nationals’ candidate Greg Barr in Shepparton.

    The Nationals are standing by Mr McCurdy after a court last week ordered him to stand trial on 10 fraud charges from his time as a real estate in 2009 before entering parliament.

    They also refused to confirm or deny whether they commissioned polling in Ovens Valley on Tuesday night.

    Meanwhile, Labor Upper House member Jaclyn Symes was asked about Mr McCurdy’s predicament on a visit to Wodonga on Wednesday.

    “Tim’s personal court issues I’ll leave for others to comment on,” she said.

    “But I can tell you people in that community have not been happy with National Party representation for quite some time.

    “I don’t think these current circumstances are helping that either.

    “There is a mood for change.”

    Nationals’ state director Matt Harris said: “Advice from Tim’s legal representation before the committal hearing was that charges of this nature would usually proceed to trial, and that is the outcome Tim had expected.

    “Tim maintains he has committed no wrongdoing, and that he looks forward to clearing his name.

    “He is entitled to the presumption of innocence and a fair trial when that time comes.

    “Tim will continue to work hard delivering for the people of the Ovens Valley electorate while this matter is resolved.”

  10. Labor for the Ovens Valley..

    proudly invites you to

    A dinner with Andrew Giles

    Labor MP for Scullin
    Shadow Minister for Schools

    Saturday, October 13, 6.30 pm

    The Myrtleford Hotel, Standish St, Myrtleford

    2 course meal, $35

    Dietary requirements catered for, advise when you

    RVSP to Zuvele Leschen, zuvelel@yahoo.com by Friday, October 5

    George Dimopoulos, ALP candidate for Ovens Valley, will also be in attendance

  11. The only state where a major party would plausibly not run a candidate in any single electorate is Queensland, because they don’t have an upper house. The last time it happened in Victoria was in 1976. It’s obviously not going to happen here, and it’s not going to happen in inner Melbourne either.

  12. Julian Fidge from the Country Party is running here also and will probably save the seat for the Nats. He ran last time and received 9.4% of the vote. (Greens received 10%) He and independent candidate, Tammy Atkins, were members of the sacked Wangaratta Council and have a deep dislike for each other so Atkins cannot rely on his preferences. For the Nats to loose this seat McCurdy’s first preference vote would have to drop to at least 38-39%, (6000 votes). Depending on how McCurdy’s issues play out locally I can’t see the Independent winning based on those numbers. If things turn sour next year for McCurdy a bi-election would be interesting.

  13. I wonder if they’ll wheel out old Ken Jasper to support McCurdy. If they do that plonk the house on the Independent.

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