Vic redistribution finalised – the end of Batman


The Australian Electoral Commission released the final decisions for the Victorian federal redistribution earlier today. Most of the changes were very minor, with no seats experiencing a large change in margin. The switch of Dunkley from Liberal to notional Labor has been maintained.

We have seen two changes in seat names. The seat of Cox has been restored to its previous name of Corangamite. While they noted the concern about the double-entendre in the name, the decision has supposedly been made due to the longstanding use of the name Corangamite.

The AEC is also renaming the seat of Batman in Melbourne’s inner north to ‘Cooper’. This name honours early 20th century Aboriginal leader William Cooper. The report specifically mentions his role in founding the Australian Aborigines League in the 1930s, and his protests against Nazi Germany in 1938. This is the culmination of a long campaign to abolish this seat name.

Overall we will see eight new seat names at the next federal election. Batman is not the only seat named after an early white settler to be renamed in part due to that man’s genocidal history – the seat of McMillan in eastern Victoria has been renamed ‘Monash’.

The announcement today just included descriptions of how the boundaries have been changed since the first draft. There are no maps and no data. So it’s possible there might be small errors in my margin calculations. I will put together the updated map over the weekend, although I’ll double-check the boundaries when the official map is released on July 13.

I also expect we’ll be getting the final boundaries for ACT and South Australia over the next week.

The table below the fold lists the margin in every Victorian seat, before the redistribution, on the draft boundaries and on the final boundaries. I discovered a small bug in my margin calculation code so there may be some small changes (around 0.1% in most cases) even where boundaries haven’t changed, but I’ve included the previously-published margins for transparency.

Seat Pre-redistribution Draft boundaries Final boundaries
Aston LIB 8.6% LIB 7.6% LIB 7.4%
Ballarat ALP 7.3% ALP 7.4% ALP 7.4%
Bendigo ALP 3.7% ALP 3.9% ALP 3.9%
Bruce ALP 4.1% ALP 14.2% ALP 14%
Calwell ALP 17.9% ALP 19.7% ALP 19.8%
Casey LIB 6.1% LIB 4.5% LIB 4.5%
Chisholm LIB 1.2% LIB 3% LIB 2.9%
Cooper (Batman) ALP vs GRN 1% ALP vs GRN 0.7% ALP vs GRN 0.7%
Corangamite LIB 3.1% LIB 0% LIB 0.1%
Corio ALP 10% ALP 8.3% ALP 8.3%
Deakin LIB 5.7% LIB 6.3% LIB 6.4%
Dunkley LIB 1.4% ALP 1% ALP 1%
Flinders LIB 7.8% LIB 7% LIB 7%
Fraser New seat 0% ALP 19.8% ALP 19.8%
Gellibrand ALP 18.2% ALP 15.1% ALP 15.1%
Gippsland NAT 18.4% NAT 18.3% NAT 18.2%
Goldstein LIB 12.7% LIB 12.7% LIB 12.7%
Gorton ALP 19.5% ALP 18.5% ALP 18.5%
Higgins LIB vs GRN 8% LIB vs GRN 7.6% LIB vs GRN 7.6%
Holt ALP 14.2% ALP 9.7% ALP 10%
Hotham ALP 7.5% ALP 4.1% ALP 4.2%
Indi IND vs LIB 4.8% IND vs LIB 4.9% IND vs LIB 4.9%
Isaacs ALP 5.7% ALP 3.1% ALP 3%
Jagajaga ALP 4.7% ALP 5.6% ALP 5.6%
Kooyong LIB 13.3% LIB 12.7% LIB 12.8%
La Trobe LIB 1.5% LIB 3.3% LIB 3.2%
Lalor ALP 13.4% ALP 14.2% ALP 14.2%
MacNamara (Melbourne Ports) ALP 1.4% ALP 1.2% ALP 1.2%
Mallee NAT 21.3% NAT 20.1% NAT 19.7%
Maribyrnong ALP 12.3% ALP 10.5% ALP 10.4%
McEwen ALP 7.8% ALP 5.9% ALP 5.9%
Melbourne GRN vs LIB 18.5% GRN vs LIB 18.5% GRN vs LIB 18.5%
Menzies LIB 10.6% LIB 7.8% LIB 7.8%
Monash (McMillan) LIB 6% LIB 7.5% LIB 7.5%
Nicholls (Murray) NAT vs LIB 24.9% NAT 22.4% NAT 22.1%
Scullin ALP 17.3% ALP 20% ALP 19.6%
Wannon LIB 9% LIB 9.4% LIB 9.1%
Wills ALP vs GRN 4.9% ALP vs GRN 4.9% ALP vs GRN 4.9% 
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  1. Batman, the settler, is more associated with CBD Melbourne anyway.

    Good to see Corangamite remaining. I like those aboriginal (I think) words and it rhymes with an Aussie food staple Vegemite. Note I did not say “iconic” which is a very overused word and often incorrectly used too.

  2. Ben, have you worked out the swing needed for the Greens to overtake Labor in McNamara? On the current boundaries of Melbourne Ports, it was 0.6 % last time, and the new boundaries look marginally better for the Greens than the old ones.

  3. As we have both a federal and state seat of Melbourne the state seat could be renamed Batman in the next round of redistribution in a few years time as the current Batman is now Cooper.

  4. Tim Colebatch – I am interested in McNamara too as I live there.

    As far as I know there is no Liberal candidate named yet. Perhaps all parties are waiting until after the state election in November.

    Please Liberal party no religious conservative or Zionist as a candidate. There are few churches or other religions businesses in the coast part of Melbourne Ports as there is no or little interest in religion as its 2018 not 1918.

  5. The final changes to Isaacs and Hotham sounded quite substantial. But the table above suggests minimal political impact. Obviously a case of trading like for like.

  6. Damn, was really hoping Prahran & South Yarra would join Windsor in Macnamara in exchange for Caulfield. It would basically unite the state electorates of Albert Park & Prahran which share a lot in common politically, socially, demographically & geographically. Half of St Kilda is already in the state electorate of Prahran. Not to mention that Caulfield is way better suited alongside suburbs like Malvern, Carnegie, Glen Huntly & Murrumbeena, and splitting up Windsor & Prahran is absurd.

    Also the Goldstein boundary needed to move up to Glen Eira Road… Glenhuntly Road is a terrible boundary, it’s a major shopping precinct and the heart of Elsternwick, it shouldn’t be a divider.

  7. On primary votes I have Labor in Macnamara on 26.55% and the Greens on 24.17%. So that is a reduction of the margin from 3.2% to 2.4%.

    If you think they’ll be naming a state seat after Batman you don’t understand why the seat was renamed. We won’t be seeing that name again.

  8. DW, it’s not that substantial really. Bruce, Hotham and Isaacs rotate slightly anti-clockwise, and all of them are basically just swapping one small patch of safe Labor territory for another.

    It was good to see some of the ‘Independent’ proposals get up, while the major party suggestions were pretty much all rejected.

  9. It seems strange the way inner-Melbourne electorates are split east/west rather than north/south. You end up with very long electorates that are not very demographically consistent (Northcote is in the same electorate as Reservoir rather than Brunswick, South Yarra is in the same electorate as Malvern rather than Albert Park).

    It kinda screws over the Greens (which, depending on your political leanings, is either a good or a bad thing) because if the Cooper/Wills and Higgins/Macnamara were split north/south rather than east/west, they’d probably end up with two more seats.

  10. “On primary votes I have Labor in Macnamara on 26.55% and the Greens on 24.17%. So that is a reduction of the margin from 3.2% to 2.4%.”

    Missing from that are preferences from a slew of left wing micro parties. The margin at the important “3 party preferred” count was only 1.1%. With the redistribution it could be around 0.3% (~300 votes).

  11. After the redistribution the only seats I can see Labor very likely gaining at the election are the following;

    Dunkley (already notionally Labor on the new boundaries)
    Latrobe (Strongly Labor and fast growing Pakenham is now in the electorate).

    If there is a sizable swing to Labor in Victoria then Casey and Chisholm could either come close or be Labor gains.

    Macnamara (I used to live with it) with it’s dud MP Michael Danby, could become either a Liberal or Green gain depending if either can preselect a good candidate. Plus the demographic changes over the years have favored the Liberals.

  12. Ben, thanks for the primary vote data, but it doesn’t answer my question. I’m interested in the 3PP figures, which include the preferences from minor candidates.

    In 2016 the votes were:
    Primary: Lib 41.9%, Labor 27.0, Greens 23.8, others 7.3
    3PP: Lib 43.7, Labor 28.7, Greens 27.6.
    You see my point?

    I assume that if you did a 2PP estimate, you must have done a 3PP estimate on the way through. From the primary votes you mention, it looks like it would be very close, but probably with Labor still just pipping the Greens.
    Could you dig it out? Thanks.

  13. I wouldn’t call Pakenham “strongly Labor”. It’s a swinging outer suburban area.

    Places like Berwick or Beaconsfield have stayed (generally) Liberal voting despite intense suburban development.

  14. Tim – the AEC publishes 2PP (well, 2CP) by polling place, and also primaries, but not 3PP, and for the lower house they don’t publish ballot data to reconstruct it.
    The best method I can think of is to come up with a district level conversion from primary to 3PP, and then apply that at each polling place.

  15. To be honest, I think regardless of whether the Greens are 1.1% behind or 0.3% notionally in the 3PP, it is still going to be a Greens v Liberal 2PP anyway this time.

    The only thing I can see preventing that from happening is if Labor manage to replace Danby with not just an upgrade, but a really strong high profile candidate like they did in Batman with Ged Kearney. Honestly, I think short of preselecting Sally McManus though, with demographic changes and the inclusion of Windsor (which had a sub-20% Labor vote and an almost 50% Green primary vote), the Greens would have beaten Labor with or without a redistribution next time.

    As for the Liberals, I can see them possibly winning it in a future election where there is a significant national swing towards them, but not next year. I expect a swing (albeit a small one) away from them next time around, despite the increasing gentrification. Macnamara may have wealth but it’s not the conservative ‘old money’ wealth you find in the blue ribbon inner east. It’s similar wealth to what’s been moving into the inner north – young, progressive, Green voting professionals.

    The other factor which I would be interested to see worked into the notional swings, is the impact of the enrolment boost around the SSM survey. When you factor in Macnamara gaining 3%+ more electors around the SSM survey and having the second highest ‘Yes’ vote in the country, that has to translate to some kind of notional swing against the Coalition as well.

    Addition of Windsor (terrible for Labor, boost for Greens) + enrolment boost from SSM (bad for Liberals, boost for Greens & Labor) + polls pointing to a national & statewide swing against the Liberals + increasing gentrification, all that points towards the Greens well and truly surpassing the 1.1% shortfall in 2016.

  16. The new boundaries for Maribyrnong look very green friendly. Adding strong areas from Gellibrand and Melbourne with the removal of their weakest areas to the west. They probably has a pretty suppressed vote after years of it being a safe Labor seat with a high profile local member. If/when Shorten is replaced and he vacates his seat, it could be absolutely up for grabs for the greens and maybe even liberals.

  17. See my letter in the Financial Review today, 22 Jun 18, about renaming State electorate of Melbourne to Batman at the next redistribution.

  18. Cheers for that Ben, I guess that vote is too low to realistically be a threat any time soon… Do you have the Liberal/Labor primary vote number, would be curious if it slips Labor in to 2nd place?

  19. Huge,

    Problem for the Greens in Maribyrnong is the Liberal vote is quite high. It contains all the good Liberal parts of the north-western suburbs, and the changes actually improve the Liberal vote in the seat by removing all the rock-solid Labor areas west of the river.

    Unless you mean the Greens can overtake Labor to finish second vs the Liberals??

  20. AlexJ, you are misinformed. The AEC does indeed publish 3PP figures, all the way down to individual polling booths (and 4PP and more, for that matter).
    I decided to do the numbers myself, and if Ben will allow me a plug, you can read all about it in Inside Story
    In short, the addition of Windsor, a very strong Greens area, has virtually wiped out Michael Danby’s lead over the Greens. The 2016 election would have been lineball had it been fought on the new boundaries.

  21. AlexJ is misinformed. The AEC certainly does publish 3PP results, right down to the polling booth – and 4PP and more, for that matter.
    I decided to do the numbers myself – very interesting. If Ben will allow me a free plug, you can read about it in Inside Story.

    In short, the addition of 5000 voters from Windsor – a stronghold of Greens supporters- virtually wipes out Michael Danby’s lead over the Greens. Had the 2016 election been conducted on these boundaries, it would have been almost a dead heat, too close to call.

  22. Frankly, the booth level data was new to me too, but it’s in the downloads for the House.,

  23. VEC won’t name state electorates after people, end of. Especially after one who’s quite possibly involved in genocide.

  24. Oh wow, I haven’t seen that data before. Could be very interesting in some seats. I’ll put on my list to add a 3PP count to my VIC redistribution data to run a recalculation at some point.

  25. The “round up” of the Tasmanian aboriginals in the 1820/30’s was colonial government policy, at least in the huge final stages. The government ordered all able bodied men to participate as depicted in the 1980 film Manganinnie” starring Anna Ralph as the little girl lost in the bush and looked after by an Aboriginal woman. Dr Ralph is now a infectious diseases Assoc Professor in Darwin Hospital helping people including Aborigines (just an interesting side note). At the end of the round up there was only about 300 Aboriginals left. Batman was a free man and arrested two bushrangers one of whom was a cannibal. For being a good citizen he was given a land grant in Tasmania.

    Later in 1835 he and his former convict wife and others established a settlement in what is now Melbourne CBD; we cant take that honour away from him. When he died in 1839 his houses on Batman Hill (now Southern Cross Station site) was taken by the Victoria colonial government. Wife Elizabeth (also known as Eliza) remarried and she was killed in a hotel brawl in Geelong years later. Mt Eliza near Frankston is named after her.

    Batman was the first and only person to sign a treaty with Aborigines. In the Whitlam era the old Aborigine only got a handful of dirt from the then PM.

  26. Adrian tries to contextualise Batman’s actions. But it’s not important whether he met or exceeded the standards of his time. He doesn’t meet or exceed the standards of today, and the electorate name is a matter that is relevant to us, now. Electorates are constantly in flux. It is important for us to maintain them — keeping what fits and discarding what doesn’t — not simply to retain them.

  27. We can’t rewrite history, no.

    But things are usually named after people either because they started it, or to honour them. That’s not so much a question of history as current values. Especially for something like electoral divisions, which are in regular flux.

    We care about John Batman’s negatives much more than we used to, and so he is no longer the most appropriate person for the seat to be named after.

  28. Disappointing to see the confusing name Monash used for a seat in the Latrobe Valley. Surely council names should not be used unless the electorate is associated with the council area in question. McMillan should have been renamed Latrobe and LaTrobe, renamed Casey, with a new name being found for the existing Casey.

    Also unfortunate to see the loss of Melbourne Ports and Murray. Nothing short of vandalism in my opinion. And such boring, unoriginal replacements, as is Cooper. Why not use Jika Jika, which was the former name of a Legislative council seat from the area and has a geographic connection with the area?

    Most people don’t understand how the electoral system works in the first place. It certainly doesn’t make it any easier when commissioners go off on a naming frolick rather than consider names that will help electors identify and connect with their representatives.

  29. Honestly I agree with the name changes but they have been for the wrong electorates, Cooper formerly Batman could’ve been Jika Jika or Darebin, although using names that have been used in the past aren’t often put into place, also two neighboring seats called Jika Jika and Jagajaga would get confusing.
    Gellibrand should’ve been renamed Cooper because William Cooper came from Footscray, same with Macnamara, that should’ve been called Monash, considering John Monash came from Port Melbourne and that electorate has the biggest Jewish population in the country.

  30. L96, I still think they shouldn’t use local government names, but your suggestion makes more sense than sticking it out in the LaTrobe Valley. The former state upper house Monash Province, used to cover the Melbourne Ports area.

  31. Yes and their reasoning for not accepting the council name issue amounts to “it’s already confusing so it won’t be worse if we confuse a few more people”. It was a poor decision when it happened for Casey and Latrobe, and it’s still a poor decision now that it’s happening for Monash. It seems we’re stuck with another bad and confusing name choice. Perhaps the Parliament will have to make an amendment to the act.

    @Adrian Jackson, I never suggested we should rewrite history. All of our history books should still say what they do now. Renaming the seat of Batman to Cooper doesn’t suddenly mean that we want to lie and pretend that Cooper founded Melbourne or that Batman wasn’t significant in the history of our city.

    Renaming seats isn’t rewriting history and you do yourself a disservice to suggest that it does.

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