Chisholm – Australia 2013

ALP 5.8%

Incumbent MP
Anna Burke, since 1998.

Map of Chisholm’s 2010 and 2013 boundaries. 2010 boundaries appear as red line, 2013 boundaries appear as white area. Local government areas are marked as green lines. Click to enlarge.
Map of Chisholm’s 2010 and 2013 boundaries. 2010 boundaries appear as red line, 2013 boundaries appear as white area. Local government areas are marked as green lines. Click to enlarge.

Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Chisholm covers most of the western half of Monash council area and the western half of Whitehorse council area, along with a small part of Kingston council area. Suburbs include Burwood, Burwood East, Oakleigh, Chadstone, Mount Waverley, Box Hill and Mont Albert.

Chisholm lost part of Mont Albert North to Kooyong and Glen Waverley to Bruce. In exchange, Chisholm gained Burwood East and part of Forest Hill from Deakin. The ALP’s margin was cut from 6.1% to 5.8%.

Chisholm was created for the expansion of the House of Representatives at the 1949 election. For the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, the seat was relatively safe for the Liberal Party. Boundary changes saw the seat become a marginal seat in the early 1980s, and in the last decade it has firmed up as a relatively safe seat for the ALP.

The seat was first won in Kent Hughes for the Liberal Party. Hughes was a former Deputy Premier of Victoria who had enlisted in the military at the outbreak of the Second World War, and ended up captured as part of the fall of Singapore and spent four years as a prisoner of war before returning to state politics, and moving to Canberra in 1949.

Hughes was chairman of the organising committee for the Melbourne Olympics in 1956, but after the Olympics was dropped from the ministry, and sat on the backbenches until his death in 1970.

Tony Staley won the 1970 by-election for the Liberal Party. He served as a junior minister in the Fraser government from 1976 until his retirement from politics in 1980. He went on to serve as Federal President of the Liberal Party.

The Liberal Party’s Graham Harris held on to Chisholm in 1980, but with a much smaller margin then those won by Hughes or Staley. He was defeated in 1983 by the ALP’s Helen Mayer.

Mayer was re-elected in 1984, but lost the seat in 1987 to the Liberal Party’s Michael Wooldridge. Wooldridge quickly became a senior Liberal frontbencher, and served as Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party from 1993 to 1994. Wooldridge was appointed Minister for Health upon the election of the Howard government in 1996. Wooldridge moved to the safer seat of Casey in 1998, and retired in 2001.

Chisholm was won in 1998 by the ALP’s Anna Burke, who has held the seat ever since, and was elected Deputy Speaker after the 2007 election. Anna Burke was elected Speaker in October 2012.


  • Josh Fergeus (Greens)
  • Anna Burke (Labor)
  • Luzio Grossi (Sex Party)
  • Melanie Vassiliou (Rise Up Australia)
  • John Nguyen (Liberal)
  • Brian Woods (Palmer United Party)
  • Martin Myszka (Family First)
  • Vidura Nalin Jayaratne (Secular Party)
  • Pat Shea (Democratic Labour Party)

Anna Burke’s 5.8% margin could make her seat vulnerable, but the swing against Labor is likely to be less in Victoria than other states, and that could see Labor hold on in Chisholm while seats with larger margins fall elsewhere.

2010 result

Anna BurkeALP34,49244.53-3.59
John NguyenLIB31,09340.15+0.70
Josh FergeusGRN9,19611.87+3.40
Phil GoodmanFF2,1072.72+0.27
Nimrod EvansSEC5620.73+0.73

2010 two-candidate-preferred result

Anna BurkeALP43,43956.11-1.27
John NguyenLIB33,99143.89+1.27
Polling booths in Chisholm at the 2010 federal election. Box Hill in orange, Clayton-Oakleigh in red, Mount Waverley in green, North-East in blue. Click to enlarge
Polling booths in Chisholm at the 2010 federal election. Box Hill in orange, Clayton-Oakleigh in red, Mount Waverley in green, North-East in blue. Click to enlarge

Booth breakdown
Booths have been divided into four areas. Polling places in the City of Monash have been divided between Clayton-Oakleigh in the south and Mount Waverley in the north. Booths in the City of Whitehorse have been divided between Box Hill in the west, and “North-East”.

The ALP won a majority between 53.9% and 55.3% in three of the four areas. Labor’s majority was much larger (65.4%) in Clayton-Oakleigh.

Voter groupGRN %ALP 2CP %Total votes% of ordinary votes
Box Hill12.9855.3222,44734.83
Mount Waverley10.7854.9619,34730.02
Other votes12.7654.2520,588
Two-party-preferred votes in Chisholm at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Chisholm at the 2010 federal election.
Greens primary votes in Chisholm at the 2010 federal election.
Greens primary votes in Chisholm at the 2010 federal election.


  1. On figures from the last state election, this would be a marginal Liberal seat, which shows two things:

    1. How badly the Liberals have done at the federal level in Victoria lately.
    2. Anna Burke is a popular member.

    I’d favour Labor to hold this narrowly, barring an increase in the swing towards the Liberals in Victoria. and/or Burke’s retirement. The latter of these is unlikely though.

  2. Didn’t redistribution in 1996 push this into south-eastern suburbs (like Bruce) & this accounts for much of a relatively safe character? Libs in public talking up their chances but state figures reflect a 49% 2PP rather than a 55% 2PP. Labor still pretty entrenched in the ethnic communities in south of seat where Hanson helped them in 1998.

  3. Spot on Geoff, the old Chisholm used to cover areas like Camberwell, and I don’t think it included Clayton. The old Bruce was based on Glen Waverley and Mount Waverley, and didn’t include areas like Springvale.

    Speaking of Bruce, that would be a Labor hold on 2010 state figures, and both seats are likely to be held by Labor this September.

  4. The reason this could be dangerous because unlike other states the Liberal party in Victoria, in my opinion, will easily win the seats on a lower margin such as Corangamite, La Trobe, and Deakin without sinking in allot of money or effort. All their remaining effort and funds will be sunk into taking Chisholm, which could prove problematic.

  5. I’m doing quite a bit of work in Chisholm. Was originally pessimistic, but now increasingly hopeful of winning this seat.

  6. Melbourne Tory, you are right to be pessimistic. I think what people forget is WA, Qld and NSW will be what kills Labor at this Federal Election. When Federal polling is broken down on a state by state basis, the ALP is actually winning the 2PP against the Coalition in Victoria. I always tell people come the end of this year the country and every state will be run by the Conservatives, because SA and Tas have their elections later this year but I’m very confident Victoria will put Labor back in power at their next state election and I expect some of that frustration to hurt the Liberals campaign in Vicoria this Federal Election. It also helps Gillard is Victorian, the same way Labor’s vote would improve dramatically in Qld if Kevin Rudd came back as leader. Anna Burke will be safely home.

  7. Rudd for PM – yep, but you have to remember that the ALP received a historically high 2PP in 2010 (55.3%), which I would say is unlikely to be repeated. Sure, the ALP will probably get above 50%, but there is still likely to be around a 3% swing back to the Coalition. Whether that lands any seats in VIC, who knows?

    Conversely, it’s going to be hard for the Coalition to improve on its vote in 2010 in WA particularly and QLD somewhat.

    The biggest state swing will probably be in Tasmania to the Coalition, however, there are only 5 HoR seats there.

  8. Good point DB but let’s look at it like this. Very respectable polling suggests Labor’s loss will be about 26 seats. They currently hold 7 in Qld. They will definitely lose 6 of those, with Rudd’s seat of Griffith the only one they’ll likely hold. They will lose 8-10 of the western/southern sydney based electorates, perhaps more.Then there’s NSW seats on the Central Coast that are gone from the moment the polls open and they’re in big trouble in seats like Eden Monaro and possibly Page and Richmond. The few seats they currently hold in WA except maybe Fremantle they will lose, a couple in Tasmania, with Bass a certainty to go, Cheeseman’s marginal Victorian seat and then of course Oakshott and Windsor will lose their independent seats to the Nationals. That’s a relative start to what the ALP can expect to lose. I expect the swing in Victoria to be far less than the rest of the state and if they lose a seat like this, they are in even deeper trouble than it already appears.

  9. Rudd for PM – I know current polling suggests what you saying, but I very much doubt on election day the Libs will win all of those projected seats in ‘western’ Sydney, and you might find that they actually do better in VIC and SA than current polling suggests. I don’t believe QLD will be a total wipeout for Labor either, and I doubt the Libs will have a net gain in WA.

  10. Labor does well in Victoria in absolute terms, thanks to geography (small and urbanised, not many rural Coalition seats), and Labor racking up thumping majorities in north/west Melbourne.

    But the state-based polls still show Labor suffering a swing in Victoria about the same as the rest of the country, around 5-6%. If that happens, Labor could win the 2PP vote in Victoria but lose a seat like Chisholm.

  11. MDMConnell
    Posted April 26, 2013 – agree with the premise, but not sure that polling is showing a 5-6% swing against the Government in VIC. The largest swings appear to be in TAS, SA, and NSW.

  12. I note the internal poll leaked to The Australian today (see front page) indicating a 15% swing against the Government was in south-eastern VIC. My spies tell me the ALP internal poll being referred to was in Bruce, however, large swings were also evident in Chisholm as well as others according to that ALP poll. This seems to be consistent (although a little bit worse) than internal Coalition polling which shows up to 6 seats in VIC at risk and 5 in SA.

    I also understand the PM has forbidden any polling in SA for fear of further leaks. However, I understand Labor are in dire trouble in a few of the seats held by the Liberal Party during the Howard years.

  13. Some hyperbole in that Oz article but on a state wide swing of 5-6% you would expect some seats above that range to be at risk. Still Labor held all those mentioned in 2004 on a statewide 2PP of 49% and all but Chisholm in 1996 on statewide 2PP of 50.3%. Most of Victoria is in Melbourne so not much scope for Labor to do very badly in Melbourne & better elsewhere and still match a 50% 2PP. Of the seats mentioned Isaacs is probably the most outer-suburban mortgage belt one

  14. Geoff – good point. I think Bruce is a bridge too far too, but Chisholm could be in play. I don’t think the ALP 2PP in VIC will be any more than 51% at this point.

  15. Anna Burke has a really strong profile in Chisholm, and she definitely has a personal vote (but of course, it’s always hard to gauge how high an MP’s personal vote is). If the ALP doesn’t totally screw up their national campaign I could even see them holding Chisholm but potentially losing seats in Vic on higher margins.

  16. They should hold Chisholm. Personal votes are interesting questions. I know an MP who once thought he was worth 5% of his first preference….

  17. How the hell could you have lived in this country for the past four decades at least and not understand that the name Nguyen is of Vietnamese origin? Sloppy Joe at it again.

  18. Current polling showing that the Liberal Party is set to beat Labor on primary vote and outcome will come down to preferences.

  19. DB – if Greens preferences went 100% to Labor, would it push Labor over the line? Or would Labor still need other preferences?

  20. Glen, who knows, but ALP will never get 100% of the Green preferences. Always splits roughly 75/25. You’d probably say ALP still just favourites depending on Green primary.

  21. Nguyen is an impressive guy but if they really wanted the Asian vote they would have found someone with Chinese heritage, given the Chinese are the dominant ethnic minority in Chisholm, which is focused on Box Hill and Glen Waverley. Chinese people don’t tend to think much of the Vietnamese. I hope Nguyen still manages to win despite that because he is a really nice and intelligent fellow

  22. DB – I’m not asking because I expect Labor to get 100% of Green preferences. What I’m trying to gauge is how difficult it would be for Labor to hold based on the current polling. If Labor+Greens is bigger than 50% of the vote, then there’s a reasonable chance for Labor to win. If Labor+Greens is significantly smaller, Labor’s got no real chance.

  23. The irony is that because historically this has been a safe Labor seat nothing seems to be happening upgrade train station (remove the level crossing). Though it was desperately needed. Perhaps a swing against the Labor is a good thing making it a marginal seat needing some attention?

  24. Galaxy shows Labor narrowly ahead 52-48, presumably the Liberals ahead on first preferences.

    We’ll score this another one for DB……..

  25. If you read down the data table you’ll see Galaxy is actually predicting a 8% swing to the Liberals here, not 4%, which would also suggest that Bruce would be winnable for the Lib as well.

  26. MDM – you are right. Pollbludger made a mistake on transposing I think. Labor ahead 52/48 on Galaxy. Internal polling saying dead heat.

  27. MDM,
    I think it’s too premature to make any definite predictions in Victoria (although I agree your assessments as the most probable outcome at this stage). It’s just in Victoria there is no attention being paid to the election, its the Essendon vs Hird vs AFL down here and the election rarely appears in the top read stories in either the Age or the Herald Sun. No one (Labour or Liberal) is getting any traction down here and I’d suggest its the party that grabs their attention in the last week will claim the spoils. This is what happened in the Victorian state elections in 1999 and 2010.

    There is also another clue that the 2010 state election is the best template, the Green vote. Prior to the Victorian state election the Greens regularly got 17% and 18% in opinion polling in the weeks prior to poling day, but their actual vote was 11%. I’d suggest they were never going to get 17%, but they were 17% of the voters who had made their mind up at that point in the campaign. The flipside of the Greens vote is it gives us an idea of the number who haven’t made their mind up, and I’d argue that “fat lady” hasn’t sung yet and is still quite sizable.

    I’d rather be in the LIberal shoes that the ALP’s at this point, but you won’t clearly know how Victoria is going to shape up until the week before hand, just like 2010’s state election. But a bigger or smaller swing in Victoria is entirely possible.

  28. Not a bad prediction given the final margin will be 2-2.5% probably. One seat the opinion polls got pretty spot on too.

  29. Anna Burke only just held on – a credit to her as this seat would’ve very likely fallen to the Liberal candidate this time. She is a very well liked Member for Chisholm and obviously had an increased profile from being Speaker.

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