Isaacs – Australia 2013

ALP 10.4%

Incumbent MP
Mark Dreyfus, since 2007.

Map of Isaacs' 2010 and 2013 boundaries. 2010 boundaries marked as red lines, 2013 boundaries marked as white area. Click to enlarge.
Map of Isaacs’ 2010 and 2013 boundaries. 2010 boundaries marked as red lines, 2013 boundaries marked as white area. Click to enlarge.

Outer south-eastern Melbourne. Isaacs covers suburbs along the coast of Port Phillip Bay on the south-eastern fringe of Melbourne. It covers the southern parts of Kingston and Greater Dandenong council areas, and a small northern part of Frankston council area.

Isaacs contracted slightly on its northern boundary, losing areas around Cheltenham and Springvale to Hotham. Isaacs’ southern boundary with Dunkley was adjusted slightly. This reduced the Labor margin from 11% to 10.4%.

Isaacs was created at a redistribution before the 1969 federal election. The seat was long a marginal seat, but has become safer for the ALP over the last decade.

The seat was first won in 1969 by the Liberal Party’s David Hamer. Hamer held the seat until 1974, when he lost to the ALP’s Gareth Clayton, but Hamer won back the seat in 1975.

Hamer retired in 1977, and was succeeded by Liberal candidate William Burns. Burns failed to win re-election in 1980, when Isaacs was won by the ALP’s David Charles.

Charles held the seat for a decade, retiring in 1990. The Liberal Party’s Rod Atkinson won back the seat in 1990.

Atkinson was re-elected in 1993, but a redistribution before the 1996 election changed Isaacs’ margin from a 3% Liberal margin to a 3.9% Labor margin, and Atkinson lost to the ALP’s Greg Wilton.

Wilton was re-elected in 1998. His marriage broke down in 2000, and he faced strong media attack in 2000 after being found by police in a situation that some interpreted as an attempted murder-suicide. This ended with Wilton committing suicide in June 2000. He remains the only member of federal Parliament to ever die by suicide.

The ALP’s Ann Corcoran easily won re-election at the ensuing by-election, with the Liberal Party not standing a candidate. Corcoran’s margin was cut to around 1-2% at the 2001 and 2004 elections, and retired in 2007.

The seat was won in 2007 by the ALP’s candidate, prominent lawyer Mark Dreyfus, with a swing of over 6%, which gave him a 7.7% margin. Dreyfus was re-elected in 2010 and promoted to serve as a Parliamentary Secretary, and in 2013 he became Attorney-General.


  • John Elliott (Family First)
  • James Leach (Democratic Labour Party)
  • Nadia Seaman (Rise Up Australia)
  • Avtar Gill (Palmer United Party)
  • Karen Dobby (Australian Christians)
  • Mark Dreyfus (Labor)
  • Sandra Miles (Greens)
  • Laith Graham (Sex Party)
  • Garry Spencer (Liberal)

Isaacs is a reasonably safe Labor seat.

2010 result

Mark DreyfusALP45,13149.42+0.67
Dale McClellandLIB31,47234.47-4.00
Chris CarmanGRN9,98010.93+4.69
Heather WheatleyFF3,3773.70+1.15
Gordon FordIND1,3551.48+0.22

2010 two-candidate-preferred result

Mark DreyfusALP55,72161.02+3.33
Dale McClellandLIB35,59438.98-3.33
Polling places in Isaacs at the 2010 federal election. North-East in green, North-West in red, South-East in yellow, South-West in blue. Click to enlarge.
Polling places in Isaacs at the 2010 federal election. North-East in green, North-West in red, South-East in yellow, South-West in blue. Click to enlarge.

Booth breakdown
Booths have been divided into four areas. Polling places in the City of Greater Dandenong have been grouped as ‘North-East’, and those in the City of Frankston have been grouped as ‘South-East’. Polling places in the City of Kingston make a majority of the electorate, and these have been split into north-west and south-west.

The ALP won a majority in all four areas, varying from 55.5% in North-West to 71.3% in North-East. The Greens vote varies from 7.3% in North-East to 13% in North-West.

Voter groupGRN %ALP 2PP %Total votes% of ordinary votes
Other votes11.8258.2221,277
Two-party-preferred votes in Isaacs at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Isaacs at the 2010 federal election.
Greens primary votes in Isaacs at the 2010 federal election.
Greens primary votes in Isaacs at the 2010 federal election.


  1. 1990 redistribution pushed this seat north and made it notionally Liberal hence Charles’ retirement I think he was given a trade rep position overseas in exchange for not attempting a move to Hotham.

  2. Dreyfus should win given his larger profile. It could suffer a larger swing than the average in Victoria however.

  3. Another seat where the trend is probably Liberal. As people are being priced out of bayside suburbs closer to the city, suburbs like Edithvale and Carrum are becoming more attractive.

    Although there were local factors, the Liberals won Carrum at the state election where the result was basically 50-50……in Kennett’s time the Liberals missed out in 92 and only just won in 96 during two landslides.

    Alot of the Labor-leaning booths in Kingston Council would be 50-50 or even blue with a decent Liberal campaign here.

  4. MDM – I agree with your thoughts. I expect a swing to the Coalition of between 4-5% here. Dreyfus will hold however.

  5. Interesting that this seat was lost by the Liberals in 1996. Was it the Swan of that election? Were there any other seats that Labor took?

    Also interesting is that in this seat, the Greens vote is lowest in the north-east, where Labor’s 2PP is highest, and Labor’s 2PP is lowest in the north-west, where the Greens vote is highest. Could this suggest a greater than average proportion of Greens voters preferencing the Liberal party in this seat?

  6. Macca-BNE

    It’s just basically that the east of the seat is outer-suburban working class, so you have high Labor and low Green votes. Whereas the north-west is more affluent/middle-class….so you have higher Liberal but also higher Green.

    Isaacs underwent a significant change at the 1995 redistribution, which turned it into a Labor seat. The Liberals got a swing to them in 1996 but couldn’t overcome the new notional Labor margin.

  7. Maybe someone needs to revisit the assessment for Isaacs after the JWS Research poll in the Herald Sun today.

  8. Well……that JWS poll also showed Labor suffering ZERO swing in Chisholm, which is very hard to believe. So I’d be a bit careful of taking this too literally.

  9. I don’t believe the Libs can win Isaacs, and despite JWS, are more likely to win one of Chisholm, Deakin or possibly Bruce. Whilst there is a slight swing to the Coalition evident in south-east Melbourne, I don’t know if it is large enough to take any sort of swag of seats given the margins held. I’m sure this poll will scare Dreyfus, but I think he has enough of a profile now to win with a reasonable personal support. The fact that the JWS was so inconsistent indicates it can be discounted, except to say, there apprears to be some sort of swing overall to the Coalition.

  10. Mark Dreyfus, if he goes then Victoria would be wide open, I doubt he will lose. Victoria is not as bad as Western Sydney, and probably 3% swing against Labor will be narrow closer to the election.

  11. I live in the North East of the seat and am a former ALP member.
    Many of my neighbours are formerly rusted on ALP but are now considering voting Liberal whilst holding their noses.
    The ALP have totally lost the plot.
    In my opinion they are supposed to be about social justice but they are acting every bit as Hobbesian as the Liberals without the veneer of good manners the Liberals use to mask such behaviour also they can’t overcome their personal animosities to make a decent fist of it.

  12. Can someone tell who the candidates are and their respective party?
    I’d like to talk to each one of them before I vote, I abhor these how to vote cards that tell me nothing.

  13. Labor retain but with an above-average swing against them.

    Liberals benchmark will be turning the bulk of the Kingston booths into 50-50s.

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