Calwell – Australia 2022

ALP 19.6%

Incumbent MP
Maria Vamvakinou, since 2001.

Outer northern suburbs of Melbourne. Calwell covers the eastern half of the Hume council area, including the suburbs of Broadmeadows, Coolaroo, Meadow Heights, Greenvale, Yuroke, Mickleham, Kalkallo and Roxburgh Park.

Calwell lost its south-western corner to Maribyrnong. This area includes Tullamarine, Gladstone Park, Keilor Park and Melbourne Airport. These changes increased the Labor margin from 18.8% to 19.6%.

Calwell was created for the expansion of the House of Representatives in 1984. It has always been a safe Labor seat.

The seat was first won in 1984 by Andrew Theophanous. Theophanous had previously held Burke since 1980. He served as a Parliamentary Secretary in the final term of the Labor government from 1993 to 1996. He came under fire for allegations of migration fraud. He resigned from the ALP in 2000 and served out his term as an independent, losing in 2001. He later served time in prison.

Calwell was won in 2001 by Maria Vamvakinou, and she has held the seat ever since.


Calwell is a very safe Labor seat.

2019 result

Maria Vamvakinou Labor 47,11553.9-4.854.4
Genevieve Hamilton Liberal 21,97825.1-0.524.3
Polly Morgan Greens 5,8936.7-1.36.7
Jerome SmallVictorian Socialists3,9844.6+4.64.8
Prakul ChhabraUnited Australia Party3,0373.5+3.53.5
Keith KerrCitizens Electoral Council2,8513.3+3.33.4
Adam VailConservative National1,7712.0+2.02.0
Peter ByrneSocialist Equality Party8230.9+0.91.0

2019 two-party-preferred result

Maria Vamvakinou Labor 60,16468.8-0.969.6
Genevieve Hamilton Liberal 27,28831.2+0.930.4

Booth breakdown

Polling places in Calwell have been divided into three parts: north, south-east and south-west.

Labor won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all three areas, ranging from 58.8% in the south-west to 79.4% in the south-east.

Voter groupALP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes66.511,40914.9

Election results in Calwell at the 2019 federal election
Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and primary votes for Labor and the Liberal Party.

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  1. @Bob

    Go to Google Maps, turn on satellite imagery, and take a look at Greenvale, particularly the southeast corner. You’ll have your answer.

  2. Greenvale is quite an affluent area, certainly much more affluent than surrounding areas.

    It sits on a ridge surrounded by creek valleys, and is bounded to the south by open space under the airport flightpath. You can buy a house and get uninterrupted views of the city from out there.

  3. Greenvale reminds me of the suburb of Abbotsbury in Fowler or Glen Alpine near Campbelltown, with huge houses with elevated views although it surrounded by lower income suburbs.

  4. If we’re going off purely economic factors, Greenvale’s median weekly household income is $2,030.
    Calwell’s is $1,331.

    Via Google Streetview, the houses are huge, and unusually for outer Melbourne, the streets are filled with mature trees.

    Definitely the political outlier in this neck of the woods.

  5. If we also look at SEIFA Score. Greenvale’s SEIFA Score is 81 percentile which is much higher than that of Greater Melbourne at 57 percentile. Neighbouring Meadow Heights is at only 3 percentile, one of the lowest in the country.

  6. But why would they vote Liberal? Why would high income vote more conservative? To avoid paying higher taxes? Everyone needs to pay their fair share and reducing taxes for upper middle-class/wealthy is wrong. There are still thousands of people on the streets of Melbourne without a home and many struggling to make ends meet.

    Obviously It’s still a !Labor Booth! but only narrowly.

    The reason it still votes Labor is likely because of the over-average population of people who practice Islam, around 12% which reminds me of many western Sydney suburbs. It wouldn’t shock me if this area voting against the plebiscite in 2017/2018 (Can’t remember the year sorry)

    The state figures are 60+ in Greenvale however even in 2014 it was around 60% despite the TPP being slightly closer statewide than the last federal, demographic changes?

    There is a chance the sitting member retires either this time or next time, I believe she sits on the right-faction so when she retires there will be a push for sure for a more progressive ALP member, I see no threat from the Greens considering they can’t challenge the sitting members margin. But perhaps in 20-30+ time if the Green support spreads across Melbourne.

  7. Calwell is a socially conservative seat (it voted ‘No’ for SSM), so I’m not sure a ‘more progressive’ candidate would really be that good a fit.

  8. Calwell did indeed vote against SSM in 2017 however we will never have any idea how Greenvale voted specifically. Given Greenvale is less culturally diverse on the whole than the rest of Calwell, its likely it (as a suburb) voted for it albeit narrowly on my own thoughts.

  9. Maria Vamvakinou is from the Left, a close ally of Kim Carr. You can google these things instead of just guessing.

  10. Greenvale, while 12% Muslim (Much higher than the state Average but lower than surrounding suburbs) is also 47% Catholic (Double the state/national average). It also has a very low percentage of people claiming no religion (11%). It also has a large Italian community about 20%. In 2004, the Liberals narrowly won the Greenvale booths and perhaps if it was moved into a competitive seat with Sunbury in a future redistribution the Greenvale booths may narrowly turn blue.

  11. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about acreages in metropolitan areas that attracts Italian-Australians and Maltese-Australians. I’ve noticed this trend perusing through the census data of many suburbs across both Sydney and Melbourne.

  12. Good Observation Nicholas, we can see the same in suburbs in NSW such as Cecil Park, Horsley Park etc. These areas in turn end being the most Catholic and some of the areas with lowest percentage of people with no religion.

  13. My question is why Arthur Calwell got a seat named after him but other opposition leaders didn’t. What about Evatt,Peacock (although his death was during this parliamentary term) or what about Snedden?

    What reason did Calwell get a seat? Assassination attempt? he fought 3 elections just like Evatt did, or was this because he almost won the 1961 election so they decided to give him a seat?

  14. Daniel,
    I assume that you mean opposition leaders that didn’t become Prime Minister.
    The seat of Charlton (1984-2016) was named after an opposition leader who never became PM.
    Makin, Groom, and Pearce were named after MPs that never became PM or opposition leader.

  15. @Watson Watch

    I suppose also Arthur Calwell was a substantial political figure despite never becoming Prime Minister. He almost became Prime Minister in 1961 winning the two party preferred vote. It was DLP preferences to the Liberals that cost Labor victory with the Menzies government holding the balance of power by one seat.

    He contested three elections so his political career hardly was a footnote in history. I heard on the grapevine that some in figures in the DLP offered to make peace and rejoin the Labor party but Calwell wouldn’t accept the offer.

  16. Also Calwell was Australia’s First Immigration Minister and was responsible for the Post War European migration program which shaped Modern Australia as we know it today.

  17. I suspect the reason why Calwell qualified for a seat is more pedestrian. The 1984 expansion of the House created a bunch of new seats and they would’ve had to dig a bit deeper to come up with names than at other times. Of course more recent opposition leaders won’t get the same honours.

  18. Mickleham in this seat is very interesting, past 2PP results:
    1996: LIB 71.56%
    1998: LIB 66.88%
    2001: LIB 61.65%
    2004: LIB 63.31%
    2007: LIB 51.82%
    2010: LIB 45.37%
    2013: LIB 55.80%
    2016: LIB 40.38%
    2019: LIB 34.33%
    This suburb has swung 37% in 23 years…

  19. acreages → new housing developments

    Wouldn’t surprise me if residents of Mickleham who lived there in 1996 still vote 70% Liberal.

  20. Nicholas is 100% correct. Mickleham is one of the fasted growing suburbs in the country and the same trend can be seen in areas such as nearby Wallan, Mernda etc. This has helped Labor in McEwen. Parts of Hume LGA are protected green wedge so like Nicholas i agree that those residents may still vote the same way. Interesting to look at the Clyde booth (Vic). In 2004 it was the strongest booth for the Libs in Latrobe (now in Holt) and it voted 74% for the Libs it is now 57% ALP. A 31% swing in 15 years. In the coming years i would watch the Rossmore, Bringelly and Orchard Hills booths. There is a planned railway line through the area so i expect the area to move from semi-rural to suburbam

  21. @Bob: When Greenvale was developed it was advertised as the Toorak of the north. While it’s not Toorak, it’s quite affluent. In reality Eaglemont is the Toorak of the north.

  22. Daniel, I saw a lot of vote go to one nation and uap, not the liberal party but I guess that vote ultimately flowed to the liberals.

  23. Daniel, it seemed to be a common pattern in the outer northern and western Melbourne seats, of Labor suffering quite strong primary vote swings against them.

    In some seats, the vote just split all over other candidates so the 2PP margin didn’t change much. But here and in a couple of other seats (Scullin, Gorton), it seemed to coalesce around the right wing minors, which drove a decent 2PP swing.

    It does make you wonder if there had been a stronger Independent in a couple of these seats to serve as the lightning rod for dissatisfaction, whether we’d have seen another Fowler or two….

  24. Seems to fit with a theme this election of people being sick of the status quo and not just voting the same way as they have in the past, barring the nationals seats

  25. Nice to see a large swing against Maria. She doesn’t even live in the bloody electorate – she resides in Northcote! Time for a local representative who actually knows the area and gets us some federal money.

  26. I believe a large swing against the ALP is due to the Muslim vote due to some factors:
    – Quite a lot are dissatisfied with the current state ALP government
    – Significant anti-vax percentage so they went to right-wing minor parties and to some extent the Liberal Party possible due to Victorian State Opposition’s more right-wing stance
    – LNP making inroads into the Muslims probably due to LNP are now less perceived to be islamophobic compared to previously years

  27. Could the reduced anti-muslim sentiment could have possibly contributed also made LNP have an inroad to the Muslim vote

  28. @Marh could be the case. A lot of the Western Sydney seats with large Muslim populations swung to the Libs too. I could also add that the increasing focus on social conservatism by the Libs might be favourable to them. It seems like the anti-Muslim sentiment especially among the right that has been around since 9/11 is being replaced by anti-Chinese sentiment, which could be reflected in the swings in this election.

  29. Lots of people here who couldn’t work from home so hit by lockdowns & maybe strong economy was plus for Libs with lower-skilled workers also, like Trump & Hispanics in 2020?

  30. From what I can gather the fairly big swings against Labor here, as well as in seats like Scullin and Gorton, were a combined factor of anti-vax and anti-lockdown minor party preferences flowing to the Libs, and (possibly?) the Liberals’ attempts at reorganizing themselves around the outer suburban electorates, but I’m not sure how accurate that part is as I’m unfamiliar with what’s regarded as outer Melbourne and am making the assumption purely based on how far they look from the center.

    Another factor seems to be that people are tired of political parties taking their electorates for granted. These seats have been very safe Labor seats for a long time and I imagine people are fed up of low energy members who don’t put any effort in and don’t provide for the communities they are supposed to be serving.


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