Cooper – Australia 2022

ALP 14.8% vs GRN

Incumbent MP
Ged Kearney, since 2019. Previously member for Batman 2018-2019.

Geography
Cooper covers parts of the inner north of Melbourne. Cooper covers all of the City of Darebin as well as parts of Yarra and Moreland council areas. Cooper covers the suburbs of Fairfield, Northcote, Thornbury, Preston, Reservoir and Kingsbury.

Redistribution
Cooper lost the suburb of Clifton Hill to Melbourne. This increased the Labor margin from 14.6% to 14.8%.

History
The electorate of Cooper was created in 2019 as a new name for the seat of Batman, which was a long-standing Melbourne electorate, and for most of its history had been held by Labor MPs.

The seat was first won in 1906 by Protectionist candidate Jabez Coon. Coon held the seat for only one term before losing it to Labor candidate Henry Beard in 1910. Beard was a former Labor state MP, and died only months after his election to the House of Representatives.

The ensuing by-election in 1911 was won by the ALP’s Frank Brennan. Brennan held the seat for the next twenty years, serving as Attorney-General in the Scullin government from 1929 until 1931. At the 1931 election Brennan lost his seat and the Scullin government was defeated, with Batman being won by UAP candidate Samuel Dennis.

Dennis only held on for one term, losing to Brennan in 1934. Brennan held the seat for another fifteen years, retiring in 1949.

Batman was won in 1949 by the ALP’s Alan Bird, a former Mayor of Northcote. Bird was re-elected throughout the 1950s, returning to the Northcote mayoralty for one year in 1958. He died in office in 1962.

The 1962 by-election was won by Williamstown mayor Sam Benson. Benson was re-elected in 1963 but in 1966 was expelled from the ALP over his support for the Vietnam War. He managed to win election as an independent in 1966. Benson retired in 1969, and the seat went to Labor candidate and Collingwood mayor Horace Garrick in 1969.

Garrick was re-elected at the 1972, 1974 and 1975 elections, but lost preselection in 1976 to Brian Howe, who won the seat at the 1977 election. Howe became a junior minister upon the election of the Hawke government in 1983, and was promoted to Cabinet following the 1984 election. Howe became Deputy Prime Minister in 1991 after Paul Keating moved to the backbench following a failed challenge to Bob Hawke’s leadership, and Howe held the position until 1995. He retired at the 1996 election.

Howe was succeeded in 1996 by former ACTU president Martin Ferguson. Ferguson went straight into the Labor shadow cabinet and was a shadow minister for the entirety of the Howard government, and joined the Cabinet in 2007 after the election of the Rudd government. Ferguson resigned from the ministry in early 2013, and retired at the 2013 election.

Batman was won in 2013 by Labor candidate David Feeney. Feeney had been a Senator since 2008, but had been demoted to the marginal third position on the Labor ticket. Feeney was elected in Batman, and was re-elected with a smaller margin in 2016.

David Feeney was forced to resign in early 2018 due to his inability to demonstrate that he had renounced his British citizenship before running for federal parliament. The subsequent by-election was won by Labor’s Ged Kearney, who gained a 3.4% swing. Kearney was re-elected to represent the renamed seat of Cooper in 2019.

Candidates

  • Rabin Bangaar (Animal Justice)
  • Kath Larkin (Victorian Socialists)
  • Celeste Liddle (Greens)
  • Adrian Whitehead (Fusion)
  • Jadon Atkinson (Liberal)
  • Adam La Rosa (United Australia)
  • William Turner (One Nation)
  • Ged Kearney (Labor)
  • Assessment
    Cooper was very marginal up until Kearney’s victory in 2018 but it now looks to be much safer for Labor. The Greens may claw back some of the current margin but they’re a long way away from winning.

    2019 result

    CandidatePartyVotes%SwingRedist
    Ged Kearney Labor 45,60146.8+11.746.9
    David Risstrom Greens 20,60521.1-15.520.9
    Andrew Bell Liberal 19,01219.5-0.219.6
    Kath LarkinVictorian Socialists4,1254.2+4.24.2
    Nadine RichingsAnimal Justice2,4762.5+0.92.6
    Sarah RussellReason2,1102.2+2.22.2
    Brett NangleUnited Australia Party1,8921.9+1.92.0
    Teresa Van LieshoutIndependent1,6601.7+1.71.7
    Informal4,9864.9-2.8

    2019 two-candidate-preferred result

    CandidatePartyVotes%SwingRedist
    Ged Kearney Labor 63,01764.6+13.464.8
    David Risstrom Greens 34,46435.4-13.435.2

    2019 two-party-preferred result

    CandidatePartyVotes%SwingRedist
    Ged Kearney Labor 74,40276.3+4.276.2
    Andrew Bell Liberal 23,07923.7-4.223.8

    Booth breakdown

    Booths have been divided into three areas: north, central and south. The southern area is centred on Northcote. The central area is centred on Preston and Thornbury. The northern area is centred on Reservoir.

    Labor won a majority of the two-candidate-preferred vote (against the Greens) in all three areas ranging from 59.2% in the south to 72.3% in the north.

    Voter groupLIB prim %ALP 2CP %Total votes% of votes
    Central16.464.519,43720.7
    North23.372.316,16817.2
    South13.259.212,92513.7
    Pre-poll20.764.430,38432.3
    Other votes22.963.015,13416.1

    Election results in Cooper at the 2019 federal election
    Toggle between two-candidate-preferred votes (Labor vs Greens), two-party-preferred votes and primary votes for Labor, the Greens and the Liberal Party.

    Become a Patron!

    38 COMMENTS

    1. “Cooper covers all of the City of Darebin as well as parts of Yarra and Whittlesea.”

      I think you mean Moreland instead of Whittlesea.

    2. Still more likely to go Green than Wills despite the margin, 2 elections ago this was closer and the Greens candidate back in the by-election imploded and after the humiliating loss the Greens have lost momentum here. But Kearney is not safe and she could definitely lose if the polls are right and the Greens achieve their best result ever.

    3. I agree with Daniel, I wouldn’t write the Green off here as there is still a real chance of this being picked up.

    4. I don`t think Cooper is likely to fall to the Greens this time. There seems to be a school of though that Kearney is sufficiently progressive for Cooper (more so than her predecessor, Feeney, from the right faction) and running disenchantment with non-progressiveness of the party overall is less likely to work in opposition, although the recent tax policy changes do provide some cause for voters to switch from ALP to the Greens. In Wills, Kahlil does not (I believe) have the same degree progressive support as Kearney, for reasons including he is from the right faction.

    5. Nope. Ged Kearney retains this easy. Anyone who thinks the Greens are a chance here are kidding themselves.

      As mentioned David Feeney wasn’t liked by the electorate. But it also took the Greens canidate Alex Bhathal a couple elections to get it up to strinking distance. It all evaporated last election with Kearney securing almost 47% on the primary vote. I don’t even think the Greens could achieve a win here even if the Liberals prefernced the Greens.

      Nothing to see here folks.

    6. Kearney’s certainly a much better fit for the electorate than Feeney, but I expect the Greens will start improving again after a term of Labor government, depending on how Labor handles climate and refugee issues in that term.

    7. Given their policies across the board (the ACT being the exception) the Labor party would struggle to form in coalition with the Greens given their shift to the right. The Greens would only govern with them knowing that the ALP are slightly less sexist, racist, homophobic and climate-change denying, and pay slightly more care to Indigenous people and welfare recipients.

    8. A term of majority ALP government, particularly if it is the upcoming term and/or under Albanese, would likely drive up the Green vote in Cooper and other ALP versus Greens marginals. That is no to say the Greens would be sure of winning Cooper, it probably would be a marginal seat though.

    9. Gearney isn’t safe even though she’s to the left of the party because people rarely look at where their MP is factionally aligned. If people want to vote for the Greens they will vote for the Greens and if they want Albo as PM then they will vote for Gearney. Plain and simple.

    10. I don’t put a lot of stock in voters knowing or caring much about party factions except in very high profile cases, and regardless, Kearney voted to maintain permanent offshore detention along with the rest of the ALP, despite all the words she mouthed on behalf of the Murugappans. But frankly I wouldn’t be too worried if I were her, unless the Libs decide to preference Greens on their HTVs. I’m more skeptical that that’s going to happen than I was before. Morrison needs the minor right-wing parties on side this election, like he did last time. He can afford to annoy them with signature requirements but I’m not sure he can afford to blatantly jeopardise Clive Palmer’s business interests by letting Greens into Parliament.

    11. @Ryan Spencer

      Your comment that Labor is “slightly less sexist, racist, homophobic and climate-change denying”.

      Is so wrong on so many accounts. Its actually a typical comment from a inner city latte sipping Greens supporter who is so disconnected from mainstream Australia.

      Labor passed marriage equality legislation. Labor affirmative action ensures a significant presence of women in its ranks.

      Does Labor take conservative postion on immigration? Yeah I will concede that but if the party took the Greens stance they would never win an election. As elections are decided in the outer surburbs and inner regions. The problem is Greens supporters cling on to this one issue and suggest Labors whole platform is to the right.

      Greens also try to forget that they teamed up with Liberals. To block Kevin Rudds CPRS legislation which proves their more interested in playing politics with the environment then doing anything about it.

      I won’t comment any further. Because we are to discuss this seat. But I will add the suggestion the Greens are a chance here is either from over enthusiastic Green supporters or Labor detractors trying to paint the worst outcome.

    12. Political Nightwatchman
      You fool.
      The Greens have 50% quotas on candidates which we actually achieve. We were trying to get marriage equality far earlier than Labor. Heck, it wasn’t even until 2014/15 (Shorten) when you had a leader that supported it. We opposed the CPRS because it was significantly flawed policy, and then, we worked with the Gillard Government to create the ETS, which was significantly more beneficial towards the environment. Labor’s whole platform is significantly moving to the right, such as no longer wanting dental care on Medicare, supporting new coal projects, fracking the Beetaloo Basin and supporting the tax cuts for wealthy people (not an ALP demographic last time I checked). We have a significant presence of women in our ranks (60% of all elected federal members, more than the ALP) and I’m not f***ing disconnected from mainstream Australia, because if I was disconnected from anything mainstream I’d be supporting Labor.

      In conclusion, your comment is completely debunked and seats like Cooper will become more marginal, mainly because Kearney can’t keep up the facade if she voted the same way as anyone else. If she abstained on the Beetaloo Basin issue, then she clearly doesn’t have the balls to express the views of her extremely left-wing constituents, who likely vehemently oppose fracking.

      As for lattes, I don’t drink them and its just a pejorative term for a young left-wing person because you lot over there are very clearly scared of us as a political force.

    13. I would agree with Daniel and Ryan that the Greens will increasingly dominate all inner suburban districts across the country, especially in the two largest cities (Sydney and Melbourne). Young people are concerned about their future and that is why it appears they support issues that are often at odds with those in older generations (boomers mainly) who are more worried about ‘here and now’ issues such as cost of living.

      In addition, those in rural parts of the country may also be fearful of change, particularly those who rely on mining and forestry for living. Like the old saying ‘you cant teach an old dog new tricks’, these people are worried how their lives will be impacted if forced to move away from what they have always known.

    14. Melbourne yes, Sydney I don’t think so. The Greens do okay in multi-candidate council wards, but the margins for rusted-on Liberal voters in the North and East, and Labor and Liberal in the West, are too calcified for them to be a real force outside the Inner West and Sydney proper- at least not in the near future.

    15. Probably agree with Sydney assessment, the north shore area is still strongly Liberal leaning. However, it is slowly trending leftward/progressive as shown by recent state and Federal election results with Greens or left leaning independents having gained increased support. Even inner suburban Brisbane is also trending to the Greens – ten years ago Labor was still strong in inner Brisbane districts.

    16. I’d go further. I’d say Brisbane is still, along with Melbourne, their best bet for a major breakthrough at the next federal election. Canberra also looks promising for 2025 and Hobart looks destined to turn Green the second that Wilkie steps down.

    17. Furtive, disagree on Clark (Hobart). The Greens at state level have been stuck in a 20 – 25% range for decades – they seem to have hit a natural ceiling of support. The only way out would be for Clark to move south into more Greens friendly territory and out of the Labor northern suburbs. Most likely to go back to Labor should Wilkie retire.

    18. Tasmania uses the same federal districts for state elections, only difference is that state ones elect 5 members instead of one. Essentially the state and federal districts are coterminous.

    19. Celeste Liddle is the right candidate for the Greens to win the seat, and they should be able to campaign strongly enough on their core issues to win back some of the vote they lost in 2019, especially with Albo as leader. Lidia Thorpe leading the Greens senate ticket should help too.

      However it will come down to Liberal preferences. Liberals preferencing Greens over Labor is starting to happen again (e.g. QLD and WA state elections), but I don’t see it happening federally. Greens would have won in 2016 and even 2013 with the Liberal preferences Adam Bandt got in 2010.

      Greens will have a hard time winning seats where the goal is for Libs come 3rd on primaries (Cooper, Wills, Fraser, Canberra, Grayndler) until they get Lib preferences or after a term of a mediocre Labor government, and preferably both.

      As far as future prospects go, if they do well in 2019 they might be able to grab “regional” Richmond and “suburban” Ryan, and they’ll have a full cohort of 12 senators (maybe even 13 if ACT goes well). That should be a good basis for future campaigning in any kind of seat – though it’s hard to imagine them actually winning even a handful of seats.

    20. With ALP dumping a lot of its progressive policies this will hurt them here, I don’t think the ALP will lose here in the short term but in the long term this electorate could fall as the margin is rubbery.

    21. I live in this seat and have helped out a bit with the Greens, so here’s my assessment.

      2019 is probably the lowest the Greens vote can go in Cooper at this point. That campaign was… well, barely a campaign. There was a lack of volunteers and a lack of energy in those who did volunteer. That combined pretty strongly with the candidate not being particularly suitable for the seat, especially considering his opponent. It really wasn’t a contest, and that was something voters recognised.

      2022 is a pretty different beast. Celeste is a far, far more suitable candidate for the seat and a far more suitable opponent to Ged. The campaign seems much more organised than last time and has many more people actively involved. There will be a rebound in the Greens vote, I’m certain. I’d expect something between 40%-45% on a 2CP basis. The south (that is, south of Bell Street) will probably return to being a Greens majority (perhaps not every booth though). The north will surely almost entirely have Labor majority booths, however I do think it’s plausible for the Greens to barely win certain areas. Particularly in the southwest of the north.

      In general, I think the trend of the seat ‘smoothing out’ will continue, both as a result of demographic changes and enhanced Greens efforts in the northern part of the electorate. By ‘smoothing out’ I mean I think there will be less of a stark divide between the seat as it is north of Bell and south of Bell.

    22. Matthew, since you’re familiar with the Greens in the area, do you know what led to the departure of Alex Bhathal, the last Greens candidate for Batman? I wondered why she went from almost taking the seat t, as I understand it, no longer being associated with the party.

    23. as a Greens member, (and while we don’t have many in WA) my gosh the right-wing of our party sucks. Likely associated with the transphobia coming from Crs. Zyngier, Leppert and Fergeus too. As a member, I dared criticise these three elected representatives and Fergeus blocked me. Leppert is now calling for the Victorian conversion therapy act to remove trans people, which is shocking and disgusting to me.
      While Celeste Liddle is an amazing candidate, Bhathal was likely the best chance we (as a party) had to win the seat.

    24. I wouldn’t paint every state branch with the same brush, but that faction in Vic Greens, especially the ones that seem to monopolise council seats are complete trash. Absolute wreckers. Fortunately most of the federal candidates in Victoria this year are actually pretty good.

    25. FL

      That’s what I’ve noticed too. It’s just a shame that back in 2018 they couldn’t contain their rage that Alex Bhathal was about to win Batman so they backstabbed her.

    26. Ryan, Why has your party consistently failed to win more than 1 lower house seat? In my opinion this seat should be in the bag for the Greens and so should some other surrounding seats. Maybe even Griffith in QLD. The Greens love to boast about their presence in the senate but big deal? The system allows for minor parties to get 1/3 of the senate so that’s normal. Under an ATV voting system like we have, You would expect at least 2 LOWER HOUSE green MP’s.

      Look at Canada they have FPTP and yet they have 2-3 MP’s Sure they have 338 MP’s and we only have 151. But allot of places like Vancouver where Greens do well, there are many suburbs here in Australia that are demographically similar and should be able to elect more Green MP’s. I’m no fan of the Greens but I think they should have 3-4 MP’s based on their primary vote.

      In my opinion Bandt has got to go as leader if they fail to win more than 1 seat (His own) even if they hold the balance of power in the expected upcoming Labor administration. It’s 2022 and we still only have 1 MP?

      In your opinion Ryan, how should the greens change so that they can win more lower house seats? because there is always a hype every election but they only end up with only retaining Melbourne with no gains coming to fruition.

      I agree though if the Greens make a gain it will be here because you only need to look at the state figures.

    27. @Daniel I honestly think it’s because that’s just the way the lower house system works at the moment, needing 50% +1 after preferences to win.

      Until recently, most seats where the Greens were competitive were really ALP v Greens contests with the Liberals in third place, meaning their preferences played a huge part in determining the winner. Very few of those Liberal voters would direct preferences to the Greens over Labor, unless instructed to do so (Lib voters historically follow HTV cards the closest).

      It’s telling that when they did win Melbourne in 2010, the Liberals actually did direct preferences to the Greens. That is what got them over the line, and so far Greens incumbents have an excellent track record at holding their seats so that foot in the door has enabled them to establish themselves.

      Now, I think where the Greens have the best hope to pick up a seat in the future is the Prahran model, leapfrogging Labor so it becomes a Greens v Liberal 2CP and Labor preferences will overwhelmingly flow to them.

      Only 477 votes would have had to change from Labor to Greens for them to win Macnamara in 2016, so they got VERY close, but other than that there haven’t been many other opportunities for that federally.

      The collapse of the Liberal vote across Melbourne though has made that genuinely possible now in seats like Higgins, where they only need a 2-3% swung versus Labor to get back in the 2CP then a 3-4% swing against a deeply unpopular Liberal Party, in a seat with strong teal tendencies.

      That’s a lot more realistic than peeling 5-10% off the Labor vote in an election where Labor are expected to do very well, and most anti-Liberal swing will benefit Labor.

      I don’t think it’s a reflection of poor performance by any of the Greens leaders including Bandt.

      The reality is that the Greens will do best when:
      a) Labor are in government;
      b) The Libs direct preferences to them in ALP v GRN contests.

      2010 was the last time those conditions were met, so it’s not surprising they haven’t gained a second seat yet.

      Higgins presents a rare opportunity for them this year, although it would only last one term.

      But if Labor win this year’s election, then I’d say Macnamara, Cooper and Wills are all in play for 2025; Macnamara being the best chance because it won’t rely on Lib preferences and would likely be a re-run of 2016. Cooper and Wills could favour whoever the Libs direct preferences to.

    28. Although 2019 is probably a high water mark for Labor in this seat, as someone who lives here I can’t see any serious trouble for Labor. Expect a swing to the Greens but not nearly enough to put this seat in play.

    29. Liberal preferences will favour Labor this election as expected. While Liberals are clearly de-emphasising Atkinson, he hasn’t been disendorsed and Liberals will likely staff every booth and hand out HTVs.

      I suspect Liddle will make a big recovery for Greens, especially south of Bell St (they’ll start winning booths again), but it will be very tough to win. One for next time after a term of Labor government.

    30. Celeste Liddle is a seriously good candidate. The margin may be a little too big for it to flip in one cycle but if anyone can do it she is the person for the job. 2022 could lay the foundations for a huge battle for this seat in 2025.

    31. @John

      I think that is highly unlikely. The Liberal Party is a ‘shell’ organisation in terms of membership. At best it has 12,000 members in Victoria. Many of those would not be active. From my experience the Party struggles to fill its booths in marginal and safe seats.

    32. Something of a correction after the terrible Greens performance last time, at least making the seat somewhat competitive again.

      Greens have won back a few booths south of Bell Street, but it’s interesting to note some big swings further north: part of Preston and especially southern Reservoir seeing double digit swings to the Greens (or close to).

      The Greens are now seriously eating into the remaining ‘Labor’ parts of the seat….it’s really only northern Reservoir that is holding out strongly for Labor now.

    33. Definitely a good job by Liddle to bring the margin back a bit.

      Hard to see Cooper flipping any time soon though – at least, unless the Liberals say “screw it” and start preferencing Greens again.

    34. I’d say I was pretty well on the money with my assessment, including with the Greens winning in some (admittedly small) booths around the Coburg North area of the seat. And it does appear to be smoothing, at least in the context of the north-south divide.

      The campaign was well run, but it was also quite small compared to past ones from what I can tell. (Though obviously much bigger than 2019). If the 2025 campaign is as large as say 2016 or even the by-election, I reckon that combined with a potential increase in Greens support after a Labor term could see them win this seat. And maybe Wills too.

    35. Interestingly enough the libs improved against Labor in the TPP. Not what i expected in this area of Melbourne.

    LEAVE A REPLY

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here