Gippsland – Australia 2022

NAT 16.7%

Incumbent MP
Darren Chester, since 2008.

Eastern Victoria. The seat of Gippsland covers most of the East Gippsland and Latrobe Valley regions, stretching as far west as Morwell and Traralgon.

No change.

The seat of Gippsland is an original federation electorate. It has always been held by conservative candidates, and has been held by the Country Party and National Party continuously since 1922.

Gippsland was first won in 1901 by Allan McLean, a former Premier of Victoria and opponent of federation. McLean was a member of the Barton-Deakin protectionist party, but was at odds with their alliance with the Labour party. He was re-elected in 1903, but in 1904 he effectively left the Protectionist party to join the Free Trade ministry of George Reid. The ministry lasted for eleven months, and at the 1906 election McLean was defeated by George Wise, a Protectionist candidate.

Wise refused to join the Fusion in 1909 and defeated the Liberal candidate as an independent in 1910. In 1913, however, he lost to Liberal candidate James Bennett. Wise won back the seat, again as an independent, in 1914, and joined the new Nationalist party in 1916. He served briefly as a minister in the Hughes government from 1920 to 1921. Wise lost the seat in 1922 to the Country Party’s Thomas Paterson.

Paterson served as a minister in the Coalition government from 1926 until its defeat in 1929. He served as Deputy Leader of the Country Party from 1929 to 1937, and served as a minister again in the Lyons government from 1934 until the 1937 election. He retired from Parliament at the 1943 election.

The Country Party’s George Bowden won Gippsland in 1943. He held the seat until his retirement in 1961, and despite serving through twelve years of conservative rule, he never reached ministerial rank.

Peter Nixon won Gippsland in 1961. He joined the cabinet in 1967, and served in Coalition governments through to 1972 and again for the entirety of the Fraser government, before retiring at the 1983 election.

In 1983, Gippsland was won by Peter McGauran. McGauran held the seat for the Nationals for the next quarter century. He served as a junior minister in the Howard government from 1996 to 2005, barring a year from 1997 to 1998 when he was forced onto the backbench for his involvement in the ‘travel rorts’ affair. He was promoted to Cabinet in 2005 and was a senior member of the Nationals by the time of the 2007 election. He moved to the backbench in 2007 and retired from Parliament in 2008.

The 2008 Gippsland by-election was won by Nationals candidate Darren Chester, who defeated a challenge from both the Liberal Party and the Labor Party. Chester has been re-elected four times.


  • Greg Hansford (One Nation)
  • Darren Chester (Nationals)
  • Gregory Forster (United Australia)
  • Marjorie Thorpe (Greens)
  • Jim McDonald (Liberal Democrats)
  • Jannette Langley (Labor)
  • Assessment
    Gippsland is a very safe Nationals seat.

    2019 result

    Darren Chester Nationals 52,20254.0-1.8
    Antoinette Holm Labor 22,42623.2+3.0
    David SnellingShooters, Fishers and Farmers6,8727.1+7.1
    Deb Foskey Greens 5,8356.0-1.8
    Kerri Jane BrewerUnited Australia Party4,2574.4+4.4
    Sonia BuckleyIndependent3,0433.1+3.2
    Neville Phillip TicknerConservative National Party2,0432.1+2.1

    2019 two-party-preferred result

    Darren Chester Nationals 64,45666.7-1.5
    Antoinette Holm Labor 32,22233.3+1.5

    Booth breakdown

    Booths have been divided into four areas. Polling places in East Gippsland and Wellington shires have been grouped together. Polling places in the Latrobe Valley have been split between the towns of Traralgon and Morwell.

    The Nationals won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all four areas, ranging from 50.4% in Morwell to 72.1% in Wellington.

    Voter groupSFF prim %NAT 2PP %Total votes% of votes
    East Gippsland5.868.113,35413.8
    Other votes7.964.47,4117.7

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

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    1. National hold, But here is a fun fact, Then opposition leader Brendan Nelson predicted Labor would win this in the 2008 By-election only for the Nats to get a big swing to them!

    2. The decline of the Labor vote in the Latrobe Valley has changed the political complexion a lot since 2008, though.

      Even in the late 2000s, Labor was polling around 65% in Morwell and holding close in Traralgon. In 2019, Morwell was 50-50 and Traralgon was reliably 60%+ for the Nats.

    3. Darren Chester is probably the only National who is sensible. As Keating once said – I went to the graziers and they said that the Nationals were a bunch of hillbillies and hobos. Darren Chester should be a Minister and not a junior one at that

    4. James
      Who have you been speaking to, or listening to ?. The man is known for being outstandingly arrogant, & dismissive. Chester has been spectacularly ineffective as a vet minister, & didn’t do well at his previous gig either. Barnaby despises him, for being useless, disloyal, lazy, & incompetent. Harsh but fair. Barnaby might not be a towering intellect but he is a good judge of cattle, & people. it’s called instinct. More useful than intellect. Chester serves as another variety of illustration that intelligence without humility is worse than useless, it’s destructive.
      Chester was the first beast be “culled”( from the NAT “herd !”). Sooner he moves on to the political “abattoir” the better.

    5. Hopefully in the next redistribution all of La Trobe Vally is put in the same rather then being spit into two electorates.

    6. Bob
      If Morwell and Traralgon were taken out of Gippsland they would need to be replaced. All of both South Gippsland and Bass Coast shires would be the replacement. The poor MP would have to look after an area extending from Westernport to the NSW border. In terms of community of interest, there is a lot more commonality between Traralgon and Sale , rather than Philip Island with Sale .
      Having spent quite a bit of time doing business in that part of the world, I think they rather like having two MPs to lobby.

    7. Redistributed, if Hotham is abolished at the next redistribution then La Trobe may move inwards towards Narre Warren and loose the Rural portion of Cardinia such as Nar Nar Goon, Bunyip etc to Monash in that case it may allow La Trobe valley to be united in Gippsland and allow Monash to have Bass Coast, Baw Baw, South Gippsland and Rural Cardinia.

    8. Nimalam
      On present enrolment, if Victoria was divided into 38 seats, then Gippsland and Monash would maintain the status quo or be close. Regional seats are holding their enrolments so – at this stage – it would seem to be a big shuffle in Melbourne.

    9. All good. I’m moving as quick as I can but I still have about 400 candidates who I need to check for a website before I can do the update.

    10. The Chester has the Greens at #3 above the LibDems and ON. Can’t imagine the local Nats members being too happy about that.

    11. I grew up in this seat. Chester’s actually a pretty centrist type. He doesn’t really like Morrison or Joyce – tbh it wouldn’t have surprised me for him to have left the Nats entirely and run as an independent a la Windsor or Oakeshott (and I reckon he’d win if he did). We voted in Craig Ingram in the 90s to help sink Kennett.

      Also remember Gippsland isn’t a Queensland coal seat – people here actually care about climate change etc.

    12. Expat I though Gippsland does have a few remnants of coal (i.e. Latrobe Valley) although you could argue that area is winding down and not as dominant as Central Queensland/Hunter Valley. Some of the coastal areas (near NSW border) are probably more left/Greens leaning as these areas are more focused on tourism and were hit hard by the 2020 bushfires.

    13. The big difference is that the Latrobe Valley coal is only for the power stations and there is no export market so the issue is not as loaded. It has been winding down for decades since privatisation. Not sure why Chester (and McCormack for that matter) stick around in the Nats. Both seem decent guys dedicated to their constituencies. At state level in NSW and Victoria, the Nats are more pragmatic and less fixated on coal – maybe that keeps them in. The Nats could be another party to have a post election reckoning.

    14. Correct – LV coal is a) pretty much already dead, and b) isn’t making corporate types rich like export coal from Qld.

      It’s worth a few votes for local jobs, but it doesn’t have $ attached from Palmer or Rinehart.

    15. Redistributed, maybe it could be that Darren Chester is like the moderate Liberals who are staying put in the hope of having some influence to try and push/persuade the remaining Coalition caucus to not move too far right. Although with the moderates’ numbers dwindling fast, this will be quite a pointless exercise

    16. Solid swing to Chester here, seems to be driven mostly by big 10% swings around Morwell.

      All of the Morwell and surrounding booths are now 55-60% Coalition, almost unthinkable even a decade or so ago.

      There also didn’t seem to be any ‘bushfire backlash’ around here….Mallacoota and similar areas swung heavily to the Nationals (although maybe being a Nat instead of Lib helped here)

    17. The Decline of the coal industry has played a part is the decline of the Labor vote in the Coal areas of this seat. Interestingly, Darren Chester is pro-climate action even if he represents a major part of the La Trobe valley.

    18. @ Redistributed agreed the Coal in La Trobe valley not being export oriented. This is a big point of difference to the Hunter Valley or Central QLD. Maybe a better comparison to the La Trobe valley would be parts of the Central West around Lithgow where not much is discussed but the Coal industry has been declining and the Labor vote with it. Look how the state seat of Bathurst has changed and also the Federal seat of Calare.


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