Kooyong – Australia 2022

LIB 5.5% vs GRN

Incumbent MP
Josh Frydenberg, since 2010.

Geography
Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Kooyong covers most of the Boroondara council area and a strip of the Whitehorse council area, including the suburbs of Hawthorn, Kew, Camberwell, Canterbury, Mont Albert, Surrey Hills and Balwyn.

Redistribution
Kooyong expanded slightly to the south-east, taking in small areas from Chisholm and Higgins. These changes reduced the Liberal margin from 5.7% to 5.5%.

History

Kooyong is an original federation electorate, and has always been held by conservative parties, by the Free Trade Party for the first eight years and by the Liberal Party and its predecessors since 1909. It was held from 1922 to 1994 by only three men, all of whom led the major conservative force in federal politics.

The seat was first won in 1901 by Free Trader William Knox. He was re-elected in 1903 and 1906 and became a part of the unified Liberal Party in 1909. He won re-election in 1910 but retired later that year after suffering a stroke.

The 1910 by-election was won by Liberal candidate Robert Best. Best had previously served as a colonial minister and a Protectionist Senator from 1901 to the 1910 election, when he lost his seat in the ALP’s majority victory, and had served as a minister in Alfred Deakin’s second and third governments. Best returned to Parliament, but didn’t serve in Joseph Cook’s Liberal government or Billy Hughes’ Nationalist government.

At the 1922 election, Best was challenged by lawyer John Latham, who stood for the breakaway Liberal Union, a conservative party running to personally oppose Billy Hughes’ leadership of the Nationalist Party. Despite winning the most primary votes by a large margin, Best lost to Latham on Labor preferences.

John Latham was elected as one of five MPs for the breakaway Liberal Party (two of whom had previously been Nationalist MPs and retained their seats as Liberals in 1922). The Nationalists lost their majority due to gains for the Liberal Party and Country Party, and were forced to go into coalition, and the Country Party demanded Billy Hughes’ resignation as Prime Minister. With Stanley Bruce taking over as Prime Minister, the five Liberals, including Latham, effectively rejoined the Nationalist Party, and Latham won re-election in 1925 as a Nationalist.

Latham served as Attorney-General in the Bruce government from 1925 to 1929, when the Nationalists lost power, and Bruce himself lost his seat. Latham became Leader of the Opposition, but yielded the leadership to former Labor minister Joseph Lyons when they formed the new United Australia Party out of the Nationalists and Labor rebels. Latham served as the unofficial Deputy Prime Minister in the first term of the Lyons government (when they governed without the need for support from the Country Party), before retiring at the 1934 election. Latham went on to serve as Chief Justice of the High Court from 1935 to 1952.

Kooyong was won in 1934 by Robert Menzies. Menzies had been elected to the Victorian state parliament in 1928 and had served as Deputy Premier in the United Australia Party government from 1932 to 1934. He was immediately appointed Attorney-General in the Lyons government. He served in the Lyons government until 1939, when he resigned from the Cabinet in protest over what he saw as the government’s inaction. This was shortly before the death of Joseph Lyons in April 1939, which was followed by the UAP electing Robert Menzies as leader, making him Prime Minister.

Menzies’ first term was rocky, with the Second World War being declared in September 1939. He managed to retain power with the support of independents at the 1940 election, but after spending months in Europe on war strategy in 1941 he returned home to opposition within the government, and was forced to resign as Prime Minister and UAP leader. He was replaced as leader by Country Party leader Arthur Fadden, who was followed soon after by Labor leader John Curtin.

Menzies worked in opposition to reform the conservative forces, who suffered a massive defeat at the 1943 election. In 1944 and 1945 he put together the new Liberal Party, which took over from the moribund United Australia Party and a number of splinter groups. He led the party to the 1946 election and won power in 1949.

Menzies held power for the next sixteen years, retaining power at elections in 1951, 1954, 1955, 1958, 1961 and 1963, and retiring in January 1966.

The 1966 Kooyong by-election was won by Andrew Peacock, then President of the Victorian Liberal Party. Peacock rose to the ministry in 1969 and served in the ministry until the election of the Whitlam government in 1972. He served as a senior frontbencher during the Whitlam government and became Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Fraser government in 1975. He moved to the Industrial Relations portfolio in 1980, but resigned from Cabinet in 1981 due to supposed meddling in his portfolio by the Prime Minister. He launched a failed challenge to Fraser’s leadership and moved to the backbench, although he returned to Cabinet in late 1982, a few months before Malcolm Fraser lost power.

After the 1983 election, Peacock was elected leader, defeating John Howard, who had served as Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party for the last few months of the Fraser government. Peacock led the party into the 1984 election, reducing the Hawke government’s majority. With rising speculation of a leadership challenge from Howard (still deputy leader) in 1985, he attempted to replace Howard as deputy leader, but the party room re-elected Howard. This caused Peacock to resign as leader and Howard was elected Leader of the Opposition. Howard led the Liberal Party to a bigger defeat in 1987. Howard was challenged by Peacock in 1989, and Peacock led the Liberal Party to the 1990 election. Despite winning a majority of the two-party preferred vote, Peacock didn’t win enough seats, and he resigned as leader immediately after the election.

Peacock remained on the frontbench under the leadership of John Hewson and Alexander Downer, and retired in 1994. Peacock was appointed Ambassador to the United States upon the election of the Howard government in 1996, and served in the role until 1999.

Kooyong was won at the 1994 by-election by Petro Georgiou, the State Director of the Victorian Liberal Party. Georgiou was a former advisor to Malcolm Fraser and a key proponent of multicultural government policies. Georgiou’s main opposition came from Greens candidate Peter Singer, due to the absence of a Labor candidate. Singer managed 28% of the primary vote, which remained a Greens record until the 2009 Higgins by-election, but it wasn’t enough to seriously challenge the Liberal hold on Kooyong.

Georgiou positioned himself strongly as a moderate within the Liberal Party and despite his impeccable credentials in the Liberal Party and as a policy advisor, he never held a frontbench role in the Howard government. He was openly critical of the Howard government’s refugee policies in the final term of the Howard government. He faced a strong preselection challenge in 2006, but managed to win more than two thirds of votes in the preselection. He managed to win re-election in 2007 with practically no swing against him, despite the Liberals suffering large swings across Australia.

In 2010, Georgiou retired, and he was succeeded by fellow Liberal Josh Frydenberg. Frydenberg has been re-elected three times, and in 2018 was elected deputy leader of the Liberal Party. Frydenberg has served in a number of ministerial portfolios, including as Treasurer since 2018.

Candidates

Assessment
Kooyong has been trending to the left over recent elections, but Frydenberg’s margin is still substantial.

It seems like Monique Ryan is the main challenger to Frydenberg, and may be able to peel off those extra voters who wouldn’t vote Labor or Greens, and has a good chance of winning.

2019 result

CandidatePartyVotes%SwingRedist
Josh Frydenberg Liberal 48,92849.4-8.249.2
Julian Burnside Greens 21,03521.2+2.721.1
Jana Stewart Labor 16,66616.8-3.717.5
Oliver YatesIndependent8,8909.0+9.08.5
Steven D’EliaUnited Australia Party1,1851.2+1.21.2
Davina HinkleyAnimal Justice1,1171.1+1.01.2
Bill ChandlerIndependent6690.7+0.70.6
Angelina ZubacIndependent5390.5-2.30.5
Others0.2
Informal3,0333.0+1.0

2019 two-candidate-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%SwingRedist
Josh Frydenberg Liberal 55,15955.7+55.755.5
Julian Burnside Greens 43,87044.3+44.344.5

2019 two-party-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%SwingRedist
Josh Frydenberg Liberal 56,12756.7-6.156.4
Jana Stewart Labor 42,90243.3+6.143.6

Booth breakdown

Booths have been divided into four areas: north-east, south-east, north-west and south-west.

The Liberal Party won a majority of the two-candidate-preferred vote in three out of four areas, polling around 53.1% in the north-west and south-east, and 58.3% in the north-east. The Greens polled 53.8% in the south-west.

The Greens outpolled Labor in three out of four areas, but Labor outpolled the Greens in the north-east.

Voter groupGRN primALP primLIB 2CPTotal votes% of votes
South-East21.618.953.118,88418.1
North-East17.519.358.313,35612.8
North-West23.315.053.112,65912.1
South-West27.817.146.210,62110.2
Pre-poll20.516.857.229,21728.0
Other votes18.817.759.919,49618.7

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

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214 COMMENTS

  1. Kaniel
    Criticism of CHICOM regime is not racist. I fully support the government of Republic of China being treated as the Government of China. Opposition to a totalitarian dictatorship has nothing whatsoever to do with race. I make no comment about the sympathies of the Chinese community in Kooyong. The Liberal party is certainly not sinophobic . Phobia is an irrational fear. All nations and all Chinese communities have a right to be justifiably scared of CCP operatives in Australia.

  2. That’s right, the LNP are not so Sinophobic. If they were, they wouldn’t have sold several of our ports and huge areas of land to the Chinese.

  3. Does anyone think that the “keep a moderate in the Libs” rhetoric and Josh’s personal vote will save him?

  4. It might help Votante. In the end I think Kooyong will be tight.

    Goldstein to be an better margin for the Independent.

  5. I think Monique Ryan’s win with the AEC ruling today will help sway some undecided voters her way tomorrow.

    She’s not even elected and has achieved an outcome that the LNP couldn’t achieve while governing, and she’s already pushing that point too.

    At the very least, it will blunt doubts that voting for an independent will be useless because they can’t achieve anything. Josh is in government, why couldn’t he influence the AEC decision?

  6. Josh Frydenberg has conceded today. One Liberal anonymously suggested today in the Courier Mail Alan Tudge should step aside for Josh Frydenberg. Tudge’s seat of Aston has a significantly reduced margin so it would be a risk to do it.

    Fairly or unfairly Frydenberg lost a previously safe Liberal seat though. Its like Kristina Keneally losing Fowler. Once a pilot crashes a plane they won’t get a second chance.

  7. @ Political Nightwatchman Well to be fair there is virtually no safe Liberal seat left in Victoria that somebody can step aside from for Frydenberg so… La Trobe, Flinders and Wannon are the only 3 that did not swing to Labor as far as I know and even Wannon was at risk of an independent.

  8. There have been suggestions of Josh going to Spring Street. Not a bad idea as both Hawthorn and Box Hill are winnable – Hawthorn would be a better fit. Hypothetical scenario – Alan Tudge pulls the pin, John Pessutto goes to Aston, Josh to Hawthorn.

  9. Hawthorn is the less Liberal part of Kooyong. The voters would also probably find it a slap in the face for him to run again after an unceremonious rejection. If the Liberals want to win Hawthorn Frydenberg is not their man.

  10. It would be awkward if Josh Frydenberg were to go from a federal treasurer to a state backbencher.
    John Pesutto got preselected to run again for the state seat of Hawthorn. The margin is slim and it’s winnable. Josh could do a Campbell Newman, like someone joked about, by becoming an OL outside parliament and then winning government and becoming the Premier.

  11. Adda
    The state seat extends beyond Hawthorn to include Camberwell and Surrey Hills but when it comes to Hawthorn its the area around Swinburne that is the Liberal Party’s weakest area however they do better in other parts of Hawthorn.

  12. Russell Broadbent is 71 years old and has been a bit of a loose cannon lately. Definitely not returning to the front bench. Quite likely to retire.

    Monash ended up surprisingly marginal, but there will likely be a low point in Labor’s term where Liberals feel like they could comfortably parachute him back in there. If they don’t like the media attention they may do so at the general election.

    They could easily set up some story about Frydenberg living a quiet life in South Gippsland before deciding to reenter politics.

  13. The AEC has calculated the TPP here and it results in the Liberals winning with a 4.2% margin. Not particularly surprising that they only got a minor swing against them, and it’s the same case in Goldstein as well (which I’ll post on its page in a moment).

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