La Trobe – Australia 2022

LIB 5.4%

Incumbent MP
Jason Wood, since 2013. Previously 2004-2010.

Geography
La Trobe covers the south eastern fringe of Melbourne and parts of the Dandenong Ranges. Major centres include Berwick and Pakenham. It covers most of the Cardinia council area and a north-eastern portion of the City of Casey.

Redistribution
La Trobe shifted to the south-west, gaining Bunyip and Koo Wee Rup from Monash and losing parts of Narre Warren and Narre Warren North to Bruce, and two small areas near Emerald were moved to Casey. These changes increased the Liberal margin from 4.5% to 5.4%.

History
La Trobe was first created after the Second World War when the House of Representatives was expanded at the 1949 election. The seat was first won by Richard Casey, who had previously been an MP and minister before resigning from Parliament in 1940 to serve in a variety of diplomatic roles during the war.

Casey served as a minister for eleven years before resigning in 1960. John Jess won the seat for the Liberal Party in a by-election that year and held the seat until his defeat in 1972, when Whitlam’s national victory swept Tony Lamb into La Trobe. He lost the seat in 1975 and later returned to Parliament serving in the seat of Streeton from 1984 to 1990.

Marshall Baillieu won the seat for the Liberals in 1975 and held it until 1980. That year he was defeated by Peter Milton who held it until 1990 for the ALP. Bob Charles defeated Milton in 1990 and held the seat until 2004, during which he served on the shadow ministry from 1994 to 1996.

Charles retired in 2004 and he was succeeded by Jason Wood. Wood’s 5.8% margin in 2004 was cut to 0.5% in 2007, but he held on in the face of the election of the Rudd government. In 2010, Wood was defeated by Labor candidate Laura Smyth. La Trobe was one of only two seats that the ALP gained off the Coalition in an election where Labor lost ground and lost its parliamentary majority.

Jason Wood won back La Trobe in 2013 and has been re-elected two more times since.

Candidates

  • Jason Wood (Liberal)
  • Hadden Ervin (One Nation)
  • Michael Schilling (Greens)
  • Merryn Mott (United Australia)
  • Abi Kumar (Labor)
  • Rebecca Skinner (Federation)
  • Michael Abelman (Liberal Democrats)
  • Helen Jeges (Animal Justice)
  • Assessment
    La Trobe is a marginal seat and could be vulnerable if Labor does well in Victoria, but it’s worth noting that the current electoral boundaries are substantially more favourable to the Liberal Party than the boundaries which saw Labor win in 2010.

    2019 result

    CandidatePartyVotes%SwingRedist
    Jason Wood Liberal 45,12345.7+1.646.0
    Simon Curtis Labor 34,04034.5+2.433.3
    Amy Gregorovich Greens 7,7527.9-0.47.6
    Esther BakerOne Nation4,7964.9+4.95.7
    Asher Joseph Calwell-BrowneDerryn Hinch’s Justice3,5253.6+0.73.2
    Duncan DeanUnited Australia Party2,5062.5+2.52.8
    Norman BakerRise Up Australia9471.0-1.00.9
    Others0.5
    Informal4,6164.5-1.2

    2019 two-party-preferred result

    CandidatePartyVotes%SwingRedist
    Jason Wood Liberal 53,77654.5+1.355.4
    Simon Curtis Labor 44,91345.5-1.344.6

    Booth breakdown

    Polling places in La Trobe have been divided into three areas: north-east, south-east and south-west. The south-west covers those polling places in the Casey council area. The south-east includes the major centre of Pakenham.

    The Liberal Party won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all three areas, ranging from 52.7% in the south-east to 53.7% in the south-west.

    Voter groupGRN prim %LIB 2PP %Total votes% of votes
    South-East7.752.718,47222.2
    South-West7.753.79,95312.0
    North-East12.053.26,8158.2
    Pre-poll6.257.533,35940.1
    Other votes8.456.514,59617.5

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

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    59 COMMENTS

    1. @ North East/Nicholas, make excellent points. It is true that this is a growth area especially Officer/Clyde North. Beaconsfield and northern Berwick tend a bit more settled and established (these two areas also tend to be more Hillside and thus are destined to always be more affluent. With respect to Pakenham, there are two demographics living there. Pakenham until recently was more of independent country town so the older parts of Pakenham will be more socially mixed and less ethnically diverse than the new housing estates on its fringes. One trend i notice about many growth areas especially in Melbourne and Sydney that it tends to attract a lot of South Asians especially those who came as international students, many of whom are well educated and on high incomes but have low deposits so settled on the urban fringe where there is affordable housing. Nicholas is right Growth areas do have above average income although the caveat is that they contain high levels of workforce participation, fewer retired people, students, unemployed, renters or adult children still living with their parents etc. In terms of why La Trobe had swing to Libs while Greenway etc had a swing to Labor, i am as perplexed as anyone and i dont know the reason. This happened across La Trobe including outside the growth areas in Emerald etc.

    2. This is my electorate and hearing from many people I believe there was a significant swing to right wing “freedom” parties who preferenced against Labor, hence the swing towards Libs. There is also a strong anti Dan Andrews sentiment within this seat too.

    3. Melbourne’s outer southeast (Dandenong and onwards) swung to the Libs. This area has some similarities to Melbournes outer north and south where the lockdowns would’ve negatively impacted people thr most.

    4. I think there are a few factors here.

      One is what Zac says, if you look at the primary votes the Liberals actually got a -0.2% swing but UAP & Liberal Democrats got almost a combined +6% swing. So that 2PP swing to the Liberals came in the form of preferences from the “freedom” parties as opposed to a direct swing to the Liberals. This is also why I think Pakenham is the #1 most likely Liberal gain in the November election.

      Another point I would make is that I wouldn’t necessarily equate “growth areas” to being Labor turf anymore. 10, or even 5 years ago, absolutely. But things have shifted, especially in Melbourne.

      All the areas where the Liberals got a 2PP swing (even if it was only via ‘freedom’ preferences) were in growth areas on all sides of the city – Werribee, Wyndham Vale, Pakenham, Point Cook, Mernda, South Morang, etc. In almost all cases there were big swings against Labor, a relatively static Liberal vote, and a big swing to the “freedom” parties (which flowed to the Libs in the 2PP result).

      So there were really two things happening at once. The Liberal vote held up relatively well and they didn’t cop the big negative swings they got in inner & middle suburbs, which I think is simply due to the Liberal Party taking the more Republican direction of appealing to lower income demographics through “anti-PC” culture war rhetoric; and then the anti-Dan / Covid factor swung votes to the minor populists and subsequently to the Libs via preferences.

      I think the Andrews factor probably made that more pronounced in Melbourne than in Sydney which is why comparable growth/mortgage belt seats in Sydney held up better for Labor; but even without that factor I think in the long term, if the Liberal Party continue their realignment to a different “base”, the idea that established suburbs will lean Liberal and growth areas will lean Labor may start dissipating.

      On a final note, North East touches on another very important point which I have thought about before, which is people sticking to their side of the city. As young couples move out to buy their first homes in growth areas, it’s more likely that those doing so in the north & west grew up in Labor families in the inner-middle north & west; whereas in the outer southeast they are more likely to have move out from the inner-middle southeastern suburbs which are more marginal territory.

    5. Trent, you are correct the Andrews factor did play a role in the swing so many of those votes go to the Libs or the ‘freedom’ party. The reason why the Libs might not have a big swing against them is the fact has to do with Vic Libs more populist and libertarian rhetoric compared to the federal counter parts. I explained in the past thread they are more sympathic to the ‘freedom’ movement and their polices are aimed to cater to them so Matthew Guy may able to get many votes who voted from the ‘freedom’ party in the federal election. This however is not good news if they want to gain back the Eastern Suburbs which is more pro-vax and the federal election was a textbook case of that.

    6. Another factor is the South Asian support for Jason Wood evident from his regular attendance to Indian cultural events on his social media given similar areas in other electorates voted for Labor on TPP

    7. @Trent I think you’re right about what we consider ‘growth’ areas not been Labor turf (although they still win most of these areas but the margin is tightening in places). I think this is to do with these growth areas becoming more settled. This can be said for Scullin, northern parts of Calwell, some southern parts of Mcewen and other areas in Melbourne’s west.

    8. @ North East , agree it is important to distinguish growth areas from established working class areas for example Southern Scullin such as Thomastown are very different from South Morang, Dandenong-Doveton from Officer/Clyde and Laverton from Williams Landing/Point Cook. The older working class areas that i mentioned tend to have high level of disadvantage. Over time many of this growth areas sometimes become more affluent (such Aston which in the 1990s was a growth area) or sometimes degentrify like Roxburgh Park/Hampton Park and resemble established working class suburbs. https://chartingtransport.com/tag/seifa/

    9. Its worth noting that suburbs in this electorate where under lockdown while the rest of the state was not, this area was hit really hard with covid so it would explain why the increase in votes towards One Nation, United Australia, Liberal Democrats & Federation. It’s worth noting that the Liberal primary vote decreased here. Like I have commented in the state election in various electorates I am expecting that anti Dan vote to hurt Labor here like it seems to have federally in these outer suburbian electorates.

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