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.
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 continously 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.
- Heath Jefferis (Family First)
- Ben Buckley (Liberal Democrats)
- Darren McCubbin (Labor)
- Michael Bond (Greens)
- Darren Chester (Nationals)
This seat is not held by a large margin, but the Gippsland by-election demonstrated the difficulty the ALP will have in shifting voters in this seat. It seems unlikely the Nationals will lose this seat any time soon.
2007 two-candidate-preferred result
2008 by-election result
2008 two-candidate-preferred result
Gippsland covers the entirety of East Gippsland and Wellington council areas, and most of Latrobe council area. Booths in East Gippsland have been divided between those in the Lakes area and those in the rest of the region. Wellington council area has been divided into south and north. The southern part of the council area includes the major town of Sale. Booths in Latrobe have been divided between Traralgon and Morwell, with booths outside of those towns grouped with the closer town.
At the 2007 election, the ALP won a solid 60% majority in the Morwell area, while almost winning 50% in the Traralgon area. In the remainder of the seat, however, the Nationals won over 60% of the vote.
In the 2008 by-election, the Nationals slightly increased their majorities in the eastern and central parts of the seats, winning around 66% in the Lakes, Wellington South and East Gippsland, but winning almost 70% in Wellington North. The Nationals soldified their majority in Traralgon, and the ALP only won a slim majority in Morwell.
2007 election breakdown
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2008 by-election breakdown
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