Mulgrave by-election, 2023

Cause of by-election
Sitting Labor MP and outgoing premier Daniel Andrews is retiring.

MarginALP 10.8% vs IND

South-eastern Melbourne. Mulgrave includes Mulgrave, Noble Park North, Springvale and Wheelers Hill. Mulgrave covers the south-eastern corner of the City of Monash and northern parts of the City of Greater Dandenong.

Mulgrave previously existed as a Liberal seat from 1958 to 1967, and was re-established in 2002. The original seat was considered a marginal Labor seat, with a 4.4% margin, but it was won in 2002 by the ALP’s Daniel Andrews, who gained an 11.8% swing.

Andrews was re-elected in 2006, and was then promoted to the ministry. He served as Minister for Health in the Brumby government from 2007 to 2010. Andrews was elected to a third term in Mulgrave in 2010, and shortly after the election was elected as Leader of the Opposition.

Andrews led Labor to victory at the 2014 election, and won two more terms in 2018 and 2022. Andrews retired as premier and local member in September 2023.


It’s uncertain how much Labor’s support in this seat will suffer in the absence of a prominent sitting member of two decades’ service, but they would remain strong favourites.

2022 result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Daniel Andrews Labor 19,365 51.0 -8.5
Ian Cook Independent 6,838 18.0 +18.0
Michael Piastrino Liberal 6,528 17.2 -11.0
Robert Lim Greens 1,930 5.1 -1.3
Aidan McLindon Freedom Party 824 2.2 +2.2
Jane Foreman Family First 749 2.0 +2.0
David Mould Animal Justice 419 1.1 +0.9
Maree Wood Democratic Labour 327 0.9 -1.3
Fotini Theodossopoulou Independent 305 0.8 +0.8
Andrew King Independent 173 0.4 +0.4
Joseph Toscano Independent 155 0.4 +0.4
Anne Moody Independent 146 0.4 +0.4
Howard Lee Independent 120 0.3 +0.3
Ezra JD Isma Independent 92 0.2 +0.2
Informal 3,650 8.7

2022 two-candidate-preferred result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Daniel Andrews Labor 23,070 60.8
Ian Cook Independent 14,854 39.2

2022 two-party-preferred result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Daniel Andrews Labor 22,976 60.2 -5.6
Michael Piastrino Liberal 15,191 39.8 +5.6

Booth breakdown

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

Labor won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all three areas, ranging from 54.8% in the north to 71.4% in the south-west.

Independent candidate Ian Cook came second, with a primary vote ranging from 14.7% in the south-west to 22.8% in the north.

Voter group Cook prim ALP 2PP Total votes % of votes
North 22.8 54.8 7,829 20.5
South-East 21.1 60.7 2,900 7.6
South-West 14.7 71.4 2,543 6.6
Pre-poll 17.9 60.3 18,294 47.8
Other votes 13.6 61.7 6,684 17.5

Election results in Mulgrave at the 2022 Victorian state election
Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and primary votes for Labor, independent candidate Ian Cook and the Liberal Party.

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  1. @bob they would be crazy not to run as a swing to them would be damning result for labor. it would also be interested in to see if ian cook runs again

  2. Like others have said, Ian Cook has not enough community connections to be viable. His last name also happened to be a PR disaster and was easily mocked by pro-Dan distractors as “Ian Cooker”.

  3. The Libs have nothing to lose if they run. It’s a good look if they get a swing towards them, if they don’t get one they can just say that it shows how “unpopular” Dan Andrews is

  4. Dan Andrews’s personal vote and first place on the ballot paper helped absorb some of the backlash. Add to that, the anti-Dan vote was split between the Liberals and Ian Cook as well as some minor parties. Herald Sun says Ian Cook will run again at this by-election.

  5. Labor will probably want to run a right-faction candidate as part of a deal from Ben Carrol behind closed doors I predict. I wouldn’t be surprised.

    Just look at historical by-elections in Labor-Premier seats, Broadmeadows and Williamstown, safe Labor holds, although this area is demographically different to the former 2 as this seat is in the eastern part of Melbourne, the other 2 are North and West respectively.

    Ancestrally this was a Liberal area under the Hamer years. but long ago that was and with the state of the Liberal party, I do not expect them to become close as one contributor on here put it ”They won’t unite behind John”

    On the flip side I think this means the QLD premier is unlikely to resign this year as 2 premiers resigning in a small timespan and especially having 3 Labor premiers resigning in 1 year would be overkill.

    On electoral grounds, Labor will hold all their Bendigo, Ballarat and probably Geelong seats including South Barwon. so now the Liberal strategy is to win a ton of eastern suburban seats, some that they haven’t won since the Kennett years (If they can’t win regional seats), And even Ripon will be sandbagged by Labor and I expect Allan will make allot of trips to that seat next time and she will play on her regional credentials.

    This is the sort of seat the Liberals should be targeting to win a majority, IF they cannot win seats outside the entire Melbourne region. Melton, Monbulk and other seats would be a must.

    Either way if Labor come close to losing this, I expect they will change course a bit (like the Bolte-Hamer government did when they were in danger)

  6. @ Daniel T
    Agree much of this area was Liberal voting during the Hamer years. There however, has been massive demographic change since. Even Noble Park/Dandenong was once more Liberal voting. Manufacturing has left the inner city and this area industrialised and become more unionised, also waves of non-european immigration has made this area very ethnically diverse while during the Hamer years ethnic communities often lived close to the inner cities.

  7. @bob they should they have nothing to lose by running a candidate and to be honest this is the perfect oppurtunity for the liberals to show unity and pesutto to unite the liberal party by inviting her to rejoin the party.

  8. Nether portal
    He spoke on sky news during the campaign and received support from the Liberal candidate and the Freedom party. Based on these endorsements, I would say he is socially and economically right-wing.

    If Pesutto invited Deeming back, he should submit his resignation as leader at the same time. After the kicking and screaming he did to get rid of her, inviting her back would telegraph a profound weakness.

  9. As Douglas mentioned Ian Cook spoke frequently on Sky after Dark and was praised in right-wing media circles. However, he kept saying he believes in traditional Labor values but did not a articulate a single one of those values.

  10. It’s rare that both major parties contest the same by-election in Victoria. I think the last time it happened was in 2010 at the Altona by-election.

    Ian Cook was really all hype at an election that was a statewide referendum on Dan Andrews. The Liberals and half the parties ran on an anti-Dan platform. I heard a joke that Dan Andrews was all over both the Liberal and Labor parties campaign material. Now that it has been almost a year, I wonder if people know/remember who Ian Cook is.

  11. Thanks for the clarification. I wasn’t aware of Ian Cook’s ideology.

    That being said, it’s odd that he made the TCP contest in a left-leaning seat like Mulgrave.

    But the Liberals should still run a candidate here even if they can’t win, because a swing to the Liberals could mean something. Remember, Labor didn’t contest Warrandyte so the big swing to the Liberals there wasn’t really that significant given that they were facing the Greens in TCP as opposed to Labor in TPP.

  12. Mulgrave is one of those taken for granted ‘safe’ seats that hasn’t had much love given to basic services, eg buses. It has one of Melbourne’s lowest proportions of routes that run 7 days, including main highway routes like the 800 between Dandenong & Chadstone. Parties, including the Libs, Greens but conspicuously not Labor, supported a 7 day route 800 in 2022. Local demographics in areas like Noble Park North mean strong usage of the buses that do run.

    There has been Mulgrave-centred bus campaigning including letterboxing and bus stop conversations in the last 12 months, with more expected in the by-election campaign. Details of that are here:

  13. @ Peter Parker,
    I agree with you while the current state government has done a lot for the people in the South East such as removing all level crossings on the Pakenham/Cranbourne line, metro tunnel and extension to East Pakenham, A lot of low hanging fruit is being missed including need for duplications on sections of the Lilydale, Belgrave and Upfield lines, second platforms at Upfield & Sandringham stations, small tram extentions to link with railway stations and as you pointed improved bus service frequency.

  14. Victorian Socialists are running a candidate here, unlikely to get >3% but it is representative of their increasing ability and willingness to contest elections.

    I’ve seen it said that there’s a decent demographic of Monash university students in the area but I don’t know how accurate that is.

  15. Victorian Socialists usually do well in Deprived working class areas and the South of the electorate fits that demographic.

  16. Labor received 41.55% of the Legislative Council votes in Mulgrave, compared to 51.20% of the primary vote in the Legislative Assembly, so Andrews appears to have a pretty sizable personal vote

  17. @np

    They do well in areas inner city areas with an industrial past but also in areas such as Broadmeadows which are still working class

  18. The local paper reported the Mayor of Greater Dandenong, Eden Foster, will run for Labor.

    Interesting how Vic Socialists run in and do quite well in working class, economically deprived electorates like Broadmeadows, St Albans and Footscray, rather than typical inner-city Green areas. I had to dig deeper to find out why, since left-of-Labor parties generally don’t do well in the outer suburbs. They are very economically focused, have a strong anti-capitalist rhetoric and position themselves as part of the class struggle. This hits home with many in the working class. They also claim that the Greens are too focused on the inner-city, middle and upper-class, where there are winnable seats.

  19. @ Votante

    Totally agree with you, Vic Socialists do not do well in affluent especially Tealish areas. For example in the State seat of Melbourne there weakest booth was East Melbourne with only 2.8% while second weakest was Parkville at 3.9 while in the seat of Richmond their weakest booth was Richmond South (Cremorne). In the seat of Greenvale they did well around Meadow Heights which had the biggest anti-lockdown backlash. This shows that the economic fault line still matters. I doubt Victorian Socialists will do well in Albert Park, South Yarra, the St Kilda Road area etc if they ever decide to run.

  20. ALP has preselected Dandnog’s Mayor Eden Foster. She is a great candidate and has my full support, She would be hard to beat I would expect a swing to Labor. Question when will the election be held A short campaign is best. What is interesting is the high pre-poll. Will that continue? I think the tally room should publish the district results for the Upperhouse. This would complement the above stats and information.

  21. Footscray is still nowhere near as gentrified as the inner north. Despite its proximity to the CBD, there is a bit of a physical disconnect between the western suburbs and the CBD which is probably why it hasn’t gentrified as quickly.

  22. @Nimalan, I agree that Vic Socialists did well in traditional Labor heartland e.g. Broadmeadows, Thomastown and Greenvale as well as inner-city areas with a unionised, working-class past e.g. Brunswick.

    They could do well in Mulgrave and possibly better than in Warrandyte. This is despite Labor running in the former but not the latter.

    They came third in a number of seats last state election. Methinks they missed their chance of scoring an upper house seat as there was strong anti-lockdown anger as well as an anti-Labor swing. At the same time, they might have the right formula to score a seat in the future as they can tap into multicultural, middle and outer-suburban electorates in a way that no left-of-Labor party could. For years, socialist parties gravitated towards gentrifying, inner-city areas and areas near major universities. Vic Socialists are pretty unique.

  23. Interview with Vic Socialists here:

    I spoke to various candidates before last year’s elections for the transport campaigning I did. Greens presented as having different tendencies across the party. In the south-east they were concerned more about cost of living and services. In the inner areas they were much more into cultural and identity politics. The 2018 election saw a big change in Greens representation that changed the make-up of their party to be more elite, more inner suburban and less representative of Melbourne generally. They are big enough to have their own complex policy processes (like the old parties) and not be particularly agile.

    In 2022 the Vic Greens were poorer than some would expect on public transport (at a statewide level – some local candidates and members were OK), especially compared to 2018 where they had detailed plans. It was difficult to get them to recognise that buses existed nor were the nearest PT to most people. The Liberals in 2022 had specific polices on the bus routes they were promising to improve, arguably giving them an edge (though their promotion of this in most seats wasn’t strong). Try as I did, I couldn’t get that level of specifics out of The Greens, even though there exists considerable expertise amongst advocates and even academics that could have helped. Without specifics Greens limited their ability to give people reasons for voting for them. Apparently one votes Green because of who one is, rather than what they will do for you (or at least that was I think their thinking). Instead 99% of Greens transport energy was spent on opposing a tax for EVs – a relatively elite issue that played well in their inner heartland but less relevant to lower income areas where (say) even getting a basic 7 day bus service out of Labor is a struggle.

    So Greens do have a problem in working class multicultural seats and they’ve been weak in areas (like bus services) where Labor has underperformed. Individual candidates might be more representative of local needs but the dominant forces in their party likely aren’t as supportive as they should be. Vic Socialists might use this to advantage, though people from some ethnic groups or small business backgrounds may not warm to a party with ‘socialist’ in its title.

  24. @ Votante
    Yes i agree i think current working class suburbs and areas that have an industrialized unionized past like Brunswick, Fitzroy etc. I think they are a left-wing alternative to Labor for working class voters. Mulgrave has a lot of it which is demographically similar to Western Melbourne especially the area around Deer Park/St Albans where the Socialists do well while Warrandyte is almost the polar opposite an area with McMansions, Rolling Hills etc if Labor actually ran i doubt they would have got more than 2%. I think there was a good chance to secure a seat in Northern Metro & West Metro. The South East Metro has areas that are demographically strong for Victorian Socialists but that is balanced out by more affluent areas along the Bay, North of the Monash and parts of Casey LGA. The other seat they should target is Lara but this will not translate into an upper house seat . Like Peter Parker said i think the Socialists can campaign on PT for Bus services and some rail upgrades such as much needed duplication of the Upfield Rail line. In terms of ethnic communities i actually think they can do well among refugee communities.

  25. Ethnic voters won’t vote for a socialist party. Look at what communism and borderline-communist socialism have done to countries like China and Vietnam, respectively.

  26. The Victorian Socialists did very well in suburbs such as Deer Park, St Albans, Broadmeadows etc which are among the least Anglo-Celtic parts of the Nation. Lets look at the Upfield booth in the seat of Broadmeadows, the Victorian Socialists got 20.2% of the primary and outpolled the Libs at 18.1% that is despite Labor loosing a whopping 35.6% of the primary. In the Hume Central booth Labor lost 24.0% of the primary but the Libs only only picked up 1.7% and the Victorian Socialists almost outpolled them at the booth in primaries so the some ethnic voters obviously are voting for socialist party. I dont expect the Victorian Socialists to do well among the Chinese community due to the community being higher SES and living in areas where the Socialists dont do well. Most Mainland Chinese Australians came to Australia for Educational & Employment opportunities and did not come as refugees so i dont think their voting patterns have anything to do with what Political system their country of origin has it the same for Indian Australians. With Vietnamese Australians it is different many did in fact come as refugees and came to Australia after the Fall of South Vietnam to the Communists so many do have an Anti-Communist Stance. However, come the next State Election, it would be 50 years since the Vietnam war ended and it is theoretically possible that a third generation Vietnamese Australian whose parents were also born in Australia will be voting for the first time. Today Vietnam, is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, a popular tourist destination including for Australian, many Vietnamese Australians travel freely and frequently between Vietnam & Australia so the trauma of the conflict is much less these days. Interestingly, Vietnam is among the top sources of International Students to Australia and today’s Vietnamese migrants to Australia are more like Indian migrants than a refugee community.

  27. I think another aspect to the Vic Socialists is their campaigning strategy. They distributed their time and energy broadly across North Metro (to use the area I’m familiar with) whereas the Greens, for example, absolutely do not do that. It probably comes down to differing goals, as they were aiming for an upper house seat while the Greens wanted more lower house seats. I can say with absolute certainty that the 2022 VS campaign in Thomastown was far, far larger than the Greens one.

  28. I alluded to above that Vic Socialists came third in ethnically diverse seats last election e.g. Thomastown, Kororoit. We can’t say for sure who exectly voted for them and whether they are rich or poor.

    I would’ve thought that ethnic voters traditionally lean towards the two major parties. This is because of better party outreach and the tendency of them to live in middle and outer-ring suburbs which are not so targeted by minor parties. Though due to the pandemic and growing income inequality, there was a surge in popularity for anti-establishment and populist parties e.g. VS, DLP in Vic and UAP, ONP federally.

  29. It seems that this will be the first state by-election since 2010 that will feature both major parties.

    I predict a big pickup in the Liberal vote. Liberal Democrats are now called Libertarians, and this will lessen the confusion for Liberal voters. Ian Cook had huge media backing, for an independent, and was like the poster boy for the anti-Dan movement in 2022. Now that factor is gone, his vote will take a hit.

  30. The Libs will probably actually try in this by-election so I expect the Ian Cook vote to collapse. He might not even get his deposit back. The Libs would ideally want a candidate of either Chinese and/or Vietnamese background which represents a huge part of this electorate. I’d expect a bit of a swing but I don’t think it would be enough to win, especially with the current boundaries being very strong for Labor.

  31. Yeah i believe some but not all of the anti-lockdown sentiment may have come back to Labor. I would love to see a geographical breadown to see where Labor has gained. SE melbourne did not really have an anti-lockdown sentiment. I expect the Libs to gain votes from Ian Cook, it is possible in the South of the Seat the Victorian Socialists will outpoll Ian Cook in the poorer booths. Ian Cook’s vote was purely tactical and he does not really have a base. The wealthier areas in the North will likely see an IND-LIB swing.

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