ALP 4.7% vs GRN
Jennifer Kanis, since 2012.
Central suburbs of Melbourne. The electorate of Melbourne covers the Melbourne CBD and the inner-city suburbs of East Melbourne, Docklands, Carlton, Parkville, North Melbourne and Kensington. The electorate covers most of the City of Melbourne on the northern side of the Yarra River, and a small part of the City of Yarra.
Melbourne lost Travancore and part of Flemington (the only part of Melbourne in the City of Moonee Valley) to Essendon, and a small area to Brunswick. It is estimated that these changes cut the Labor margin against the Greens from 6.2% to 4.7%.
There was a district with the name “Melbourne” in the original Victorian Legislative Assembly at the 1856 election, before being abolished in 1859. It was recreated in 1889 as a single member district that has existed ever since. The seat has a long history of being held by the ALP, who have held it continously since 1908.
The recreated Melbourne district was won by Geoffrey Carter in 1889, and was won in 1900 by Labor candidate Edward Findley. Findley was expelled in 1901 for seditious libel after publishing an Irish article criticising the King in a radical union newspaper that he edited. He lost the following by-election, but went on to serve in the Senate from 1903 to 1917 and again from 1922 to 1928.
The 1901 by-election was won by Conservative candidate James Boyd, who supported conservative state governments, including serving as a minister from 1907 to 1908, when he stepped down. He was elected as a federal Liberal MP in 1913 and served until his defeat in 1919.
Melbourne was won by Labor candidate Alexander Rogers in 1908. He held the seat until 1924. He was succeeded by Thomas Hayes, who held the seat until 1955. That year, he left the ALP and joined the new ALP (Anti-Communist), the precursor to the Democratic Labor Party, but was defeated at the 1955 election.
The seat was then held by the ALP’s Arthur Clarey from 1955 until 1972. In 1972, Melbourne was won by the ALP’s Barry Jones. He held the seat until 1977, when he resigned to run for the federal electorate of Lalor, which he held until his retirement in 1998. He served as a minister in the Hawke government and went on to serve as National President of the ALP.
The seat was then filled by Keith Remington from 1977 to 1988, and Neil Cole from 1988 to 1999.
In 1999, Melbourne was won by Bronwyn Pike. She served as a minister for the entirety of the Bracks and Brumby governments. The seat of Melbourne was considered very safe in 1999, with Pike winning 63.8% of the two-party vote. In 2002, the Greens first stood in the seat, running Dr Richard di Natale, who polled 24% of the primary vote and reducing Pike’s margin to 1.9%, which remained almost exactly the same in 2006. Di Natale went on to stand for the Senate in 2007 and was elected to the Senate at the 2010 federal election.
The Greens had come close to winning in 2002 and 2006 on the back of preferences from the Liberal Party. In 2010 the Greens stood barrister and human rights advocate Brian Walters. At the 2010 federal election, the Liberal Party continued their track record of preferencing the Greens ahead of the Labor Party in Labor-Greens inner-city marginal seats in Sydney and Melbourne, which saw Adam Bandt elected as the Greens MP for the federal seat of Melbourne.
Bandt’s election, and the ensuing hung parliament which saw the Greens in the balance of power in the Senate and Bandt sharing the balance of power in the House of Representatives, triggered a backlash in the Liberal Party. In the Victorian state election three months later, the Liberal Party reversed their position on preferencing the Greens. In the inner-city Labor-Greens marginal seats of Melbourne, Richmond, Northcote and Brunswick, the Liberal Party preferenced the ALP ahead of the Greens.
In the seat of Melbourne, Pike suffered a swing of almost 9% on primary votes, with 4.5% going to the Greens and 5.9% going to the Liberal Party. This resulted in the ALP on 35.7%, the Greens on 31.9% and the Liberal Party on 28%. Despite the swing away from the ALP and towards the Greens and the Liberal Party, the Liberal preference decision helped Pike increase her two-party margin over the Greens from 1.9% to 6.2%.
Overall, the Liberal-National coalition won a narrow victory over the ALP, with 45 seats to the Coalition and 43 seats to Labor, with no seats going to independents or minor parties. Pike has followed the trend of other senior Labor MPs John Brumby and Rob Hulls in resigning from her seat, triggering a by-election.
The 2012 by-election was won by Labor’s Jennifer Kanis in a very close result. Kanis won the seat by a 1.5% margin after preferences over Greens candidate Cathy Oke. Oke topped the poll on primary votes but Kanis benefited from stronger preference flows and won.
- Neville Chisholm (Australian Christians)
- Kerry Sutherland (Family First)
- Ellen Sandell (Greens)
- Jennifer Kanis (Labor)
- Kate Elliott (Animal Justice)
- Ed Huntingford (Liberal)
- Tehiya Umer (Voice for the West)
Melbourne is a marginal seat, as it has been for rather a long time.
In 2010, the Greens suffered a serious setback when the Liberal Party decided to preference Labor. The Greens primary vote shot up, and the Labor vote dropped, but overall the Labor margin increased substantially with the benefit of Liberal preferences. There is no evidence that the Liberal Party regrets its 2010 decision, or plans to change its plans in 2014.
If the Liberal Party were to preference the Greens, the party would be in a very strong position to win Melbourne. Without those preferences, it’s hard to see the Greens winning.
2012 was an ideal opportunity for the Greens to win in Melbourne, and while they increased their primary vote and narrowed the margin, they were not successful in an environment where the Liberal Party was absent.
2010 election result
|Rory Killen||Sex Party||1,061||2.89||+2.89||2.94|
2010 two-party-preferred result
2012 by-election result
|Fiona Patten||Sex Party||1,832||6.56||+3.67|
|Ashley Fenn||Family First||841||3.01||+3.01|
|Michael Murphy||Democratic Labor||521||1.87||+1.87|
|Maria Bengtsson||Christian Democratic Party||342||1.22||+1.22|
|David James Collyer||Independent||160||0.57||+0.57|
2012 by-election two-party-preferred result
Booths in Melbourne have been divided into three parts: Central, East and South. The CBD is included in “South”.
In 2010, it is most useful to look at the primary votes for the three main parties. The ALP topped the poll in Central, with 38.9%. In East, the Greens came first, with 33.7%. Labor came second in East, and Greens came second in Central.
In the south, which includes the CBD, the Liberal Party topped the poll, followed by the Greens.
In 2012, I have examined the two-candidate-preferred vote between Labor and the Greens. Labor won the two-candidate-preferred vote in Central and the East. The Greens won a larger majority in the South, which only makes up a small part of the electorate’s population. The Sex Party polled third. Their vote was around 6-7% in Central and East, and over 11% in the South.
2010 election breakdown
|Voter group||LIB %||GRN %||ALP %||Total||% of votes|
2012 by-election breakdown
|Voter group||SEX %||GRN 2CP %||ALP 2CP %||Total||% of votes|