Casey – Australia 2022

LIB 4.6%

Incumbent MP
Tony Smith, since 2001.

Eastern fringe of Melbourne. Casey covers the entire Yarra Ranges Shire along with a very small part of the Cardinia council area. Major centres include Lilydale, Montrose, Mooroolbark, Seville, Yarra Junction, Healesville and large areas in the Yarra Ranges with small populations.

Casey expanded slightly on its southern edge, taking in a small area near Emerald from La Trobe.

Casey was created for the 1969 election and has almost always been considered to be a marginal seat. Despite the slim margins, the Liberal Party has managed to hold onto the seat consistently since 1984, after an early period where the ALP managed to hold it during the Whitlam government and the Hawke government’s first term.

Casey was first won in 1969 by Peter Howson. Howson had been Member for Fawkner since 1955, and had served as Minister for Air from 1964 until John Gorton’s first cabinet reshuffle, when he was dropped. He returned to cabinet as Australia’s first Minister for the Environment in William McMahon’s cabinet in 1971, but lost his seat in 1972 to the ALP’s Race Mathews.

Mathews held Casey for both terms of the Whitlam government, losing the seat to Peter Falconer (LIB) in 1975. Mathews went on to hold the Victorian state seat of Oakleigh from 1979 until 1992, and served as a state minister from 1982 to 1988.

Peter Falconer was reelected in 1977 and 1980, but lost Casey to the ALP’s Peter Steedman in 1983. Steedman held the seat for one term, and lost to Liberal Bob Halverson in 1984.

The Liberal Party never lost Casey again, and Halverson went on to serve as Speaker of the House of Representatives in the first term of the Howard government until his retirement in 1998.

Casey was won in 1998 by Dr Michael Wooldridge, the Howard government’s Health Minister. Wooldridge had previously held Chisholm since 1987, moving to Casey in 1998. He held it for one term before retiring from politics in 2001.

The seat was won in 2001 by Tony Smith. Smith has been re-elected six times, and was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives in August 2015.

Sitting Liberal MP Tony Smith is not running for re-election.

Casey has remained in Liberal hands for decades, but has rarely been held by a safe margin. If Labor is doing well in Victoria they could have a chance here, particularly with the retirement of the long-term sitting MP.

2019 result

Tony Smith Liberal 45,16845.2-2.345.2
Bill Brindle Labor 28,55128.6+0.428.6
Jenny Game-Lopata Greens 10,91910.9-1.911.0
Ryan Leslie ClarkDerryn Hinch’s Justice3,3093.3+2.63.3
Travis BarkerAnimal Justice3,1053.1-1.23.1
Wendy StarkeyUnited Australia Party2,6072.6+2.62.6
Peter CharletonIndependent2,3022.3-0.32.3
Ross McpheeDemocratic Labour Party2,2462.2+2.32.2
Antony CalabroRise Up Australia8200.8-1.60.8
Jayden O’ConnorGreat Australian Party8010.8+0.80.8

2019 two-party-preferred result

Tony Smith Liberal 54,55154.6+0.154.6
Bill Brindle Labor 45,27745.4-0.145.4

Booth breakdown

Polling places in Casey have been divided into five areas.

The Liberal Party won a majority in four out of five areas, ranging from 50.7% in the east to 57.1% in the centre. Labor won 62.5% in the south-west.

The Greens came third, with a primary vote ranging from 8.9% in the west to 22% in the south-west.

Voter groupGRN prim %LIB 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes10.258.017,23117.1

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

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  1. With the retirement of Tony Smith & the unpopularity of the Liberal federal government Labor could pick up this seat if they play there cards right.

  2. Looking at the historical trend, it doesn’t seem like Tony Smith had that much of a personal factor one way or the other. Since the outer east firmed up for the Liberals in 1990, Casey seems to follow closely the state trend, always around 6-8% above the Liberal state average no matter who the MP was. So I’m not sure his retirement would affect the prospects of either side dramatically.

  3. Mark, a couple of things to mention. Casey in the 90’s didn’t cover the 90% of the Dandenong ranges in fact the seat is now basically old La trobe. There is change in the demographics of Lilydale, Coldstream & Chirnside Park that are getting a lot of new housing developments rather then being small little towns.

  4. Casey has a distinct north and south. North around Lilydale is more conservative and the south in the Dandenongs votes (in some cases) very heavily 2pp for the ALP. The north part is growing and the south is not so the demographic direction is toward the Libs. It is also worth noting that in 2018 the State Libs held the seats in the north (Evelyn, Croydon, Eildon) but which had all been lost in the 2002 landslide.
    Labor have endorsed the same candidate as 2019 – methinks they might find an excuse to dump him if they get a sniff they might win. It must be said that all the ALP candidates endorsed in the outer Eastern suburbs seem to be less than inspiring.

  5. @redistributed Can you assume that new residents of the Lilydale area will vote the same as established residents?

  6. Nicholas, not sure if you have ever been to Lilydale but from the look of the houses and the vehicles, my guess is that they would vote the same way if not more so.

  7. Nicholas

    Not sure of you have ever been to Lilydale or Yarra Glen. But from the look of the new houses, and the look of the vehicles, my guess is that they would vote the same way as present if not more so.

  8. Okay, I will take your word for it. I only ask because two common assumptions made about new residents are a) they will vote the same as established residents, and b) they will necessarily vote Liberal. Neither are universally true. (See my comment on the Greenway thread.)

  9. There is a high Greens vote in many parts of this electorate, making the government very vulnerable if the election becomes a referendum on climate policy. This seat is the classic danger zone for a Liberal Party that has surrendered to the National Party on environment policy.

  10. Barry
    “This seat is the classic danger zone for a Liberal Party that has surrendered to the National Party on environment policy.” Wow !!. How do you figure that !??

  11. Barry, the only thing i would be say about the Greens vote is that it is very much concentrated in certain parts of the electorate namely the Dandenongs, which is increasingly like the Blue Mountains. The suburban areas around Lilydale/Mooroollbark is quite socially conservative and can be compared to the Sutherland Shire or Hawkesbury LGA. At the 2019 election these two parts of the electorate had a swing in the opposite direction which is essence cancelled each other out. I am thinking this could soon the Macquarie of Victoria with an increasingly polarised seat along social policy rather than class.

  12. Nimalan is quite right and the similarity to Macquarie is a good call. In both seats, the areas that are conservative are growing faster so the Libs are in a slightly better solution. The Green vote in the Dandenongs does tail off toward the east where there is still a lot of horticulture.

    I am not sure if the ‘surrender’ to the National Party will resonate as much here as it may in Deakin, Kooyong, Higgins, Goldstein or Flinders.

  13. Nimalan makes a good point about the similarity between Casey and Macquarie. In both cases the socially conservative and wealthier areas are growing faster than the other so there is a long term benefit to the Libs.
    I don’t think the ‘surrender’ to the National Party will resonate as much here as it would in Deakin, Kooyong, Higgins, Goldstein or Flinders.

  14. I am now confident in saying that this stays Liberal for the reasons I put in Chisholm.

    Slight swing against the coalition though.

  15. Not good, I hope the ALP get serious about winning again because they always let these poor LNP candidates in office.

    If I were the ALP I would stop targeting QLD seats and put them into seats like this.

  16. I agree with Daniel, the candidate that has been selected by the LNP was a poor choice & if the ALP run a good campaign in this seat they could pick it up. I personally don’t understand labor obsession with targeting the same QLD seats despite doing poorly in them.

  17. I believe that Aaron Violi is aligned with right faction thats why I personally think he’s not a good candidate for this particular seat.

  18. Bob, the second placed candidate seemed to be aligned with the Sukkar / Tudge/ Andrews conservative faction. Full report here:

    Michael Sukkar’s recent factional shenanigans may not have helped his man on the day. The Age also reported that Aaron Violi was the most locally embedded candidate. Having looked at Aaron Violi’s linkedin profile, it is refreshing to see an aspiring major party candidate who actually holds down a proper job outside of day to day politics. He did a short stint as a staffer though.

  19. Hawkeye_au I also question why people take your opinions remotely seriously as well. If you are going to criticise me actually explain why you disagree because this just sounds like political philosophy.

    He is a poor candidate because as Bob has said is aligned with the right-faction. This is why Labor should take this seat more seriously than many QLD marginals as QLD is more conservative than Victoria.

    It’s hard to exactly know how many voters are actually aware of how conservative or liberal their candidates are but even if it’s 5-10% of Liberal voters who don’t like how conservative the candidate is could cost them this seat providing Labor can win these voters (Moderate Liberals) But it was clear at the last election Labor lost the moderate vote mainly because of their tax policy and their shifting stance on asylum seekers.

    I don’t know who will win Casey at the next election as their are factors going against both majors. Like for Labor Daniel Andrews having a lukewarm approval but also the Vic Liberals have had their own problems so it’s really hard to judge where this seat will go. But I will say this, whoever wins government is more likely than not to win this seat.

  20. I know I’ve made this point before but a) how many voters actually know/care about ALP factions, and b) how many still believe they’re anything more than patronage lanes and marketing labels?

  21. I believe factions don’t have as much impact for Australia compared to a similar dynamic for US elections. In US, if a Republican candidate is too conservative then they can easily lose a swing district.

    This effect is not as strong for Australian elections because preselections are closed and the public is generally not aware of these contests

  22. That’s true. There’s also Australia’s, and particularly the Labor party’s, tradition of near absolute party discipline that means that none of these politicians are ever going to vote differently from the party line anyway.

  23. And there’s also the fairly noticeable stat of Smith’s primary vote vs Liberal Senate vote.
    HoR vote (LNP overall) 38.58%
    Senate vote (LNP overall) 35.9%
    Therefore the Senate vote is roughly 93.05% of the HoR vote.
    Tony Smith (Casey) 45.25%
    LNP overall (Casey) 38.82%
    In Casey the Senate vote was 85.79% of the HoR vote.
    In summary, Tony Smith has a personal vote of at least 3.75%, meaning this seat will be quite marginal UNLESS Violi can recoup the lion’s share of those votes.
    TBH thought his personal vote would be a lot higher than that but you never know. The SMH/Age were reporting he has a personal vote of 7% but the measure of that is simply misleading, given major party votes in HoR vs. Senate is always higher in the House because there’s less choice.
    For example:
    HEMP received 1.6%, Shooters received 2.4%. One Nation got 2.8%.

  24. This seat is being viewed as in play by labor strategists. Demographic change, a very right wing Liberal candidate and the retirement of Tony Smith will make this a seat to watch on election night.

  25. @John T
    I think this could well be one to watch, but not due to demographic changes. I lived in this seat for 24 years and now live next door in Aston and can confidently say there has been almost no demographic change at all.

  26. Ryan
    I suspect that this large House/Senate differential attained by Tony Smith, is because of his privileges as Speaker.
    The ALP has gone easy on him. The Liberal Party excused him from a candidate’s usual duty of campaigning against the ALP specifically.
    And like Speaker Harry Jenkins Jr., (& any decent & durable speaker), who was afforded the same privileges, voters have gone easy on him;- as evidenced even by Scullin results after a single term as Speaker, in 2010.
    ALP Primary vote Senate Scullin: 53.7
    Jenkins Primary vote: Scullin: 62.1
    ALP Primary vote Senate Victoria: 37.76
    Victorian HoR vote: 42.8.

    In other words, a differential of 8.4 pp in Scullin
    5.04 pp in Victoria.
    Voters may be inclined to notice the Party-room non-attendance of Speakers.

  27. Sportsbet have Labor as slight favourites, paying $1.80 to the Coalition’s $1.90. Should be an interesting watch in the next four months.


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