Flinders – Australia 2022

LIB 5.6%

Incumbent MP
Greg Hunt, since 2001.

Geography
Flinders covers most of the Mornington Peninsula, including Sorrento, Rosebud, Dromana, Hastings, Somerville and Mornington.

Redistribution
No change.

History

Flinders is an original federation electorate, and has a long history of having been held by conservative parties, with Labor only winning the seat three times, and no Labor MP managing to win re-election in Flinders.

The seat was first won in 1901 by Free Trader Arthur Groom, a former member of the Victorian colonial Parliament. Groom was not an active member of the first Parliament, and retired in 1903.

Flinders was won in 1903 by another Free Trade candidate, James Gibb, who had served in the Victorian Legislative Assembly in the 1880s. He held the seat for one term. Gibb left Flinders in 1906 in an attempt to defeat William Lyne in the NSW seat of Hume. Lyne was a former Premier of NSW and a prominent Protectionist minister, and easily saw off Gibb.

Flinders was won in 1906 by former Victorian Premier William Irvine. Irvine joined the merged Liberal Party in 1909. He served as a senior minister in Joseph Cook’s government from 1913 to 1914. He left Parliament to serve as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria in 1918.

The 1918 Flinders by-election was won by Nationalist candidate Stanley Bruce. Bruce was appointed Treasurer in 1921. After the 1922 election the Nationalists had to rely on Country Party support to remain in government, and as a price for their support the Country Party demanded the replacement of Billy Hughes as Prime Minister, which saw Bruce appointed Prime Minister.

Bruce won re-election at the 1925 and 1928 elections, but his government came undone in 1929 when Billy Hughes led a group of Nationalist rebels across the floor in opposition to industrial relations legislation, and Bruce lost his majority.

Bruce’s Nationalists not only lost the federal election, but Bruce himself was defeated in Flinders by the ALP’s Jack Holloway. Holloway was secretary of the Melbourne Trades Hall Council, who had stood against Bruce in protest at the government’s arbitration policies.

Holloway was a leading left-winger in the Labor caucus during the Scullin government, and moved to the safer seat of Melbourne Ports in 1931. Holloway had served as an assistant minister for much of the Scullin government, and he went on to serve as a minister in the Curtin and Chifley governments, retiring in 1951.

Bruce won back Flinders in 1931 for the newly-formed United Australia Party. Bruce was appointed as a minister without portfolio in the Lyons government, and soon went to London to represent the Government. He resigned from Parliament in 1933 to serve as High Commissioner to London from the Australian government. Bruce served in the role until 1945, playing a key role in Australia’s participation in the Second World War. Bruce went on to serve in the House of Lords.

The 1933 Flinders by-election was won by James Fairbairn, who had served briefly as a UAP state MP before moving to federal Parliament. Fairbairn regularly flew aircraft and was appointed as Minister for Civil Aviation in the Menzies government in 1939. He served as the first Minister for the Air, with responsibility for the Royal Australian Air Force, and served as a key minister in the war effort until his death.

Fairbairn died in a plane crash in 1940. He was flying from Melbourne to Canberra along with four crew and five other passengers, including two other ministers and the Chief of the Defence Staff, and the plane crashed on approach to the airport in Canberra.

Fairbairn died only one month before the 1940 federal election, so no by-election was held. Flinders was won at the ensuing election by Rupert Ryan of the UAP. Ryan held the seat for the UAP and the successor Liberal Party until his death in 1952.

The 1952 Flinders by-election was won in a surprise result by the ALP’s Keith Ewert. He lost the seat at the 1954 federal election to Liberal candidate Robert Lindsay.

Lindsay held the seat until 1966, serving on the backbenches for twelve years.

In 1966, Flinders was won by Liberal candidate Phillip Lynch. Lynch quickly rose to ministerial rank, serving as a minister from 1968 until the defeat of the McMahon government in 1972.

Lynch became Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party under Billy Snedden after the 1972 election. He continued to serve in that role under Malcolm Fraser’s leadership.

Lynch served as Treasurer from 1975 to 1977, when he was forced to resign from the ministry due to allegations of tax minimisation. He was only out of office for a month before returning to Cabinet. Lynch retired from Parliament in 1982.

The 1982 Flinders by-election was won by the Liberal Party’s Peter Reith. The by-election took place in December 1982, but he never took his seat, as Fraser called a double dissolution in March 1983.

Reith had won Flinders at the 1982 by-election with a small margin, and lost the seat to the ALP’s Bob Chynoweth in 1983. He won the seat back in 1984. Chynoweth moved to the new seat of Dunkley, holding it until 1990, and again from 1993 to 1996.

Reith joined the Liberal frontbench in 1987, and served as Deputy Leader and Shadow Treasurer from 1990 to 1993. He served as Minister for Workplace Relations in the Howard government from 1996 to 2000, and then as Minister for Defence from 2000 until his retirement in 2001.

Flinders was won in 2001 by Greg Hunt, a former advisor to Alexander Downer in the 1990s. Hunt has been re-elected in Flinders six times, and has served as a cabinet minister since 2013.

Candidates
Sitting Liberal MP Greg Hunt is not running for re-election.

  • Alex Van Der End (United Australia)
  • Cyndi Marr (One Nation)
  • Chrysten Abraham (Liberal Democrats)
  • Zoe McKenzie (Liberal)
  • Jefferson Earl (Federation)
  • Colin Lane (Greens)
  • Sarah Russell (Independent)
  • Surbhi Snowball (Labor)
  • Despi O’Connor (Independent)
  • Pamela Engelander (Animal Justice)
  • Assessment
    Flinders is technically a marginal seat and could come into play if Labor does very well in Victoria. It is one of a string of outer suburban Liberal seats that have moved into a more critical position on the pendulum, and Hunt’s retirement won’t help his party.

    2019 result

    CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
    Greg Hunt Liberal 45,29346.7-3.8
    Josh Sinclair Labor 23,98224.7-2.8
    Julia BanksIndependent13,36713.8+13.8
    Nathan Lesslie Greens 6,5996.8-4.2
    Christine McshaneUnited Australia Party2,4472.5+2.5
    James PerssonAnimal Justice2,3042.4-1.5
    Reade SmithSustainable Australia1,0721.1+1.1
    Susie BeveridgeIndependent9481.0+1.0
    Harry DregerIndependent9401.0+1.0
    Informal6,1245.9+1.9

    2019 two-party-preferred result

    CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
    Greg Hunt Liberal 53,94355.6-1.4
    Josh Sinclair Labor 43,00944.4+1.4

    Booth breakdown

    Polling places in Flinders have been divided into four parts: east, north, south and west.

    The Liberal Party won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in three out of four areas, ranging from 50.3% in the west to 52.4% in the north. Labor won 54% in the south.

    Independent candidate Julia Banks came third, with a primary vote ranging from 15.3% in the east to 26.6% in the south.

    Voter groupIND prim %LIB 2PP %Total votes% of votes
    West16.750.311,26811.6
    North16.952.410,29210.6
    East15.352.28,8469.1
    South26.646.04,4844.6
    Pre-poll15.357.948,48450.0
    Other votes12.359.813,57814.0

    Election results in Flinders at the 2019 federal election
    Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and primary votes for the Liberal Party and Labor and independent candidate Julia Banks.

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    49 COMMENTS

    1. I was confident initially that hunt would hold, however with an older population & his failure to act of getting the Covid vaccines this could case him some serious trouble.

    2. much higher vote 64% who voted other than on the day……. dont think there is a change in the Liberal vote in their favour due to changing demographics…….. but since 1984 when Dunkley was created….. this area has been more liberal than the 1983 flinders….. never the less at the state election with landslides some of the seats in this area have been alp held

    3. Definitely some long term trends against the Liberals here. You have both the more environmentally & socially conscious (wealthy) costal & rural towns that have been trending against the Coalition (places like Somers, Balnarring) which have seen long term decline in the Liberal 2PP. This trend is also seen on the Bass Coast side & the Surf Coast side. But the problem for Labor is that they haven’t always been the beneficiaries of this – with large chunks of that Liberal decline going to the Greens or Independents (Banks did well in these areas in 19’).

      And the other factor in Flinders is the growing population of the larger towns which have become more suburban and are now much more closer (Places like Somerville, Rosebud, Mornington). Although the swings are smaller than the costal towns more of the gains have gone to Labor.

      The only two towns that have trended against Labor on a 2PP basis since 2001 are the more “working class” areas – Hasting & Crib Point – but only then it’s by a point or two.

      Nevertheless I expect Hunt to hold on – he is a well known and usually quite visible local member – probably with a swing against him of a similar nature to 2019 (2-3%). Labor would need to dent Hunt’s large advantage with pre-polls (2PP Hunt 57.9%) and postal/others (2PP Hunt 59.8%) to have a good chance.

    4. Voices of the Mornington Peninsula are very active locally in their campaign to take out Greg Hunt. It sounds like they have a very good candidate lined up, which would make Hunt worried. Expect the Liberals to hold this seat given the big margin they are starting with, but Scott Morrison has done his best to alienate Victorians so you never know if a big state-wide swing is on.

    5. It is not outside the realms of possibility that Greg Hunt might pull the pin and retire should the Coalitions prospects not be looking good in the New Year – and he doesn’t fancy another spell in opposition. And after the last two years, the man must be exhausted.
      On the other hand, he might stick around if he has ambitions for the leadership post a Scomo defeat. And beyond Josh Frydenburg, there would not be a viable alternative – this being on the assumption that Peter Dutton would be electorally unpalatable in any jurisdiction south of the Kedron Brook.

    6. Rumours firming up that Greg Hunt is retiring, with the frontrunner to replace him being long-term political staffer Zoe McKenzie. Apparently McKenzie has recently moved to the area (just renting, of course) and out on the board of the Liberal front the Committee for Mornington Peninsula to boost her local credentials. McKenzie lost to Katie Allen in the preselection for Higgins in 2019 and clearly sees Flinders as her best chance. Despite a backlash from some in the party against a swing-in candidate, McKenzie might limit some of the large protest vote that was expected against Greg Hunt.

      But with two strong candidates for the ‘voices of’ and Scomo’s unpopularity in Victoria, this seat is still in play.

    7. Rumours are true I guess. Will there be a by election? Probably best for the Libs to hold one immediately if so and catch Labor/Voices napping, but with the number of sitting days left, I suppose hunt might as well sit tight and collect his parliamentary salary for a few more months

    8. FL
      All the reports are that Greg Hunt will retire at the election – so no by election unless he falls under an actual bus!! Of course, if there was a by election, it could be history repeating itself. It was the Libs victory in the 1982 Flinders By election that gave Malcolm Fraser the misguided confidence to go early in March 1983.

    9. The ‘voices of’ movement have supposedly chosen their candidate from a super strong field of options. The target here now becomes Scott Morrison rather than Greg Hunt, and Scomo is more unpopular in Victoria than people realise. Still hard to see Libs losing Flinders but the contest is on and local Libs getting very sensitive about whether they’ll get away with another non-local candidate.

    10. With the retirement of Greg Hunt this seat should be retained by the LNP with a small swing against them. I also reckon in the next redistributions Mount Eliza will be moved in this seat which will pull this seat out of marginal territory.

    11. @Bob
      Moving Mount Eliza into Flinders would also pull Dunkley out of marginal territory, and Dunkley is a much more pivotal seat than Flinders

    12. Adam,
      Even with Mount Eliza moved out Dunkley that it covers the state swing seats of Frankston & almost all of Carrum. The seat would still have a chance of being won by the LNP with it being a lot harder though.

    13. Bob and Adam, Dunkley is far more marginal and strategic than Flinders. But if Mount Eliza was ever moved out of Dunkley (unlikely in my view), the Liberals would struggle to win a single booth in the entire Dunkley electorate. Dunkley would become a very safe Labor seat and Flinders would become a very safe Liberal seat.

    14. My reasoning for Mount Eliza being moved is that it would have the entire Mornington Peninsula council area united in one seat, however if the population increases in this seat it would most likely shrink.

    15. Last time, Labor won Flinders was in 1983 and back then Frankston was in the seat (just before Dunkley was created) so unless its going to be a landslide it will be unlikely that Labor wins here. If Victoria is going to loose a seat at the next redistribution (with Hotham potentially abolished). Then both Flinders and Dunkley will need to grow. My guess is that is that Dunkley may regain Mornington while Flinders could pick up the Casey/Cardinia Coast such as Tooradin/Koo Wee Rup etc which will make it even more safe Liberal. The reason is that Bruce may need to move West to take more of Springvale/Noble Park and Keysborough and consequently Holt and La Trobe will need to move into the Suburban Casey area (Narre Warren/Berwick). Both the latter two seats are rapidly growing, unlike Flinders and Dunkley. Dunkley without Mt Eliza in my view will be Labor leaning but as we see in Issacs the beachside suburbs such as Seaford will likely gentrify (although Frankston North/Karingal and Carrum Downs is working class). Langwarrin is always marginal and is often a bellwether. The Liberals will win the Frankston South booths in any case.

    16. Lots have changed recently in the Flinders contest; how will this affect Labor? With Despi O’conner and a ‘Voices of candidate’ – with the right preference flows, could this help Labor get over the line? What would Labor need for a win down here?

    17. Labor’s chief aim would be to improve its primary – and get the Liberals into the very low 40s. The best way to do that would be to improve its performance in pre-polls (which skews older demographically) and some of the larger suburbs (chiefly some of the northern parts of the electorate (Mornington, Mount Martha, Somerville) where median incomes are a bit higher and there is less likely to be, if any, anti-Dan resentment (especially compared to Hastings and Rosebud for example, where it may be a bit higher)).

    18. With Zoe McKenzie endorsed as the Coalition candidate – How will that play a role in the results? Benefit Labor? Hurt it? Also, what are preferences looking like with the independents; if they go to Labor is it possible that Labor wins notionally?

    19. I feel it works well for the liberals here to have her preselected, I feel the independent vote that Julia banks got last time is honestly as high as it’ll get for an independent and there was more A more negative approach to hunt last time for his support of Dutton, the electorate in my opinion will reward the liberals potentially with a small swing to them.

    20. I was a bit late in reading this but Claire Boardman has stood down as the VMP (Voices of Mornington Penisular) candidate for the election, according to the Jan 19 Media Release on her website https://www.claire4flinders.net.au/media_release_from_claire_boardman

      It will be interesting to see who VMP choices next as time is running out before the election. Despi O’Connor, a current councillor on Mornington Peninsula Shire Council (and was Mayor for a year) is running as an independent with Julia Banks backing. I wonder if VMP will get behind her and try to consolidate the independent vote or choose someone else.

      With Greg Hunt leaving, I expect a small swing against for personal vote loss and with a current perceived swing to Labor in VIC, expect them to pick up a swing. How much impact an independent has here is yet to be seen. I have this seat as a Toss-Up but high chance of Liberal retain.

    21. Politics_Obsessed, what do you think the post election margin will be in Flinders? Despi O’Connor isn’t doing preferences so how will Labor pick up? Is it possible for the ALP to gain this seat? How would Labor gain Flinders, the demographic is changing I suppose, but other than relying on that, what would make the voters flip?

    22. Lib HQ said to be increasingly worried about Flinders and redirecting effort to the seat. Preferences will flow among the two prominent anti-Lib independents, Labor and Greens, leaving new Liberal candidate very vulnerable if there is a loss of primary vote with the loss of Greg Hunt. Sportsbet has Coalition and independent equal favourite here. A loss for Libs would be quite incredible but Morrison still on the nose with Victorians.

    23. Barry, very interesting. Labor isn’t really supporting the Flinders candidate Surbhi Snowball, but if both independents get pretty high primary ~10% for example, and their preferences flow to Labor (Who lets just say they got the same 44% of the vote last time) wouldn’t that just increase the chances of Labor winning, if ind. candidates don’t win on primary and preferences go to Labor? I think that could definitely be a possibility.
      Thoughts everyone?

    24. Greg
      Having two independents will help both the Liberal and Labor parties. Firstly, it is unlikely that either independent will beat Labor into third place and because there are two independents there will be quite a gap between 2nd and 3rd which will be hard to make up even if the indies swap and the Greens preference one of them. With four candidates in the non liberal mix, there would be a much better chance for the ALP to keep that second place through picking up leakages. And having four non Lib candidates in the same mix (I am not counting UAP or any other minors) also allows the Libs to pick votes from leakages as the votes are counted. That is how Greg Hunt came to be reasonably well elected last time. The danger for the Libs is their primary vote – it is dangerously close to the 45% danger zone now and he presumably has some personal vote. I would have thought that some of Flinders – around Hasting and Rye might be receptive to the UAP but their candidate has spat the dummy and walked out (2 down , 149 to go). They could still be a wild card in Flinders. I could conceivably see Labor winning the seat from a primary vote in the low 20’s. Snowball has the chance to give the Liberals hell.

    25. Very interesting, does anyone have some election outcome options? Most likely result? Possibilities?

      What do you think will play on Flinders residents’ minds when voting? What’s the issue that will call flinders?

      Just going on the national polls, Labor should win Flinders – but what would it look like for Flinders on election night realistically?

    26. Does anyone have some election outcome options? Most likely result? Possibilities?

      Will a certain issue determine Flinders that is different from the national issues? What’s will be the issue that will call flinders?

      Just going on the national polls, Labor should win Flinders – but what would it look like for Flinders on election night realistically?

    27. According to the odds, Libs 45% chance, one of the independents 45% chance, Labor 10% chance. I think the Liberals and Labor both actually stronger than that. Libs have an unknown candidate, but this seat is very diverse and hard to predict. There will be a strong anti-government vote on climate/environment and aged care but apart from that it will be core cost of living issues. On election night, if Lib primary is low it will come down to preference flows. Labor is an outside chance here if they can finish second.

    28. Anyone else reckon the 10:1 odds for labor on Sportsbet are far, far too low? Coming second with left leaning preferences from the 2 Inds and Greens should push them over the line, especially with liberals falling behind in Victoria.

    29. Thought that as well Jim, I reckon Labor definitely has a chance as long as they place second in the Primary.
      Although, It seems every corner I turn there’s some sort of Zoe McKenzi me advertisment.

      It’s such a difficult seat to determine, I think if Labor and the 2 independents make some form of ‘alliance’ one of them could get over the line, most likely Labor. Any one have predictions?

    30. Very interesting that the Liberals did not include Flinders in their 24 hour campaigning drive for marginal seats in Victoria. Not sure whether that is because they think it is safe or because they’re worried about an embarrassing response. Fascinating that the betting still has this seat 50-50 between libs and independents. It seems to receive very little attention in the marginal seats debates.

    31. How do you think the Libs are feeling about Flinders? Are they worried or think that McKenzie can hold the torch?

    32. I can’t imagine that the Liberals are too worried, but the view of Morrison in Victoria might prove to be a serious problem for them. Hunt clearly would have had the profile to promote himself rather than Morrison, but McKenzie is a newly to the area and has low personal recognition, despite the many signs across the electorate. If people think Morrison not McKenzie, this seat could produce a shock result on election night.

    33. It’s been a few months since the begin of the unofficial election campaign.

      What’s the mood in Flinders?

      It is so hard to tell for me.
      Labor win? Liberal retain?

    34. Interesting that at the recent candidates forum hosted by the Committee for Mornington Peninsula, the independent Despi O’Connor clearly looked like the best known of the candidates among the locals present. O’Connor could well be the dark horse here – as a popular recent Mayor (and notwithstanding Liberal councillors’ attempts to discredit her) she has received very little national media attention. The odds for the Coalition – 1.80 on tab.com.AU compared to 2.00 for an independent – still look too generous though.

    35. The Age is reporting that independent Despi O’Connor is suspending her campaign due to potential s44 eligibility issues.

    36. Yes, O’Connor has been caught in the “Phil Cleary Trap”.

      A bit sad for her, but as a teacher who goes into politics, you should be aware of that one!!!!

    37. In further news, she acknowledged today that this oversight was “something I should have picked up on”, but also that part of why she overlooked it was that she’d been focussed on the more obvious s44 issue of renouncing her dual citizenship (I think with Greece, but not sure).

      Her situation is pretty much exactly the same as Cleary – the courts found back then that a school teacher is an “office of profit under the crown”, even if you’re on leave without pay, and nothing’s changed since then. So unfortunately her 2022 campaign is probably over.

    38. Not to condone gambling but 10:1 odds seem like a pretty good bet for the ALP in this seat. I think the libs will hold on but I wouldn’t be suprised to see a surprise ALP gain given a long time member is retiring, the marginal status and polls pointing to a Labor swing.

      Will also be interesting to see where the 14% for Banks goes now the climate 200 candidate isn’t running

    39. From The Age today regarding Despi O’Connor having to suspend her campaign

      – She said the eligibility rules should change to allow more people to run for parliament.

      “It’s archaic and needs to change,” she said. “The Constitution supports the aristocracy and doesn’t allow just ordinary citizens to engage in politics.”

      Her response of blaming Section 44 is somewhere between “A dog ate my homework” and a some sour grapes for not doing her homework in the first place.

      Will Climate 200 want their money back?

    40. I think Despi’s problem is like former independent Phil Cleary who held a government job when trying to seek nomination/preselection. Agree with you redistributed that Despi should have read the constitution laws/rules better and would have resigned from her job earlier before nominating.

    41. Disagree, I think it’s an incredibly dumb, xenophobic and antidemocratic law which I’ve never heard a remotely persuasive argument in favour of keeping. ntm that It wouldn’t surprise me if millions of other Australians could qualify for citizenship overseas and are similarly oblivious to it.

    42. The judgement in the Cleary case in 1992 was not unanimous. The dissenting judgement had it that the key date was the day the winner was declared, if they satisfied the conditions to be chosen, on that date. In those circumstances Despi could enter Parliament if successful in the poll, after preferences.

    43. @Judicial Junkee

      That’s interesting, I didn’t know about the dissenting judgement. Would still be a long-shot though.

      s44 probably needs an overhaul. It was written in an age where Australians were British subjects and Australian citizenship didn’t exist, and what they were worried about was keeping e.g. German spies out of parliament pre-WW1 etc. That part really shouldn’t matter anymore, it needs to be replaced by wording that only bars you if you actually are receiving payment or some kind of material benefit from a foreign power that might theoretically cloud your loyalty.

      The section on holding an office of profit with the crown has also become anachronistic – I’d argue teachers at least shouldn’t be included in that.

    44. Agree with you Expat (and also points made by Furtive) – the s44 laws aren’t necessarily onerous as Redistributed described but they are definitely outdated and colonial in nature. I think running for Parliament is the only job you need to renounce foreign citizenship, even other government jobs don’t have that as a prerequisite, only holding Australian citizenship or permanent residency.

      I also don’t like the laws that allow deportation for permanent residents who are sentenced to prison for crimes committed. Especially if it is a one off offence and they have a strong connection to the country having lived here for decades.

    45. Not a lot of attention was payed here to the Liberal candidate, I think the Liberal party getting ride Greg Hunt was wise & potentially helped them hold here.

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