Dunkley by-election, 2024

Cause of by-election
Sitting Labor MP Peta Murphy died on 4 December 2023.

Margin – ALP 6.3%

South-Eastern Melbourne. Dunkley covers all of the City of Frankston and part of the Shire of Mornington Peninsula. Main suburbs include Frankston, Sandhurst, Skye, Carrum Downs, Langwarrin and Seaford.

Dunkley was created in 1984 as part of the expansion of the House of Representatives. It has almost always been a marginal electorate, and swung back and forth regularly in the 1980s. The Liberal Party held the seat continuously from 1996 to 2019, if only by slim margins at time.

The seat was first won in 1984 by Labor’s Bob Chynoweth. Chynoweth had won Flinders at the 1983 election, defeating new MP Peter Reith, who had won a by-election for the seat four months earlier. Chynoweth moved to Dunkley following the redistribution.

He held the seat in 1987 before losing to Liberal candidate Frank Ford in 1990. Chynoweth won the seat back in 1993.

A redistribution before the 1996 election saw Dunkley become a notional Liberal seat, and Chynoweth was defeated by Liberal candidate Bruce Billson. Billson held Dunkley for twenty years until his retirement in 2016, and was succeeded by Liberal candidate Chris Crewther.

The electoral boundaries were redrawn prior to the 2019 election, and the seat became a notional Labor seat. Crewther lost his bid for re-election to Labor candidate Peta Murphy. Murphy was re-elected with a greater margin in 2022, but died of cancer in December 2023.


Dunkley is not a safe seat and could be in play. It seems likely that Labor will retain the seat, both because of their strong position in Victoria and potentially because of sympathy due to the circumstances leading to the by-election, but a Liberal win cannot be ruled out.

2022 result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Peta Murphy Labor 38,506 40.2 +1.7
Sharn Coombes Liberal 31,108 32.5 -7.4
Liam O’Brien Greens 9,898 10.3 +2.0
Adrian Kain Irvine United Australia 4,846 5.1 +2.5
Darren Bergwerf Independent 3,698 3.9 +3.9
Scott Middlebrook One Nation 2,689 2.8 +2.8
Damian Willis Liberal Democrats 2,398 2.5 +2.5
Elizabeth Johnston Animal Justice 2,013 2.1 -1.0
Kathryn Woods Federation Party 566 0.6 +0.6
Informal 4,750 4.7 -0.4

2022 two-party-preferred result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Peta Murphy Labor 53,865 56.3 +3.5
Sharn Coombes Liberal 41,857 43.7 -3.5

Booth breakdown

Polling places in Dunkley have been divided into three parts: central, north and south.

Labor won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in two out of three areas, with 57.6% in the centre and 60.6% in the north. The Liberal Party polled 52.8% in the south.

About one third of votes were cast as pre-poll votes, with another 22% cast through other methods. Labor won a smaller majority in these vote categories.

The Greens came third, with a primary vote ranging from 10.9% in the south to 17.3% in the north-east.

Voter group GRN prim % ALP 2PP % Total votes % of votes
Central 11.8 57.6 21,495 22.5
North 11.0 60.6 14,789 15.4
South 11.5 47.2 5,299 5.5
Pre-poll 9.5 55.8 32,944 34.4
Other votes 9.4 54.9 21,195 22.1

Election results in Dunkley at the 2022 federal election
Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and primary votes for Labor, the Liberal Party and the Greens.

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  1. @john note that it says 3.9% margin of error the poll I saw was an internal poll. Even so it represents a 4.3% swing

  2. @paladin

    Apart from the bouncy Morgan (which has been both Up and Down) and Freshwater, everyone else has polls throughout January and now February where its been 52/48 to ALP. The 2022 result was 52.1. Kevin Bonham’s tracker is 52.1. The Pollbludger tracker is at 50.9, but both ALP primary and 2PP have levelled off at current levels and I think will start to climb if new polls even just repeat the current ALP 32/33 primary and 52 2PP of recent weeks, as earlier polls lose their impact on the average.

    So that is what I am relying on when I state that if seats like Dunkley are under pressure, I reckon there are swings towards ALP in other areas.

  3. @high street the most reliable poll is newspoll and no thats not a partisan argument. given that poll is by a guardian backed poll that ive never heard of id say its off i think the actual numbers are robably near 50/50 tbh

  4. That makes no sense @John. The last two Newspoll’s have been 52/48, so I don’t think it is unreasonable to say that the current state of polling is pretty close to 52/48.

  5. John, So you believe the LNP leaning polls such as RS and Roy Morgan? They are wrong, polls often overestimate conservatives in western countries. (But sometimes underestimate tories)

  6. The Greens will do poorly here. The tax cuts and IR legislation will help Labor with the progressive vote. Some Greens votes in these outer suburban seats are often just apolitical protest votes, many of whom won’t show up at a byelection. The Greens have also been solely focused on Palestine recently, which isn’t an issue people in the outer suburbs care about. They want Australian politicians to concentrate on things they can control that affect their lives domestically, not wars on the other side of the world.

  7. @Adam to be fair, The Green does do better along coast (other than Mount Eliza) where more younger and educated voters live rather than inland which is low social economic .

  8. I wonder if it would be better donkey vote for Darren Conroy if was 2 or 3 with say Greens or VSP above. He would pick up more unintendeds.

  9. Does the donkey vote have as much of an impact in byelections? I would have thought the kind of people that do donkey votes just wouldn’t bother to show up for a byelection.

  10. I’ve always found it strange how donkey voting has generally been considered noticeably significant (regardless of if its enough to flip a seat or not). It’s mandatory to rock up to elections and have your name ticked off to avoid being financially penalised, but just as someone can easily donkey vote, they could also easily draw on the ballot paper or leave it blank entirely and no one would be the wiser until during counting, when it’s sorted as an informal vote.

    I would think that more people would at the very least search for the candidate/party they want to give their #1 vote for, before donkey voting the rest. And in that case, given the Liberal candidate tops the list here, I’m not so sure that the donkey vote would be all that significant, as that candidate will indeed make it to the final 2 candidates. And funnily enough, the Labor candidate is at the bottom, so doing a reverse donkey vote would also not matter much.

  11. @John that’s indeed correct, but they also give you a ballot paper and you are not allowed to leave the polling booth with a ballot. I suppose it’s possible to sneak it into your pocket without someone seeing. I don’t know what would happen if you tried to give the ballot back to the worker. Some might put in the bin, but the staff generally watch for people doing that. I think it would be extremely rare for someone to get their name marked off and not put a ballot in the box.

  12. @John

    I thought the same until today, when I was researching and found this from the AEC:
    “It is not the case, as some people have claimed, that it is only compulsory to attend the polling place and have your name marked off, and this has been upheld by a number of legal decisions:

    High Court 1926 – Judd v McKeon (1926) 38 CLR 380
    Supreme Court of Victoria 1970 – Lubcke v Little [1970] VR 807
    High Court 1971 – Faderson v Bridger (1971) 126 CLR 271
    Supreme Court of Queensland 1974 – Krosch v Springbell; ex parte
    Krosch [1974] QdR 107
    ACT Supreme Court 1981 – O’Brien v Warden (1981) 37 ACTR 13”
    I wonder whether saying something like John has (or, indeed, as I have on occasion) would be considered an offense against the Act. Is it misleading a voter in the casting of their vote?

  13. @adam and douglas as a former election worker I guarantee it’s done more often then you think. Quite often the number of ballots counted was fewer then the number given out

  14. Sky has got some leaked labor polling that shows 52-48 to ALP and that the LNP is deeply unpopular due to raising rates by the maximum amount every year foe the past 3 years.

  15. This is a seat that the Libs traditionally hold albeit marginally so 52-48 wouldn’t be a bad result for either major party since they can both flag it as a win

  16. Average swing against a govt in a by election is 4%. 52-48 Labor would be as expected.
    A loss of the seat would be trouble for Albo, but only in the media. No one would move against him in his party and they would still be able to pass legislation in the house.
    A swing of less than 2% would show Dutton can’t pick up seats in Victoria which likely means no path to govt in 2025. They won’t be able to take Higgins or McEwan let alone Bruce, Chisolm or Isaacs.
    Might even mean Menzies and Deakin come into play with their .68 and .19 margins.

  17. @John not necessarily, if Menzies reverts to its 2016 boundaries and expands into Chirnside Park and Ringwood North like the state Warrandyte seat then the Libs should be fine. Likewise if Deakin expands westwards or southwards into Bayswater/Boronia then it would very easily flip and would require a substantial swing back to the Libs. The redistribution will most likely filp one of the two to being notionally Labor and unless the Libs can get a decent swing to them in the eastern suburbs then it’s possible that the both of them would be lost.

  18. @dan m my Chisholm has expanded to take the rest of Whitehorse from dealing a d aston taking Vermont and Vermont south. This strengthens childhood for Labor and flips aston to the libs. Menzies is effective abolished as its divided between deakin and jagajaga with north Warrandyte going to mcewen. Also wrong forum

  19. @Douglas
    “It is not the case, as some people have claimed, that it is only compulsory to attend the polling place and have your name marked off,..”
    The cases mentioned are not all online,so it is difficult to be determinative about the matter.However those cases that are online are concerned with a voter who did not attend any polling place.
    The problem is,in any event, one of evidence.Because any evidence that the person did not put a ballot paper in the box is likely in breach of s233 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 which says:-
    SECT 233
    Vote to be marked in private

    (1) Except as otherwise prescribed the voter upon receipt of the ballot paper shall without delay:

    (a) retire alone to some unoccupied compartment of the booth, and there, in private, mark his or her vote on the ballot paper;

    (b) fold the ballot paper so as to conceal his or her vote and:

    (i) if the voter is not an absent voter–deposit it in the ballot-box; or

    (ii) if the voter is an absent voter–return it to the presiding officer or a polling official; and

    (c) quit the booth.

  20. ”Compulsory voting is not democracy” ~David Leyonhjelm

    It really is that simple, While there are arguments to say people died for our right to vote. making people vote and fining them if they don’t. (Or attending the booth as others have pointed out) seems to me a bit of a police state. I understand a census being compulsory. But to make every single person vote. My generation is very disenfranchised with politics and do not want to vote.

    When you have referendums like the voice the parliament allowing only 2 options on the ballot. you are basically being forced to choose sides on a hot button issue. Whereas in the UK for Brexit, it was not compulsory to vote.

    I believe the voters of Dunkley should have an option not to vote. Politicians almost never deliver on their promises and forcing people to elect a new MP is not going to resolve the cost of living crisis or the climate crisis or the rising levels of immigration. Maybe people would be more enthusiastic about voting if politicians actually listened?

    I’ll also note that countries like Argentina has compulsory voting, however it is not ”enforced” so there are no fines, but it is seen as taboo by not voting.

  21. compulsory voting is there to ensure he govt is legitimate because with such a low population there would be low turnout and ou would have the minoirty electing a govt for the majority

  22. John, But even then. Allot of people, especially young people just vote how their parents do, with no consideration into the policies of the parties. Most of these people wouldn’t care to vote under normal circumstances.

    If you are going to have compulsory voting, at least educate the public and advise them against voting “just because their parents do” while chances are they may agree with the policies. There are plenty of Coalition voters who’s kids might align much more with the moderates/teals. But didn’t vote for them because they knew nothing about them or are lazy.

    Same could be said for Labor families. Their kids may not have even looked at the coalition or other parties.

    Just to be clear. If voting wasn’t compulsory I would still vote anyway. As I’m sure everyone on this site would. But I don’t know if compulsory voting makes an election more legitimate if people are forced to choose between the 2 majors after preferences (they may have wanted neither in government) and especially if they just vote the way they do because of their parents.

    I know my family voted LNP in 2020 just for 1 issue, but I voted ALP. Despite the pressure, I stuck to my values and I looked at the party platforms.

    I would also favour stopping HTV cards, personally voters should choose preferences without being guided. Elections are not every month anyway so if they just take 15 minutes out of their day. They will know where the candidates stand on the issues and can number them accordingly instead of them ”accidentally” putting a party lower than another party they actually agree with more (such as the LNP putting the Greens above Labor) many conservatives actually despise the Greens more. And the coalition only advise these preferences for political gain (same reason why Labor sometimes puts PHON above LNP)

    While nobody is forced to do HTV, some people are led to believe “it’s the only way to correctly vote” for the party of their choice. While voting for a major is extremely unlikely to do anything on preferences, the system is designed to accommodate for the “what if” scenarios that a minor party gets on the final count.

    It’s time for the people to be in more control of their vote rather than being influenced by political organisations.

  23. @daniel well there are plenty of alternatives. and if everyone thinks that way of course the majors will keep getting in. of course but those HTVs are for the voters who arent sure how to correctly vote and how the party would like yo to. i can say that for all bar 1 election i have never followed the HTV. The one that did i simply agreed with how they had them.

  24. @Daniel T HTV cards are mostly for people who don’t know how to vote. For example if a foreigner comes to Australia chances are unless they know about our political system and our preferential voting system in the House and the proportional voting system in the Senate, they probably don’t know how to vote (unless they come from PNG because they use preferential voting too, but often the Electoral Commission over there doesn’t release final TPP counts if a candidate wins before the final count). Most countries use either first-past-the-post voting (FPTP; this is used in most other countries with single-member constituencies, e.g the US, France, the UK, Canada, etc) or a form of proportional voting (this is used to elect multi-member constituencies, such as the parliamentary constituencies in Italy and Spain). Of course some use other systems (for example Germany and New Zealand have multi-member constituencies that are elected using mixed-member-proportional voting (MMP); New Zealand has used it for parliamentary elections since 1996), but most use one of those two.

  25. I am just reading now that there is a large blackout in Melbourne,Loy Yang powers station having crashed.Is the area encompassed by Dunkley affected?

  26. and to be fair noones forcing you to vote theyre only forcing you to turn up and get your name marked and get a ballot you can just draw a dick pic if you want

  27. also i think liberal might even have a shot here because conroy topped the poll in the north east ward so obviously even in a labor voting part of dunkley hes popular enough. and swinging those votes could tip the balance in his favour

  28. High St’s comment to me on 31/1/24
    “And just because Peter Dutton said the Referendum was divisive, doesn’t mean it was”
    My reply to MLV on 31/1/24
    “Most Yes voters seem spectacularly incurious about the effect of the referendum on NO voters. In a seat like Dunkley there will be an impact. It is difficult to say whether the effect of the voice began, created or just reinforced a view of Albanese that he is adversarial, and divisive or that it was illustrated/illuminated by the referendum. His assertions of inclusion, and unity never had substance, particularly in reference to “fighting Tories” . Similarly such obvious contradictions have only undermined his position”

    Probably no one here saw the interview on Sky with Jacinta Price last night. Jacinta spent the weekend campaigning in Dunkley. Jacinta said ALL WEEKEND people came up who described themselves as “lifelong Labor voters” who had voted NO (REFERENDUM) and were now INSULTED ENOUGH to vote against Labor. Senator Price clearly has a galvanising “rock star” appeal.
    So here is the Voice Referendum “aftereffect” fallout. Albanese and The labor party have entangled themselves with a movement which was seen as divisive, was experienced and has been proven to be divisive
    and even perhaps “un Australian” .
    Attempts by the left to blame Peter Dutton for the result, or division, are as hilarious, and unlikely as the Germans blaming Churchill, for continuing the war before and after the Battle of Britain !!

  29. News out of Dunkley is that most people would barely even know there was a by-election on down here.

    Polling suggests that Labor might take a 3-4% hit, but should still hold on. Jacinta Price’s comments are utter nonsense – if there’s a hot button issue besides the usual cost of living stuff, it isn’t the Voice referendum, it’s local issues like the “Great Wall of Frankston” tower developments, which are unpopular with a lot of the people in central Frankston, but which mayor Conroy is a steadfast supporter of.

    Conroy isn’t any kind of rockstar here – the vast majority of Frankstonites would have no idea who he was if they ran into him in the street.

  30. Jacinta Price announces switch to the Liberals, “When” not “If”

    It is unusual for the Nats to campaign for the Libs.

    She would need to be a Liberal to have a serious contention of being prime minister. If she runs in Durrack, Grey or Kennedy at the next election assuming an incumbent steps aside (She won’t fight Katter) but she may have a crack at Leichhardt which had a way higher than national average indigenous population

  31. Agree that many people don’t even know who the mayor is for the council since Australian local councils has much weaker influence and are not directly elected.

  32. #daniel t shes helping because of her profile. she can always run for soloman in the nt as thats a liberal seat. katter wont be around much longer maybe one more election at most.

  33. Jacinta wouldn’t actually be popular amongst indigenous themselves but rather she would be popular with whites that live in areas with a sizable of indigenous for reasons similar to America’s South where whites live with many Aboriginals but have strong prejudice against them due to the perceptions of high crime and poverty which they tend to trust conservatives in handling Indigenous issues such as 2007 NT intervention Act.

  34. Expat
    Where wee you during the referendum ? If you are right about Dunkley polling ,how come Labor junked S3 ? Was that because there was only a 3-4 % swing ? REALLY !?
    Price doesn’t waste time on “comments are utter nonsense” as she is wonderfully visceral !! Your local issue comments are interesting.

    Exactly right Price has a national profile, and probably has more impact campaigning than any other politician. Perhaps Price will switch to the lower house in 2028

    Mate perhaps you need to read Gary John’s excellent book “The Burden of Culture” . I feel extremely uneasy when comparisons are made between race relations in USA and Australia . I find your stated link concerning whites living amongst blacks, very unsettling indeed.

  35. John
    It’s possible by 2028 there may be only one NT lower house seat. In fact that should be the case right now. However i don’t think Price is limited in any way as to where she ends up running or for who. It just isn’t time.


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