Brighton – Victoria 2022

LIB 0.5%

Incumbent MP
James Newbury, since 2018.

Southern Melbourne. Brighton covers the northern half of Bayside local government area, and a small part of the City of Port Phillip. The seat covers the suburbs of Brighton, Elwood and Hampton, and part of Hampton East.

Brighton slightly expanded at its south-eastern corner, taking in part of Hampton East from Bentleigh. This change reduced the Liberal margin from 1.1% to 0.5%.


Brighton has existed as an electoral district ever since the creation of the Victorian Legislative Assembly in 1856. The seat has never been held by a Labor MP, and has been almost always held by the Liberal Party for the last century.

Brighton was held by unaligned members of Parliament from 1856 to 1909. Sir Thomas Bent had held the seat for 32 of the previous 38 years, but died in 1909.

The 1909 by-election was won by Liberal candidate Oswald Snowball. He held the seat for the Liberal and Nationalist parties for almost two decades. In 1927 he was elected Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, and he retained that role until his death in 1928.

The 1928 by-election was won by Ian MacFarlan. He served as a member of the Nationalists and United Australia Party, although he served as an independent from 1937 to 1943. He served as deputy leader of the UAP and Liberal Party from 1943 to 1945, when he led a breakaway group of Liberals that brought down the state government of Albert Dunstan. He was briefly appointed as Premier, but lost his seat at the 1945 election.

MacFarlan was defeated in Brighton by Liberal candidate Raymond Tovell. He served as a Liberal Party member until 1953, when he was expelled from his party over his support for former Liberal Premier Thomas Hollway, who had created a breakaway ‘Electoral Reform League’ campaigning to end malapportionment of electoral boundaries. Tovell lost his seat in 1955.

Tovell was defeated by John Rossiter, who held the seat for the Liberal Party from 1955 to 1976, when he retired. He was succeeded by Jeannette Patrick, who held the seat until 1985.

Brighton was won in 1985 by barrister Alan Stockdale. When the Liberal Party came to power in 1992, Stockdale became Treasurer. He served in that role until his retirement at the 1999 election.

Louise Asher won Brighton in 1999. Asher had previously held the upper house seat of Monash since 1992. Asher served as a junior minister in the second term of the Kennett government. After the 1999 election she served as Liberal deputy leader and Shadow Treasurer until just before the 2002 election. She has continued as a frontbencher ever since, and returned to the deputy leadership in 2006. Asher stepped down from the deputy leadership after the 2014 election, and retired in 2018.


Brighton has a history as a heartland Liberal seat, but is now very marginal. It seems likely the Liberal Party will rebuild some of that margin, but Labor can’t be ruled out here.

2018 result

James Newbury Liberal 17,59745.4-10.144.8
Declan Martin Labor 12,19331.5+7.932.4
Katherine Copsey Greens 5,85415.1-2.314.9
Cathy TaylorAnimal Justice1,9615.1+5.14.9
Alison PridhamSustainable Australia8812.3+2.32.2
John Tiger CasleyIndependent2730.7+0.70.8

2018 two-party-preferred result

James Newbury Liberal 19,81251.1-8.750.5
Declan Martin Labor 18,94748.9+8.749.5

Booth breakdown

Booths have been divided into three areas: central, north and south.

There was a great variety in two-party-preferred vote across the electorate on election day. The Liberal Party won 56.9% in the centre. Labor won 54.1% in the south and over 60% in the north. The Liberal Party won the special vote, which made up a slight majority of the total vote.

The Greens came third, with a primary vote ranging from 10.5% in the centre to 20.3% in the north.

Voter groupGRN prim %LIB 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes14.953.18,40120.5

Election results in Brighton at the 2018 Victorian state election
Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and primary votes for the Liberal Party, Labor and the Greens.

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  1. The vote here at last federal election and 2019 suggests a strong any one but libs vote. If I were the liberals I would at best hope they would win here ..they can not be sure of holding

  2. Louise Crawford is a good choice for Labor. Representing Canal Ward of Port Phillip Council I assume she is based in Elwood so she would be a local rather than parachuted in, have some sort of profile already – at least in the north of the seat – and by being a local councillor she will be seen as having a focus on local issues.

    It also helps that she’s female because in the seats that had the teal wave run through them, successful women unseating conservative men was the consistent story. James Newbury may have been the face of some “progressive” announcements recently but he has a pretty conservative track record in the party.

    I think this seat will be a nailbiter. There will no doubt be a bit of a swing back to the Liberals compared to 2018 in parts (Dan less popular, Labor riding high in 2018, they got their protest vote out of their system in May); but at the same time Labor will throw a lot more resources at it than in 2018 and have a much better candidate than in 2018, so both sides of the equation could cancel each other out and result in another 50/50 race.

    I think Labor will improve a bit in the north (Elwood) where that 65% booth should get into the 70s, and regress a little in the south (Hampton) where they overperformed in 2018, and whatever movement happens in Brighton itself, which I don’t think will swing too much – those 60% Liberal 2PPs are about what I would expect – could decide the outcome.

  3. LOL. Reading the room (ie. His electorate and Victoria more broadly) and adopting mainstream 21st century positions on a handful of issues is not turning “green left”.

    There is nothing remotely “left” about addressing climate change, it’s a mainstream view across both sides of the political spectrum that only a minority of conspiracy theorists on the extreme right fringe are opposed to.

    There is nothing remotely “left” about banning gay conversion therapy, again it’s a mainstream view across both sides of the political spectrum including the religious mainstream, which is only opposed by a minority of religious extremists on the fringes.

    Besides adopting modest climate targets and promising not to overturn a sensible, centrist policy aimed at reducing suicide in the LGBTI+ community, I’m not sure what other ways you could be referring to James Newbury turning “green left”? He appears to be simply ensuring his party don’t lose their appeal to the moderate centre-right, in the same way the federal Liberals have.

  4. @ Trent

    Ignore him, he’s a Dan supporter trying to sway opinions. They’re all over social media trying to convince centre/centre right voters not to vote lib because of the climate target.

    It’s so transparent lol

  5. @Mark, umm NSW Libs are praised on social media for climate target. I think you meant Federal Libs who are criticised

  6. LOL @Trent. Throwing people in jail for telling people that they will pray for their welfare or the parent who asks their own child whether they are sure they want to proceed with radical and irreversible surgery is not a “moderate centre-right position”.

    Committing economic suicide for no impact on global climate is not a “moderate centre-right position”.

    Both are left-wing green party ideals. I am not a member of the Liberals or any other political party; I talk to people who are involved in all major parties and I am telling you that rank-and-file branch members in Brighton are very unhappy with Newbury and see him as too green. We shouldn’t be surprised to learn that about a former Chris Pyne staffer.

  7. @Entrepenuer Voting to the left because someone isn’t right-wing enough doesn’t make sense and is completely counter-productive. People don’t put a reason for why they voted the way they did next to their vote, all the politicians will see is an increase in Labor and Green vote and come to the conclusion they were probably too right-wing. This area is also pretty socially progressive and it’s the social conservatism that’s driven them away from the Libs.

    The rank-and-file members may not be happy with Newbury but they need to suck it up and realise that they don’t make up the majority of voters in the electorate and Newbury needs to be able to win swing voters.

  8. Newbury already is part of the hard right faction, having the support of religious right powerbrokers like Bastiaan and Sukkar. In the past has put out some really socially conservative views so I’m guessing Newbury is seeing the writing on the wall and desperately trying to back track. Whether that’s enough to save him, we will have to see in November. Considering he survived a preselection challenge from a moderate local mayor last year, I’d say the rank and file are quite happy with him.

  9. Dan M, putting Moira Deeming (a hardline conservative) on the number 1 spot in the Western Metropolitan upper house does not help James Newbury. Seems similar to Katherine Deves for the Federal Libs.

  10. @North East actually it makes perfect sense. If the Lib is an imitation of Greens/Labor you may as well kick out the Lib and get the real thing, then you get the chance to put in someone more in touch with the conservative principles of the Liberal Party.

    Newbury conned the conservative faction into supporting his pre-selection in 2018 but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that a Pyne staffer named in the Sparke Helmore report has his natural home in the left faction.


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