Polwarth – Victoria 2022

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  1. My seat and my 67% Lib local booth. Problem for Labor here is their low vote in the country towns. However when Labor campaigned intensively in 2010 federal election they won 44% in the Colac booths. Since then demographics should help them slightly. There is potential to push up Labor’s vote in the towns but I imagine their campaigning resources will be elsewhere.

  2. The eastward shift in the boundaries sees this electorate change from a Western District one with Colac as its major population centre to a Surf Coast / Otways seat with Torquay-Jan Juc as its major population centre. The strong Labor and Green votes in these new areas should see Polwarth as a Labor target this year and a likely win in years to come.

  3. The ALP probably won`t gain Polwarth this year, particularly if its gains the Commonwealth Government. They may indeed still target it just in case and/or to divert Liberal resources.

    The next redistribution (due to take effect at the 2026 election) is likely to remove relatively conservative territory in the west and northwest of the seat and possibly make further gains from South Barwon, unless it redraws the map more substantially, making an ALP victory in Polwarth more achievable.

  4. Tom/Wanderwest, I am not sure if Polwarth is like a mini version of the old Corangamite federal district pre 2010, that included Colac and the Surf Coast (excluding the Geelong suburbs, which are in South Barwon).

    It just shows how quickly Geelong is growing – it now covers almost 2 federal districts and 4 state districts. Prior to 2010, it only covered 1.5 federal districts and 3.5 state districts (with Corangamite and South Barwon respectively overflowing into surrounding townships and rural areas).

  5. Yoh An, Good comparison. Yes it is similar to the Pre 2010 Corangamite although with a couple of noticeable differences which make it slightly more Liberal leaning. It does not include any of the Bellarine Peninsula and goes further west to include areas such as Camperdown/Cobden. Nevertheless this part of Victoria is changing. i can see a future scenario where the Labor may hold South Barwon but lose Carrum due to opposite demographic changes.

  6. Yes, agree Mick Quinlivan that Polwarth contains the more conservative leaning parts of the old Corangamite district, and is still considered safe for the Liberals.

  7. By 2026 the Surf Coast may have its own seat and Polwarth shifts west again. In this redistribution South West Coast was left unchanged despite being over quota. Warrnambool is growing quite strongly so SW Coast could be well over and all shifts west.

  8. I agree with Tom that Polwarth is at least another redistribution away from being truly competitive. Its current marginal status is an artefact of the 2018 landslide

  9. Deans Marsh has long been your typical Green voting rural community – organic farmers, tourist accommodation providers, artists, musicians, old hippies, tree-changers. Environmental activism in the Otways in the 90s saw many staying on in many of the Otways communities. Nearby township, Forrest, which has positioned itself as an eco-tourism/mountain biking destination, saw a 27% Green vote last federal election.

  10. At some point in the near future Polwarth will probably lose its newly gained territory in the east due the population growth in the surf coast, with Geelong potentially getting another seat. This means Polwarth will move west to gain from voters from the south west coast.

  11. The next redistribution (barring alteration by early election) will be in 2029. There would have to be quite a lot of growth in both Geelong and the Surf Coast to cause the creation of another seat then. Polwarth loosing further territory west and north west of the County of Polwarth (most notably Camperdown) and the Geelong seats shuffling around is a distinct possibility then.

  12. By 2029 Greater Geelong’s population is forecast to grow by 40,000, Surf Coast’s by 5,000.

  13. Wanderwest, if you are right about those growth figures then that might be enough to create a new Geelong region seat, or at least one that covers the outer fringe areas (it would see Geelong contract back inwards closer to the CBD and then the new seat will cover outer Geelong suburbs and parts of Golden Plains shire around Bannockburn).

    Unless the redistribution ends up creating a district that straddles Lara and Geelong, which will have more flow on effects around Werribee and Point Cook.

  14. Looking at the state district maps again, what I described earlier might not be the best fit. Especially if the growth is concentrated on the southern side around Waurn Ponds and Armstrong Creek.

    What might happen instead is Polwarth and South Barwon being split into three districts – Polwarth remains a western districts seat anchored around Colac and Lake Corangamite, South Barwon contracts closer to Geelong CBD (losing all remaining Surf Coast townships and the outer edges of Geelong council like Armstrong Creek) which then frees up space for a new district to cover the Surf Coast, the southern edge of Geelong council and possibly parts of Golden Plains shire to make up the numbers. In this scenario, Buninyong also moves closer to Melton and loses more of Golden Plains shire.

  15. Most of Greater Geelong’s growth over that period of time will be in Armstrong Creek (South Barwon) and to a lesser extent Lara West (Lara), with some growth still occurring in Ocean Grove, Leopold and Curlewis (Bellarine). Future growth in Geelong will then be beyond the ring road to the west (around Fyansford) and north west (around Batesford), with growth in Bannockburn bringing it and Geelong much closer together.

  16. That changes things a bit now you mentioned where the growth hot spots are Wanderwest – it might not be a simple case of just carving a new seat out of two existing seats, but a wholescale reorganisation of the current four Geelong region seats and also how they overlap with neighbouring districts like Buninyong and Polwarth.

  17. Former ALP State President, Hutch Hussein, preselected for Polwarth. Labor taking the challenge for this seat seriously, with its eastward shift taking in progressive Torquay-Jan Juc. Things getting interesting.

  18. Labor seems confident about this seat to put such a serious candidate here, will this seat be in play?

    For what it’s worth – the biggest swings against the incumbent Liberal and towards the teal Independent in Wannon were in this part of the seat.

  19. In regard to changing politics in smaller rural communities, I think it is more complex than a numbers game per se.

    When ‘new blood’ joins these small communities, it can mean new ideas and new community engagement. This can have a flow on effect on the ‘old blood’ of the communities as things might get stirred up a bit and the status quo gets challenged. This sort of thing is happening in small incremental ways in rural Victoria. It’s not then the raw numbers that create change but the influence of those people on existing populations. That’s what helped Alex Dyson in Wannon at the last federal election.

    Change happens differently than in urban areas.

    It’s fascinating. I’m disappointed I’m no longer in Polwarth cos I think there’s a real chance for a strong candidate and a good local campaign to take on the incumbent.

  20. I could definitely see a progressive independent shaking things up a bit in Polwarth, if they were backed by a strong community campaign. The coastal and Otways towns would no doubt get behind them, it would just be a matter of convincing those in Colac, Cobden and Camperdown. I don’t know of anyone that fits the description, but a progressive with strong links to these historically more conservative towns would make for an interesting candidate.


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