Prahran – Victoria 2022

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  1. Anyone but the Liberals will win this seat. Labor could gain this seat if The Greens drops. But surely Sam Hibbins has developed a high enough profile to hold this November?

    If the Liberals did win this seat it would be the sign of a strong Coalition win statewide

    A tight race for second place predicted, a Green win for a third term, or the first Labor win since 2006?


  2. I agree, it could go either way between the Greens and Labor.

    Labor’s primary vote gain from the redistribution may be a little overstated because of Martin Foley being a high profile incumbent over in Albert Park. A two-term Greens incumbent and an unknown Labor challenger in Prahran could yield a different result from those transferred voters in Southbank.

    On a side note, I don’t know how accurate it is to say the seat has been dominated by the Liberal Party in recent decades, when they have only won the seat once since 2000. Labor holding it from 2002-2010 seems to get forgotten, and it was marginal (<5%) in 1996 and 1999 too.

    I don't see the Liberals being competitive here for the foreseeable future now. This is my seat. With Toorak removed and major demographic changes in South Yarra, this would be trending more progressive even without the Victorian Liberals' being in a statewide slump.

  3. Federally, I believe the Greens won the primary vote in every single polling place within the boundaries of Prahran.

    With Hibbins now well entrenched in the seat, a rising Greens vote, an unelectable Liberal Party in the inner city (and Toorak removed in the redistribution), and less enthusiasm about the state Labor Party compared to 2018, this seems like it should be a very easy and very safe Greens retain.

    However, the danger for the Greens will be the very real possibility that the Liberals fall to third place on the 3PP count and then Labor win an ALP v GRN runoff on Liberal preferences.

    Looking at Macnamara & Higgins, the swings against the Liberals were more than the primary vote margin between first (LIB) and third (GRN) in Prahran in 2018. Just a -4% Liberal swing could easily put them in third place, so I think the Greens will be hoping any Liberal crash is also offset by a negative ALP swing, to at least keep the Liberals in second place.

  4. Hibbins will do well, but there is a risk of Liberals doing so badly here that they come 3rd and Labor wins on preferences. It would be a great irony if the two time winner from 3rd lost after coming 1st on primaries.

  5. I think Liberals will preference against every sitting Green including Hibbins, but may preference Greens in Northcote (and other safe ALP, GRN possibly 2nd seats). This maximises the amount of tight races between Labor and Greens and potential for diverted resources. However they may do a blanket approach like in QLD 2020, where they only made a big deal about preferencing Trad but ended up preferencing Greens statewide.

  6. Prahran was heavily targeted by the Libs in 2018. This time, I doubt they would put in the same amount of effort since they’ve got other seats to worry about and seats like Prahran are already trending away from the Libs anyways. I can see a scenario where the Greens lead on first preferences but the Libs perform so badly that they drop to third place and preference the ALP. From Matthew Guy’s point of view, it would make sense to preference the ALP ahead of sitting Greens while preferencing the Greens ahead of the ALP in the inner city seats held by Labor like Richmond, Footscray and Northcote so the two parties waste their resources battling each other instead of the Libs. Labor also has a pretty good candidate chosen for the seat especially compared to the other ones they’ve parachuted into their safe western and northern suburbs seats.

  7. The Liberals could run Dr Katie Allen again, as they did in 2018. Sam Hibbins will be hoping she does, as he does not want the Liberals to fall into third place.

  8. I doubt Katie Allen would run here since the Libs essentially have no chance in this seat and Katie Allen lives in Toorak which was redistributed away. What’s more likely is that she would contest the Malvern preselection once Michael O’Brien retires.

  9. @Hamish: I agree that if the Liberals do drop from 1st to 3rd (in the primary & 3PP votes), that doesn’t automatically write the seat off for the Greens, although it does make their task more difficult.

    I believe the projections at some stage during the Macnamara count were that if it turned out to be an ALP v GRN 2CP then the ALP would have won with about 54-55%; and that would have been with the ALP already slightly leading the Greens going into that stage.

    That means that theoretically, the Greens probably only need to have a 4-5% lead over Labor at the 3CP stage to win the 2CP count. That’s actually not out of the question, because:

    – Labor were more popular in 2018 than now;
    – The Greens have really surged in this area between the 2019-22 federal elections;
    – As you say, if the Liberal vote collapses further, the Greens could very well soak up more of that vote than Labor (as they did in Macnamara and suburbs like South Yarra)

    My prediction here, 5 months out from the election, will be primary votes of roughly:

    1. Greens – 33%
    2. Labor – 30%
    3. Liberal – 28%
    Others – 9%

    Say the minor preferences break 4% LIB, 3% GRN, 2% ALP which would be likely if the minors are alt-right / anti-lockdown plus AJP & Reason or something, you’d end up with a 3CP of roughly:

    1. Greens 36%
    2/3. Labor – 32%
    2/3. Liberal – 32%

    A virtual tie for second place where it could be either party.

    Greens would clearly win the GRN v LIB contest by double-digits; but if it was GRN v ALP I think it could be around 50/50.

    In a normal election I would say that would favour Labor (maybe 52-48) but I think among the right-wing voters there will be an element of “put Dan last” which means Liberal preferences might break weaker to Labor than they otherwise usually would.

    I think this will be another very close and fascinating count for the third time in a row, but once again it will be with a different dimension.

  10. I see a district like Prahran behaving in a similar manner to somewhere like Maiwar/Indooroopilly. Historically, both were considered somewhat swing districts, perhaps slightly conservative leaning. However they generally prefer moderate/small l Liberal candidates and with the rightward shift of the Coalition today, both areas are now more favourable for the Greens.

  11. This seat probably has the lowest right wing antivax minor party vote in the entire state alongside neighboring Albert Park and Melbourne so I don’t think that factor mentioned by @Trent would be top prevalent.

  12. @Yoh Ann, Good comparison with Maiwar, a lot of this is small l liberal territory especially north of Toorak Road close to the River and West of Punt road where it is quite leafy and close to the big parklands. Quite a few elite private schools in this seat unlike in the Inner North. However, like in the Wentworth thread, there is some rock solid progressive territory in the South of the seat where a moderate Liberal will not make a difference. I am not sure of Maiwar has very left-wing territory like West End (QLD).

  13. Good point Dan, you’re right about that. But I think in general, Dan Andrews being a bit of a love/hate figure could wipe at least 1-2% off how many Lib preferences would usually flow to Labor (if the Libs do indeed come third) due to people putting Labor last, and even a small shift in how Lib preferences break could be decisive in a close GRN v ALP count.

    Yoh An you’re right that Prahran has usually had a slight conservative lean compared to the state results on its previous boundaries (even in 2018 its 7.4% margin was still below the 58-42 state result), but with Toorak removed now I think it would have had a slight left-lean on its new boundaries even in past elections.

    North of Commercial/Malvern Road was always small “l” liberal turf, but demographic changes with so much apartment development are turning it younger and more progressive, I think that area is becoming more like Southbank than the South Yarra of old. The Greens have been winning the 2CP vote in South Yarra for a little while now, but the May federal election is the first time I’ve seen the Liberals not even win the primary vote in South Yarra booths, it seems to have been getting more progressive with each election (federal and state) since about 2013 now.

    South of Commercial/Malvern Road (other than the “Orrong” booth) is rock solid left turf, increasingly so the further south you go, but it has been for a while there’s been less change in the vote down there.

    I think the demographic shifts in South Yarra though, coupled with the removal of Toorak, will firm up the left lean of this seat for the forseeable future even if the Liberals become more moderate and electable.

  14. Agree Trent, Maiwar/Indooroopilly is perhaps more conservative leaning compared to Prahran, with Labor generally winning that area during high tide elections only.

  15. Who is running for ALP ? think labor has good chance to win this, esp. after seeing ALP viability in Higgins. People will be more likely to be knowledgeable about this seat, how close it is, and vote strategically. ALP for the win

  16. @John Labor preselected Wesa Chau who I believe ran in Higgins in 2013 and is president of the local branch, i.e. not parachuted in which seems pretty rare for the Labor party these days. She seems to be a pretty decent candidate, better than most of the parachuted hacks in the safe western and northern suburb Labor seats.

    @Mick Quinlivan It’s very likely the Greens can increase their primary vote and jump to first place on first preferences but the problem is the Lib vote could crash so much that they drop into third place and their preferences flow to Labor especially since the Chapel Street corridor is the most hostile to the right wing populist direction both the federal and state Libs are taking in possibly the whole country.

  17. I agree with the above comments. Labor’s only path to victory in Prahran is winning off Liberal preferences if the Libs fall to third place (which is very possible).

    Otherwise I think the Greens have a pretty safe hold on this.

    2018 was probably Labor’s last chance to beat the Greens into a 2CP count because it was a great election for Labor. I can’t imagine Labor finishing above the Greens again now. Their path has to be beating the Liberals (who will never be competitive here again) into second place to win off their preferences.

  18. Prahran’s current boundaries should make this a Green hold, however, its impossible to say the Liberals will never again be competitive here due to the demographics being wealthier than your usual left lending area and future boundary changes might shift Prahran back into more Liberal friendly areas, and that can happen by dividing Stonnington into two seats running west to east with Commercial Rd becoming the boundary then that could allow for a new seat centered on St Kilda.

  19. Pencil that’s true about boundary changes, but I meant to say that on current boundaries it won’t be. What you suggest, a Commercial Road boundary, would actually remove the entire suburb of Prahran from the seat. So if that were to ever occur in a dramatic redistribution, we’d likely be talking about a brand new seat centred on South Yarra & Toorak, probably called South Yarra with Prahran removed entirely.

    As it stands on current boundaries though, there’s not a single Liberal-leaning suburb left in the whole seat and South Yarra is the only one left that was traditionally Liberal-leaning (or even close for them).

    When the Liberals won or got close here in the past, their path to victory relied on 3 things:

    – Dominating the section of Toorak that was in the seat (70%+ 2CP)
    – Getting at least 55% of the 2CP in South Yarra, the seat’s most populous suburb
    – Holding the Labor or Greens 2CP to below 60% in Prahran (the suburb)

    All these criteria were met in 2010 which was their only victory in the last 20 years, or close to it in 2014 when they came within a whisker of retaining the seat.

    Toorak is gone, but let’s acknowledge it was only a small area so it only wipes about 2% off the Liberal vote.

    South Yarra is the main factor. It accounts for about half the seat’s population, and is what the Liberals overwhelmingly rely on to counter the left dominance in Prahran, Windsor & St Kilda.

    If you look at the Liberal 2CP across South Yarra booths at both federal and state elections…

    – 2013 they got around 56%
    – 2016 they got around 47% (-9% vs 2013, despite the Libs generally gaining in the inner south)
    – 2019 they got 46%
    – 2022 they got 39%

    – 2010 they got around 60%
    – 2014 they got around 54% (just shy of that 55% and they narrowly lost Prahran)
    – 2018 they got 43%

    They are some dramatic shifts, 17% in 9 years at federal level and 17% in 8 years at state level. A few things to note about that too:

    – The state & federal shifts have both been the same (17%), indicating it’s not specific to just one;
    – Every single election has moved in the same direction, away from them;
    – The trend has been consistent even in elections where the Libs gained in nearby areas (eg. 2016);
    – The swing against the Liberals in South Yarra has been way more dramatic than elsewhere

    What all this tells me is that the swing in South Yarra isn’t just in line with the inner south’s generally anti-Liberal backlash in recent elections, because firstly it swung against the Libs when all the neighbouring areas swung towards them, and in the elections where the whole region swung away from the Libs, South Yarra swung more. That’s a good indication of a more permanent trend (demographics) on top of the seasonal, “moment in time” swings & backlashes.

    Realistically, for the Liberals to be competitive in Prahran again, especially with Toorak removed, they need to recover all of that 17% they have lost in South Yarra, as well as improving their 2CP in areas like Windsor & St Kilda (currently 20-25%) back to into the mid-30s too.

    As a resident of the seat myself, I really don’t see any path for that ever happening again. Only a redistribution, such as replacing St Kilda with Toorak, would make a seat centred on Prahran competitive.

  20. Well, new apartments in South Yarra means more young professionals so the LNP would drop as a result. This is also happening in Hawthorn as well to smaller extent.

  21. I think that’s exactly what it is Marh.

    The northern end of South Yarra has transformed dramatically over the last decade. It has its own skyline now, and is shifting to more of a Southbank type of profile. It’s also right next to Cremorne so I imagine all the new apartment developments have attracted a lot of young professionals from the tech/startup world.

    Meanwhile with the struggling retail sector has impacted the southern part of South Yarra (closer to Prahran), and as a result I’ve noticed that more of the Prahran/Windsor vibe has started encroaching on South Yarra north of Commercial Road now too.

    So increasingly, that wealthiest and most “upscale” section of South Yarra based around Toorak Road is being squeezed from both sides, by a high-rise demographic from the north and the Prahran/Windsor demographic from the south.

    The Liberals are simply not going to recover to 2010-14 levels of support in South Yarra because it’s a different suburb now.

  22. I’d imagine the new apartment developments would eventually start pushing into Cremorne and Prahran so it would be interesting to see how this affects the dynamic between Labor and the Greens in both this seat and Richmond. One thing for sure is that the Libs will do increasingly worse here.

  23. Interestingly, I think gentrification in Cremorne actually increased the Liberal vote around there and made it the most Liberal-friendly part of the seat of Richmond.

    However, Cremorne was a very different dynamic – it was a previously working class, industrial area gentrifying with professional types.

    South Yarra is the opposite effect, it’s traditionally Liberal wealthy suburb going through more of a densification, getting younger & more progressive.

    So in a way it’s like two totally opposite areas – one previously working class industrial with a very low Liberal vote, and the other previously wealthy with a high Liberal vote – are becoming more similar to each other and meeting in the middle as progressive young professional areas with a moderate Liberal vote.

    Although I agree with you that from here on, the Liberal vote will get increasingly worse across both suburbs because in addition to the suburbs themselves changing, the Liberal Party is also and it’s moving in the opposite direction.

    I do think though that especially when the new Malt District development in Cremorne is completed, that north/south divide that the Yarra represents will be increasingly blurred. Cremorne and northern South Yarra will have quite a similar atmosphere and demographic, each just hugging a different side of the river and the train line between Richmond to South Yarra.

    The dynamic between Cremorne & South Yarra will be more comparable to that of Docklands & Southbank being similar precincts on both sides of the river, than it will of the old ‘working class Richmond’ versus ‘upper class South Yarra’ divide of the old days.

    That’s a very key shift I see happening already that will challenge some of the old preconceptions around voting patterns north & south of the river.

    Similarly, on a broader scale, over the past 15 years or so you’ve seen areas like Fitzroy & Collingwood (while still remaining incredibly left wing) becoming more affluent and professional while areas like Prahran, Windsor & Balaclava take on more of a “hipster” personality, and while there’s no doubt still a very noticeable difference between the north & south, it is certainly shrinking as each region increasingly takes on more influence from the other.


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