Election 22 / 02 May 2022

Victoria – Chisholm, Kooyong and Goldstein

Victoria is typically tough terrain for the federal Coalition. Labor has recorded a majority of the state’s 2-party preferred votes in 13 of the 15 Federal elections since 1980. It’s also home to the Coalition’s second most marginal seat and in this election, and there are a couple of interesting races featuring high profile independent candidates.

So Victoria likes Labor? 
It does. At the last election, the state supported Labor 53-47, which was not at all in line with the national result. Just a reminder of that that national result was – the Coalition won 51.5 to 48.5 looking at that 2-party preferred vote. And in another sign of support for Labor, at the state level, it has won 8 of the last 11 state elections

But the Coalition holds seats there… 
It does – it won 15 of the state’s 38 seats at the last federal election – that was 12 by the Liberals and 3 by the Nationals.

And Labor? 
It won 21 seats – and as a sign about how good Victoria is for the ALP, 5 of its 10 safest seats are in Victoria. 

By my maths, that leaves 2 seats… 
Yep – the seat of Melbourne is held by Greens leader Adam Bandt, and Indi in the northeast of Victoria is held by Helen Haines.

So what’s the super marginal seat you’ve mentioned?
Chisholm – it’s to the east of the Melbourne CBD and it’s the scene of a lot of campaign activity for the Coalition. PM Scott Morrison basically spent his Easter there with the Liberal member Gladys Liu. 

Tell me about Liu…
She won the seat after the incumbent Julia Banks went independent in 2018. Liu was born in Hong Kong, she’s the first ethnically Chinese woman ever elected to the House. She didn’t face Banks at the last election – Banks took on Greg Hunt in the Mornington Peninsula seat of Flinders as an independent and lost.

With Banks out of the picture, how did she go?
The Liberals took a hit in support – there was a 3.7% swing against Liu but her primary vote was in the mid-40s, so it became difficult for Labor or any other candidate to knock her out.

Let’s just pause there and explain what you mean by that primary result and what it means for success or defeat.
So to win the election, you need more than 50% of the vote. If you can get that on first preferences – happy days. But more times than not, we need to get into counting preferences to see where the majority of the electorate has landed when you look at their ‘next best’ pick. 

So how do the numbers work?
If your primary votes are in the mid-40s, you become pretty hard to beat because you need just a few preferences to get over that 50% line. And Chisholm is a good example of the quandary the Liberals find themselves in. 

How’s that?
In 2019, Liu won 43.4% of first preference votes, the Labor candidate won 34.3% – but the preferences strongly favoured Labor. Liu ended up winning 50.05% to 49.95% – so it just shows that Coalition’s candidates need a strong primary vote if they are to be elected because the preferences from minor parties and independents often don’t go their way in strong enough numbers.

So that’s why people are fussing about the polling and a hung parliament? 
Exactly. If primary support for both parties is in the mid-30s, well, hold onto your hat.

Before we leave Chisholm, what’s the prediction?
Interestingly, it wasn’t on Labor leader Anthony Albanese’s list when he was asked about the 7 seats he reckons he could win to get into government. But the betting markets have it down for the Labor win at the moment – it’s close though.

Let’s move on – what’s the buzz about the Climate200 candidates?
You’re referring to the ‘teal’ independents and their campaigns against Treasurer Josh Frydenberg in Kooyong who is in a fight against Dr Monique Ryan and Tim Wilson in Goldstein who is in a tussle with Zoe Daniel. 

Let’s start in Kooyong… 
Fair enough. So Kooyong is held by Frydenberg by 6.4% – it’s not classified as a marginal seat, but he doesn’t have the sort of margin PM Scott Morrison holds his seat by either.

What is that margin by the way?
Morrison holds Cook – which covers Sydney’s southern beachside suburbs around Cronulla – by 19%.

I see what you mean… 
And the last election laid the ground for that. In 2019, Frydenberg’s biggest challenger wasn’t Labor, it was the Greens and high profile barrister Julian Burnside. On primary votes, there was a swing of more than 8% against Frydenberg, but he was able to get across the line. 

Who’s Frydenberg’s main competitor this time?
Dr Monique Ryan. She ran the neurology department at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. And she’s backed by Climate200. 

And Goldstein?
It’s in Melbourne’s inner southeast taking in suburbs like Brighton and Caufield. Tim Wilson is the Liberal incumbent, he’s prominent in Coalition circles as a former policy director at the Institute for Public Affairs, he was Australia’s Human Rights Commissioner, and he’s a prominent gay rights advocate. 

How’s he placed?
Wilson won the 2019 election on first preferences receiving 52.7% of the primary votes, but after preferences were counted he did see a 4.9% swing against him. So like Frydenberg, the 2019 result makes Wilson more vulnerable in this election. But he has a 7.8% margin and it will take a lot for teal independent Zoe Daniel to win. 

Who’s she?
She’s high profile – she a former senior ABC journo – she says she’s travelled the world and seen the effects of climate change, and it’s a message she’s strongly communicating in this campaign. And it seems she has some support – at the start of the campaign, there were pictures of her surrounded by more than 1,000 people in their teal t-shirts…

And they aren’t the only ones pushing for change in Kooyong and Goldstein…
That’s right. Left-leaning campaign outfit GetUp! has also said they are planning on spending up big in those 2 seats to target those Liberals in an effort to push them out.

The drama… 
Yep – they are seats to keep an eye on for sure…

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