If Steve Bracks is to have another term, Labor will need to pick up seats – and these are the Libs who should be feeling nervous:
Macedon (LIB 0.3 per cent) The first rural electorate up the Calder Highway beyond the edge of Melbourne, it includes the Melbourne satellite city of Sunbury, as well as Gisborne, Macedon, Woodend, Riddells Creek, Romsey, Lancefield and surrounding rural areas. At the last election, Sunbury was in the state electorate of Tullamarine, while the rest of the electorate was in Gisborne, currently held by Labor MP Joanne Duncan, who pulled off one of the major upsets of 1999 by defeating Health Minister Rob Knowles in his attempt to move to the lower house. Duncan will now contest Macedon, and for the now-notionally Liberal seat the Libs have preselected Bernie Finn, who represented the Sunbury end of the electorate as MP for Tullamarine 1992-99.
Geelong (LIB 0.4 per cent) Takes in (yes, you guessed it) the City of Geelong and its inner suburbs between Corio Bay and the Barwon River. Geelong is a seat that Labor only started to win in the last two decades – and after Joan Kirner presided over the collapse of the local Pyramid Building Society, it was amazing how close they came to retaining the seat at the 1992 election. The late Anne Henderson lost the seat by just 16 votes in 1999 after development rows, and sitting Labor MP is Ian Trezise will be hoping the boundary changes don’t count against him as he fights off Liberal and local councillor Stretch Kontelj.
Narracan (LIB 0.4 per cent) This western Gippsland and La Trobe Valley electorate is home to Crikey’s Yartz Correspondent, Thalia Meyerhold, taking in the cosmopolitan centre of Moe, as well as Newborough, Trafalgar, Yarragon, Warragul, Drouin and Longwarry. Despite the electorate having a strong blue collar workforce, the electorate was held by the Liberal Party for several decades until it was won by Labor’s Ian Maxfield in 1999. The redistribution has made the seat marginally Liberal, and Maxfield will need to work hard to hold the seat against Liberal Karen Stoll.
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Yan Yean (LIB 0.6 per cent) The first semi-rural electorate north of Melbourne, it includes some urban areas in part of Epping and around Plenty and Diamond Creek, the electorate also includes Kangaroo Ground, Watsons Creek, Hurstbridge and Whittlesea. It has been held for Labor by Police Minister Andre Haermeyer since 1992, but the redistribution has wiped out the Labor majority. Hairdryer is making a chicken run to the new and much safer seat of Kororoit, leaving Danielle Green to battle it out with Liberal Matthew Guy.
Bellarine (LIB 1.1 per cent) Based on the Bellarine Peninsula (surprise) east of Geelong and north of the Barwon River, Bellarine takes in Drysdale, Leopold, Newcomb, Ocean Grove, Portarlington and Queenscliff, as well as some eastern suburbs of Geelong. The sitting Member Garry Spry, who has held the seat since 1992 is retiring at this election. The seat new Liberal candidate is Frank Kelloway, who will face off against Labor’s Lisa Neville.
Narre Warren South (LIB 1.4 per cent) A new electorate covering the outer suburban housing estates south of the Princess Highway round Narre Warren and Berwick, made up from bits and pieces of the olds sears of Berwick, Cranbourne and Dandenong. Lib Michael Shephardson hopes to get lucky and see off Labor candidate is Dale Wilson.
Bentleigh (LIB 1.9 per cent) A compact electorate in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne, including the suburbs of Bentleigh, Bentleigh East, McKinnon, and Moorabbin East, along with parts of Oakleigh South, Moorabbin and Ormond. It has been held for the Liberal Party by Crikey reader Inga Peulich since 1992, and has been left relatively untouched by the redistribution. The Labor Party candidate is Rob Hudson.
Monbulk (LIB 2.4 per cent) Outer eastern and Dandenong Range suburbs, including Kalorama, Mt Dandenong, Olinda, The Basin, Sassafras, Monbulk, Tecoma, Upwey, Ferny Creek, Selby, Menzies Creek, Macclesfield and parts of Belgrave and Boronia. It has been held by the Liberal Party’s Steve Macarthur since 1992. His Labor opponent is James Merlino who, as this is a seat where the Greens traditionally poll well, might just get lucky.
Mordialloc (LIB 2.5 per cent) Inner south-east suburban electorate, including the suburbs of Cheltenham North, Dingley Village, Braeside, Mordialloc, Mentone, Parkdale and parts of Cheltenham and Springvale South. Liberal Geoff Leigh has held the seat since 1992, but the electorate is one of Labor’s target seats, and the bruvvers have high hopes for Janice Munt.
Frankston (LIB 3.2 per cent) Based on (d’oh!) Frankston and its immediate surrounds. Andrea McCall, the member since 1996, has seen her margin slashed from 10 per cent. Labor’s Alistair Harkness will be hoping that a swing is on.
Eltham (LIB 3.7 per cent) On the northern bank of the Yarra River east of the Plenty River in Melbourne’s north-east suburbs, it includes the suburbs of Eltham, Lower Plenty, Montmerency and parts of Greensborough and Research. The seat has been held by the Liberal Party’s Wayne Phillips since its creation in 1992, and the Labor candidate is Steve Herbert.
South-west Coast (LIB 4.6 per cent) South-west rural district dominated by the cities of Portland and Warrnambool, also including Port Fairy and Heywood and an amalgamation of the abolished electorates of Portland and Warrnambool. The Liberal candidate is the former leader and Crikey favourite, Dynamic Den Napthine, the member for Portland since 1988. Disaster may be beckoning Den once again, with the seat a key Labor target and a strong campaign by candidate Roy Reekie.
Prahran (LIB 4.7 per cent) The state’s smallest electorate at just 12 square kilometres, inner-city Prahran is squeezed between St Kilda/Brighton Road, Orrong Road, the Yarra River and Carlisle Street, including the suburbs of South Yarra, Prahran and Windsor, as well as parts of St Kilda and Toorak. Held for the Liberal Party by Leonie Burke since 1996, this is another Labor Party target, with candidate Tony Lupton.
South Barwon (LIB 4.7 per cent) Geelong based electorate including nearby coastal and rural areas to the south. It includes all of the Geelong suburbs south of the Barwon River, as well as the seaside resorts of Barwon Heads and Torquay. Always a Liberal held seat, sitting MP Alister Paterson hopes to see off Labor’s Michael Crutchfield.
Narre Warren North (LIB 5.1 per cent) A rapidly growing electorate covering some of the outer south-east suburban housing estates around Narre Warren and Berwick on the northern side of the Princes Highway. It contains much of the abolished electorate of Berwick, held by the unfortunate Robert Dean who thought he’d try his luck elsewhere. Narre Warren North is being contested by Waverley Province MLC Maree Luckins, taking the opportunity to change chamber after the redistribution turned Waverley into a marginal Labor province. Rumours say the polling is soft, so Labor’s Luke Donellan may get lucky.
Next: The independents