Continuing an overview of social etc change in the swing seats. This will be on the exam.

McMillan. Another interzone, taking in what used to be Victorian market garden territory – Drouin etc – and stretching all the way to crazy-name capital Moe, whose burghers have demanded the seat be renamed McMyljinn. From 72 to 90, the place changed hands every 10 years (in 75 it went from being Country party to Lib, as suburbanisation consolidated). After that it’s changed every election except 2001, as the rural petit-bourgeoisie and the working class (largely rendered surplus to requirements by economic cleansing) fight for the controls.

In a sense it’s Kath and Kim territory, by which I mean historyless. Most of the links with the rural tradition have gone – again a low church fervently protestant-self-reliant sort of ethos – but weakened also has been the strong union ties and the world it created in Latrobe valley areas like Moe.

It is in other words the ideal seat to respond to whatever discrete deals the parties will offer.

If Rudd can find Jadyn Leskie in Portugal, the thing’s in the bag.

Corangamite. Aborginal for ‘Bitter Lake’, which would make a good title for a bad Australian film with lots of moody silences. Taking in a swathe of Vic coastal hinterland from Colac to Lorne to south of Geelong, it was proclaimed at Federation, and has been held by every party – from Protectionists to Free Trade to whatever the hell the FU party were before Kennett’s Liberals became attached to that name – though Labor last had it in 1931. It was JH Scullin’s old seat and in the 60s he could still be seen packing bongs in the back of the Arab cafe when the surf was bad.

What has probably anchored it for the Coalition for half a century is that Colac and surrounds are significantly to the right of Mussolini, the city a long-time al-qaeda for the League of Rights.

What may pitch it into Labor is sea-change – the latte tide spreading west from Melbourne, bringing people that would have the seat’s old ‘Anti-Socialist Party’ representatives spinning like solar-powered turbines.

Wrapping up to tomorrow: Boothby, Page and Rudd’s Landslide Alley.

Peter Fray

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