Electoral Form Guide: Holt
Margin: Labor 11.6%
Location: Outer South-Eastern Melbourne, Victoria
In a nutshell: This outer Melbourne suburbs seat was fiercely contested until about 1980, but Labor’s only close shave since came in 2004 when the margin was reduced to 1.6 per cent. Current member Anthony Byrne succeeded Gareth Evans in 1999.
FRANK DI MASCOLO
Electorate analysis: Holt was created in 1969 around Dandenong, but has since drifted to the south-east. It currently extends from Endeavour Hills in the north through Hallam and Narre Warren to Cranbourne. The seat was highly marginal until Michael Duffy’s win with an 8.7 per cent swing in 1980, but demographic change had pushed the margin into double figures by the time Gareth Evans transferred to the seat from the Senate in 1996. Evans announced his intention to resign on the night of the 1998 election defeat, and while this ruffled feathers it did not cause trouble for new candidate Anthony Byrne, who won the ensuing by-election in the absence of a Liberal candidate.
Labor’s margin was cut by the 2004 redistribution, which moved the seat’s traditional focal point of Dandenong to Isaacs and Bruce and added the satellite town of Cranbourne. A particularly sharp swing 6.4 per cent swing followed at the election, reflecting a trend in mortgage belts across the land, reducing the margin to 1.6 per cent. Another mortgage belt swing in 2007, of 7.4 per cent, boosted the swing back to its present 9.0 per cent margin. A member of the Right faction, Byrne was promoted to shadow parliamentary secretary for foreign affairs when Kevin Rudd became leader in December 2006. He shifted to parliamentary secretary to the prime minister after the election and further acquired the trade portfolio in February 2009.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Read Bowe’s blog, The Poll Bludger.