Electoral Form Guide: Wannon
Margin: Liberal 7.5%
Location: Western Regional, Victoria
Outgoing member: David Hawker (Liberal)
In a nutshell: Things have changed considerably in Wannon since 1955, when Labor lost the seat to an ambitious young Liberal called Malcolm Fraser. David Hawker has held the seat on secure margins since succeeding Fraser in 1983, and will himself be succeeded as Liberal candidate at the coming election by Daniel Tehan.
Electorate analysis: Wannon covers the south-western corner of Victoria including Warrnambool and Portland on the coast and Hamilton and Ararat inland. The seat was highly marginal until 1955, frequently changing hands between Labor and the main conservative party of the day (it was never held by the Country Party), until the retirement of Labor member Donald McLeod in 1955. It was then won for the Liberals by 25-year-old Malcolm Fraser, who had come within 17 votes of defeating McLeod in 1954 and now won the seat with an 8.5 per cent swing in 1955. Fraser increased his margin at the next four elections, and the seat has been secure for the Liberals ever since. David Hawker became member after the by-election that followed Fraser’s rettirement in the wake of the 1983 election defeat. Hawker never made it off the back-bench, but eventually found a high-profile role in the last term of the Howard government as Speaker. In June 2009 he announced he would not be contesting the next election. He will be succeeded as Liberal candidate by Daniel Tehan, deputy director of the Victorian Liberal Party and son of the late Kennett government minister Marie Tehan. The other candidate who made it to the final round of the Liberal preselection was Stephen Mitchell, founder of natural gas explorer Molopo Australia.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Read Bowe’s blog, The Poll Bludger.