Victorian State Election 2010: Altona
Margin: Labor 20.2%
Upper house region: Western Metropolitan
Click here for Victorian Electoral Commission map
Electorate analysis: The western bayside suburb of Altona is located at the eastern end of the electorate that bears its name, which extends inland past Princes Freeway to Laverton and Truganina. The seat was created at the 1992 election and has been been very safe for Labor at all times. The first member was Carole Marple, who lost preselection in her first term after a deal between Labor Unity and the Socialist Left marginalised her hard left Pledge faction. The new member in Altona was the Socialist Left’s Lynne Kosky, who won immediate promotion to the opposition front bench upon her election in 1996. In government she held the portfolios of employment and finance before winning promotion to Education Minister in February 2002, assuming the troublesome public transport portfolio after the 2006 election.
Kosky resigned from parliament in January 2010, citing “significant” health problems in her family. The seat remained the domain of the Socialist Left under its “stability pact” with Labor Unity, and support quickly consolidated behind former state party president Jill Hennessy, including from Steve Bracks, Joan Kirner, Lynne Kosky and Gellibrand MP Nicola Roxon. There were nonetheless suggestions that Left and Right elements frozen out of the stability pact might swing their support behind 24-year-old Hobsons Bay councillor Luba Grigorovitch, but she withdrew late in the game as it became clear Hennessy had the numbers. Hennessy went on to survive a hefty 12.3 per cent two-party swing to the Liberals at the February 13 by-election – almost all of a 13.1 per cent drop in the Labor primary vote went to the Liberals, with the Greens vote up only slightly on 2006. The Liberals are again running with their candidate from the by-election, Wyndham councillor and police officer Mark Rose.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.