Victorian State Election 2010: Bayswater
Margin: Liberal 2.9%
Upper house region: Eastern Metropolitan
Federal: Aston/Deakin/La Trobe
Click here for Victorian Electoral Commission map
Electorate analysis: One of seven Labor seats gained by the Coalition at the 2006 election, Bayswater is located in Melbourne’s outer suburbs due east of the city. Labor’s strongest booths are in Bayswater itself, at the outer edge of the electorate, while the Liberals perform better in Heathmont to the west. The electorate was created at the 1992 election following the abolition of Ringwood, which was one of the traditionally Liberal eastern suburbs seats that contributed to Labor’s win in 1982. A 10.0 per cent swing the other way in 1992 delivered the new seat to Liberal candidate Gordon Ashley, who was eventually tipped out in 2002 by a 9.2 per cent swing to Labor’s Peter Lockwood, a former Knox councillor with links to the Right faction National Union of Workers.
Prior to the 2006 election local Liberal branches again preselected Gordon Ashley, now 65 years old, but his endorsement was withdrawn by the party’s administration committee. Paul Austin of The Age reported the ruling was made using “what many Liberals had assumed were reserve constitutional powers”, and justified to an unhappy party room on the grounds that Ashley was “involved in an ugly preselection contest, that he had never been regarded as frontbench material, that his ‘name recognition’ in the electorate was low and that his fund-raising record was poor”. In his place the Liberals endorsed Heidi Victoria, owner of a local photography business. Ashley ran as an independent and polled 9.2 per cent, but did not muddy the waters enough to stop the Liberals recovering the seat with help from the government’s broken election promise on tolls for the Eastlink motorway project. The Labor primary vote was down 9.6 per cent to 36.1 per cent, with the Liberals up 1.3 per cent on the primary vote to 41.1 per cent and 5.6 per cent on two-party preferred to 52.9 per cent.
In November 2009 Victoria was promoted to shadow parliamentary secretary for the arts. She will again be opposed at the coming election by Peter Lockwood.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.