Victorian State Election 2010: Bendigo East
Electorate: Bendigo East
Margin: Labor 5.4%
Upper house region: Northern Victoria
Click here for Victorian Electoral Commission map
Electorate analysis: Bendigo East was created when Bendigo was split into electorates in 1985, and has proved slightly the more conservative of the two due to more rural identity of its territory beyond the city. Where Bendigo West only strayed from the Labor fold for one term after 1992, Bendigo East was retained by the Liberals in 1996. Then came the 1999 rural backlash against the Kennett government, which delivered an 8.1 per cent swing to Labor in Bendigo East and a seat in parliament for Jacinta Allan. Her election came one day before her twenty-sixth birthday, making her the youngest woman ever elected to Victorian parliament.
Allan is associated with the Socialist Left sub-faction dominated by Gavin Jennings, having previously worked for Left faction former front-bencher Lynne Kosky. Her reputation as a rising star was enhanced by a 10.0 per cent swing at the 2002 election, before she suffered a 7.7 per cent correction in 2006. After the 2002 election she became the youngest minister in the state’s history, gaining the education services, employment and youth affairs portfolios. She moved to regional and rural development after Steve Bracks and John Thwaites resigned in July 2007, and further gained industry and trade in January 2010. On the former occasion she was spoken of as a possible candidate for the deputy leadership with Jennings’ backing, which was interpreted as a spoiling move by Jennings against Lynne Kosky (the position instead went to Rob Hulls of the Right, the factions having agreed the choice should be left to John Brumby).
The Liberals have endorsed Michael Langdon, former principal of the Australian Technical College.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.