Victorian State Election 2010: Burwood
Margin: Labor 3.7%
Upper house region: Southern Metropolitan
Click here for Victorian Electoral Commission map
COWAN, Emily Kate
Electorate analysis: Jeff Kennett’s old seat of Burwood lies about 15 kilometres east of the city centre, from the South Eastern Freeway at Chadstone north to Box Hill South. Labor’s vote is markedly higher at the freeway end of the electorate than in Glen Iris and Burwood to the north. The seat was held by the Liberals from its creation in 1955 until 1999 (the name changed to Glen Iris between 1967 and 1976), with Kennett as member from 1976 until he retired after the 1999 election defeat. The subsequent by-election, which Lara McLean contested for the Liberals after a surprise preselection win over future Senator Helen Kroger, saw a 15.0 per cent collapse in the Liberal primary vote and a 10.5 per cent swing to Labor. This translated into a 3.7 per cent victory for Labor candidate Bob Stensholt, a Monash University politics lecturer and member of the Labor Unity (“Right”) faction.
Demographic changes and a growing Chinese community have helped consolidate Labor’s strength in this area, evident both in Burwood and the federal seat of Chisholm. Stensholt added a further 1.8 per cent to his margin with the 2002 landslide, and survived a below-par counter-swing of 1.4 per cent in 2006. In October 2009 the Liberals endorsed Graham Watt, the owner of a local carpet cleaning business. Watt reportedly won the preselection with 70 votes against 45 for former Hawthorn AFL player Steve Lawrence, who had been given a reference by Kennett.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.