Victorian State Election 2010: Eltham
Margin: Labor 6.5%
Upper house region: Eastern Metropolitan
Click here for Victorian Electoral Commission map
Electorate analysis: Eltham is located in Melbourne’s north-eastern suburbs, from Eltham itself west to Montmorency and St Helena in the north with the Yarra River as its southern boundary. It was a notionally Labor seat upon its creation at the 1992 election, but a massive 14.3 per cent swing gave Liberal candidate Wayne Phillips an easy victory. Phillips’ margin was whittled away over the next two elections, and an 8.5 per cent swing in 2002 easily accounted for what remained of it. The Labor win was built on solid majorities in Eltham and Montmorency, while the Liberals continued to carry the urban fringe booths of Lower Plenty in the south and Research in the east. Herbert did very well to further increase his majority with a 1.7 per cent swing in 2006.
Labor member Steve Herbert had previously worked as a school teacher and staffer to Senator Kim Carr and Bracks government minister Lynne Kosky, placing him firmly in the Socialist Left camp. He won promotion to parliamentary secretary for education in the August 2007 reshuffle that followed the departure of Steve Bracks and John Thwaites. Darebin councillor Tim Laurence signalled his intention to contest Herbert’s preselection for the current election, but VexNews reports this was withdrawn amid a peace deal between the Socialist Left and Labor Unity. The Liberals have endorsed Andrew Hart, owner of a small IT business. Hart was installed as candidate by the state Liberal Party’s central committee after the withdrawal of the presumed front-runner, Nillumbik mayor Bo Bendtsen.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.