Victorian State Election 2010: Geelong
Margin: Labor 8.3%
Upper house region: Western Victoria
Click here for Victorian Electoral Commission map
Electorate analysis: The electorate of Geelong has had an uninterrupted existence going back to 1877, except for the period between 1976 and 1985 when it was divided into Geelong West and Geelong North (the latter of which survived independently until 2002, when it was replaced by Lara). It currently covers the central part of Geelong as far north as the rail junction at Geelong North, extending south to the Barwon River and Geelong South. Labor polls particularly well in the latter area, while the Liberals continued to win booths west of the town centre even amid the 2002 and 2006 landslides.
The seat was in Liberal hands from 1955 until its abolition 21 years later, at which point Liberal member Hayden Birrell became member for Geelong West. When Birrell retired in 1982 his seat was won for Labor by Hayden Shell, who became member for Geelong when it was re-created in 1985. Shell was narrowly defeated in 1992 by Liberal candidate Ann Henderson, who increased her margin in 1996 and lost by just 16 votes in 1999, a result with momentous consequences for the fate of the Kennett government. Labor’s Ian Trezise inevitably boosted his margin in 2002, picking up an 8.7 per cent two-party swing and 51.0 per cent of the primary vote, and more than held his ground in 2006, his margin increasing 0.2 per cent to 58.3 per cent.
As well as being a former Australian Workers Union official, Port of Geelong shipping manager and Geelong councillor, Ian Trezise is the son of the late Neil “Nipper” Trezise, Geelong Football Club legend and local MP (for Geelong West and Geelong North) from 1964 to 1992. Trezise is associated with the independents faction, putting him outside a Labor Unity (Right) faction which demonstrated its local dominance with Richard Marles’ preselection coup against Gavan O’Connor in Corio before the 2007 federal election.
The Liberal candidate is Alastair Thomson, who owns the Glastonbury Garden Centre in Belmont. Thomson was the only candidate for preselection following the withdrawal of Bruce King, a client service manager for Skilled and candidate for Corio in 2004.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.