Victorian State Election 2010: Gippsland East
Electorate: Gippsland East
Margin: Independent 9.1% versus Liberal
Upper house region: Eastern Victoria
Click here for Victorian Electoral Commission map
Electorate analysis: Gippsland East has had an uninterrupted existence going back to 1889, currently covering the easternmost tip of Victoria, from Maffra to Mallacoota and north to Omeo and beyond. The seat was held by a range of conservatives from 1889 to 1920 and henceforth by the Country Party in various incarnations, a run which came to end with incumbent David Treasure’s surprise defeat in 1999 at the hands of independent candidate Craig Ingram, who had campaigned on the restoration of flows to the Snowy River. Ingram sapped enough votes from the Nationals to cut Treasure’s primary vote from 52.9 per cent to 35.9 per cent; his own deficit against the Labor candidate of 27.2 per cent to 24.8 per cent was closed with preferences from other independents, and he then surged to a comfortable 7.7 per cent victory on Labor preferences.
Ingram’s victory left him one of three independents holding the balance of power, and he lined up with colleagues Susan Davies and Russell Savage in supporting a Labor minority government, having concluded it was better placed to return flows to the Snowy. Ingram is the last of the three left standing, after Davies failed to transfer from her abolished seat of Gippsland West to the new seat of Bass in 2002 and Savage was unseated by the Nationals in Mildura in 2006. He increased his primary vote to 42.1 per cent and his two-party margin over the Nationals to 13.1 per cent in 2002, coming off slightly to 38.7 per cent and 58.5 per cent in 2006.
The Nationals have endorsed Tim Bull, a former local newspaper editor whose most recent gig has been with the Australian Sports Commission. The Liberals, who slightly outpolled the Nationals in 2006 before being reined in on Labor and other preferences, have endorsed Sonia Buckley, a former natural therapies business proprietor currently billed as a “professional singer/songwriter/composer” (samples of her work here and here).
Analysis written by William Bowe. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.