Victorian State Election 2010: Kilsyth
Margin: Liberal 0.4%
Upper house region: Eastern Metropolitan
Click here for Victorian Electoral Commission map
Electorate analysis: Located in Melbourne’s outer eastern suburbs, the electorate of Kilsyth was created at the 2002 election upon the abolition of Mooroolbark, which Lorraine Elliott had held for the Liberals since its creation in 1992. Elliott was defeated in her bid to win the successor seat following a 12.7 per cent swing that was savage even by the standards of the 2002 election. The winning Labor candidate was Dympna Beard, a school teacher and taxi business operator. A fairly typical swing to the Liberals of 2.4 per cent in 2006 was enough to tip it back into the Liberal column, former Yarra Ranges mayor David Hodgett prevailing by 245 votes. Hodgett was promoted to Shadow Cabinet Secretary in November 2009.
Labor conducted a ground-breaking experiment in Kilsyth for its preselection process, albeit with fairly modest results. Following the example of the New South Wales Nationals in the seat of Tamworth, the party chose its candidate through a US-style “primary” in which voting was open to anyone enrolled in the electorate who registered for the process online. This attracted only 170 participants, 75 per cent of whom voted for Vicky Setches, a candidate bearing an entirely conventional political pedigree as electorate officer to upper house MP Shaun Leane.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.