Victorian State Election 2010: Lyndhurst
Margin: Labor 21.5%
Upper house region: South-Eastern Metropolitan
Click here for Victorian Electoral Commission map
Electorate analysis: Lyndhurst covers south-eastern suburbs about 30 kilometres from the city, including Bangholme and Keysborough as well as Lyndhurst itself. The electorate was created at the 2002 election upon the abolition of Springvale, which was won by the Liberals on its creation in 1976 before passing permanently into Labor’s hands. The seat was held by Socialist Left convenor Eddie Micallef until 1999, when he lost preselection to Tim Holding, a 27-year-old Waverley councillor and electorate officer to state MP Jan Wilson (who predicted he would be Premier by 35). Holding became Manufacturing and Export Minister and Financial Services Industry Minister after the 2002 election, before receiving a surprisingly strong promotion to Police and Emergency Services Minister in January 2005. He soon ran into difficulties in his new portfolio, particularly when it emerged he had failed to read a memo alearting him to unauthorised use of a confidential police database to access private information. After the election he was shifted to the finance, tourism and information technology, which Steve Bracks denied amounted to a demotion. When Steve Bracks and John Thwaites quit in late July 2007, Holding’s was one of two names floated as a possible successor to John Brumby as Treasurer, but the position went to John Lenders and Holding had to make do with the addition of the water portfolio to his existing repsonsibilities. In August last year he made national headlines after failing to return from a solo hiking expedition in Alpine National Park, and was rescued by a police helicopter the next day after putting his Army Reserve survival skills to use over two nights.
Holding’s reputation as a tough player precedes his entry into parliament. In 1997 his Right sub-faction, the “Network”, was the beneficiary of a vote-rorting scheme for Young Labor elections that led to the organisation being temporarily shut down. His 1999 preselection contest against Eddie Micallef was a predictably bruising affair, with loud complaints of Labor Unity branch stacking by the defeated Socialist Left. A report on Channel Nine’s Sunday from 2003 featured a disguised interviewee who had been involved with the Network who admitted to involvement in “an operation at the Downtowner Hotel in inner city Melbourne, forging identities to help elect Tim Holding to a party position”. In 2002 the Labor Alliance union of the Network and Greg Sword’s National Union of Workers broke away from Labor Unity to form an alliance with the Socialist Left, one of the spoils of which was Holding’s cabinet post in the specially created manufacturing and export portfolio. His accession to the police portfolio was in turn the fruit of a healing of the rift between the two Right factions.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.