Victorian State Election 2010: Niddrie
Margin: Labor 11.2%
Upper house region: Western Metropolitan
Click here for Victorian Electoral Commission map
Electorate analysis: Niddrie covers safe Labor territory about 12 kilometres north-west of the city, including the suburbs of Keilor East, Keilor Park, Brimbank and Avondale Heights. Labor has been untroubled here since the seat’s creation in 1976; the closest result came with the defeat of the Kirner government in 1992, when the margin was reduced to 3.6 per cent. The previous members were Cain government minister John Simpson (1976 to 1988) and Bob Sercombe (1988 to 1996), the latter abandoning the seat to become federal member for Maribyrnong. His replacement had gone the other way – Rob Hulls held the federal seat of Kennedy in Queensland after gaining it for Labor at the 1990 election, going on to lose to Bob Katter (then of the Nationals) in 1993.
Hulls had originally hailed from Melbourne and worked with the Legal Aid Commission until 1986, when he moved to Mount Isa and opened a legal practice. Upon returning after his election defeat, he worked as chief-of-staff to Opposition Leader John Brumby. He came to the seat of Niddrie in February 1996 without having to face the people, as he was the only candidate to nominate for the by-election – Victoria’s first uncontested election in 24 years. Hulls was swiftly elevated to the role of Shadow Attorney-General, and retained the portfolio with the election of the Bracks government in 1999. His workload expanded with the acquisition of the industrial relations portfolio after the 2002 election and planning for the second half of the Bracks government’s second term, and he emerged as Deputy Premier after the simultaneous departure of Steve Bracks and John Thwaites in July 2007.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.