Victorian State Election 2010: Oakleigh
Margin: Labor 12.4%
Upper house region: Southern Metropolitan
Federal: Chisholm/Hotham/Higgins/Goldstein/Melbourne Ports
Click here for Victorian Electoral Commission map
Electorate analysis: The inner south-eastern suburban seat of Oakleigh has been hotly contested since its creation in 1927, having changed hands in 1932 (from Labor to conservative), 1937, 1947, 1950, 1961, 1979, 1992 and 1999. Former Whitlam government minister Race Mathews held the seat from 1979 and served as Police Minister in the Cain government’s first term, before suffering an 8.5 per cent swing and defeat at the hands of Liberal candidate Denise McGill in 1992. A 2.8 per cent correction in 1996 brought McGill to within a handful of votes of defeat, with a further 3.4 per cent swing in 1999 delivering the coup de grace. Labor member Ann Barker went on to consolidate her hold with a 12.3 per cent swing that was impressive even by the standards of the 2002 election.
Barker first entered parliament as member for Bentleigh at the 1988 election, but like many of her colleagues lost her seat in 1992. She first contested Oakleigh in 1996 and came within a handful of votes of victory, before going one better in 1999. After the 2002 election she was appointed parliamentary secretary for training and higher education, before being shifted to Deputy Speaker in 2006. Barker is aligned with the National Union of Workers, an organisation powerful within the Right faction, and followed it in suporting Martin Pakula’s 2006 preselection challenge against her former employer, Simon Crean, in his seat of Hotham.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.