Victorian State Election 2010: Richmond
Margin: Labor 3.6% versus Greens
Upper house region: Northern Metropolitan
Click here for Victorian Electoral Commission map
Electorate analysis: With the Yarra as its southern boundary, the electorate of Richmond extends from Richmond itself north to Clifton Hill and Fitzroy. The seat has had an uninterrupted existence going back to 1856, and was first won by Labor in 1891. Labor has held it continuously since 1908, barring a three-year DLP interruption following the split of 1955. Only since the rise of the Greens, who achieved their breakthrough at the 2002 election, has Labor’s hold been put in danger. In 2002 their candidate easily outpolled the Liberal candidate (28.6 per cent to 19.8 per cent) and came within 3.1 per cent of defeating Labor after preferences, and while the two-party margin was closer in Melbourne, Richmond gave the Greens the higher primary vote. However, as in Melbourne they failed to go one better at the 2006 election, when their vote fell 3.9 per cent on primary and 0.5 per cent on two-party preferred.
Labor’s member since 1999 has been Dick Wynne, who was Lord Mayor from 1990 to 1991 and a staffer to MPs including Hawke-era Deputy Prime Minister Brian Howe. A member of the Socialist Left sub-faction associated with upper house MP Gavin Jennings, Wynne came to the seat in 1999 after Demetri Dollis was dumped following an outcry over the amount of time he was spending in Greece, where he was rumoured to be seeking a position with the Department for Greeks Abroad. Wynne was appointed parliamentary secretary for justice immediately afterwards, and was further promoted to Cabinet Secretary after the 2002 election. After the 2006 election he entered cabinet as Housing and Local Government Minister, adding Aboriginal affairs to his responsibilities in August 2007 following Steve Bracks’ departure.
The Greens candidate at the coming election is Kathleen Maltzahn, whose human rights activism has included authorship of a book on the trafficking of women for prostitution in Australia. Also in the field is independent candidate Stephen Jolly, who has gained a high profile as a Socialist Party member of Yarra City Council.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.