Victorian State Election 2010: Williamstown
Margin: Labor 24.3%
Upper house region: Western Metropolitan
Click here for Victorian Electoral Commission map
Electorate analysis: Williamstown covers the area immediately west of the mouth of the Yarra River, from Williamstown on the shore to Brooklyn beyond the West Gate Freeway. It provided a home for successive Labor premiers in Joan Kirner, who moved to the seat in 1988 after two terms in the upper house, and Steve Bracks, who succeeded her at a by-election in 1994. The electorate has existed since 1859 and was first won by Labor in 1891, who have held it without interruption since 1904. Bracks’s resignation in July 2007 initiated a preselection won by Wade Noonan, an official with the Right faction Transport Workers Union, ahead of Rhonda Reitveldt, a former campaign adviser to Julia Gillard, and Michael Clarke, the mayor of Maribyrnong. This followed a botched attempt to recruit ABC television sports presenter Angela Pippos, who was initially receptive but pulled the pin when the story was leaked shortly before she was due to reach her final decision. Andrew Landeryou of VexNews reported Pippos had been approached by Right faction powerbroker Theo Theophanous due to concerns that both Williamstown and Albert Park, which was vacated by the simultaneous resignation of John Thwaites, might instead go to male union officials. The episode provided an early embarrassment for the new Premier, which was compounded when he wrongly stated it had been Pippos who had approached the party rather than the other way around. Late withdrawals from the preselection race included Diana Asmar, a Darebin councillor, and Nick Reese, then the Premier’s economic adviser and now the party’s state secretary, whose initially promising bid reportedly expired after failing to win support from branch members.
Despite the lack of a Liberal candidate in the by-election the Labor primary vote was down 6.0 per cent to a still comfortable 55.7 per cent, with the Greens up 9.5 per cent to 21.9 per cent. Labor’s final two-party margin over the Greens was 14.1 per cent.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.