Altona (Victoria) by-election 2010
A by-election in the Victorian (Australia) state district of Altona was held today, February 13, after the resignation of incumbent MP and Minister of Public Tranport Lynne Kosky. Altona is located in the southwestern suburbs of Melbourne, including the suburbs of Altona, Altona Meadows, Laverton, Seaholme and large parts of Hoppers Crossing. Melbourne’s western suburbs are known to be poorer working-class areas, and a number of them are multicultural in terms of ethnicities. Altona itself is slightly more affluent and middle-class than most western Melbourne, but remains largely working-class as well as multicultural, with over 30% being born outside of Australia. The district also has a low number of people holding diplomas.
Altona has been held since its creation in 1992 by Labor, and it is classified as a very safe Labor seat in the Victorian political pendulum. Lynne Kosky has been the seat’s MP since the 1996 election, and she won 70% of the 2PP vote last time (and won on first prefs as well, with 60.6% against 23.9% for the Liberals).
The Liberals have decided to contest this by-election, which is somewhat unusual since major parties don’t usually contest by-elections in safe seats held by the other major party. The proximity of the November 2010 election in the state and the opposition Liberals’ desire to show their strength might explain this decision. The Liberal candidate is Mark Rose. The Labor candidate is Jill Hennessy. There is also a Green candidate and five other candidates (of which four are Independents).
Here are the results:
Jill Hennessy (ALP) 47.5% (-13.1%)
Mark Rose (Liberal) 34.9% (+11.1%)
David Strangward (Green) 10.4% (+2.0%)
Liz Mumby (Ind) 1.8%
Brijender Nain (Ind) 1.7%
Brian Shaw (Ind) 1.6%
Margarita Windisch (Socialist Alliance) 1.6%
Andrew Rixon (Ind) 0.5%
Jill Hennessy (ALP) 57.9% (-12.3%)
Mark Rose (Liberal) 42.1% (+12.3%)
FTR, in 2006, a Family First candidate won 7.08% of the vote in Altona.
Hennessy won all polls except one in Point Cook, which has a RAAF air base. Liberal candidate Mark Rose is a former RAAF pilot, so he probably got a boost there from that.
This is obviously a very good result for the opposition Liberal Party, and it might encourage the party. The last poll for the November 2010 election showed a 53-47 2PP result in favour of Labor, but the actual results of this by-election would, if replicated state-wide, give the Liberals a good lead. However, this is a by-election in a seat where a popular long-time MP was retiring, so it is best not to take out too much from here except for ‘good Liberal result’.