INCUMBENT Liberal MP Russell Broadbent is facing seven challengers from across the political spectrum in next month’s federal election.
Nominations for the seat were declared in Warragul at midday yesterday, and the ballot draw carried out immediately afterwards.
Inverloch's Mat Morgan (Greens) scored the coveted top position on the ballot paper, with Mr Broadbent second and Phillip Island's Deb Leonard (Independent ) third.
Aged 71, and after 32 years in politics, Mr Broadbent was widely expected to call it a day and hand on one of the country’s safest Liberal seats to a younger successor. He surprised many when he announced he wanted another term.
He will be feeling comfortable that he can withstand anything less than a landslide against the current Liberal government.
He has held the seat (formerly McMillan) for 23 of the past 32 years. He won the 2018 election with a 46.3 per cent primary vote and 57.4 per cent on a two-party preferred basis. Fifty-one of the 66 Monash polling booths recorded a Liberal majority.
But there is just enough happening to suggest the Monash election could be more interesting than it looks on paper.
The great unknown is how much support the minor parties will attract in Monash. They include an intriguing mix: Pauline Hanson’s One National Party, Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party (with its massive advertising budget), the Liberal Democratic Party and a newcomer, the Australian Federation Party.
There is also the presence of a credible Independent candidate with a lot of local support and a budget. Deb Leonard is part of the Voices for … political movement (not a party) that has attracted plenty of media attention for its challenge in supposedly safe Liberal seats.
The Monash electorate consists of Bass Coast, Baw Baw and South Gippsland shires, Moe-Newborough in the City of Latrobe, and very small parts of Cardinia and Yarra Ranges Shires.
A minor distribution of the electorate last year removed Koo Wee Rup and Lang Lang, making the seat slightly more marginal. Election guru Anthony Green estimates the majority drops to 6.9 per cent.
It remains to be seen how his public anti-vax stance will affect votes in an electorate that is 95 per cent vaccinated. While it will probably attract a proportion of new supporters, it may alienate other traditional Liberal supporters.
What matters most to you
The next edition of the Bass Coast Post on May 6 will include our federal election coverage with profiles of all candidates standing in the Monash electorate.
We want to know what issues matter most to Post readers so we can quiz the candidates on their policies and priorities.