Corangamite election guide

Corangamite was Australia’s most marginal federal electorate before the 2013 election, and received plenty of scrutiny during the election campaign.Corangamite-result

The Liberal Party’s Sarah Henderson won the seat with 53.86 per cent of the vote on a two-party basis, defeating sitting Labor member Darren Cheeseman.

Corangamite remains a marginal seat – the Australian Electoral Commission lists a seat as marginal if the winning candidate won less than 56 per cent of the vote.

Ms Henderson said her key priorities as the new Corangamite MP were abolishing the carbon tax, supporting jobs growth, upgrading the Great Ocean Road and continuing the duplication of the Princes Highway.

Ms Henderson is the first female Member for Corangamite, after 13 men previously had the job.

Australians heard the word “Corangamite” frequently during the 2013 federal election campaign.

Just 0.4 per cent of votes dividing the major parties at the 2010 election.


Electoral officials took 10 days to declare a result in Corangamite in 2010, with the final tally relying on postal votes. Australians had held their breaths waiting for the final result, because Labor needed the seat to secure power at a national level. Mr Cheeseman’s victory proved vital for Prime Minister Julia Gillard to retain government.

The result was more clear cut in 2013, with Ms Henderson emerging as the clear winner on election night, although she waited a few days before formally claiming victory.

Boundary changes since the previous federal election could have changed the demographics in the electorate, putting more farming areas into Corangamite but removing bustling coastal areas in the east of the Surf Coast.

Meet the candidates

Twelve candidates nominated to run for Corangamite, the largest field in the seat’s 112-year history.

Candidates included members of the major parties, Liberal and Labor, long-established secondary parties in The Greens and the Nationals, and minor parties: The Sex Party, Australian Christian Party, Save The Planet, Australian Protectionist Party, Family First, Rise Up Australia, and Country Alliance. Former Palmer United candidate Buddy Rojek will be an independent. Katter’s Australian Party had promised to find a candidate, but was unable to find a person to put their hand up for the job.

Scroll through our slideshow of Corangamite’s candidates for the 2013 federal election.


Australian Sex Party
Jayden Millard’s point of difference to the other candidates is that he gives Colac district voters a local option.
Mr Millard grew up at Birregurra and went to school in Colac before moving away to study.
He is studying a bachelor of communications at Melbourne’s RMIT University and has a degree in biological science.
Mr Millard interned at the Australian Sex Party before deciding to stand with the party to promote its policies, including regulating cannabis use, legalising same-sex marriage and legalising euthanasia.

Warren Jackman
Warren Jackman

Country Alliance
Warren Jackman is a 56-year-old father from Portarlington, just outside Corangamite, and he is standing for the Country Alliance party.
Mr Jackman recently retired after 33 years as a police officer and finished his career with the rank of Sergeant.
He wants to support industry in rural and regional Victoria and maintain public open space.
Mr Jackman is standing to give voters an alternative to the major parties and to hold the old parties to account.

Warren Jackman

Liberal Party of Australia
Sarah Henderson is a former television journalist who came within inches of winning Corangamite in 2010.
Ms Henderson received more first-preference votes than Darren Cheeseman, but she lost by 771 votes after the distribution of preferences.
The Liberal Party candidate, earmarked by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott as a future government minister, survived a bitter battle within her own party to win pre-selection for the 2013 election. Ms Henderson received her party’s endorsement early last year and has been campaigning ever since.


Australian Christian Party
Alan Barron is a retired Australian Tax Office superannuation worker from Grovedale.
Mr Barron is standing on a conservative policy platform; he is a climate sceptic and says gay marriage is “nonsense”.
He unsuccessfully stood for State Parliament in 2010 and the Senate in 2004.
Mr Barron says he wants to give his preferences to a party that reflects his views.
He says he wants to alleviate pressure on farmers and small businesses.

Andrew Black
Andrew Black

The Nationals
Andrew Black is the first National Party candidate to run against the Liberal Party in Corangamite since 1987.
Mr Black says he wants to win the seat, but he would have to quit his job as a political staffer at Geelong and his law course at Melbourne if he did.
The 22-year-old is the Victorian Young Nationals president and lives at Ballarat.
Mr Black says he will campaign to put rural and regional issues “on the front page”.

Andrew Black

Australian Greens
Lloyd Davies grew up on a Bellarine Peninsula hobby farm and has a passion for the environment.
Mr Davies is a civil engineering consultant who decided to stand for Corangamite to help develop a more caring society.
The Point Lonsdale resident has experience in government, having spent four years as a Borough of Queenscliffe councillor.
Mr Davies has a battle on his hands if he wants to out-do 2010 Greens candidate Mike Lawrence, who collected 11.4 per cent of the vote.

Peter Wray
Peter Wray

Family First
Bannockburn farmer Peter Wray is Family First’s candidate in Corangamite.
The conservative party, which collected two per cent of the Corangamite vote in 2010, confirmed in July it would “absolutely” field a candidate at the 2013 election, but waited until August 16 to reveal the candidate’s name.
The party says its policies aim to “prepare, promote and support legislation which will result in the health, wellbeing, welfare, safety and unity of families in Australia”.

Peter Wray

Independent (disendorsed from Palmer United Party)
Buddy Rojek is a certified practising accountant who lives at Kyneton, 82 kilometres outside Corangamite.
Billionaire mining magnate Clive Palmer’s political party picked the outspoken Mr Rojek as the man for the job.
But his outspoken nature, a promise to throw a party with male and female models, and offensive comments online led to Mr Rojek’s disendorsement from the party.
Mr Rojek drives a Kombi van, enjoys surfing and says he wants less government regulation. 


Save The Planet
Adrian Whitehead is a climate scientist who admits he won’t win but he hopes he will save the planet.
Mr Whitehead is standing for Corangamite purely to raise attention to the dangers of climate change.
He has a history of campaigning for the environment having worked with the Otway Ranges Environmental Network at Apollo Bay.
Mr Whitehead made headlines in the 1990s when he received a blow to the head from an axe handle during a protest, leaving him bloody and unconscious.

Helen Rashleigh
Helen Rashleigh

Rise Up Australia
The personal care worker from The Basin in Melbourne’s east has nominated as a representative of the Christrian-based party Rise Up Australia, founded by controversial minister Daniel Nalliah.
Rise Up Australia bases its policies on a Judeo-Christian heritage, which includes the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, the 1215 Magna Carta and the 1688 Bill of Rights.
The party is opposed to socialism, and believes in limiting the size of government and taxes. Rise Up also claims to promote the “traditional family” of a man, woman and children.

Helen Rashleigh
Nick Steel
Nick Steel

Australian Protectionist Party
Nick Steel is a former unsuccessful One Nation candidate who has decided to stand for Corangamite.
Point Lonsdale’s Mr Steel says he wants to reduce the cost of living by increasing tariffs.
The 56-year-old also said he wanted to cut foreign aid, reduce workplace bullying, force the government to buy Australian-made products and reduce age-based discrimination.
The Australian Protectionist Party’s policy website says the party wants to “end Third World immigration and Muslim immigration” to build a “homogenous” society.

Nick Steel

Australian Labor Party
Darren Cheeseman pried Corangamite from the Liberal Party’s fingertips in 2007, breaking Stewart McArthur’s 23-year reign.
Corangamite’s marginal status helped Mr Cheeseman deliver funding for the Princes Highway’s duplication, Bluewater Fitness Centre, Colac’s Trade Training Centre and a Youth Health Hub.
The backbencher found national fame in 2012 when he called for Kevin Rudd to replace Julia Gillard as Prime Minister. Mr Cheeseman eventually got his wish and Mr Rudd’s revival has rekindled Mr Cheeseman’s chance of retaining his seat.



Click here to see video messages from Corangamite candidates.


Same characters, new story

First-preferencesBoth the Liberal and Labor parties fielded the same candidates in 2013 that they fielded in 2010.

Labor preselected sitting member Darren Cheeseman, while former television presenter Sarah Henderson successfully challenged him for the second time after narrowly missing out in 2010.

The unofficial election campaign wasbeen in full swing for more than a year before the poll, after the Liberals preselected Ms Henderson in June 2012.

While the main players remained, the cast of supporting characters changed. All candidates for minor parties were different from those in 2010, and candidates included members of new parties.

The electorate has also changed shape after a boundary realignment. The border change could have benefited the Liberals, with the change adding traditionally conservative farming areas to the seat and taking away more progressive coastal areas.

Pollsters and bookmakers have tipped the Liberals to take out the seat.

Kevin Rudd’s return to the Labor leadership failed to benefit Mr Cheeseman, who famously spoke out against then PM Julia Gillard in February 2012, saying Labor would be “decimated” at the election with her in charge.


From safe to shaky

Corangamite was a safe conservative seat for most of its history, only having had two previous Labor members – James Scullin from 1910 to 1913, and Richard Crouch from 1929 to 1931.


Mr Cheeseman was the seat’s first ALP member since 1931 when he won the seat in 2007, ending a 76-year drought.

Mr Cheeseman defeated former Howard Government whip Stewart McArthur, who had held the seat for 23 years.


Regional leaders hope to attract more funding in 2013, and started a campaign to attract $50 million for the Great Ocean Road.The result is that Corangamite has changed from a safe Liberal seat to a marginal Labor seat. The marginal status has helped attract funding announcements during the past two campaigns, securing hundreds of millions of dollars in funding, including cash for an upgrade of the Princes Highway.

Corangamite residents also hoped to receive promises for spending on country roads, sports facilities such as Colac’s Central Reserve, Lake Colac, health, schools and the farming sector.


The story…

Liberal candidate Sarah Henderson made Colac’s first major announcement for the campaign, a $2.5-million pledge to help upgrade Colac’s Central Reserve sports facilities. Full story.

Incumbent Labor MP Darren Cheeseman followed suit, matching the Central Reserve funding. Full story.

The Liberals also announced $25 million for maintenance and upgrades on the Great Ocean Road, after a community campaign for the funding. The State Government will match the Great Ocean Road spending. Full story.

Labor failed to match the Ocean Road funding.

Labor fared better than the Liberals when officials drew the ballot order for Corangamite. Labor gained fifth spot on ballot papers, with the Liberals at 12th spot, an advantage possibly worth 1.5 percentage points for Labor. The Greens got top spot on ballot papers. Full story.

Colac Area Health is using the election to lobby for funding for a range of projects, including a $4.5-million centre for children’s health, and has written to the major parties asking for funding. Full story.

But the hospitals pleas fell on deaf ears, with neither major party committing to funding the much-needed facilities. Full story.

Lake Colac lobbyist and sailor David McKenzie called for the parties to fund work to improve the state of Lake Colac, but the only promise in that area hwas a $50,000 promise from Ms Henderson for a master plan for the lake.

NO CANDIDATE: Katter's Australian Party

NO CANDIDATE: Katter’s Australian Party

Two new conservative parties, both with headline-grabbing Queensland leaders, attracted national headlines in 2013, but both Katter’s Australian Party and the Palmer United Party have had bad luck in Corangamite.

Businessman Clive Palmer’s party preselected Buddy Rojek as Corangamite candidate, but later disendorsed him after nominations closed. Full story.

Mr Rojek had promised a party with male and female models for his volunteers, and had made strange and offensive posts online before his disendorsement.

Mr Rojek stood as an independent, although Palmer United was still next to his name on ballot papers. He has talked about starting his own party, ANZAC United Party.

Queensland MP Bob Katter’s new political party had promised to field a candidate in every House of Representatives seat, but failed to live up to the promise in Corangamite.

Mr Katter visited Colac in April to drum up, attracting a crowd of farmers, and the party had another meeting at Pirron Yallock in July hoping to find a candidate.

Despite claims KAP was “still on the hunt” for a candidate, the party was unable to field one by the close of nominations.

The Democratic Labour Party failed to field a candidate in Corangamite, but still took out advertising encouraging people to vote for Nationals candidate Andrew Black.

Ms Henderson took the early lead in vote counts on election night, and was a clear winner early on. Full story.

She claimed victory over Mr Cheeseman on the Tuesday three days after the election. Full story.



Corangamite map with towns

The seat

Communities in the electorate include Colac, Apollo Bay, Birregurra, Lorne, Torquay, Winchelsea, Anglesea, Barwon Heads, Belmont, Grovedale, Highton, and Ocean Grove.

The region also includes parts of the world-famous Great Ocean Road, the beautiful Otway Ranges and volcanic plains.

The electorate of Wannon sits to the west, Ballarat to the north and Corio to the east.

Major industries are primary production such as dairy, beef, wool, grains and timber; food processing; manufacturing; retail; and tourism.




NumbersThe electorate was named after Lake Corangamite, but the lake is not in the electorate. The Australian Electoral Commission put the lake into the neighbouring Wannon electorate in 2002 when it realigned the electorate’s boundaries. The border is now on the lake’s eastern shore.

Corangamite was one of Australia’s original 75 electorates, dating to the country’s first federal election in 1901.

Corangamite’s first MP, Chester Manifold, was buried at sea after dying on a voyage to the United States.

Future Prime Minister James Scullin was Corangamite MP from 1910 to 1913, but lost the seat. He later rejoined politics as MP for Yarra. He was Prime Minister from 1929 to 1932, the beginning of the Great Depression.

Ms Henderson is the first woman to hold Corangamite, and the  fifth Liberal Party member to hold the office, although most members have been conservatives.


Click here for more coverage on the 2013 federal election.



2 Responses to “Corangamite election guide”

  1. Phil Alexander

    Come on Alain, are you sure you’re not the National Party campaign director for Corangamite?

  2. Alain

    I met Andrew Black on the hustings yesterday. It is so good to have the Nationals back in in the Corangamite electorate and to know there are young people who have the guts to voice common sense socially conservative ideas.