Division of McEwen

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Australian House of Representatives Division
Division of MCEWEN 2016.png
Division of McEwen in Victoria, as of the 2016 federal election.
Created 1984
MP Rob Mitchell
Party Labor
Namesake John McEwen
Electors 130,612 (2016)
Area 10,675 km2 (4,121.6 sq mi)
Demographic Rural

The Division of McEwen is an Australian Electoral Division in the state of Victoria. Classed as a rural seat, the electorate is located in the centre of the state, north of the capital city of Melbourne. It includes the outer northern suburbs of Craigieburn, Doreen, Mernda, Sunbury and Wollert, and extends along the Hume Highway north of the metropolitan area to include the towns of Broadford, Gisborne, Kilmore, Seymour, Wallan and Woodend as well as many other small towns.

The Division was proclaimed at the redistribution of 14 September 1984, and was first contested at the 1984 federal election. It was named after Rt Hon Sir John McEwen, leader of the Country Party of Australia, who was appointed caretaker Prime Minister of Australia after the disappearance of Harold Holt in 1967.

For most of its history, the seat has been very marginal. While classed as rural, it is actually a hybrid urban-rural seat. It is split between portions of Labor's traditional heartland of north Melbourne and rural areas that tilt more toward the Liberals and Nationals.

The 2007 election resulted in McEwen becoming the most marginal seat in the country. Incumbent Liberal MP Fran Bailey led throughout most of the initial count, and was initially found to have lost to former Labor state MLC Rob Mitchell by six votes. Bailey subsequently requested and was granted a full recount, which overturned Mitchell's win and instead gave Bailey a twelve-vote victory. The result was challenged in the High Court of Australia in its capacity as the Court of Disputed Returns, and was referred to the Federal Court of Australia. Over seven months after the election and a review of 643 individual votes, the court altered the formal status of several dozen, eventually declaring Bailey the winner by 27 votes, later amended to 31 votes. Following the resolution of the long-running dispute, Bailey called for a total overhaul of the voting system.[1][2][3]

Bailey retired at the 2010 election where Mitchell again stood as the Labor candidate and won amid a considerable swing to Labor in Victoria that allowed Julia Gillard to form a minority government. Ahead of the 2013 election, a redistribution pushed McEwen further into Melbourne, increasing Labor's notional majority from a marginal 5.3 percent to a fairly safe 9.2 percent. However, Mitchell barely retained the seat against former Liberal MLC Donna Petrovich with a majority of just 0.15 percent—a margin of just 313 votes—which made McEwen the most marginal seat in Australia. Mitchell won a third term in Australian federal election, 2016 on a swing of over seven percent, boosting his majority to 57 percent, the strongest result in the seat's history.


Member Party Term
  Peter Cleeland Labor 1984–1990
  Fran Bailey Liberal 1990–1993
  Peter Cleeland Labor 1993–1996
  Fran Bailey Liberal 1996–2010
  Rob Mitchell Labor 2010–present

Election results[edit]

Australian federal election, 2016: McEwen[4]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labor Rob Mitchell 50,588 44.69 +7.07
Liberal Chris Jermyn 38,151 33.70 −6.64
Greens Neil Barker 8,583 7.58 +0.48
Family First Dorothy Long 3,707 3.27 +0.40
Independent Ross Lee 3,013 2.66 +2.66
Animal Justice Cathy Vaina 3,005 2.65 +2.65
National James Anderson 2,672 2.36 +2.36
Rise Up Australia Jeff Truscott 1,867 1.65 +1.19
Country Tracey Andrew 1,614 1.43 +0.75
Total formal votes 113,200 94.03 −1.35
Informal votes 7,189 5.97 +1.35
Turnout 120,389 92.17 −2.62
Two-party-preferred result
Labor Rob Mitchell 65,482 57.85 +7.70
Liberal Chris Jermyn 47,718 42.15 −7.70
Labor hold Swing +7.70


  1. ^ Doherty, Ben (3 July 2008). "Court confirms Bailey win". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 3 July 2008. 
  2. ^ "Labor loses bid to win back McEwen". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2 July 2008. Retrieved 3 July 2008. 
  3. ^ Mitchell v Bailey (No 2) 2008 FCA 692: Federal Court of Australia Decisions 2/7/2008
  4. ^ McEwen, VIC, Virtual Tally Room 2016, Australian Electoral Commission.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°21′43″S 145°20′49″E / 37.362°S 145.347°E / -37.362; 145.347