- Held by: James Merlino – ALP
- Since: 2002
- Swing at 2010 election: – 4.8%
- Redistribution details: Monbulk has lost The Basin and parts of Boronia and Bayswater and gained areas such as Tecoma, Belgrave, Selby, and parts of Kilsyth, Montrose and Mooroolbark. Following redistribution there is a notional Liberal margin of 1.1 per cent.
- Size of electorate: 265-square kilometres
KEY COMMENTS: Changes to electoral boundaries have made the seat the Shadow Opposition Leader held with a 1.9 per cent margin in 2010 a “notional” Liberal electorate. But polls suggest the swing to Labor throughout Victoria might ensure he retains the seat. He is likely to benefit from anger in Tecoma after a failed campaign to stop a McDonald’s 24-hour restaurant and his high profile as Shadow Education Minister.
As you venture among fern and rhododendron along the Mt Dandenong Tourist Road in the heart of Monbulk, the electorate seems a haven, far from the cut and thrust of Spring Street.
You’d think a high profile candidate, Deputy Opposition leader James Merlino, safe here and surely likely to retain a seat in which voters have favoured the incumbent since the 1990s.
Yet changes to electoral boundaries have undermined the shadow education minister’s hold on the outer eastern and Dandenong Ranges seat.
South African-born Mike Clarke campaigned to protect the environment in the apartheid-era at a time when security police targeted activists and infiltrated student groups. He protested against the construction of a nuclear power station north west of Cape Town and…