Oakleigh

  • Held by: Anne Barker (ALP) who is retiring at the 2014 election
  • Since: 1999
  • Swing at 2010 election: Labor withstood a two party preferred swing against it of 7.7 per cent
  • Redistribution details: The electorate is now bigger and extends to the East, taking in all of Monash University’s Clayton campus. It has also lost a sliver of suburban land on its western boundary, adjacent to the Caulfield racecourse. The redistribution favours Labor, giving it an estimated margin of 5.1 per cent
  • Size of electorate: 29 sq km.

KEY COMMENTS: Oakleigh tends to change hands when the Government changes. it did this spectacularly in 1999 when it turned to Labor and helped oust the Kennett Government. Notably, it stayed in Labor’s hands in 2010, despite the fall of the Brumby Government. The slight gains to Labor, following the redistribution, will help offset any losses following the retirement of incumbent Anne Barker.

All roads lead to Oakleigh

Oakleigh is an electorate defined by major roads. The Princes Highway bisects the seat forming the northern border at one end and the southern border at the other. The rest of the northern boundary is determined by the Monash Freeway and the rest of the south by busy North Road. So perhaps it isn’t surprising that transport is the hottest local issue at the 2014 state election.

As local mayor Cr Geoff Lake told UniPollWatch, public transport, is the most significant factor for many voters. For those who use private cars it’s the state of the electorate’s busy roads, especially the bottle necks that form around several inefficient level crossings.

> Read the full electorate profile here

Candidate profiles

STEPHEN DIMOPOULOS
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

The Monash and Elizabeth Gardens Nursing Home doesn’t fit neatly into Stephen Dimopoulos’s carefully crafted narrative about community service. The ALP candidate for Oakleigh has spent eleven years on the Monash City Council, where he has…
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THEO ZOGRAPHOS
LIBERAL

In real life, Liberal candidate Theo Zographos seems pleasant enough. Online, however, he can be belligerent. For example, in 2010 when he was running in the last state election, he called the federal independent MP Rob Oakeshott, “Rob Oakratt” and described him as a…
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STEVEN MERRIEL
AUSTRALIAN GREENS

The number one issue for the Oakleigh Greens candidate, Steven Merriel, is the proposed Rowville rail extension, even though the new line would be of greatest benefit to voters in another electorate. Unlike his opponents, Theo Zographos and Steven…
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Oakleigh news

Oakleigh: It’s no longer all Greek

By Marisa Rametta and karla Duckworth The suburbs that form the electorate of Oakleigh have long been known as Melbourne’s Greek heartland, and this is likely to have an impact on the outcome of the race for the seat in the 2014 election. According to 2006 census data, the total Greek-born population of the City of Monash (much of which comprises the electorate of Oakleigh) was 4877 persons. This is significantly more than the next highest recorded council in the Melbourne East district, the City of Manningham with 3365, and represents nearly 9% of the 54,325 Greek-born people living in Victoria. The peak of Greek migration to Australia was between the 1950s to the 1970s, but a decline in recent cases of Greeks moving to Australia has seen a drop in the numbers of the Greek-born population. This is reflected in the median age of Greek-born citizens in Australia being 63 years of age, in comparison to the 37 years for the total Victorian population, according to the Victorian Multicultural Commission. Growing up in a Greek community in Australia can have both positive and negative aspects, according to voter Arthur Kalamatianos, 38. In tight-knit communities, there can be a tendency for nosiness, with ‘everyone sticking their noses in to everyone else’s business’, Kalamatianos said. This is outweighed, however, by the community’s social nature, the kindness displayed by its members, as ‘everyone likes to help each other out’, and the way that Greek parents ‘always put their kids first’. According to the cultural profile released by the Migrant Information Centre as part of its multicultural equity and access program, the... read more

It’s all about transport in Oakleigh

By Alexander Owsianka. Although transport is an important issue in the seat of Oakleigh, it appears that both the major parties are offering very similar promises. Both the Labor candidate, Steve Dimopoulos and the Liberal’s Theo Zographos are promising to fix level crossings, improve bus services and upgrade train stations. They’re also promising to support the long-anticipated rail extension to Rowville to increase train services through the electorate – although both concede this is not their highest priority. It is in the detail that voters can find differences. Labor’s proposal to upgrade the Huntingdale station has been designed and costed by Monash University, which has contributed $200,000 toward the project. Labor says this will improve bus networking throughout the electorate and will fix ‘a shocker’ of a car park. Zographos has responded with the claim that Labor’s transport plans are underfunded and not achievable. Speaking at a transport forum in the electorate in October, Zographos said $2 billion is being spent on improvements to the Pakenham-Cranbourne rail corridor. The Liberal plan features newly rebuilt stations at Clayton, Murrumbeena and Carnegie in addition to the delivery of 25 new high capacity metro trains. Speaking at the same forum, Dimopolous said that he held public transport – and specifically the state of the Huntingdale interchange – as a high priority. ‘It’s a key issue and it affects people in a frustrating way’ Theo Zographos has told Oakleigh residents that he worked to ensure the Liberal party’s policy included the removal of several level crossings in the electorate. ‘I helped secure the commitment to remove the Murrumbeena level crossing in the second... read more

Oakleigh councillors slug it out over carpark market

By Mitchell Martin. A large carpark in downtown Oakleigh has become a flashpoint in the state election. At issue is a plan to build a seven storey building. The local Monash Council approved it by just one vote in late September. But the site is the home of the popular Sunday Rotary market that raises $70,000 annually for local charities and community services. And to complicate things, the two lead candidates in the seat of Oakleigh are both members of the Monash City Council and represent the ward where the development is planned. The issue is heating up in the lead up to the poll and is likely to affect the way some people vote in the marginal electorate. The fight is about more than the loss of a community market. The proposed development would remove 98 car parking spaces in a suburb known for its lack of car parking. The city’s car parks regularly exceed 95 per cent capacity, with many residents and traders unable to conduct business freely due to lack of suitable parking. Labor’s Cr Steve Dimopoulos and the Liberal’s Cr Theo Zographos both acknowledge that car parking within the suburb needs to be addressed. But only Dimopoulos opposed the development when the council voted on the matter. Dimopoulos is confident that the issue will resonate with voters and has started a campaign on Facebook called Save Rotary Sunday Market. During the council meeting he said the future of the Rotary market was important to the community and that the proposed replacement sites were not suitable. Local shop keepers have claimed that they are unable to... read more

Gaming in Oakleigh

By Jacob Miller and Lilybet Holt. It’s 11am on Monday at the Rosstown Hotel on the corner of Koonang Road and Princes Highway in the Oakleigh electorate. The bar and TAB areas are empty, except for a couple of customers sitting under TV screens watching horse racing. In the centre of the hotel is the gaming area, a self-contained zone with its own bar and smoking area and with easy access to the carpark and ATM machine. The room is poorly lit but the gaming machines flash to the tune of repetitive cascading jingles and bell sounds. There are at least forty people, mostly elderly women, sitting on high vinyl stools. Many are leaning back. Some have their legs crossed. Most are holding blue cups with gold coins which they’re feeding into the gaming machines. This room is the largest losing venue in the Glen Eira local government area. Its 103 pokie machines extracted an incredible $16,265,684 in losses from patrons during the 2013/14 financial year. It is proof that Oakleigh, like many other Victorian electorates, has a major gambling problem. For example, across the Glen Eira council area – which crosses over the Oakleigh electorate – the losses from gambling in 2013/14 were over $72 million. In neighbouring Monash, which also overlaps the electorate, the losses were over $109 million. As high as these figures are, Monash is only the fifth worst on the statewide table of gambling losses. According to a University of Sydney report, 40 per cent of losses on pokie machines are made by problem gamblers, suggesting that venues like the Rosstown Hotel rely for... read more