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Division of Melbourne Ports

Melbourne Ports
Australian House of Representatives Division
Division of Melbourne Ports in Victoria, as of the 2016 federal election
NamesakePort Melbourne
Electors102,283 (2016)
Area40 km2 (15.4 sq mi)
DemographicInner metropolitan

The Division of Melbourne Ports was an Australian federal electoral division in the inner south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. It was located to the south of Melbourne's central business district and covered an area of approximately 40 km2 around the north and north-eastern shores of Port Phillip Bay.

The electorate was created at the time of Australian Federation in 1901 and was one of the original 65 divisions contested at the first federal election. It is named for the fact that, at the time of its creation, it was centred on Port Melbourne and Williamstown, both major ports.

The electorate, formerly working class, was much more demographically diverse on its final boundaries, with rapidly accelerating inner-city gentrification and high-density housing developments in later years. It included Port Melbourne, but also included a number of middle and upper middle class suburbs such as Albert Park, Balaclava, Caulfield, Elwood, Middle Park, Ripponlea, South Melbourne and St Kilda. It was notable for having one of Australia's larger Jewish populations, at 9.9%, much higher than the nationwide 0.4%. It also had a high proportion of atheists and agnostics, with 38.8% of residents answering "No Religion" in the 2016 census, compared to 30.1% nationwide.[1] It also had a large gay and lesbian community.


The suburb of Port Melbourne, the division's namesake

Melbourne Ports was held by the Australian Labor Party from 1906 until 2019, when it was renamed. During this period it was held by only five members, all men, most notably Jack Holloway, a minister who served under John Curtin and Ben Chifley; Frank Crean, Treasurer and then Deputy Prime Minister in the Whitlam government; and Clyde Holding, a minister in the Hawke government who prior to switching to federal politics had served as Victorian Opposition Leader from 1967 to 1977.

Originally, it was anchored in the industrial suburbs in the west of the electorate, which are part of Labor's heartland in west Melbourne. On those boundaries, for decades it was one of the safest Labor seats in the country, and Labor usually easily retained it even when Labor was heavily defeated nationally. The only times Labor's hold on the seat was even remotely threatened during this era came in 1975 and 1977; even then, Labor's primary vote was enough to retain the seat outright.

After it was extended eastwards to Caulfield and other Liberal-voting areas in the 1990 redistribution, it became much less secure for Labor. Continuing the gradual downwards trend in the Labor primary vote, in the 2013 election, Labor was returned with a primary vote of less than 32 percent. In 2016, Labor actually suffered a primary vote swing of four percent and a two-party swing of two percent even as it nearly reduced the Coalition to minority government nationally.

In 2018, the Australian Electoral Commission proposed renaming Melbourne Ports as Macnamara, after medical scientist Dame Jean Macnamara.[2] The new name was gazetted on 13 July 2018, and was first used at the 2019 federal election.[3]


Image Member Party Term Notes
  Samuel Mauger
Protectionist 29 March 1901
12 December 1906
Previously held the Victorian Legislative Assembly seat of Footscray. Transferred to the Division of Maribyrnong
  James Mathews
Labor 12 December 1906
27 November 1931
  Jack Holloway
19 December 1931
19 March 1951
Previously held the Division of Flinders. Served as minister under Curtin, Forde and Chifley. Retired
  Frank Crean
28 April 1951
10 November 1977
Previously held the Victorian Legislative Assembly seat of Prahran. Served as minister and Deputy Prime Minister under Whitlam. Retired
  Clyde Holding
10 December 1977
31 August 1998
Previously held the Victorian Legislative Assembly seat of Richmond. Served as minister under Hawke. Retired
  Michael Danby
3 October 1998
11 April 2019
Retired after Melbourne Ports was abolished in 2019

Election results

2016 Australian federal election: Melbourne Ports
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Owen Guest 35,533 41.90 +0.85
Labor Michael Danby 22,897 27.00 −4.67
Greens Steph Hodgins-May 20,179 23.79 +3.62
Animal Justice Robert Smyth 1,685 1.99 +1.99
Independent Peter Holland 1,393 1.64 +1.64
Marriage Equality Henry von Doussa 1,349 1.59 +1.59
Drug Law Reform Levi McKenzie-Kirkbright 1,348 1.59 +1.59
Independent John Myers 425 0.50 +0.50
Total formal votes 84,809 95.76 −0.42
Informal votes 3,756 4.24 +0.42
Turnout 88,565 86.59 −3.45
Two-party-preferred result
Labor Michael Danby 43,573 51.38 −2.18
Liberal Owen Guest 41,236 48.62 +2.18
Labor hold Swing −2.18


  1. ^ "2016 Census QuickStats: Melbourne Ports". Archived from the original on 28 August 2017. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  2. ^ "Victoria gets new seat named after Malcolm Fraser, ACT gains one called Bean". ABC News. 6 April 2018. Archived from the original on 6 April 2018. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  3. ^ "Profile of the electoral division of Macnamara (Vic)". Archived from the original on 9 August 2018. Retrieved 21 September 2018.

37°51′22″S 144°58′34″E / 37.856°S 144.976°E / -37.856; 144.976

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Division of Melbourne Ports
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