Mr Shorten could face a voter backlash for continuing to live in Moonee Ponds, which would not be in the new seat. Picture: AAP Image/Rebecca Le May
Mr Shorten could face a voter backlash for continuing to live in Moonee Ponds, which would not be in the new seat. Picture: AAP Image/Rebecca Le May

Shorten urged to shift seats

BILL Shorten's closest allies are urging him to abandon his electorate of Maribyrnong and switch to Australia's newest  and safest  seat -  incongruously named in honour of the late Liberal prime minister Malcolm Fraser.

The federal Opposition Leader's factional supporters want him to contest the seat, which is being created in Melbourne's west under a proposed shake-up of Victoria's federal electorate boundaries.

The new electorate will likely include the suburbs of Sunshine, Derrimut and Braybrook, and would give the Labor leader a bulletproof margin of nearly 20 per cent.

Up to a third of the new electorate would be made up of voters from Mr Shorten's current seat of Maribyrnong.

A Labor MP told the Herald Sun: "He's the leader and he's earned it. I'll be telling him to take it. It's hardly like he's cutting and running - almost half of the electorate would be his people anyway".

Up to a third of the new electorate would be made up of voters from Bill Shorten’s current seat of Maribyrnong. Picture: AAP/Tony McDonough
Up to a third of the new electorate would be made up of voters from Bill Shorten’s current seat of Maribyrnong. Picture: AAP/Tony McDonough


The MP said Maribyrnong would remain "a plum seat" for "another quality candidate".

A source close to Mr Shorten said last night: "It's too early to speculate; this is only draft redistribution. The reality is this decision pretty much splits the seat (Maribyrnong)."

While the change is popular among senior Labor figures, Mr Shorten could face a voter backlash for continuing to live in Moonee Ponds, which would not be in the new seat.

The Herald Sun can reveal Mr Shorten's colleagues in his Right faction have told him he should snap up the chance to contest Fraser.

An ally said: "This is about giving him the biggest margin possible, because if he becomes PM he doesn't need to be worrying about holding his own seat. Campaigning to save your seat is only going to distract from the bigger picture."

Liberal PM John Howard famously lost his seat at the 2007 election, and in 2013, Labor PM Kevin Rudd had to fight hard to retain his seat.

The changes could also open up the possibility of former Andrews government minister Jane Garrett switching to federal parliament. But it is understood she is reluctant to move to Canberra, despite strong factional support.

Victoria's booming population has earned it another seat in federal parliament, and the state is also tipped to win another seat in three years.

The redistribution, proposed by the Australian Electoral Commission last Friday, would move more than 38,000 voters in Braybrook, Kealba, St Albans and Sunshine North to Fraser from Maribyrnong, shaving the margin by almost 2 per cent.

Maribyrnong would be expanded into current ALP seats Wills and Gellibrand and Greens-held Melbourne.

The boundary rejig has notionally handed Labor three extra Victorian seats, putting the Turnbull Government's one-seat majority at grave risk.

rob.harris@news.com.au



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