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Division of McEwen

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Australian House of Representatives Division
Division of McEwen in Victoria, as of the 2019 federal election.
MPRob Mitchell
NamesakeSir John McEwen
Electors108,064 (2019)
Area2,670 km2 (1,030.9 sq mi)

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 Freeway north of the metropolitan area to include the towns of Gisborne as well as Wallan as well as many other small towns.


Sir John McEwen, the division's namesake
Sir John McEwen, the division's namesake

The Division was proclaimed at the redistribution of 14 September 1984, and was first contested at the 1984 federal election. It was named after Sir John McEwen, leader of the Australian Country Party from 1958 to 1971, who served as caretaker Prime Minister of Australia after the disappearance of Harold Holt in 1967.

While classed as rural, it is actually a hybrid urban-rural seat. The urban portion is located in Labor's traditional heartland of north Melbourne, while the rural portion votes equally strongly for the Liberals and Nationals. As a result, for most of its existence it has been highly marginal. Unlike most marginal seats with similar demographics, however, McEwen is not considered a barometer for winning government. All but one of its members has spent at least one term in opposition.

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 2016 Australian federal election on a swing of over seven percent, boosting his majority to 57 percent, the strongest result in the seat's history.


Image Member Party Term Notes
Peter Cleeland
Labor 1 December 1984
24 March 1990
Lost seat
Fran Bailey
Liberal 24 March 1990
13 March 1993
Lost seat
Peter Cleeland
Labor 13 March 1993
2 March 1996
Lost seat
Fran Bailey
Liberal 2 March 1996
19 July 2010
Served as minister under Howard. Retired
Rob Mitchell
Labor 21 August 2010

Election results

2019 Australian federal election: McEwen[4]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labor Rob Mitchell 37,911 39.44 −2.77
Liberal Phillip Fusco 33,162 34.50 −1.32
Greens Neil Barker 8,026 8.35 −0.24
One Nation Ronnie Graham 5,693 5.92 +5.92
Justice Deb Butler 3,878 4.03 +4.03
United Australia Chris Hayman 3,016 3.14 +3.14
Animal Justice Ruth Parramore 2,890 3.01 +0.17
Independent Robert Hyndman 1,552 1.61 +1.61
Total formal votes 96,128 94.74 +0.31
Informal votes 5,334 5.26 −0.31
Turnout 101,462 93.91 +4.20
Two-party-preferred result
Labor Rob Mitchell 52,892 55.02 −0.98
Liberal Phillip Fusco 43,236 44.98 +0.98
Labor hold Swing −0.98


  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, Tally Room 2019, Australian Electoral Commission.

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

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Division of McEwen
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