Liberal-free contest in Bruce

Bruce MP Julian Hill, who seems to have few rivals in May''s federal election. 183780_02

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

The Liberal Party appears to have forsaken what had been regarded as a marginal federal seat.

ALP incumbent Julian Hill narrowly won the seat of Bruce by a 4 per cent margin in the 2016 election.

Yet no Liberal or Greens candidate has yet nominated in the current poll.

As of 18 April, Mr Hill’s only opponent is Mubahil Ahmed from Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party.

The candidate nomination period ends on Tuesday 23 April.

“It’s pretty shocking if the Liberals say they’re a serious party of government and they still don’t have a candidate running in a south-east metropolitan seat,” Mr Hill said.

“It’s disrespectful to the electorate and shows they don’t care about the South East of Melbourne.

“It’s another sign that they seem to have given up on governing.”

A seat boundary redistribution in 2018 has made Bruce notionally safe – estimated by the ABC as a 14 per cent buffer.

The seat no longer covers conservative suburbs such as Glen Waverley and Wheelers Hill, but has added an ALP-friendly region of Doveton, Endeavour Hills, Hallam and Narre Warren.

The boundary changes however have made the Labor stronghold of Hotham more marginal.

Incumbent Clare O’Neal, the opposition spokesperson for justice and consumer affairs, said she wasn’t taking the election result for granted.

“My team and I are out speaking to local residents all year round, regardless of whether there’s an election on.

“They want action on climate change, action on low wage growth, action on restoring funding for our schools and hospitals.”

The margin in Isaacs, held by opposition Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, has also tightened as a result of the re-distribution.

The Liberal Party was contacted for comment.

 

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