Highton, Belmont may fall within new Corio boundaries
HIGHTON has been part of the Corangamite electorate for as long as Australia has existed as a federated nation.
But times are changing on the south side of the Barwon River, with the Corio electorate likely to cover the suburb and neighbouring Belmont for the first time in more than a century.
The Australian Electoral Commission ( AEC) released draft boundaries for Victoria’s federal electorates earlier this month, pushing Corio’s boundary south and potentially abolishing Corangamite, replacing it with the contentious Cox electorate.
Corio MP Richard Marles said it was highly likely his electorate would include Highton and Belmont at the next federal election, despite a push by Corangamite MP Sarah Henderson to retain her electorate’s name and approximate boundary.
“We have an independent umpire in the AEC and I accept the umpire’s decision,” the Labor frontbencher said. “I know the Highton community well but I wanted to get a head start and meet (with voters) be- cause this is likely to be part of Corio at the next federal election, which, it should be remembered, could be as early as August. The Turnbull Government’s lack of interest in Geelong is clear whether you’re on the north or south side of the Barwon River.”
Highton has been at the centre of Ms Henderson’s two successful campaigns for Corangamite, with former PM Tony Abbott campaigning alongside her there during the 2013 race and Malcolm Turnbull attending a CFA rally in the suburb days before the 2016 federal election.
Ms Henderson said the Corio MP’s “arrogance was on full display” by campaigning in the Corangamite electorate.
“The final electoral boundaries may vary substantially from what has been proposed in the draft document,” the Liberal MP said. “The AEC is calling for community objections which can be lodged up until 4 May. A final decision won’t be made until mid-2018. This is an independent process and Mr Marles looks foolish to be presuming he knows better than the AEC. If Mr Marles jumped the gun like this in a race at Landy Field, he’d be disqualified.”
BOUNDARY CHANGES: Federal MP for Corio Richard Marles outside Highton with Deakin University Labor Club students Tegan Whitten and Kye Cole at the weekend.