Aston By-Election Breakdown

If you weren’t fatigued enough after the federal and state elections of 2022, get ready for yet another political contest as the federal seat of Aston goes up for grabs once again. On April 1st, it’ll be April Fools for one of our major parties, as Alan Tudge passes the torch to a debut MP.

Image derived from map data from Google

If you weren’t fatigued enough after the federal and state elections of 2022, get ready for yet another political contest as the federal seat of Aston goes up for grabs once again. On April 1st, it’ll be April Fools for one of our major parties, as Alan Tudge passes the torch to a debut MP.


Wait, what’s a by-election?

The day of the federal election isn’t the only time that seats in Parliament can go up for grabs, and if a Member of Parliament resigns, dies in office, is found to be incapable of fulfilling their duties, or breaches the rules of the Australian Constitution, a by-election can be held to elect a replacement MP.

A by-election works the same way as a traditional election, with a ballot, candidates, and an eventual winner from the party with a majority of votes. The only key difference is that it is for only one electorate, and only constituents from that electorate have to vote.


What’s at stake for voters?

Suburbia rules in Aston, which takes in Wantirna, Bayswater, Boronia, Knoxfield, Ferntree Gully, Rowville and Lysterfield. This outer-eastern metropolitan electorate is home to a myriad of parks, schools, homes, and peaceful living. However, just like for most Australians, the cost-of-living crisis is going to reign supreme in the minds of Aston’s voters. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Aston homeowners are paying a monthly median average of $2,000 on mortgage repayments, compared to the Australian average of $1,863, with 41% of Aston voters mortgaged compared to the national average of 35%. Interest rate rises have hit this electorate particularly hard, and will be a policy area of major interest to voters.


Aston’s Electoral History

It’s been a very short 33 years since the Australian Labor Party last held Aston, and it has since consistently stayed a safe Liberal seat. This isn’t the electorate’s first by-election either, as Liberal MP Peter Nugent died in office in 2001, with fellow Liberal Chris Pearce keeping the seat until his retirement in 2010, when Alan Tudge took over.

Tudge enjoyed initial success in his political career, rising to cabinet positions such as Minister for Education and Youth, and later Minister for Human Services. This success came to a screeching halt after, in the latter ministry, Tudge was responsible for implementing the Robodebt scheme, overseeing its operation and making sure it ran smoothly (note: it did not, and was in fact illegal). This, combined with claims of emotional and physical abuse from his former staffer Rachelle Miller, preceded Tudge’s resignation from Parliament in February 2023, triggering a by-election.


Who are the Candidates?

Liberal Party: Roshena Campbell

A Melbourne City Councillor, barrister, and columnist for The Age, Campbell comes from a background of legal expertise in commercial and small business issues. She is also pushing for a continuation in the funding of vital infrastructure projects such as the Wellington and Napoleon Road Duplications, Dorset Road Extension and Rowville Rail. The Liberal Party’s campaign is emphasising the importance of bringing down inflation and fixing the economy, which will be on the minds of many voters.

Labor Party: Mary Doyle

Doyle comes from a regional background, growing up in Echuca. She didn’t start her road down politics until she was diagnosed with breast cancer at 25, inspiring her to advocate for the importance of healthcare and sickness benefits in government policy. Eventually she became an organiser for many of Victoria’s major unions, including the ACTU (Australian Council of Trades Union). Doyle ran last year against Tudge, and while she gained a 7.3% swing, was still unsuccessful in gaining the seat.

Greens: Angelica de Camillo

De Camillo, an environmental engineer and Pilates instructor, is the only major candidate who grew up in the electorate (specifically in Rowville). The Greens placed a comfortable third last year, but were of assistance to the Labor party through preferencing, which will remain the same for this election.

Independent: Maya Tesa

While an independent, Tesa identifies her candidacy as openly libertarian, running on a platform emphasising support for small business. She came fourth in the contest for the nearby electorate of Jagajaga at last year’s election, where she ran with the Liberal Democrats. She will be preferencing Campbell in April..

Fusion Party: Owen Miller

The Fusion party has a platform of climate change and innovation, and Miller himself has a history working for big tech firms in the USA, working on these issues. Fusion did not run in Aston in 2022, and is unlikely to be a threat for any of the major parties this time around.


What’s going to happen?

This election is especially important for the Liberal party, as the federal election last year left them with only three seats in metropolitan Melbourne, one of which being Aston. If history has their side, Aston should stay theirs, as it has been over 100 years since an opposition government has lost a by-election.

Both major parties have been campaigning hard, with both Albo and Dutton travelling to the leafy-green electorate in the past few weeks in support of their respective candidates. With the NSW state election happening only days before Aston heads to the polls, and with the federal budget due in May, the next few months are going to be crucial in the balance of power between the major parties.

For our UniMelb Aston-ites, this is no minor poll, and every single vote is going to count.

The by-election will be held on April 1st, but early voting centers are open now, so if you live out in Aston’s hills, get out there and vote!

For a full list of polling locations and early voting centres, check the AEC’s website here.


Image derived from map data from Google using electoral boundaries derived from the original work "Victoria – House of Representatives – 2022" by Ben Raue, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.5.

You may be interested in...
There are no current news articles.