Division of Bendigo

The Division of Bendigo is an Australian electoral division in the state of Victoria. The division was proclaimed in 1900, and was one of the original 65 divisions to be contested at the first federal election. It is named for the city of Bendigo.

Australian House of Representatives Division
Division of Bendigo in Victoria, as of the 2019 federal election.
MPLisa Chesters
NamesakeBendigo, Victoria
Electors112,801 (2019)
Area5,496 km2 (2,122.0 sq mi)

The division is situated on the northern foothills of the Great Dividing Range in North Central Victoria. It covers an area of approximately 5,496 square kilometres (2,122 sq mi) and provides the southern gateway to the Murray–Darling basin. In addition to the city of Bendigo, other large population centres in the division include Castlemaine, Heathcote, Kyneton and Woodend.[1]

The current Member for the Division of Bendigo, since the 2013 federal election, is Lisa Chesters, a member of the Australian Labor Party.


In the early years of federation the seat consisted of little more than Bendigo itself, but on later boundaries the seat has included towns such as Echuca, Castlemaine, Maryborough and Seymour.

Bendigo has been a marginal seat, changing hands regularly between the Labor Party and the conservative parties; typically mirroring voting patterns in state elections.[2] However, it has remained a Labor seat since the 1998 federal election.

Unlike most marginal seats, Bendigo is not a barometer for winning government. Since 1949, all but one of its members has spent at least one term in opposition. Indeed, during two elections that saw a change of government, it elected an opposition MP.

Its most notable members have been its first representative, Sir John Quick, who was a leading federalist, and Prime Minister Billy Hughes who, although from Sydney, represented Bendigo for two terms at a time when the federal Parliament met in Melbourne, and who moved to the seat after leaving the Labor Party over conscription, holding the seat as the leader of the Nationalist Party.

John Brumby, who held the seat from 1983 to 1990, later became Premier of Victoria. Brumby was defeated in Bendigo at the 1990 election by a former state Legislative Councillor, Bruce Reid, who retained the seat narrowly in 1993 and 1996, before retiring at the 1998 election, when a 4.3% swing delivered the seat to Labor's Steve Gibbons. Reid has a minor claim to fame through being the third candidate in the contest for Liberal leadership between John Hewson and John Howard after the party's 1993 election defeat. Reid attracted one vote, presumably his own.[2]


Image Member Party Term Notes
  Sir John Quick
Protectionist 29 March 1901
Previously held the Victorian Legislative Assembly seat of Sandhurst. Served as minister under Deakin. Lost seat
  Independent Protectionist 1906 –
26 May 1909
  Commonwealth Liberal 26 May 1909 –
23 April 1913
  John Arthur
Labor 31 May 1913
9 December 1914
Served as minister under Fisher. Died in office
  Alfred Hampson
Labor 6 February 1915
5 May 1917
Previously held the Victorian Legislative Assembly seat of Bendigo East. Lost seat
  Billy Hughes
Nationalist 5 May 1917
16 December 1922
Previously held the Division of West Sydney. Served as Prime Minister from 1915 to 1923. Transferred to the Division of North Sydney
  Geoffry Hurry
Nationalist 16 December 1922
12 October 1929
Lost seat
  Richard Keane
Labor 12 October 1929
19 December 1931
Lost seat. Later elected to the Senate in 1937
  Eric Harrison
United Australia 19 December 1931
21 September 1937
Did not contest in 1937. Failed to win pre-selection for the Division of Deakin
  George Rankin
Country 23 October 1937
31 October 1949
Transferred to the Senate
  Percy Clarey
Labor 10 December 1949
17 May 1960
Previously a member of the Victorian Legislative Council. Died in office
  Noel Beaton
Labor 16 July 1960
9 April 1969
Resigned in order to retire from politics
  David Kennedy
Labor 7 June 1969
2 December 1972
Lost seat. Later elected to the Victorian Legislative Assembly seat of Bendigo. First person from an Indigenous background to be elected to the House of Representatives
  John Bourchier
Liberal 2 December 1972
5 March 1983
Served as Chief Government Whip in the House under Fraser. Lost seat
  John Brumby
Labor 5 March 1983
24 March 1990
Lost seat. Later elected to the Victorian Legislative Council and then the Legislative Assembly in 1993 and later to become Premier of Victoria.
  Bruce Reid
Liberal 24 March 1990
31 August 1998
Previously a member of the Victorian Legislative Council. Retired
  Steve Gibbons
Labor 3 October 1998
5 August 2013
  Lisa Chesters
Labor 7 September 2013

Election results

2019 Australian federal election: Bendigo[3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labor Lisa Chesters 44,340 43.62 +5.06
Liberal Sam Gayed 32,210 31.68 −6.06
Greens Robert Holian 11,381 11.20 +0.29
One Nation Vaughan Williams 6,278 6.18 +6.18
United Australia Adam Veitch 4,321 4.25 +4.25
Conservative National Julie Hoskin 1,667 1.64 +1.64
Rise Up Australia Sharon Budde 1,464 1.44 −0.70
Total formal votes 101,661 95.93 +0.55
Informal votes 4,318 4.07 −0.55
Turnout 105,979 93.99 +0.51
Two-party-preferred result
Labor Lisa Chesters 60,016 59.04 +5.17
Liberal Sam Gayed 41,645 40.96 −5.17
Labor hold Swing +5.17


  1. "Profile of the electoral division of Bendigo (Vic)". Current federal electoral divisions. Australian Electoral Commission. 1 October 2013. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
  2. Green, Antony (11 October 2013). "Federal election 2013: Bendigo results". Australia Votes. Australia: ABC. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
  3. Bendigo, VIC, Tally Room 2019, Australian Electoral Commission.

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