Goldstein includes several high socio-economic suburbs, such as Sandringham, Brighton and Elsternwick. The median age is 41, suggesting a high proportion of pensioners. Prominent issues include transport, conservation and over-development. Goldstein has been a longstanding Liberal stronghold.
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Ten kilometres south of Melbourne’s CBD, the electorate of Goldstein is largely the home of relaxed and conservative families, who love their backyards and local beaches.
They worry about losing their space to population growth and overdevelopment. Residents of Brighton, Sandringham, Black Rock and Beaumaris embrace the tranquillity of Port Phillip Bay that borders them to the west.
The Northern border is shared with the Victorian shop fronts on Elsternwick’s Glen Huntly road. It extends to Caulfield South – a quiet area with significant parkland and sporting grounds.
The western border opens up to the modest suburbia of Ormond, McKinnon and Bentleigh, while neighbouring Hampton-East hosts two large, heritage listed public housing complexes.
The entire inner metropolitan seat of Goldstein covers 49 square kilometres and is home to about 100,000 electors, according to the AEC Goldstein profile.
A 2016 council survey reported the main concerns of Glen Eira residents as infrastructure and congestion.
Residents questioned said that apartments were built smaller and closer together due to a lack of open space and little room for expansion.
This is of more concern for the elderly demographic looking to downsize or move into the neighbourhood.
Glen Eira has a significantly higher proportion of people aged over 60 (21.4 per cent compared to the national average of 15 per cent. The problem threatens to worsen as the council predicts the 55-69 year old age bracket to increase more than any other until 2021.
Formerly the seat of Balaclava, Goldstein was formed in 1984 has been a Liberal Party stronghold since 1944.
Goldstein historically stands successful, high profile politicians. Moderate Liberal MP, Ian McPhee won (Balaclava) in 1973. He was a regular media figure and held several Ministries losing pre-selection to academic, David Kemp in 1989, who pushed the conservative agenda of the Liberal Party in the late 1990s.
The retiring Liberal MP Andrew Robb held the seat for 12 years. Robb was instrumental in John Howard’s landslide defeat of the Keating Labor government in 1996 as both Howard’s campaign manager and the party’s federal director.
Robb held a string of high profile Ministerial positions, including, most recently, the Trade and Investment portfolio. Robb also had a long and public battle with depression, stepping away from politics for a period.
Robb’s replacement, former Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson, will continue the practice of high profile Liberal candidates running for Goldstein.
Public housing in parts of Goldstein, a responsibility of the state government, is an issue the new federal member will have to understand. Locals are concerned about overcrowding in Hampton East’s public housing complexes.
Anne Coughlin, Hampton East branch president of the Bayside Community and Information Support Service, says Hampton East, a more disadvantaged part of Goldstein, is a highly dense area.
“My recommendation is that housing is spread more widely into the community, so that occupants can assimilate rather than be separate,” Coughlin says.
According to Geoffrey Goode, spokesperson for the Beaumaris Conservation Society, increased urban development in the electorate has resulted in some residents protesting and putting pressure on councils.
Bayside City Council responded with its state planning amendment, Amendment C140, Managing Growth in Neighbourhood Residential Zones, which limits development to small zones centred on public transport and shopping districts.
The Neighbouring Glen Eira Council has reported significant development in the area and recently implemented their plan, Open Space Strategy.
The debate on the effect of negative gearing on urban development across Australia has generated strong media interest and will be of interest to Goldstein residents.
The Australia Institute, a self-described ‘progressive think tank’, recently released data showing which electorates benefitted the most from negative gearing; Goldstein placed ninth, behind eight other Liberal held electorates.
Goldstein residents are also concerned about the protection of natural resources regarded as less important than urban development.
An internationally significant fossil site is under threat in Beaumaris as the local yacht club is fighting for a marina extension.
The new harbour would allow for larger boats, up to 18 metres long, that could result in extra fuel and general disturbance of the bay.
Palaeontologists worldwide, including Australian Professor John Long of Flinders University Adelaide and Professor Tim Flannery chairman of the Copenhagen Climate Council have warned of potential detrimental effects to the marina.
The Royal Society of Victoria has also released a statement in support of protecting the area.
A recent survey of 1,500 local residents revealed that action on climate change was the second most important concern for people in the bayside area.
“The lack of action on climate change at the federal level is frightening.” says Cheryl May, a spokesperson for the Bayside Climate Change Action.
According to another local conservation spokesperson Bob Whiteway, bayside residents are desperate to protect the environment.
He says the public want a candidate that sympathises with environmental issues.
“We want to have an influence and say in state and federal government …Conservation issues need to be addressed in this area.”