The battle is starting to heat up for Melbourne’s key seat, Chisholm

In this selection series cricket Working with the University of Melbourne’s Center for the Advancement of Journalism, she explores the heart of Melbourne’s southeastern suburb of Chisholm and finds out what people are thinking ahead of the election. This first piece sets the stage for what is shaping up to be one of the most important battlegrounds to choose from.

Chisholm, one of the country’s most marginal constituencies, which Hong Kong-born liberal Gladys Liu holds with 0.5% of the vote, is attracting attention in this election.

The Prime Minister had already arrived twice before the start of the official campaign, announcing a deal to produce next-generation vaccines and plans for a new super-fast medical research facility. He and Labor leader Anthony Albanese will return.

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Viewed from its inner boundary, the expansive headquarters occupies the sleepy enclaves around the bustling south-eastern suburbs of metropolitan Melbourne, known for its busy freeways, cacophony of billboards and jagged-looking office blocks. utility.

Get off the highways and the streets are filled with oaks, sycamores and eucalyptus. Box Hill marks the bustling suburban center with umami flavors, bubble teas and Asian groceries.

“If you think of the Victorian landscape, that’s probably the most important battlefield scene,” says Paul Strangio, a politics professor at Monash University.

economic power

The 77 square mile constituency prides itself on its diversity – local leaders are often proud of their cultural identity. ABS data shows a higher proportion of residents born in China, India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Greece than the national average. It is also an economic powerhouse encompassing healthcare, education and industry clustered around Monash University, Victoria’s second largest employment center after the CBD.

The region’s diversity reflects waves of immigration, first from post-war Europe, then from China, India, Vietnam and Malaysia. Monash and Deakin universities bring with them a high percentage of international students.

Census data shows that half of households in Chisholm speak a language other than English at home, with the largest proportion – 15% – speaking Mandarin. Compared to the national average, voters are more employed, slightly younger, less religious and more educated.

“We always say with pride that 50% of our residents are foreign nationals – that’s an astronomical figure,” said Monash Mayor Stuart James.

The Liberals narrowly held the seat in the last two elections. In 2016, under candidate Julia Banks, Chisholm was the only voter in the country to switch from Labor to the Liberal party. The favorite party in 2019 preferred with 1090 votes.

Strangio says the work will be hard. Your candidate is Dr. Carina Garland, former Deputy Secretary of the Victorian Trades Hall Council, would be a surprise choice.

Recent resettlement changes have pushed the border south from Chisholm, making the seat more marginal, adding parts of Labour-leaning Clayton and Liberal-leaning Wheelers Hill, according to ABC Election analyst Antony Green.

While the campaign has been fierce in constituencies like Kooyong and Goldstein, there is no sign of a blue-green troublemaker in Chisholm at the start of the campaign, thanks to the challenge of senior Liberal members of well-funded independents from Climate 200. While signage has become a focal point elsewhere, there are few visual clues about the upcoming election as campaigning begins in Chisholm.

At the iconic RSPCA headquarters on Burwood Highway, team leader Sophie Thomas sees all kinds of local people adopting pets. “I love working in this space…it’s a nice green space. “People are always with their pets, their dogs,” she says.

Gardiners Creek is popular with dog walkers whose pets and Labradors like to dip their toes in the water. One of the few trails along the creek with parks, street trees and of course backyards adds to the lush, green atmosphere of the riding.

Still, the suburban dream featured on the TV show raises concerns. neighbors – He filmed several roads outside the Chisholm border – which attracted many people to the erosion area.

“It was the last bastion of backyard houses. But that fades quickly,” says Michael Crichton, a retired teacher and longtime host of local community radio station 3WBC.

He says the explosion of high-rise residential and commercial buildings and increasing housing density is a problem that “bothers most people”.

While commuters are often synonymous with safety and comfort, this is no longer the case, says Janine Saligari, coordinator of the Amaroo neighborhood center. He sees many households struggling with the rising cost of living, lack of affordable housing and access to public transportation. “Not everyone has a car and people struggle to find money to drive their car,” he says.

He added that the demand for emergency food aid provided during the curfew continued unexpectedly.

According to an analysis by ABC, housing stress affects around 21% of rental accommodation in Chisholm. The COVID-19 recovery has also stretched mental health and domestic violence services, leaving local businesses struggling with staff shortages.

Ahead of the election, a concerted push for more mental health services and federal funds for public housing was part of a political discourse from east Melbourne councils, including Monash and Whitehorse. Other demands included employment programs, public and active transportation initiatives, and renewable energy to combat climate change.

The advocacy effort has won a two-way commitment to a new Headspace psychiatric service for young people in Box Hill. Climate protection, integrity and social respect are also major issues.

John Malvestuto and a group of locals launch a community news site East Coast News After News Corp’s decision to stop printing in 2020 white horse guide.

“Something was missing, the feeling of being able to share local stories,” he says. With several thousand subscribers to date east pass Publishers are creating native ads and planning to print future issues.

Malvestuto will soon send a list of questions to all candidates that reflect readers’ concerns, including climate change and integrity.

The building, which can house hundreds of animals, is reaching capacity at the RSPCA. As people return to the office, some pandemic pets return to the shelter, and “kitten season” brings a herd of up to 15 people each day.

It is also an election campaign. It is sure to bring an influx of politicians to the outskirts of Chisholm.

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Pierre Frey

Pierre Frey
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