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January 28th, 2023

A safe seat is an electoral district (constituency) in a legislative body (e.g. Parliament, Council) which is regarded as fully secure, for either a certain political party, or the incumbent representative personally or a combination of both. In such seats, there is very little chance of a seat changing hands because of the political leanings of the electorate in the constituency concerned and/or the popularity of the incumbent member. The opposite (i.e. more competitive) type of seat is a marginal seat

Safe seats can become marginal seats (and vice versa) gradually as voter allegiances shift over time. However, this shift can happen more rapidly for a variety of reasons. The retirement or death of a popular sitting member may make a seat more competitive, as the accrued personal vote of a long-serving parliamentarian will sometimes have resisted countervailing demographic trends. An independent or third-party candidate with an ideology close to that of the incumbent party may also be able to make a more credible challenge than more established parties, but these factors can combine: a retiring third-party member may turn a safe seat for that party into a marginal seat. 

Safe seats may receive far less political funding than marginal seats, as the parties will attempt to "buy" marginal seats with funding (a process known in Australia as "Pork Barrelling") while ignoring safe seats which will reliably fall to the same party every time; this is especially true in cases where the safe seat is held by the minority party.

As reported in The Age, November (2/1/23) Leading into the November 2022 State Election, Narracan was the Liberal Party's safest seat. 

The Liberal Party's Gary Blackwood, who recently retired, held the Narracan seat from 2006. That is 16 years of a no contest. 16 years with very little to show for it.

When you vote at this election, make your vote count, help marginalise the seat of Narracan. Out with the old, in with the new!

Young Activist


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