Hawthorn: Electorate Profile


By Colleen Murrell

The popular Camberwell Market

The three major parties will contest the seat of Hawthorn during the Victorian State election on November 24.

The member for Hawthorn and state Shadow Attorney General, John Pesutto, will represent the Liberal Party. Former school principal, John Kennedy is the face for Labor and the Greens have mental health worker, Nicholas Bieber as their representative.

The candidates are battling to represent the inner-east Melbourne seat once held by the former premiers of Victoria, Ted Baillieu and Sir William McPherson.

It is a safe “blue ribbon” area known for Glenferrie Road’s shopping precinct as well as the Camberwell Market.

The electorate spreads 19 square kilometres within the borders of East Richmond, Barkers Road in Hawthorn, the Monash Freeway, the edges of Burwood and Ashburton, and Highfield Road in Camberwell East.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016 Census, the population consists of just over 65,000 people with a median age of 35 and 52 per cent female.

Within Hawthorn people over 50 years of age make up 30.7 per cent of the population, while people under 19 just 22.2 percent.

In Melbourne’s inner-east, migrants have accounted for significant population growth over the past 20 years, according to Treasury and the Department of Home Affairs. https://cdn.tspace.gov.au/uploads/sites/107/2018/04/Shaping-a-Nation-1.pdf

At the annual Boroondara Residents Action Group (BRAG) meeting on September 20, RMIT environment and planning professor Michael Buxton and former Member of Parliament, Kelvin Thomson, voiced concern about population growth alongside other residents of the Hawthorn electorate.

Thomson said the government is “out of touch with…population growth” and wants this addressed as November 24 approaches.

“We are growing both upwards and outwards and we are becoming an obese, hardened artery, parody of our former selves,” he says.

The area is “bursting at the seams” according to former BRAG president, Jack Roach.

Current MP, Pesutto, lives in the electorate with his wife and three daughters. The Pesuttos are one of over 16,200 families in the electorate. On average, there are 1.8 children per family.

Just under 59 per cent of people are working full-time and 5.6 percent are unemployed.

More than half of Hawthorn’s population has a bachelor’s degree or above and 41 percent of people in work are professionals, followed by managers at 18 percent.

The homes in Hawthorn are highly sought after and are some of the most spacious in Melbourne. Just over 40 percent are detached houses, 19.3 per cent are semi-detached or townhouses, and 39 percent are apartments.

These homes are occupied by 2.4 people on average with a median weekly household income of $2,033 and a median personal weekly income of $947. The electorate’s average monthly mortgage payments are at $2,400 and weekly rent costs are $395.

Hawthorn’s rising level of housing and property development is set to be a key factor in the upcoming state election.

Mary Drost, acting president of the Boroondara Residents Group (BRAG), has slammed the current Labor government’s apparent disregard for Hawthorn’s “beautiful” family homes.

Drost says communication is lacking between residents and government-organised development projects, claiming there is “no protection” for home-owners and this should be acknowledged as the election approaches.

After the last Census, 34.6 per cent of people in the electorate were attending an educational institution and of these, 36.8 percent were in a technical college or tertiary institution.

Within the heart of Hawthorn is Swinburne University of Technology, making Glenferrie train station a hub for students, as well as shoppers, flowing in and out of the area.

For students, as the election approaches, a reliable Metro train line is important for their everyday commuting.

In Hawthorn, 21.8 percent of people in education are enrolled in a primary school and 18.6 percent are going to a secondary school, with a relatively high number of students attending private or catholic schools (14.3 percent).

With regards to the parents, grandparents and great grandparents of these young people, it is significant that 31 percent of the population is over 50. Hawthorn is ageing and access to public health and hospital care could be an issue this state election.

The closest public hospitals, The Alfred in Prahran or Box Hill Hospital, can be difficult to access via public transport.

Many of Hawthorn’s older population are asset rich, having invested earlier in their lives in a home in the area, but they do not much cash to spend.  Affordable emergency healthcare and accessible transport are important in Hawthorn this term.

With: Elise Chan and Angus McClements.