Profiling the Bruce electorate


The ALP’s Julian Hill

Just a 40-minute drive from the heart of Melbourne city is the federal seat of of Bruce, a Victorian electoral division in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne.

The division’s boundaries have changed over the years. But following the 2021 redistribution, Bruce includes: Dandenong North; Doveton; Endeavour Hills; Eumemmerring; Hallam; Lysterfield South; Narre Warren and Narre Warren North. The division also includes parts of Berwick, Dandenong, Harkaway, Mulgrave, Narre Warren South, Noble Park, and Noble Park North. It’s a rapidly growing outer suburban area filled with working class families.

The Liberal Party had held this seat until the ALP stole it in the 1996 election. When incumbent Alan Griffin retired in 2016, Julian Hill won the seat for the ALP with 54.08 percent. Mr Hill won the 2019 election, and is running again this year.

The 2021 redistribution heard the Greens accusing the ALP of manipulating boundaries for political gain. But there has been no proof of malicious gerrymandering.

The division is generally seen as a lower socio-economic area with the median annual income at about $45,000 according to 2021 census data. The area has felt pandemic hardship over the years which has impacted family run businesses and lead to a higher cost of living.

The area is home to one of the biggest immigrant populations in Victoria and has potential to grow as populations continue to expand out of Melbourne CBD.

The five candidates running for the seat of Bruce in the 2022 Federal Election include: the ALP’s Julian Hill; the Liberal James Moody; the Green’s Matthew Kirwan; UAP’s Matt Babet and the Lib Dem’s Christine Skrobo.

Julian Hill (Australian Labor Party)

 Julian Hill is the current Member for the seat of Bruce. He grew up in the east Melbourne suburb of Burwood. He has both a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Law degree from Monash University as well as a Graduate Certificate of International Relations from Deakin University.

He began his career in politics in 2000 when he became the youngest Mayor of Port Phillip at just 25-years-old. He served in this this role for two terms which came to an end in 2002. Mr Hill was originally voted into the seat of Bruce in 2016 with a favour of 54.08 percent.  It was clear he was liked within the community when he was re-elected in 2019 with a favour of 64.15 percent.

Mr Hill is a single parent to a daughter, who inspired his move to Parliament. In 2019 Hill campaigned for an amendment to Australian prescription drug laws after his daughter almost died from blood clots – a result of a prescribed medication.

 James Moody (Liberal Party)

James Moody is the Liberal candidate for the seat of Bruce. He was born and raised in Noble Park. He has both a bachelor of Law and Masters of Law degree from Monash University.

His mother was an immigrant from Argentina who moved to Australia as a teenager. Through his mother, Mr Moody has seen the struggles of Bruce’s immigrant population. He says in order to help the employability of these people as well as give them a bigger sense of community, Australia needs to break the language barrier by providing a “more targeted language program”.

Mr Moody has described his family as coming from a “lower socio-economic background”, and says they “worked hard” to create a good life for himself and his brother. He entered the workforce at 14 years old in the automotive sector.

Mr Moody said the lack of community outreach in the past is the result of non-local members elected to the seat. As a local, Mr Moody says he is aware of the issues present in the division and is passionate about helping to amend them

Matthew Kirwan (Australia Greens)

Matthew Kirwan is the Greens candidate for the seat of Bruce. Mr Kirwan entered the political world when he ran for the seat of Dandenong in the 2010 Victorian state election, where he got 8.77 percent of the vote. Mr Kirwan has a Bachelor of Science from Monash University, a Graduate Diploma of Internet and Web Computing from RMIT University and is currently completing his Masters of Public Policy and Management at the University of Melbourne.

Mr Kirwan says he is passionate about public education, the public health system and the housing and climate crises. He has been a public advocate for transgender rights.

“I commit to unequivocally advocate for trans and non-binary supports at work, in politics and within my community,” he posted on his Facebook account.

Mr Kirwan says he knows the importance of mental health support, especially post-pandemic. He posted on his Facebook he wants to make mental health care as accessible as possible by making Health Care in general “free for everyone”.

Matt Babet (United Australia Party)

Matt Babet is the United Australia Party candidate for the seat of Bruce. Mr Babet is a part of the ‘Babet Brothers’ real estate team with his brother Deej Babet. They mainly operate within the Bruce area, as well as some other places around Greater Melbourne.

Mr Babet has said on his Facebook account he is passionate about lowering the national debt as well as the cost of living. Mr Babet plans to execute this through the party leader, Clive Palmer’s policies. These policies include reducing taxes and abolishing the Fringe Benefits Tax as well as “cutting tax on the second job to 50 percent of what is currently paid”, according to the United Australia party website. Mr Babet and his party say this will lead to a more active economy.

Christine Skrobo (Liberal Democrats)

Christine Skrobo is the Liberal Democrats candidate for the seat of Bruce. Ms Skrobo has grown up in the South-Eastern suburbs of Melbourne and graduated High School in Berwick in 2019. Since then, she has worked in a variety of different retail outlets across Australia. Ms Skrobo has said she is “fiercely passionate” about giving small business owners the freedom to thrive.

Ms Skrobo says on the Liberal Democrats website she is aware of the increasing government debt and rising costs of living and as a young person and it concerns her how this will affect the next generation.

Ms Skrobo says she wants to ensure all locals of Bruce are represented in parliament and she is determined to hold the major parties accountable.