PM honours late MP on Dunkley by-election hustings

Duncan Murray |

Premier Jacinta Allan joined the prime minister in opening the Peta Murphy Breast Imaging Suite.
Premier Jacinta Allan joined the prime minister in opening the Peta Murphy Breast Imaging Suite.

A month out from the Dunkley by-election, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has joined Labor’s candidate to drum up support and honour the seat’s long-serving former member.

Residents head to the polls on March 2, with Labor facing a possible swing against it in the federal seat on the Mornington Peninsula.

Mr Albanese, Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan and Labor candidate Jodie Belyea officially opened the Peta Murphy Breast Imaging Suite at Frankston Hospital on Saturday.

The suite is named in honour of former Labor MP and member for Dunkley, Peta Murphy, whose death in December 2023 after a four-year battle with breast cancer triggered the by-election.

The funeral service for the late MP Peta Murphy
The by-election in Dunkley was triggered by the death of long-serving MP Peta Murphy. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

Mr Albanese revealed the government will spend $1.5 million to accelerate the creation of a national registry for metastatic cancers, those which have spread to other parts of the body.

“When it comes to cancer, the more we know, the better our understanding,” he said.

“That’s the key to better treatment and, ultimately, better outcomes for Australians with cancer.

“I wish Peta were here right now. I know we all do. But she would have been pleased to see this happening.”

In officially launching Labor’s Dunkley campaign on Friday, the prime minister said Ms Belyea, a local mum and advocate for vulnerable women, would work to make Frankston better for all – like her predecessor had.

The coalition has preselected Frankston mayor Nathan Conroy, with Peter Dutton also turning up in the seat on Friday, promising locals a significant rail upgrade if his party wins the next federal election.

Labor is predicted to retain the seat, albeit with a smaller margin after Ms Murphy recorded a swing of more than 3.5 per cent at the 2022 federal election, to hold the electorate by a 6.2 per cent margin.

The standard trend of a four to five per cent swing against a government at a by-election is expected to see a tight contest between the major parties at the upcoming poll.

It will be the third by-election of the current term of federal parliament, following polls in 2022 in the Melbourne seat of Aston and the Gold Coast seat of Fadden.