6:00pm – Polls have just closed in Victoria’s state election. We should start getting some solid results around 6:45pm.
Booths have just opened in Victoria for today’s state election.
I’ll be back tonight at 6pm with full coverage of the results, and in the meantime you can post your comments in this open thread.
I appeared on Radio National’s Drive program with Waleed Aly on Thursday evening to discuss the Victorian state election. You can listen to the audio here.
11:29am update – I’m hearing reports of the Greens issuing open tickets in a bunch of seats. If you have a photo of the Greens how-to-vote in your seat, can you email it to me at ben[at]tallyroom.com.au or post the image in the comments below? I’m interested in the how-to-vote even if they are preferencing Labor.
5:11pm update – According to Kevin Bonham, in the following seats the Greens have decided to issue ‘open tickets’. Seats with an asterisk are considered to be marginal.
Bellarine*, Benambra, Bentleigh*, Box Hill, Buninyong*, Carrum*, Caulfield, Forest Hill*, Keysborough, Mitcham, Mordialloc*, Monbulk*, Narre Warren North, Oakleigh, Ringwood*, Rowville, South Barwon*, Wendouree*, Yan Yean*.
I’m also aware of the Greens giving an open ticket in Ferntree Gully, and don’t really have a good sense of how many other seats could also be using open tickets. The only seats where I have confirmed that the Greens are preferencing Labor are in Frankston, Prahran, Melbourne and Eltham.
It isn’t a new thing for the Greens to issue ‘open tickets’ in compulsory-preferential election. The Victorian Greens offered a deal to Labor to swap preferences across the state, which was loudly rejected by Labor leader Daniel Andrews.
As I understand the Victorian Greens constitution, the state party has the power to decide preferences, but the convention is that local branches are given autonomy when no agreement is reached – unsurprisingly, a bunch of local Greens branches chose to not direct preferences.
It isn’t strange that different branches would make different decisions (and that they may be influenced by the anti-Greens rhetoric from Labor), and it isn’t the first time that some local Greens branches in Victoria chose not to direct preferences. In practice, most Greens voters preference Labor, and an open ticket only has a subtle effect which would only matter in an extremely tight race.
While the decision in itself is not a huge shock, it is unusual how the Victorian Greens chose to hide their preferencing decisions. If you visit the Victorian Greens website, you a directed to a statewide how-to-vote which shows preferences in all 88 seats. The Greens also appear to have used how-to-votes giving preferences to Labor at pre-poll booths right up until yesterday.
When Victorian Labor kicked up a fuss about the Liberal Party and the Greens both registering open-ticket how-to-votes on the same day (despite the narrow registration window making that almost inevitable) the Victorian Greens director was quoted as follows:
Ms Brown said the Greens always registered open and preference how to vote cards, with local branches then able to choose.
But she also said if there were open tickets it would be in very few seats.
“The inner city seats will not be running open tickets,” Ms Brown said.
Considering that at least twenty seats are using open tickets, including a large number of key marginals, that statement seems to be at the very least misleading. Those quotes were given at least six days ago – by which point it would have been necessary for the Greens to have decided on all of their preferences for election day. So did the Greens know they were issuing open tickets in key marginals while implying otherwise in the media?
Labor’s Sharon Knight has held Ballarat West since 2010. She won Ballarat West by a 1.1% margin in 2010, but following the redistribution the newly-named Wendouree is a notional Liberal seat by a 0.1% margin.
Labor’s Danielle Green has held Yan Yean since 2002. She held the seat by a 4.1% margin at the 2010 election, but the recent redistribution turned the seat into a seat that is effectively a dead heat – theoretically a notional Liberal seat with a 0.1% margin.
Carrum is held by Liberal MP Donna Bauer, who won the seat in 2010 off Labor’s Jenny Lindell, who had held the seat since 1999. Bauer’s margin was cut from 2.2% to 0.3% in the recent redistribution.
Frankston is a marginal seat in south-eastern Melbourne, covering Frankston, Frankston North, Frankston South and Karingal.
Frankston has been held by Geoff Shaw since 2010. Shaw was originally a member of the Liberal Party, but resigned from the party in early 2013. Shaw has effectively held the balance of power in the Legislative Assembly since that time, barring the period when he was suspended from Parliament over electoral entitlements infractions.
Labor’s Alistair Harkness held Frankston until 2002 to 2010, when he lost to Shaw. On paper, Frankston is held by the Liberal Party by a 0.4% margin but in practice will be a three-way race between the Labor and Liberal candidates and the incumbent MP Shaw running as an independent.
Liberal MP Elizabeth Miller has held the seat since 2010, when she defeated Labor’s Rob Hudson who had held the seat from 2002 to 2010. Miller now holds Bentleigh by a 0.9% margin.
Labor MP James Merlino has held Monbulk since 2002. The recent redistribution flipped Monbulk from a Labor seat with a 1.9% margin to a notional Liberal seat by a 1.1% margin.
Mordialloc is held by Liberal MP Lorraine Wreford, who defeated her Labor predecessor Janice Munt in 2010. Wreford holds Mordialloc by a 1.5% margin.
Labor’s Lisa Neville has held Bellarine since 2002. She was re-elected in 2010 with a 1.4% margin, but the recent redistribution flipped the seat into a notional Liberal seat with a 2.5% margin.