The Victorian Greens on Friday announced their first candidate for a winnable seat for the November 2010 state election. The Greens will be running Kathleen Maltzahn for the inner Melbourne seat of Richmond at the state election.
Maltzahn is a former City of Yarra councillor from 2004 to 2008 and is currently the Executive Director of a local women’s health service.
In regards to the preselection, Maltzahn said that “people get climate change. They want the government to make real change. I’m running to help make that happen. We’re also seeing more and more Greens elected, including, with Adele Carle’s win in Fremantle, in lower house seats. Winning Richmond is a real possibility.”
Richmond is the second most marginal Labor/Greens seat in Victoria, behind the state seat of Melbourne. The seat mostly covers Maltzahn’s City of Yarra, with the exception of small parts at the northern end of Yarra LGA.
Richmond is held by ALP Minister for Housing, Local Government and Aboriginal Affairs Richard Wynne, who has held the seat since 1999. Richmond has been a safe Labor seat since 1908, with the exception of the 1955 election when the sitting Labor MP was re-elected for the DLP for one term.
The Greens first came close to winning in Richmond in 2002, when Gemma Pinnell polled 28.6% of the primary vote and produced a two-candidate-preferred result of 53.1% for the ALP over the Greens. In 2006, the Greens went backwards slightly on the two-candidate-preferred vote, with the ALP winning 53.6%. There were swings against both Greens and Labor on primary votes towards smaller parties, in particular local Socialist councillor Stephen Jolly, who polled 5.6%, which largely contributed to a 3.9% swing against the Greens, who ran then-Yarra councillor Gurm Sekhon, and 1.1% against Wynne.
Maltzahn’s preselection is another in the long line of preselections for potentially winnable seats that the Greens will be conducting over the next few months. Lee Rhiannon and Richard di Natale have already been preselected for the Senate next year, with similar preselections in Queensland, South Australia and the ACT expected soon. In addition, there will be preselections for one winnable seat in the South Australian Legislative Council and four winnable seats in the NSW Legislative Council. The Victorian Greens are currently preselecting lead candidates for all eight Legislative Council regions, all of which are winnable. And, of course, we’re still waiting on preselections for the state seats of Balmain, Marrickville, Melbourne, Brunswick and Northcote.
Update: Greg Barber and Colleen Hartland have both been preselected to run for second terms in North Metro and Western Metro respectively. Yarra Ranges Councillor Samantha Dunn is running for Eastern Victoria region. The other five regions are yet to be concluded.
Update 2: Colleen Hartland hasn’t actually been preselected yet, but she is the only candidate in Western Metro.