Victoria 2010 Archive


Victoria 2010 – the next day

Clearly last night was a terrible result for the ALP. Until the last few weeks Brumby seemed on track for comfortable re-election, and it was only the final pre-election polls that predicted a Coalition victory. It also suggests any Labor government is in trouble. No-one has expected the NSW Labor government to be able to win re-election in next March’s election, but last night’s result suggests the ALP’s problem is much deeper and broader than just NSW Labor.

There was a lot of talk about a ‘hung parliament’ last night, much of which seemed to be desperate hope from the ALP. However it’s important to point out that this is not like any other recent hung parliament, like those currently operating in the federal Parliament and in Western Australia, Tasmania, the ACT and the Northern Territory. In all of those jurisdictions (and other recent hung parliaments in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia) there were independents or Greens in a balance of power position who had the capacity to form an alliance with one party and give them a majority, however unstable it could be.

Yet we are talking about a tied parliament, not a hung parliament. The Victorian Legislative Assembly has an even number of seats, and after Craig Ingram’s defeat and the failure of the Greens to win any Assembly seats, there are no crossbenchers at all. This is the only parliamentary jurisdiction in Australia to elect a chamber solely consisting of major party MPs, despite the trend towards more independents and Greens around the country.

I don’t see how a tied parliament allows either side to govern. While the ALP remains in government until they are removed, I cannot see how the Assembly could even elect a Speaker, and it would quickly become dysfunctional. The only way for any stability in this Parliament would come if a single MP was enticed to switch sides and support the other side, or possibly accept nomination from the other side for Speaker. Apart from that, the only solution would be to head back to the polls for another election.

So what is the likelihood we will see a tied parliament?

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Victorian election liveblog

11:21pm – The latest margins in these seats are:

  • Albert Park – ALP by 1585
  • Narre Warren North – ALP by 804
  • Macedon – ALP by 719
  • Eltham – ALP by 225
  • Bentleigh – Liberal by 213

If the ALP can’t take Bentleigh, the Coalition will have a majority. They still need to hold on in the other four seats too.

11:16pm – It’s come down to five key seats. The Liberal/National coalition holds 44 seats, the ALP holds 39 seats, and five seats are undecided: Albert Park, Bentleigh, Eltham, Macedon and Narre Warren North. The ALP need to win all five to produce a tied parliament – not just a hung parliament, but a parliament with equal numbers of MPs for each side without any crossbenchers to provide one side a majority.

9:33pm – On my count the Coalition has 21 seats out of 40 in the Legislative Council. Labor has at least 13, with the Greens on 3. In North and East Victoria, Labor is competing with the Country Alliance. Country Alliance will win in either region if the Greens knock out Labor, as Labor preferenced the Country Alliance ahead of the Greens. In South East Metro Labor is competing with the Greens, but I’m on the verge of calling it for Labor.

9:21pm – Sky hasn’t called a result, but according to what I have seen the Coalition is on 45 seats, Labor 39 seats and 4 seats undecided (all Labor-Coalition races). It would be fascinating if we ended up with a 44-44 result. It wouldn’t be a hung parliament so much as a tied parliament. I don’t think that will happen.

9:02pm – On primary votes, the Greens are up 4.8% in Melbourne, 3% in Richmond, -3% in Brunswick (but with 12% for Cleary) and 0.5% in Northcote. It’s the Liberal preferences what done ’em.

8:56pm – In South-East Metro there’s a close race between the Greens and Labor to lead over the other. Whoever leads will win. Similar contests are taking place in Northern and Eastern Victoria. In those seats, if Labor leads they will win, but if the Greens lead, then the Country Alliance will win.

8:51pm – In Eastern Victoria, the Greens swing is 0.6% from 9.2% to 9.8%. Produces a result of 3 Coalition, 1 Labor, 1 Country Alliance. Just like with the DLP in 2006 and Steve Fielding in 2004, Labor preferences have elected a conservative minor party ahead of the Greens. At this point, it is possible the ALP will overtake the Greens and win the seat on Greens preferences.

8:48pm – In Western Victoria, the Greens have increased from 8.6% to 9.1%. While the ALP’s preferences now flow to the Greens instead of the DLP, the Coalition’s vote has increased sufficient to elect a third Coalition candidate over the Greens, replacing the DLP.

8:45pm – In South East Metro, Greens vote has increased from 7.2% to 9.1%. On the latest figures the Greens are just over 100 votes behind the ALP at the key exclusion point. At the moment the 3-2 Labor-Liberal split has been maintained, but the Greens have a shot of taking a seat off Labor.

8:43pm – In Eastern Metro, the Greens vote has increased only slightly. Labor and Liberal each get almost exactly two and three quotas each, maintaining the current split.

8:40pm – Western Metro upper house results: the Greens vote has increased from 9.4% to 14.5%. Labor loses their third seat to the Liberal Party.

8:36pm – Labor’s losses to the Coalition are distributed this way by region: four in South East Metro, three in Southern Metro, two in Eastern Metro, two in Eastern Victoria, one each in Northern and Western Victoria. The ALP so far has maintained their complete control in Northern and Western Metro.

8:24pm – At the moment, the the Coalition has gained fourteen seats, they need thirteen seats to win, so this suggests a Coalition win.

8:22pm – In Melbourne, you’ve got a three-way tie, with Labor on 33%, the Greens on 32.96% and the Liberals on 29.87%. The VEC isn’t even trying to produce a two-party count.

8:15pm – We’re now getting a lot of solid evidence that the Coalition is headed for a majority government.

8:03pm – The ABC website seems to be having trouble updating results – so I’ll try and switch to the VEC.

7:53pm – Marginal Labor seats where the Liberals are leading: Mount Waverley, South Barwon, Frankston, Mordialloc, Bendigo East.

7:26pm – The first booth in Brunswick has the Greens on a 6% swing and Phil Cleary polling just under 9%.

7:22pm – Apart from Seymour, the Liberals are on an 11% swing in the only other truly rural Labor seat, Ripon.

7:20pm – The first booth in Essendon has the Liberals first on primaries with the Greens over 20% and the independent well behind. If this trend is maintained the ALP should maintain the seat with Greens preferences.

7:14pm – According to the ABC, the Liberals have gained Seymour, a Labor seat in rural Victoria to the north of Melbourne with a 6.7% margin.

7:10pm – The Nationals have gained independent seat Gippsland East, according to the ABC. This shouldn’t have an impact on the final government outcome, as Ingram has made it pretty clear he won’t have anything to do with the Greens or Labor.

7:04pm – Apparently we have a booth in Northcote with over 50% primary for the Greens. Far too early to interpret, but a strong sign for the Greens in inner-city seats. We’ve also got rumours of a good result for independent Catherine Cumming in Essendon, but no figures on the ABC website yet.

6:56pm – It’s too early to glean any meaning, but it looks like the sole independent MP in the Assembly, Craig Ingram, is losing to the Nationals with a double-digit swing in Gippsland East.

6:00pm – Polls have just closed in Victoria. I will be liveblogging tonight as we get results in. You can check out my complete guide to Victoria’s 88 Legislative Assembly districts and the eight Legislative Council regions on my blog right now by clicking the links on the right-hand side of the website.


Victorian election guide complete

This morning I finished the final seat three seat profiles for the Victorian state election. You can access the entire guide, or view the seats in alphabetical order, by Legislative Council region, or by viewing the pendulum. Each Legislative Council regional profile includes links to the 11 Legislative Assembly seats in that region.

In about a quarter of seats I haven’t had a chance to update the candidate list to the final candidate order after the close of nominations, I am rushing to do those today.


Victorian election update

News has broken this morning that the Liberal Party will be putting the Greens last in all Legislative Assembly races in Victoria. This is an issue only in the four inner-Melbourne seats where the Greens are in a contest with Labor to win, with the Liberal preferences helping decide the result.

While this has been reported as an action that will doom the chances of Greens winning seats in the Assembly, I still think the Greens have a strong shot in three Assembly seats, although it will be harder than it previously appeared.

In those four seats, the Liberals preferenced the Greens in 2002 and 2006, and the current margins are based on the Greens receiving those Liberal preferences.

Those current margins are 2.0% in Melbourne, 3.6% in Brunswick and Richmond and 8.5% in Northcote. It certainly harms the Greens’ chances in these seats without Liberal preferences, but I still think they have a strong shot at three seats.

William Bowe at the Poll Bludger recently produced projections based on the 2010 federal election results in those four seats, showing the Greens winning Melbourne and Richmond and coming close in Brunswick and Northcote if the Liberals preferenced the Greens (as they had done in the federal election).

Assuming that the Liberals didn’t preference the Greens in these seats, his projections has the Greens winning just under 50% in Melbourne and Richmond and just over 40% in Brunswick and Northcote. There are a number of reasons, however, why I think this underestimates the Greens’ chances in Melbourne, Richmond and particularly Brunswick:

  • The Greens generally are polling slightly better than they did in the federal election. Recent polling has had them on 16% in Neilsen and 14% in Newspoll (down from a record 19%). If the Greens manage to crack 15%, that’s a 50% increase in their vote, and puts them in a much stronger position in those inner-city seats. The Fremantle by-election saw the Greens outpoll Labor on primary votes, and if the Greens manage that in any of these seats, Liberal voters probably won’t preference Labor in high enough proportions to give them the seat. Bowe’s analysis showed the Greens ahead by 1% in Melbourne on primaries and behind by 2% in Richmond.
  • In the federal election, all of the energies of the Greens (in terms of winning a lower-house seat) were focused on Melbourne, with some energy dedicated to Martin Ferguson’s seat of Batman. Melbourne state and Richmond almost exactly correlate with Melbourne federal, while Northcote covers southern parts of Batman, and Brunswick covers southern parts of Wills. So while the Greens did much better in the federal election in Richmond than Brunswick, it’s worth remembering that the two seats were exactly matched in 2006, while Richmond gained much more attention at the 2010 federal election. Once you consider the impact of Carlo Carli’s retirement and Phil Cleary’s emergence in Brunswick, I see Brunswick as still being on a similar footing to Richmond.

Taking all that into account, I believe that the Greens still have a strong shot in Melbourne, Richmond and Brunswick, but they will all be very close-run contests without Liberal preferences. I also think that the lack of Liberal preferences will make it very hard for the Greens to win in Northcote.

In the Legislative Council, preferences have been a mixed bag for the Greens. In Western Victoria, the Greens are receiving Labor preferences ahead of the DLP, which in 2006 would have elected a fourth Greens to the Legislative Council. You’d have to think that this makes Western Victoria a likely pick-up for the Greens and very difficult for the DLP to retain.

In Eastern Metropolitan, the other good chance for the Greens to pick up, the Liberal Party’s preferencing decision makes it much harder. The Greens will likely be competing with the second Labor candidate there, and with Liberal preferences flowing to the ALP, the Green would need a higher primary vote to win. I still think it will be hard for the Greens to win in the other regions where they do not have a sitting MLC. Having said that, if the Greens poll 15-16% statewide, they would be competitive in all regions and it becomes difficult to judge where that vote would go.

For those of you interested, I have now posted profiles for 59 Legislative Assembly districts on the blog, including all below a 6% margin. I have another 11 maps ready to go, and I’m rushing to get the remainder done in time for the election. Unfortunately the tight timeframe with the federal election barely two months ago, combined with my trip to the US, has made it hard for me to complete all 88 seat guides in time.


Heading to the United States

Later today I will be heading to San Francisco for the final week of the US midterm elections. I plan to blog while I am over there, as well as writing a couple more pieces for Crikey on top of three already written.

I have been working hard this week to write as many seat profiles as possible for the Victorian state election. I have now produced profiles for 48 out of 88 Legislative Assembly districts and all eight Legislative Council regions.

I’ve finished profiles for all seats in the Northern, Western and Southern Metropolitan regions, as well as all seats with margins under 4%. I have another 11 maps ready to go so I may finish a few more off when I get the chance.

If you want to comment on a seat for which I haven’t written a profile, I suggest posting the comment on the Legislative Council profile for that region.


Victorian politics update

You may have noticed that there has not been any new posts on the blog for the last two weeks. I have taken a break from posting on the front page of the blog for the next two weeks. I am currently writing my guide to the Victorian state election.

If you visit the work-in-progress Victoria 2010 guide, you can read guides to 21 of Victoria’s 88 Legislative Assembly electorates. I have completed guides for all eleven seats in the Northern Metropolitan region, and ten of eleven in the Southern Metropolitan region, while I have another 23 booth maps ready to go.

In two weeks time I will be heading to the United States for the midterm elections, so I will be focusing on the Victorian election for now before returning to blogging while I am overseas.

In addition, I have prepared a Google Earth map showing the draft boundaries that have been proposed for Victorian federal electorates for the next election. The final boundaries will be released later this year, but you can download the draft boundaries from my maps page.


Altona by-election day

I haven’t really been covering the campaign for the Victorian state electorate of Altona before today’s by-election. Altona is a safe Labor seat in the Western suburbs of Melbourne, sitting on Port Philip Bay.

Altona is going to the polls to elect a successor to former Education Minister and Transport Minister Lynne Kosky. The Liberal Party has bucked the tradition of major parties not contesting by-elections in another party’s safe seat, running a candidate in the by-election. It seems extremely unlikely the Liberals could win, but this will be seen as a barometer of support in Victorian politics leading into a state election year, with a state election scheduled for late November 2010.

I will be participating in a liveblog at independent news site tonight as the results come in. You can expect coverage elsewhere from Antony Green at ABC Elections and William Bowe at the Poll Bludger. You can read more about the by-election at ABC ElectionsThe Angle and Poll Bludger.

State electoral district of Altona, indicated within Melbourne’s electoral districts, showing results of the 2006 election.


Victorian Greens choose candidate in Richmond

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.


Death by a thousand polls

Well, three polls, at least.

In a moment of synchronicity, three of Australia’s four pollsters have released federal voting intention polls, all clearly showing a collapse in support for the Coalition and possibly spelling the end of Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership.

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