Prahran – Greens overtake Labor


Update: We now have widespread reports that the Greens have won the distribution of preferences by a 128-vote margin over sitting Liberal MP Clem Newton-Brown.

I think it’s reasonable to assume there will need to be a recount, in particular to confirm that the Greens outpolled the ALP’s Neil Pharaoh, since the 38-vote margin is very slim.

Pending that recount, it’s a historic result. Prior to this election, the Greens had only ever won two single-member seats at a general election – federal Melbourne in 2010 and 2013, and Balmain at the 2011 NSW state election. The Victorian Greens have now won two seats in their breakthrough, including one seat being won off a Liberal, and from third place.

Original post: The Victorian Electoral Commission has been distributed preferences in Prahran today to determine which of the two progressive parties will be pitted against the Liberal Party for the final seat.

The VEC has just completed distributing preferences from the fourth-placed Animal Justice Party producing the following result:

  • 17,097 – Clem Newton Brown (LIB)
  • 9,991 – Sam Hibbins (GRN)
  • 9,953 – Neil Pharaoh (ALP)

On these numbers, there will surely need to be some kind of recount, but we will also now be waiting for some kind of distribution of preferences between Hibbins and Newton-Brown to work out if the Greens can gain enough preferences to win.

Hibbins will need to gain 85.7% of Labor preferences (including votes from minor candidates that flowed to Labor) to win the seat. That’s a very high proportion, but it is possible.

Either way, it seems likely that the final Liberal-vs-Green count will be tight, and may trigger some kind of recount, as will the narrowness of the count between Hibbins and Pharoah. This race will drag on for a number of days.

Liked it? Take a second to support the Tally Room on Patreon!


  1. Does the Higgins by-election, where Labor didn’t run, provide some guide to the potential preference flow from Labor to Greens? I remember the Greens did best at picking up Labor votes at the Prahran end of the seat, but was it enough?

  2. Yes you are right I apologise I was thinking of the open tickets greens had in Bellarine, Bentleigh, Buninyong, Carrum, Forest Hill, Mordialloc, Monbulk, Ringwood, South Barwon, Wendouree and Yan Yean in exchange for liberal open ticket in melbourne

  3. But on Election Day the greens decide to run open tickets in the seats I mentioned and so did the liberals just in the seat of melbourne

  4. if u read the above comments David you would see I mistook this for one of the many seats the greens ran open tickets in

  5. even so the count that has been going between labor and liberal before today should have had labor slightly ahead instead of behind if green voters followed the preference card

  6. just to be clear the libs didn’t distribute open preference cards anywhere, even in Melbourne.

    @Observer doesn’t that just show that the greens did a better job of drawing liberal voters than the ALP did?

  7. Most Greens voters in Prahran did preference the ALP, but some chose to ignore the HTV card. As we were able to attract some disaffected Liberal voters (both the Liberals and the ALP had drops in their primary votes), that there was some leakage really isn’t surprising.

  8. I’m not saying its surprise all I’m saying is that labor preferences flowed stronger then greens which lead me to think it was part of that shameful deal the greens did with open tickets but I then corrected myself

  9. I hope Sam Hibbins wins the seat after the recount. The value of Greens getting elected to council ( and honestly declaring it as a Green, unlike so many of the old parties council candidates) cannot be under-estimated. Oh how the old parties hate anyone that dares to take them on!

  10. There was no deal Observer, the Liberal Party preferenced Labor in Melbourne. Your statement that the Liberal Party ran open ticket in Melbourne is not true.

    Also considering that the Greens offered a preference swap and Labor rejected it, I don’t know why you’re surprised that some Greens seats would choose to leave it up to voters (the vast majority of whom still preferenced Labor).

  11. I’m talking about Election Day the libs distributed open tickets in Melbourne and the greens did the same in the seats I mentioned.

    Why should labor do deals immediately when the greens are taking votes off labor which is the reason they won Prahran. I’m surprised because I thought they would only do lib deals in the senate. It’s just surprising that considering the greens make themselves out to be a progressive party but yet they are willing to pull open tickets and potentially return a liberal government for another four years

  12. Tickets I understand are in the hands of the local Green party who make their own decision. and mean actually very little as most Greens voters ignore them anyway to the extent of voting around 80% for the ALP regardless of what the tickets say.

  13. “I’m talking about Election Day the libs distributed open tickets in Melbourne and the greens did the same in the seats I mentioned.”

    The Libs preferenced Labor in Melbourne on election day.

    The ALP does preference deals with the Greens because they would like to get Greens preferences.

  14. Ben:

    I’m not saying that these were handed out on pre polls but on Election Day despite the lies of the director of the liberals. Why even print them at all. You can’t tell me that it’s a coincidence that libs open ticket for the greens target seats and vice versa for liberal target seats. The greens are a party that will do anything to get seats just like all parties even if it’s against what they claim to stand for.

    Yes Andrew I’m not surprised that green preferences flow to labor but I am surprised that green officials claim to want to get rid of a liberal government yet run open tickets in key seats. Two different things. Read

  15. And according to pollbludger labor volunteers saw the liberal open tickets being distributed on Election Day in Melbourne

  16. No I know of people who handed out in some booths for jennifer and open tickets were distributed. Your sources are not greater or lesser then mine ur obviously going to be a brick walls about this. All I’m putting forward is what I know which makes sense with the greens htv cards on election day in the deciding seats

  17. I reckon if open Liberal HTVs were handed out in booths on any significant scale someone somewhere would probably have taken a photo of a physical copy of one and posted it to social media – as people did with photos of physical copies of the many open Green HTV cards. However I have not seen one. What I did see on election day was some Labor sources posting pictures of the open HTV that was registered and claiming it had been distributed, but providing no firm evidence.

    It’s quite plausible to me that even if open HTVs were being handed out, that both parties were acting unilaterally in their own interest.

    The Greens’ interest was to punish Labor for not dealing with them in the Upper House and to try to create a hung parliament where they would have more power.

    The Liberals also would have loved to cause a hung parliament. So their interest was to send coded messages to a portion of their base to preference the Greens, without being openly seen to be doing so (at least until most people had voted), and also perhaps to annoy Labor and cause Labor to waste resources shoring up seats against the Greens.

  18. The Labor and Liberals couldn’t get their men Up! Our blonde knight in shining armour came from behind and the ‘unobtainable’ appealed to so many of the Prahran populace. The delicious irony of all of this is the Family First prefs, their phobias ensuring a Greens victory! Too much to cope with! Wine time!

  19. Observer:

    “So either way the greens went about to jeopardise the chances of electing a labor government in Victoria”

    I don’t think they wanted to cause the Liberals to win although there was some tiny risk of that happening. More likely they wanted to try to cause the Labor government to not have a majority.

    In the end the Greens’ preferencing decisions have not affected the outcome in even one single seat.

  20. Causing a hung parliament is something very hard to do. And there was every chance it may have affected seats, labor in NSW would have more seats if the greens had preferenced labor. There was every chance that could have happened with the open tickets

  21. @ Observer. Either stupid or a liar??
    I was booth captain in Melbourne and saw all Liberal HTVs put the Greens dead last in that electorate. Can send you photos of it all if that would help you come back to reality.
    Anyway, no one should give a damn what is on a party’s HTV. How dare you complain about what another party does on its HTV? It is entirely up to that party what it suggests to its voters. The Greens have always had open tickets. They should do more of them. It helps educate their voters on how the system works.

    It’s outrageous that the major parties fail to identify other candidates on their HTV. Check and ALP or Lib HTV and you will see they hide the identity of the opposing candidates. People looking at an ALP HTV would not be able to work out who the ALP has put last until they get into the booth and read the ballot paper. They’re trying to keep their voters in the dark. Shouldn’t complain too loudly though – that strategy had a good outcome in Prahran where 88% of ALP voters blindly followed the HTV.

    Only the Greens identify all the parties on their HTVs. Its called transparency. Greens voters are invited to follow the card or ignore it. You seem disappointed that some voters have the smarts to ignore it.

  22. @ Sean how vicious you get when someone calls out the Greens as nothing more than a political party which makes me think its more and more true. Booth captain, as I recall that means you were at ONE booth. Even so did you look at every single liberal HTV to make sure that none were distributed at all. Labor wouldn’t waste their time making up claims to save an inner city seat when other seats are just as crucial. I have every right to call out the greens as frauds when they run open tickets only in the crucial seats to decide government. Obviously the greens weren’t interested in doing everything possible to elect a progressive government when they either pull a stunt like that or more likely did that deal with the libs. The Greens didn’t have open tickets in every seat, just a coincidence that it was in the deciding seats I suppose?

    Are you calling people stupid then because when I vote I can clearly see on the ballot paper which party each candidate belongs to and so can every other voter. And what absolute crap because the green open tickets didn’t even identify the names of other candidates or parties so don’t try and act like the Greens are all open and honest, like I said there a political party that will do deals with whoever. But clearly voters like yourself can’t see on the ballot paper who candidates represent.

    You didn’t even give voters the opportunity to ignore your HTV because you only identified the green candidate with a one on a make believe ballot with one candidate, not your transparency you were dreaming of. But I guess its just what the Greens have become, afterall they would probably prefer another 4 years of liberals to increase there vote because they failed to gain state seats when labor were the incumbents

  23. Observer, you keep repeating that the Greens did a deal with the Liberal Party with absolutely zero evidence. Kevin is right, if the Libs had open ticketed in Melbourne we would have heard about it, and we haven’t. It’s not true.

  24. No Ben I state that the liberals on some booths gave open tickets and the fact the greens only ran open tickets in seats that were crucial for the libs to hang on to. Sounds as if it’s a touchy subject to call out the greens as a party that does deals with whoever can get them elected. There is evidence it actually has been seen by people and posted about.

  25. You keep talking as if the Greens regularly make deals with the Liberal Party. Where is the evidence for this? When have the Greens done deals with the Liberal Party?

    And no, you haven’t presented any evidence, and all the evidence that has been seen points to the opposite conclusion.

  26. All the public evidence is that the Liberal party wouldn’t be seen even giving the appearance of doing a deal with the Greens – they are prepared to preference just about anyone in creation rather than the Greens.

    On the issue of doing deals and preferences in Northern Victoria on the current count ALP preferences will elect a Country Alliance candidate ahead of the Greens – an outcome that will almost certainly make the legislative council that much harder for the new ALP government to manage. Good effort

  27. I have Ben I’ve proven that they were printed, I’ve named Crikey pollbludger as a source and as well as people I know, people on social media who were voting in the inner city. Sounds as though this one broke through better then when the greens tried to get lib preferences in federal melbourne in exchange for a similar tactic in the seat of melbourne ports. They do talk to eachother. How on earth that does that point to a deal with labor when greens are willing to preference labor ahead of liberals in a seat like mount Waverley but not in a seat in play like Carrum. Guess it’s just what the greens have become now

  28. You cant deliver one photo, one person from Melbourne’s statement. We live in an age where people will take a selfie at the drop of a hat so where is it of someone voting being handed one of these how to votes?

    Youre trolling the people on this thread.

  29. Actual quote from a melbournian:
    The issue is that they don’t randomly have blank HTVs, they specifically have blank HTVs in the key marginal seats that the Liberals need to win to hold on to Government.
    Just as the Liberals have blank HTVs in the inner city Melbourne seats that the Greens have a chance of winning.
    It’s impossible to believe that it’s a coincidence.
    In a key seat like Yan Yean where Labor has a progressive left wing candidate female candidate, and the Liberals have a climate change denying, anti gay marriage, pro life candidate. It beggers belief that the Greens wouldn’t preference Labor ahead of the Liberals.

  30. It is rumoured that the ALP takes it for granted that they will get Greens preferences and that they do not need to offer the Greens a single thing in return for never ending support – “No doubt the Greens will remain our BFF and direct their preferences to us even though we preferenced Steven Fielding and Peter Kavanagh ahead of them…”

    Which is all consistent with Dan refusing to direct preferences to the Greens in upper house seats in 2014:

    In case you have not yet worked it out, the primary goal in issuing open tickets is to piss off the ALP and remind them not to take Greens support for granted. Nice to know that worked, hey Observer!!

  31. Even nicer to know the greens don’t really stand for anything, not stand for a progressive government or progressive policy because if the greens are that childish that they are willing to jeopardise a possible labor win for a conservative one then they are really just a protest party that will be irrelevant soon and replaced with some other BS group

  32. Discussions above reveal the ongoing assumption of the divine right of ALP to its duopolist position in the party system and its ongoing manifest frustration at having to compete when challenged even at the margins.

    That attitude will certainly assist in guaranteeing a flow of votes to the Greens from people who find that arrogance at odds with what they thought were labor values and confirm their suspicion that the ALP and the Liberal Party share agreement on one issue that is maintaining that duopoly.

    On the decision about open tickets my understanding is that the decision about issuing open tickets can be made by the local Green branch. If that is true it suggests a level of democratic practice that might encourage people to think it was worth joint a local branch of a political party.

  33. Observer, the Greens ran an open ticket in Malvern district – the safest Liberal seat in the state – and hardly marginal. I believe they also ran an open ticket in Malvern in 2010. They didn’t specifically run open tickets only in marginal seats, and it’s completely false to claim they did. Historically, the Greens have run open tickets in some seats in Victoria. They have been doing this for over 10 years.

    Also, open tickets do not direct preferences to anyone – they are not the same as the split tickets the Democrats used to issue, it’s just saying the voters should choose how to preference themselves. It is completely hypocritical of the ALP to be complaining about the Greens running open tickets in some lower house seats – if they’d wanted Greens preferences, they actually could have had them, but they chose to reject a preference deal.

  34. Simple fact: in safe Liberal seats many voters are put off voting Greens when the Greens HTV prefers the ALP. So an open ticket makes a lot of sense.

    Greens want the primary votes even if they have no hope of winning the seat, just as the ALP wants those primaries for the same reasons:
    1. To attract more upper house votes
    2. To collect political funding when the total vote exceeds 4%
    3. To improve party support and promote the party brand

    It takes a lot of arrogance for a non-member to berate the local Greens branch for offering voters in their electorate a broad option on the HTV instead of a narrow option. How dare the Greens leave a voting decision up to the voter!!

Comments are closed.