Victorian election reading

Galaxy Research has created a buzz by showing a lower-than-expected Labor lead of 52-48 in its poll in today’s Herald-Sun. However, it comes on the same day as an ACNielsen poll in The Age showing a Labor lead of 56-44, in line with general expectations. A discussion on the upper house contest at Larvatus Prodeo brings my attention to this analysis by Russell Degnan from June last year, which seems to paint a rosier picture for Labor than my own assessment.

UPDATE (25/10/06): Newspoll says 54-46.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

88 comments on “Victorian election reading”

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  1. I’d believe the Galaxy poll rather than the ACNielsen, the Bracks government is definitely on the nose here in Victoria

    Ballieu is surprisingly doing a half decent job and if he doesn’t implode Liberal WA/QLD style during the election campaign a 10-15 seat pickup would be well in the realms of possibility

  2. Was it GaLAXY which recently caused a stir in Q’Land with polls predicting a close run thing for Beattie…and was quite wrong in it’s final prediction ?

  3. Brian: no, Galaxy’s Queensland polling was extremely accurate. In fact, the only poll that ever pointed to a close run thing for Beattie was a low-sample Morgan poll – that and alleged internal polling which Labor used to persuade journalists that the gap was closing, with considerable success.

  4. I’d also buy the Galaxy poll over the ACNielsen: everything I hear from my home state suggests Labor is very badly on the nose. I wouldn’t underestimate the ability of the incumbent to fight back after the Queensland and WA results, but I’d be very surprised if Ballieu’s Liberals didn’t pick up a bunch of seats. This is, of course, under the assumption that he doesn’t come up with an idea for a massive water pipeline or some other equally stupid idea like his counterparts in WA, NT and Qld.

  5. I wouldn’t say that the Bracks government is on the nose but they are not popular either. There is more the mood of the ‘devil you know’. The big change has been that Ted Baillieu is at least a viable alternative especially compared to Robert Doyle and Denis Napthine, who were both woeful.

    The problem with the Bracks Government is that although everything is ticking along nicely they are lazy and unimaginative. The big advantage they have over other states is that seeing Jeff sold everything, they are essentially unaccountable for anything except hospitals, police and schools. Hospitals they have kept a good lid on, are there any votes in police? and I am not even that sure that schools are as big a deal in Vic as other states as the private sector is much larger than other states.

    There is also a level of cyncism in that we are constantly told the government ‘might’ do something. 7 years of ‘might’ adds to very little achievement. Also the number of major decisions that have been deferred until after the election is raising doubts about what is out there for 2007.

    Water and transport could be where they get in trouble. There has been the discovery of the drought, 5 weeks out, with money splashed (pardon the pun) everywhere.

    As for transport, 7 years of inaction and a refusal to do almost anything except have ‘a study’ has made even the most committed labor voting public transport users I know apoplectic with rage. They work on the principle of refusing to see that problems exist – the Springvale Road Nunawading level crossing is an excellent case in point.

    Not sure, that I would agree with Galaxy though. There is not sufficient rage or desire for change to make a big swing….. unless they come from unexpecetd places? Are there any correspondents out there in Ballarat or Bendigo as they might have a better idea of whether water will be a big issue in that swag of marginal seats.

  6. On the Qld internal Labor polling, I put this to one Labor strategist and he insisted that all the polling they’d leaked was accurate. That turned out to be right. The polls showing Cleveland, Clayfield and Sunshine Coast seats were going to be close run or lost were spot on. It’s just that Cleveland and the Sunshine Coast seats were the only seats Labor had real problems in.

  7. Yeah, that was how I read it as well. I said at the time: “There is no question that Labor has released these results to promote the idea that the election is up for grabs, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t genuine. In fact, there is one good reason to think that they probably are: the figures that are actually provided don’t quite match the claims made for them.” Namely, that the Coalition had (in the words of Steven Wardill of the Courier-Mail) “stormed back into contention”.

  8. The latest Newspoll reinforces the ACNielsen poll. Two against one. I tend to believe these polls against the Galaxy Poll. I think there will be a natural swing back and a loss of up to 10 seats. This would leave the government with a very healthy majority still. The conservatives need to win 21 seats just to form a very uneasy coalition with the Nats. A big task as it is. It must be said that no poll is indicating a Conservative win and those people who like to stake their hard earned on poll results see Labor as clear favourites and even more so after yesterday’s polls (check Centrebet).

  9. If Labor cuts a side-deal with the Liberals at the expense of the Greens and Nationals in the inner-city and northern Victoria (principally because of Labor’s dud Northcote candidate) could the Greens nerve themselves to stand up to Labor and retaliate?

  10. An anti minor party preference deal is un likely as it is bad for each major party because the minor parties may decide to prop up a government of the other side to their natural inclination and mass breakaways are unlikely these days.

    The Greens would also be helped along by a preference deal with People Power, which could creat a situation where in some safe Labor seat the one with the stronger vote overtakes the Liberal party. This would help the Greens in the Inner 4 where they have already overtaken the Libs and may help them past Labor in Hawtorn and Kew.

    The media seem to forget that could easly win Melbourne and Richmond such as in an article on cabnet reshuffle possibilities the the speculation was that Bronwin Pike could get a less important portfolio or the back bench and that Richard Wynne could be promoted from his current Parliamentary Secrataryship when infact they could instead be replaced by David Risstrom and Gurm Sekhon respectively.

  11. Note ma discussion in the Age today on the difference between the Nielson and the Galaxy polls. Nielson is slightly larger than Galaxy.
    Galaxy are dismissive of the ACN figures on the Greens – Newspoll comes in curiously enought with 9.7% right in the middle of the other two polls.

  12. What did the polls put the Greens at in 2002?
    What was the difference between the polls and the election result?
    This may help in giving some idea of their vote.

    The National`s result in the (Legislative) Council will probably depend on how many of the 33 Assembly seats in the non-metro provences they stand in. If they stand in all 33 then their chances of getting past liberal leftovers (from their 1st/2nd quotas) is higher meaning they are more likely to get a seat each in Eastern and Western Victoria.

    I have a theory that if Doyle had stayed Liberal leader and the Nats directed their preferences against the Libs then they might have been able to
    A. Confine the Libs to the city.
    B. Cause the Liberals to have less seats than them so they were the opposition (a Queenslandesque situation of the Libs with more votes but the Nats with more seats).
    Which would probably have given them a tilt at winning more rural seats in 2010, i.e. up to triple (if they were lucky) their seats,
    for instance in 2002 in Savage (the Independant) held Mildura the Libs who held the seat 1988-1996 got 10% and the Nats who held it until 1976 got 15%.

  13. Newspoll splits the difference of the other two on two party preferred, but they have the Greens on 7, like Galaxy (the 9.7% was last time). However, Newspoll has the “other” vote at 11%.

    Most other parties seem to only be running in the upper house, so the “other” will be made up of Independents, Family First and People Power. Independents scored 3.4% last time, and I haven’t heard of a lot more running than last time. Family First and People Power getting almost 8% between them seems pretty unlikely, so I think we have to conclude that this component is way too high. How it breaks amongst the larger players maybe a significant question.

  14. The opinion poll in the Herald Sun, is hard to believe, you must factor in any margin of error which would be like 3-4% in there. I make the prediction Labor will win the next state election with a roughly similar majority, even if there is a swing against Labor.

  15. There are a few points about the 2002 Victorian campaign that should be remembered. The election was early, called just after Robert Doyle rolled Denis Napthine; The Robert Dean affair derailed the liberal campaign totally and they just couldn’t get back on track, and the liberals ran out of money so had no advertising toward the end of the campaign (please correct me on the last point if I am wrong). The libs were headed to total disaster with Denis Napthine but the Robert Dean affair had an effect like I had never seen before in a campaign (maybe he was advising Bruce Flegg recently!). At least this time, Ted has had the time and so far maintained discipline … lets see what unfolds in the campaign proper. The Greens vote in liberal seats last time may have been inflated to some degree by the desire to punish the libs for the mess they were in. Haven’t checked but they may have also taken votes from the ALP in Hawthorn and Kew.

    Some months ago there was discussion somewhere that the ALP would preference the Libs over the Nats in regional Victoria as it was easier to have one foe than two. Does anybody out there know what came of this?

  16. Earlier this year we did an analysis of the new upper house boundaries based on the 2004 senate vote.

    Our analysis shows that the Liberal Party would most likely hold the balance of power in the upper house. The greens getting at best 2-3 seats.

    If a credible vox pop poll was undertaken bade on the new upper house boundaries it would be possible to determine the outcome and the various thresholds following the publication of the registered above-the-line HTV cards.

    When I first undertook analysis of reform of the Victorian Legislative Council we proposed dividing ten state into five electorates. (Two rural and three urban) Each electorate would return either 7 members (12.% quota) or 9 members (10% quota). This model was and is preferable to the current model that has been put in place.

    Game on..

    Anthony van der Craats

  17. The last election was unusual for many reasons, the Libs lost votes to the Greens, the ALP polled about the same as Kennett in 99, this lead to the landslide.

    this election is really a battle between Liberal vs Green for the Greens have two principle areas of support, the inner city and the other eastern suburbs, and this is where the marginals are.

    Brack last time was the first Government to obtain a swing since Hamer who managed back to back swings in the 1970s.

    I don’t see the Greens winning anything in the lower house, they may win a seat or two in the upper, lets take Melbourne, the Liberal vote collapsed last time, now with Baillieu as leader will that vote rise to a more normal level, if so then the Greens can’t win the seat.

    For any potential federal implications there are 3 seats which could say a thing or two.

    Hastings, Bayswater and Mitcham, these 3 seats are marginal, they are the sort of seats which have the demographics that are open to a strong anti work choices vote.

  18. The Greens will run in every seat. Public funding means that they need to maximise the dollars as much as the vote. They have an outside chance of winning the lower-house seat of Melbourne.

    It is easier to win a so called safe seat then one that is within 5%. The greens will need over 12.5% of the vote with the Liberal Party pegged back to below 25% and all preferences favouring the Greens. of course the ALP would also need to poll below 50%.

    The same goes for Liberal held seats as we saw with the
    election of Phil Cleary in Wills and the independents in Victoria.

    Additional Issues surrounding the upper house election system

    The method of calculating the surplus value is based on the number of ballot papers and not the value of the vote seriously distorts the one-vote-one-value principle as major party votes increase in value at the expense of minor parties.

    Further the system of segmentation which was first introduced to assist in a manual counting process also effects the outcome and needs to be reviewed.

    With computer based technology the suplus vote should be transferred based on its value of the ballot paper being transfered and not the number of ballot papers.

    There should only be one transaction per candidate. (Elimination of surplus distribution.)

    As a result of my efforts to take the City of Melbourne to VCAT following the 1999 Council election and appeqals to the Victorian State Parliament, the Victorian Electoral Commission has indicated that it will publish the detailed preference electronic data-file following the declaration of the poll.

    Unfortunately they will not be distributing it via their web site.

    I will endeavour to do so and publish the link on this site as soon as I can.

    There is no reason why this information should not be publicly available during the count. With the counting process now being undertaken in cyberspace we need to look at new ways of scrutinising the ballot. This only way this can be done is via on-line publication of the preference data during the count. The availablity of this data would facilitate open and transparent conduct of the ballot and provide a means for further independent analysis and scrutiny without it is is virtually imposssible to indepoendently vertify the validity of the election. More needs to be done to ensure that the process is fair and correct.

    Anthony van der Craats

    Game on..

  19. Well, the Greens got 27.4% of the vote in Richmond last time, with the Libs on less than 20%. If there’s a swing against Bracks, I’d say the Greens are definitely in with an outside chance there.

  20. Douglas, I understand your point, but because Baillieu is an inner city mp, whom as received many positive articles from the Age, and has several progressive policies he will improve the Liberal vote, not at the expense of the ALP, but the Green, for many may well say we can give Brack a kick in the lower house by voting Lib and give the Greens the vote in the upper house.

  21. Doug… what was the the Liberal Party’s vote in Richmons and how tight were the preferences?

    Dick Wynne is an experienced politician and a good member of parliament.

    The Seat of Melbourne is the greens best hope of winning a lower house seat. even then they have to peg the ALP back to below 50%. Tevor Huggard had a chance against Neil Cole but in the absence of media focus failed to peg the ALP below 50%.

    Demographic have changed in Melbourne to such an extent that the ALP will most likely fall below 50% this time around

  22. Based on the 2004 Senate result our analysis indicates that the Liberal/National Party coalition would have obtained an absolute majority (21 out of the 40 members) of the Legislative Council.

    Eastern Metropolitan Region (Lib, ALP, Lib, ALP, Lib)
    Eastern Victoria Region (Lib, ALP, Lib, ALP, Lib)
    Northern Metropolitan Region (ALP, Lib, ALP, Lib, Grn)
    Northern Victoria Region (Lib, ALP, NP, Lib, ALP)
    Southern Metropolitan Region (Lib, ALP, Lib, NP, Grn)
    South Eastern Metropolitan Region (Lib, ALP, Lib, ALP, FFP)
    Western Metropolitan Region (ALP, Lib, ALP, Lib, ALP)
    Western Victoria Region (Lib, ALP, Lib, ALP, NP)

    ALP (16) – (32.27%, 30.66%, 42.82%, 27.11%, 27.15%, 39.71%, 48.50%, 35.21%)
    Liberal (18-19) – (49.11%, 50.45%, 33.38%, 53.50%, 49.93%, 42.65%, 33.39%, 46.76%)
    National Party (3-2) *
    Green (2) – (8.33%, 7.59%, 13.28%, 5.39%, 15.01%, 6.43%, 6.24% ,7.39%)
    Family First (1) – (2.17%, 2.46%, 1.25%, 2.61%, 0.78%, 2.25%, 1.55%, 2.11%)

    * the Liberal/NP ran on a single ticket with the NP listed no 2

  23. The Greens chances of winning a seat are less than last time because Family First always put them last.

    It would be fun for all if the Greens started winning seats though because the ALP would turn on them like a rabid dog.

  24. Used to live in Melb but no longer, so I want to know: is there still a lot of anger over the Scoresby Freeway? Labor have plenty of marginal seats in the outer east, and a strong anti-toll vote could at least make things interesting.

  25. Not very useful because
    1 A significant proportion people vote often differently in state elections to the way they vote in federal elections (generaly a bit further left these days(the Green vote will probably go up federally when Labor next gets into government there to the the detriment of the Labor members for Melbourne, Sydney, Graindler, Cunningham Dennison and possibly others)).
    2 The peference deal with the cristian parties is unlikely to happen again (VSU and cross media) or Labor would face a “a vote for Labor is a vote for Family First” campain by the Greens.
    3 There was no People Power in 2004.

    If the Greens won lower house seats then they would be seats that Labor could not hurt them by denying them preferences because they would be the ones that the are fighing the Greens for the seat (Melbourne, Richmond, Brunswick, Northcote) or they would be seats in which Labor has no chance (Hawthorn) and would try and get the Lib out (Labor directing it`s preferences to the Libs ahead of the Greens would ignored by many Labor voters and be like and as sensible as the Libs backing Labor in a National vs Labor contest).

    The libs may lose a few voters in Richmond over their rejection of the local who was the only one to stand and running someone who lives in Hawtorn and would need to gain about 10% more primary vote to get ahead of the Greens so bar mass how to vote card ignoring or change a small to medium Liberal resurgence would cause a Green victory and coming third would have a proportion of voters in these inner 4 thinking that the Liberals are a minor party to them that will never win their seat so will send their punish Labor (protest) votes to the Greens.

  26. The 2004 Senate result is also useless for determining wether the Libs or the Nats get the a seat in the non-metro regions as in the Senate the Coalition ran a joint ticket so it does not help on that.

  27. In terms of Green vote, Melbourne is far more marginal because the primary difference in 2002 between Libs and Greens was less than 1000 votes. By contrast, Richmond has a roughly 3000-vote buffer between the Libs and Greens. I think the Greens have a much higher chance of taking Richmond, they are running a local councillor against an imposed Lib candidate, with a substantial buffer above the Libs, and a new influence in People Power, the preferences of which may decide close contests between Libs and Greens for second place (and ultimately the seat).

  28. Melbourne is demographicly more Liberal that the other 3 where the Greens came second (21% as opposed to 18-19%) because of the CBD, East Melbourne and Docklands (a more populated Docklands may influence the outcome).

    The Melbourne Green vote probably would have been higher if Kevin Chamberlin the independent had not run it would probably have been at Richmond levels and the Greens may have won the seat by piccking up a tiny bit more protest vote (the ALP won by less than 600).

    The marginality between Labor and the Greens will probably bring out much of the “it`s a safe seat” and “Labor and Liberal are indisinguishable and bad” brigades, rasing the turn out (in 2002 Melbourne 87.52%, Richmond 88.21%, Northcote 91.37% and Brunswick 91.29%) which would advantage the Greens.

  29. Yes of course there are always some differences in the voting patterns between the Senate and the State but I think you will find that the differences under the new proportional representation system will not be so great.

    The 2002 State election figures where the best for Labor. The swing of the pendulum is on the rebound.

    The Senate vote was properly the best result for the Liberal.

    The 2004 data does show that the new boundaries are in the Liberal parties favor not the ALP.

    Where the Senate vote is of interest is in the fact that all parties are represented and the method of election is similar to the new upper-house system. Many voters when presented with the Senate style voting paper will vote according to past practices.

    If would be helpful if the pollesters were to publish a poll broken down to the new legislative council boundaries. Armed with this information and the registered above-the-line preferences it is possible to determine the various thresholds that could change the result.

    I did the analysis for the 2004 Senate election and I tried to draw attention to the likelihood of the Greens becoming what referred to as the missing quota. David Risstrom was fully aware of the potential outcomes. the greens failed to position themselves favorably in teh preference deals making that much more difficult toi win. One the ALP fell below teh 39-40% mark and the Liberal party exceed 42% (the thresholds) the Greens were in a no win situation. Below-the-line results could not infulence the outcome by more then 1-2%.

    To make comparisons with the 2002 election would be misleading more so then to make a comparison with the 2004 Senate vote.

    Sadly the AEC has not published the below the line preference data. It would be in the public’s interest if this information was readily available along with voter distribution statics for each polling station. hjopefully teh VEC will publish this information. If not we will go back to VCAT to make sure this information is made available and that our elections under a new electronic system remains open and transparent.

    game on..

  30. re Melbourne and Richmond. The liberal party will not poll as bad as they did in 2002. I would doubt that the Greens will poll ahead of the Liberal Party. in any event there will most likely be more candidates running and the Greens will need every vote. I dont that labor will be pegged back in Richmond to below 50%. Melbourne is a different case. Again the level of the liberal vote is crucial to a possible upset. with all parties needing to maximise votes in the legislative Council I doubt that any party will run lame, to do so would jeopardise their chances in the upper house.

    Greens 2 to 43 seats max Maybe a shot at Melbourne. A number of seats could change hands. In the end the Liberal Party has fewer “safer seats then Melbourne” This locks up the ALP vote is a few select areas. The overall election will be won in the marginals.

  31. Tom I factored the National Party joint ticket into the results. They will never the less cross preference each other. I think you are also wrong about the ALP Green preference catchment. I think the LAP won middle ground and listen to the Greens not as suggested the Greens took away from the Liberals. I think when the campaign heats up the Green policies and their party overall will be under greater scrutiny. ALP preferences to the Greens in inner urban seats will not be counted. They are only relevant in the marginals. I can not see the Greens being able to justify allocating preferences to the Liberal Party in the same way it will be difficult for the ALP to support family first this time around (Which explains why Family First is pitching to the Liberal Party) I have been analyzing the State election for too many years. No surprises really. This is the first election were I can stand apart from campaign central. Most of my attention is nowadays focused on inner Melbourne. whilst I support David Risstrom I can not extend his standing to the rest of the Green membership. The electorate really does not know enough about the greens overall other then the green branding. they have not achieved much in other forms. I do not believe the greens will do as well in the Legislative assemble as they did in 2002. yes they may pick up a bit in the Legislative Council but the thresholds are not in their favor. They could even lose in the West in which case they will only get two seats. Subject to ALP surplus preferences. More as the election draws clser and the registered preference data finalised. The key is knowing the realistic thresholds.

  32. Tom re Kevin. Australia unlike the rest of the world has a preferential ballot system. You should lok sloser at Kevin’s preference flow. Kevein may very well stand again. I have heard that some are tryng to encourage John So to Run. We will not know the likelyhood until after the close of nominations.

  33. My point about the prference flow is that if he had not run then some of the voters who put him first and Labor 2nd (or Lib 2nd and Labor 3rd) would have put the Greens first, possibly just tipping te ballance.

    The Greens will probably pick up a small portion of the ALP vote in many seats because of the governments lack of action on public transport and other issues (voters who would rather vote for a real party of the left than the”Alternative Liberal Party”).

  34. I will be producing online Upper House calculators for all the Victorian Upperhouse regions similar to the ones I did for the South Australian election and pollbludger for the WA election if anyone is interested.

    They’ll be up shortly after the group tickets are released.

  35. Anthony, If you use the Upper house Primary’s in the last 3 Victorian elections you get a different result than using the Senate result from the last election.

    For example Western Vic Upper House will not elect a National MP as the Libs 3rd will beat their 1st.

    I agree your system for the upper house is better than this Bracks / Lenders model that has been introduced. Better for the Parliament and better for democracy

    However I still beleive the upper ouse should be abolished and a PR component introduced into the lower house. I understand the greens were approached with this idea and rejected it.

    If the ALP preferences the Libs over the Nats in the Country then the nats will be left with 3 lower house seats. Gipps South, Lowan and Benalla) based on the last election.

    However if the Greens in Benalla prefernce the Libs ahead of the nats then they will lose even that seat. The only reason that the Nats won Benalla last time was preferences from the Greens who went Nats, ALP and then Libs

  36. What would the Nats say if Labor came to them and they would only put the Nats above the Libs if the Nats put them above the Libs?

    Near wipe out or preference Labor?

    With all the anti-Green things the Nats have been saying I think that they might try to preference against them.

  37. If the DLP, Family First, Nats put the greens last as is reported it wont hurt the greens anyway.

    The DLP doesnt get may votes and what there is could go family first, same withFred Niles Party ( it usually only runs in the country)

  38. I actualy meant that the Greens might Preference against the Nats.

    This might be of help to the Greens in a case of a tight election resultwhere the majority was held by niether the Libs and Nats nor the ALP and the Greens had the balance the Nats might prop up the ALP to keep the Greens out so the less Nats the better for the Greens (plus us the upper house results show PR is worst for the Nats so they oppose it the most for the Assembly so if there are no Nats then the Greens could have a chance at doing a PR deal with the Libs).

  39. Last election most of the seats only had three parties competing – Lib/Lab/Green, so the Greens picked up all the protest vote.

    This time with more minor partys competing, I am going to predict their vote will decline. These votes then being preferenced away from them is definitely going to hurt them.

  40. Elbow Room makes a very good point about the protest vote. The Dems used to always get their highest votes when there were only 3 candidates. More minor parties will mop some of the protest vote. Independents are evn better at mopping up the protest vote and blocking out minor parties. Historically, Victorian voters have always been more likely to vote for parties than independents (esp compared to say NSW). Not sure why (more ideological purity perhaps?). However, in NSW when there are high profile independents, the Greens, Dems in the past always poll very poorly. In NSW and QLD, these independents tend to come out of local government (Clover Moore, Peter MacDonald, those forgettable right wing ones from Newcastle, Liz Cunningham. In Victoria there never seems to be many people moving from local to state government candidature despite the high profile local government gives. Maybe the Sydney geography reinforces a local identity that Melbourne just doesn’t have.

  41. Your theory is suported by Victoria`s 2 independents being in the two least Melbourne electorates in the state: Mildura and East Gippsland.

    Mildura also had the lowest Green Vote in the state in any Green contested electorate of 1.74% (one of only 2 Green contested electorates where they got less than 4%) in one of the 4 they did not contest the Citezens Electoral Council got 8-10%.

    The Protest vote may be bigger this time round.

  42. A couple of things worth noting from the booth I worked last time.

    1. Green voters take absolutely no notice of how-to-vote cards. In the area I worked last time the Greens ran a split ticket in the Lower House and preferenced Labor in the Upper; Labor actually got more (76%) Green preferences in the Lower House than in the Upper (72%). Where Green preference allocations will matter is in the Upper House, where most people under the new system will vote above-the-line.

    2. In most recent elections I’ve worked on, about 20% of Liberal voters preference Labor ahead of the Greens. This means that in seats like Melbourne and Richmond (which I would agree are potential Green wins), 45-46% of the primary vote is probably enough for Labor – the Liberals will come third (or worse) here but enough of their preferences would leak to get Labor across the line with anything higher.

    Providing the overall swing against Labor isn’t too large, Doncaster could be one that Labor could gain against the trend. They got within 0.6% last time with no campaign and a candidate picked from the party office staff 6 weeks out because no-one else could be found. This time they have the advantage of incumbency because they’re running the sitting Upper House MP (Lidia Argondizzo) and the sitting Liberal MP is retiring.

    In Ivanhoe a local councillor and former mayor (Jenny Mulholland) is running as an independent. Assuming that all the other minor parties will preference her, she might have a chance with anything much above 15% on primaries (although her presence in the race will probably suppress the Green vote). I don’t think she’ll get that, but she may not be too far away. In general it’s harder for independents to get anywhere in city seats because the individual candidates don’t attract media attention (unless they do something really stupid) in the way they do in the country, so it’s much harder to build a profile.

  43. Would she put The Greens ahead of Liberal and Labor on her how to vote cards (if she has any) and would the Greens do the same for her?

  44. I have given some further thought about why there have been more independents in other states compared to Victoria. In Victoria, there is a very high proportion of seats that are potentially winnable by either side. These types of seats have always traditionally voted for the major parties as the voters have something to gain. If you add the uneasy relationship liberals and nationals in regional victoria into the mix, there are very few seats which aren”t theoretically winnable by another party. In NSW and QLD, successful independents have usually done so in seats that were ”safe” for either of the major parties – Manly should be a safe liberal seat, Bligh has moved boundaries but at one stage would have been safe, Dawn Fraser in Balmain, Frank Arkell in Wollongong, Peter Wellington in Nicklin – the list goes on.

    Blair, above mentions that Doncaster may be winnable for the ALP, as they came close last time on very little campaigning. An inevitable result of landslides is that the tail end MPs are usually not very talented and have ridden on the coat tails. We have an interesting situation here in the City of Whitehorse, Labour hold both state seats: Mitcham (Tony Robinson) by about 7.7%, Forest Hill by Kirstie Marshall (5.8%) – Federally the Libs (Phil Barresi) hold Deakin by 5.0%. Tony Robinson and Phil Barresi are classic marginal seat MPs, visible, hard working, getting involved. Judging by reports in the local paper, Kirstie Marshall has been largely invisible for the last 4 years (except for the breast feeding incident), has never even bothered to move to the electorate. This week a concerted campaign of slagging Kirstie for being ”not around” has started on the letters page – politically inspired no doubt – but justified. It will be interesting to see how she goes as it could be a litmus test seat – last time she won on a big swing – incumbent MP retiring, Liberal candidate was Indian or Sri Lankan (some degree of racism perhaps?), some disquiet within liberal campaign. Maybe she will run dead and quietly fade away. If the Libs win the seat it is a fair way up the pendulum. How well are the other MPs who never expected to win performing?

  45. We’ve seen a similar effect in Geelong as to what blackburnpseph notes in the City of Whitehorse. While it wasn’t out of the question that South Barwon and Bellarine could fall in 2002, it certainly wasn’t expected to happen. The two MPs in those seats, Michael Crutchfield and Lisa Neville, are badly on the nose locally, both being low-profile and having backed the government against large swathes of the local community on quite a few controversial issues. There’s also issues in Lara, which, while traditionally very safe for Labor, has seen a popular long-term member (Peter Loney) disendorsed in favour of John Eren, an MLC who’s virtually unheard of in the electorate he supposedly represents, and which has a similar situation going on at the federal level, with the disendorsement of Gavan O’Connor. I doubt Labor could lose Lara, but I suspect there will be a fair swing against the party, and I’d not be at all surprised if the Liberals picked up Bellarine and South Barwon. I think the only one in our area that’ll be a safe hold for Labor is Geelong, where Ian Tresize is pretty popular.

  46. By the idependents do better in safe seats theory Kevin Chamberlin won`t do so well if he runs again because it`s now a marginal and the Greens will probably do quite a bit better in Footscray this time round if the independent who ran last time and got just more than the Greens (about 10% each) if they don`t run again.

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