Victorian election: highlights of week one

As John Brumby and Ted Baillieu prepare for tonight’s leaders debate (unlikely to have much impact, being buried on a Friday evening three weeks out from polling day), here are some notable happenings from the first week of the campaign:

Paul Austin of The Age has received a “detailed strategy document” from the ALP in which campaign spending is allocated to electorates according to need, although its veracity is disupted by party state secretary Nick Reece. The document identifies 13 seats as “in danger”, including four held by ministers: Melbourne (Bronwyn Pike), Bendigo East (Jacinta Allan), Mount Waverley (Maxime Morand) and Ripon (Joe Helper). Also on the list are Prahran, Forest Hill, Gembrook, Mordialloc, South Barwon, Seymour, Eltham, Frankston and Bentleigh. Another six are at the apparently lower but still high threat level of “critical”: Richmond, Brunswick, Burwood, Mitcham, Ballarat West and Macedon. Of lesser but still real concern are Monbulk, Narre Warren South, Narre Warren North, Bellarine, Ballarat East and Yan Yean. More broadly, Labor is said to fear a backlash among “white males aged between 30 and 50” who are aggreived over “law and order and so-called ‘nanny state’ issues”.

Stephen McMahon of the Herald-Sun reports Liberal candidates were “summoned to a special meeting last night” on the back of squabbles and resignations which have “threatened to derail Ted Baillieu’s campaign”. McMahon points to a dangerous number of Liberal MPs briefing against Baillieu, and beats the drum of internal “dismay” over a “deal” with the Greens on preferences (which in fact amounts to the party simply doing what it’s always done).

• The Liberals are currently without a candidate in the winnable country seat of Seymour after the withdrawal of Mike Laker on Saturday. Though ostensibly for “personal reasons”, this obviously related to a talk radio caller’s claim that Laker had told him of government plans to house 50 Somali families in the electorate and provide them with free cars. The Weekly Times likes the chances of independent Jan Beer, running on behalf of the Plug the Pipe campaign against the controversial north-south pipeline.

• The Liberal candidate for Richmond, Tom McFeely, is back in the party fold after announcing on Wednesday he would quit and run as an independent. The owner of Collingwood gay pub the Peel Hotel, McFeely had been affonted by a rebuke he received from a Liberal apparatchik for conducting media appearances without party clearance.

• The mayor of Mildura, one Glenn Milne, has announced he will take a leave of absence from council to run for the seat of Mildura as an independent. Mildura was held by independent Russell Savage for three terms from 1996, but he was defeated in 2006 by Nationals candidate Peter Crisp.

• Antony Green has calculated margins in key seats based on results from the federal election – not normally an exercise psephologists have much time for, but more than useful on this occasion in demonstrating Victoria’s electoral stability since the last state election.

UPDATE: Essential Research has published state poll results based on its last six weeks of surveying, and its the first published poll to support Labor concerns raised in Paul Austin’s article: the two parties are tied on two-party preferred, with the Coalition on a clear primary vote lead of 44 per cent to 38 per cent. As usual, Essential shows the Greens more modestly placed than other pollsters on 12 per cent.

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.

289 comments on “Victorian election: highlights of week one”

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  1. GG

    Do you think I’d vote for a wowser like that? 😆 No wonder his voice is soft and high. I like a man with at least one decent bad habit.

  2. Brumby looked nervous, shaky and under threat,.
    Its bizarre that the ALP lot here can’t see whats happening.
    The swing is on,. expect a very bizarre election.
    Patchy swings and inconsistent results.
    Brumby by a few seats but lots of change.
    Libs to lose a few unexpected.
    Greens to under achieve.

  3. Barking,

    If that’s your feeble attempt at a haiku, then you need more practice.

    Otherwise, it is just the normal drivel from you.

  4. GG, lets take a simple bet, you call the stakes, who will get the biggest swing to them the ALP or the Greens.
    Your post doesn’t even make sense.
    I’m surprised you bother when your not getting paid by the taxpayer. Back to Vexnews for you.

  5. Just been taking a glance at the police “Offences Recorded by Offence Code” file for the last decade available for download from HERE as a .xls spread sheet.

    You real do wonder how oppositions manage to get away with the claims about “law and order”. Overall reported offences declined by about 20% over this period. Once you take into account changes in reporting codes it is almost impossible to find an area where any category has actually got worse even in absolute terms between 2000/2001 and 2009/10, despite a significant increase in the Victorian population over this time. In some areas the actual decline was very substantial indeed.

  6. Rod Hagen

    I know the Herald Sun is a tabloid paper. But it has a huge readership in Melbourne.
    My OH loves his footy, so we purchase it.
    There was a stage that crime was being reported as an epidemic. Strangely enough, in the past six months it has quietened right down. From my own recollection, reporting changed quite significantly after the little Indian boy had been killed and went missing in Melbourne. You may recall it.

    A lot of our concerns with crime in Melbourne are based on perceptions.

  7. centaur,

    Nah, pettiness keeps the Greens inside and away from helpless small furry animals. II’m not talking about Zone 1 Greg Barber).

  8. centaur,

    No, I live in Bundoora under the benign rule of emerging super star Colin Brooks.

    However, I went to Anthony’s election launch last week and it was electrifying. John Lenders gave a passionate speech about Labor’s history and how we got to where we are. Anthony spoke brilliantly about taking Labor and the community forward from here. He’s a future Minister.

    Terrific night with about 250 people.

  9. Rod Hagen

    “One of the primary reasons why it is crazy for Labor to make The Greens their major target.”

    well thats what a Green would say

    fortunately John Brumby took no notice of that nonsense , and knows both Liberals and greens is enemy of labor potentialy stopping a Majority Labor Govt continuing , and thus has highlited both liberals and Greens

    By Labor holding its 4 safe Labor inner city seats , its goodbye Balleau winning & a majority Labor govt Labor;’s efforts need to be in those 4 and approx 7 others incl a no in th East

    that list excl Richmond in fist Group makes it abit suss

    (BTW , but then if Greens reely believed Liberals were reel enemy they’d put there main efforts onto taking Lib seats , not Labor ones)

  10. I’ld be more than happy for the greens to take seats of the Libs- hell i’d even camapign for them, but off ALP no way- Barber is a total tosser- Brown is fine by my books, and even the angry ant Bandt is OK.
    State Greens are a different animal


    FIX THE CAUSE OF UNNECESSARY DEVELOPMENT To better use our infrastructure – build on the recent prioritisation of our two cities by Port Phillip Bay – Melbourne and Geelong suggested by Peter Brohier during the Higgins by-election. Save billions by linking the Port Phillip Heads and use the existing $200B road and rail system around the Bay more effectively, both ways at peak hour. Intense inner-suburban residential development can be unnecessary with development spread over these two cities, each having substantial existing infrastructure. Reduce carbon emissions by faster travel – no need to cut up Melbourne to implement the whole of a largely unfunded $37 billion Victorian Transport Plan.

    BENEFIT FROM EXISTING BASS STRAIT FEDERAL FUNDING – GRADE SEPARATE GLEN EIRA’S RAIL CROSSINGS Unused resources and massive federal funding, obtained by Peter Brohier and his National Sea Highway Committee, can be applied by Canberra, in weeks, to bring huge benefits to Victoria by delivering a fairer Melbourne to Hobart transport corridor. Adelaide enjoys 3 effective inter-capital corridors. Victoria asked, but got just 2. Based on equity and geography, Canberra owes us billions. Using this massive funding, the two cities solution to Melbourne’s traffic congestion and grade separation at Glen Eira’s rail crossings, as part of an up-grade on this new inter-capital city link, can be funded in preference to existing Infrastructure, Australia priorities. Also a new Melbourne icon, a fabulous toll – free road and rail bridge over Port Phillip Heads makes very sound economic sense to connect all three inter-capital corridors.

    MAKE CAULFIELD MORE LEAFY AND VALUABLE To deliver a leafy and more valuable Glen Eira by planting canopy trees over our major roads – just like Orrong Road and in Toorak.
    EXPERIENCE A FABULOUS NEW SHOPPING, SPORTING AND CULTURAL PRECINCT To establish a new fabulous billion dollar inner-city regional shopping, recreational and cultural centre at the Caulfield Railway Station transport hub – easily accessible by rail, tram and bus from many parts of Melbourne. Reduce our taxes by avoiding needless duplication of similar facilities elsewhere. Enhance the wider economy of Glen Eira – benefit existing stakeholders.
    VIEW & USE A NEW BILLION DOLLAR PARK To replace two corrugated iron fences and greatly increase the visibility of Caulfield’s $2 billion recreational and racing crown land. Substantial use of this open space, especially near the Caulfield Station, will lead to increased revenue and savings which can be applied to reduce our council rates or fund other necessary facilities.

    ENJOY CHEAP ACCESS TO THE AIRPORT For long overdue access to Melbourne Airport by tram on a Met ticket – a 6 km tram link from Airport West can be very cheap to build and can be delivered now. Fast rail, although preferable, may take over 10 years and with full cost recovery, may never be made available on a Met ticket. With air critical to everyday transport, it’s time to integrate airports into our suburban transport system and service a new market of light luggage travellers.
    ENSURE ELECTION PROMISES ARE KEPT Be a supporter of the National Public Lobby and balance the influence of paid lobbyists – give the public the best chance of ensuring election promises are kept after an election – make our democracy work much more effectively.

    Authorised and printed by Peter Brohier 143 Kooyong Road, Nth. Caulfield. Victoria
    Independent Candidate for Caulfield Mob 0415 941 314 Please hand this to others.

  12. Brumby’s always been very nervous when it comes to public speaking – I remember watching his knees shake while he delivered a speech to a branch function of about thirty people – so he did better than I expected!

    Thought Ballieu was very shallow (but yes, I’m a hack). Noticed that he didn’t offer much by way of policies or forward thinking, it was all negativity.

    Didn’t seem to have a clear answer for anything – answer on dams was yes-no, and also very Melbourne-centric (just because Melb’s water supply secure not reason to rule out dams elsewhere…not that I’m for them…)

  13. Greensborough Growler

    Sorry I didn’t reply to your earlier question: been out and about. Why did Ted get the job?

    Dunno, really. Maybe he thought he was at an auction and just put up his hand? As I said, I’ve never taken much notice of him, but I watched the debate last night and, to me, he came across as a proper dumb cluck. Exceeding dull.

    [Noticed that he didn’t offer much by way of policies or forward thinking, it was all negativity.]

    Yes, zoomster, that sums it up nicely.

  14. (BTW , but then if Greens reely believed Liberals were reel enemy they’d put there main efforts onto taking Lib seats , not Labor ones)
    Posted Saturday, November 6, 2010 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    “I’ld be more than happy for the greens to take seats of the Libs- hell i’d even camapign for them, ”

    there’s been too much courtous shadow boxing on PB avoiding this reality that Greens take Labor seats , they dont target Liberl seats with there most efforts Greens hurt Labor and waste its limited politcal time & $ resources

    which is why Tanner , Brumby , Lenders , all Senior Labor figures hav come out highliting Greens is also an enemy of Labor Greg Combet is latest , tho more subtel

    (also no doubt that Labor’s perceived association with Greens turns off middle swing voters TO Liberals , eg Fed election and current Fed 50/50 Polls)

  15. GG , pity but those Lib prefs in inner city is just never ever going to come to roost

    Libs not even 1/2 smart on issue as it enforses they is convictionless , and for no gain
    tho Upper House metrop pref flows ex greens to Libs is a watch to see if secret deel done

  16. GG

    re that article

    The nature of the candidates meeting is disputed but what is not even denied by Ted was the Herald Sun’s excellent exclusive reporting that ten of his MPs are in semi-open or fully-open rebellion over his apparent plans to assist the election of extreme-left candidates in the form of giving preferences to (Greens) “

    Richmond seat , “a Greens prostitutes’ activist State Candidate in Richmond Seat who wants street prostitution fully legalised”

    Melbourne Seat , “the swastika-worshipping Greens millionaire candidate in Melbourne “ , (who I add advocates for Coal co & possible against workers rites)

    Brunswick seat , “a dishonest Greens Myki spin-doctor in Brunswick who now claims Myki is bad having once assured senior citizens groups that it was good for oldies.”

    Upper House Sat , Greens Barber I only use and need zone 1 to service my electoraote , tho 37 suburbs need zone 2

    “their (Greens) policies of course include depriving kids of cancer medicine (if it’s made in a nuclear reactor), closing the Zoo, massive new taxes on electricity and even death taxes, just to name a few.”

    GG , many may say Landeryou is quite a objective moderate and factual writer

  17. 73

    The Greens target mainly ALP seats because they are the seats where the Greens do best because they attract voters fed up with the ALP moving to the right and being to cosy with the rich and powerful. The Greens target the seats they do because they are the only seats they have a chance at winning under the undemocratic divide and rule single member electorates.

  18. 75

    Reducing congestion increases pollution because more car use happens.

    Adelaide has 4 highway connections to other capitals (Perth, Darwin, Sydney and Melbourne) because it has land connections to those capitals (there is alsao a land connection to Brisbane but it is not highway standard). Melbourne has only 2. There will never be a road over Bass Straight unless sea levels drop significantly.

  19. My letter to the editor of The Australian re Ted Baillieu and education on Inner city Greens (make me wanna holler) was not published, which is no surprise. It is annoying that Ted Baillieu can get publicity in that newspaper for promising 100 extra primary teachers and no extra secondary teachers when secondary schools are still missing some 1,800 teachers because of his party’s actions when last in power.

    However, John Brumby did say in the debate last night that voting Labor would result in more teachers, though he did not say how many or which sector they would be in.

    It really is disappointing that after 11 years in government, Labor has still not returned all the teachers taken away by the last Liberal government. It is particularly disappointing that Labor staffs our secondary schools with a ratio almost 10 per cent worse than that of the Liberals 30 years ago.

  20. Chris, With due respect the Kennett Government is ancent history. the Brumby Government has been in office for 11 years and this election is about the present and the future.

    Going on about bad education policies is a bit like harping on about the stupid decision by Kirner to close Tech schools.

    The average voter is busy living in the here and now and want to know about the future.

  21. Tom, as much as I love your positive support for investing in Public Transport, you seem to gforget that this is a big island and people want to get from point A to point B in a quick time and whilst Public Transport has a big role to play but the Car is an equally important form of Transport.

  22. I think the Government will be returned with a small majority, The Greens look set to win Melbourne and Richmond.

    Brunswik will hang on how many Liberals put the Greens ahead of the ALP.

  23. Mexicanbeemer,

    The relevance is that the party which removed the teachers from the secondary system is promising to add teachers to the primary system (when all the teachers it took away have in fact already been returned) and leave the secondary system some 1,800 teachers short of what it had when that party was itself in government 30 years ago. The restoration of primary teacher numbers is to the credit of Labor. The failure to return the missing secondary ones is not, and it ought to be an issue relevant to voters today, who should demand the return of those teachers to their children’s schools. If we still had a VSTA, it would be.

    Joan Kirner did not close technical schools. She relabelled them secondary colleges, but if you went in one after the renaming you knew exactly what it was. It was the following government that actually closed them, and it was the Labor government that brought in VCAL and lifted VET participation as a way of dealing with the closure of those technical schools.

  24. Chris I am aware that the tech schools were renamed and in the process the traditional Tech subjects were downgraded and it was said that if you wanted to go onto those areas you needed to head off to the local tafe upon completion of Year 9.

  25. 87

    The vast majority of transport happens in cities in Australia. PT is far more efficient and economical at moving people around (and often in between) cities. PT is also a far healthier way of moving people around because there is almost always walking or cycling involved (pro-road=pro obesity). With the proper investment PT can be competitive with or just plain be better than cars for most trips by running simple and fast routes with frequent services (every 10 or less minutes). More also needs to be done to make walking and cycling more competitive with cars for short trips and to have local shops within walking distance (800-1.200m) from all urban homes.

    Arterial roads and freeways/tollways are very expensive because they take up more land (or more tunnel width) than PT.

  26. Chris
    neither do I, and I’m in the system.
    All the secondary colleges I know of still offer tech subjects, some to quite a high standard.
    For example, most schools around here run a high standard Hospitality unit for VCE students, which results in a trade qualification once completed.
    As part of the BER, most schools I know of are having their tech centres majorly upgraded.
    As for numbers of teachers: the 1800 can’t be justified. The previous system was just silly – if you were employed to replace someone who it was known was coming back (e.g. long service leave) you were given permanency. This meant that, when the original teacher returned, the school still employed the extra teacher, even when there were no classes for them.
    The contract system has its flaws, but it is undoubtedly the most sensible way of filling short term vacancies (it’s when they go on for years that they’re not justifiable).

  27. Chris,

    I happened to be at High School during the final years of the Kirner Government Government and whilst I was at a traditional High School, several kids that were not interested in going to Uni but instead were more interested in taking up a Trade, they were told it might be best if they went off to Tafe.

    This meant there were several kids that spend year 8 and year 9 just mucking around.

    Whist talking about history, I see that at the height of its popular support the DLP recweived 17% of the vote, a good seven points more than the Greens have received.

    In your view as a DLP person and while I believe the DLP and the Greens obtain their vote from slightly difference sections of the community but in your view what do the greens have to do to reach the voting levels acheived by the DLP in the 1960s?

  28. Zoomster – Back when I went to school I recall we had one term of Woodwork followed in each term by a a difference tech subject.

    I accept things might have changed a fair bit since I went to school.

  29. 94

    I looks like the Greens will come closer to that 17% on the last Saturday of this month. It seems that the Greens only have to do more campaigning to increase their vote to that level.

    The Greens do have the advantage of elected MLCs as Greens while the DLP had no body elected at state level in 1961 when they got 16.95% (they had had 1 MLA elected as ACLP (original name of the DLP) in Richmond in 1955 having won the previous election as ALP and deserted (all the other ACLP MLAs elected as ALP were defeated at the 1955 election they forced) and the ACLP MLCs elected as ALP were all defeated in 1955 and 1958).

  30. All Parties favour treatment of ill health compared to promotion of good health and prevention of ill health. Oral health barely rates a mention yet tooth decay is our most common disease affecting every family including 11 million Australians though cavities is easy to prevent.
    Over 80% of cavities occur inside pits and fissures on chewing surfaces from plaque bacteria changing carbohydrate like sugar to acid demineralisation.
    Brushing cannot reach with fluoride toothpaste and saliva has no access to remineralise demineralised tooth like on other surfaces.
    Fissure sealants placed over chewing surfaces to block food being trapped, halts caries.
    Sealants forced deep inside pits and fissures like food under chewing pressure indicate that chewing carbohydrate free food before eating, blocks meals or snacks being forced deep inside pits and fissures and any carbohydrate like sugar cannot cause as much demineralisation.
    It is clear much more can be done to prevent tooth decay. Tell Government that oral health needs to be included in general health and a national preventive health promotion must be an election priority.

  31. My kids (both still at school) did two terms of Woodwork, Metalwork, Home Eco from Year 7 – 8 (possibly Textiles as well), much the same as I did at school 30 years before them. From then on, these are offered as electives.
    For students who wish to do trades based courses, they can do a mixture of work placements and school, or TAFE and school.
    Larger schools can offer a lot more school based trades courses, with full auto workshops being attached to most of them, for example.

  32. supertooth
    er….my sons have both had their teeth fissure sealed, at the government’s expense, as part of the school dental health program.
    So what are you suggesting?

  33. Zoomster,

    I think you have fallen for the Liberal propaganda when you say, “if you were employed to replace someone who it was known was coming back (e.g. long service leave) you were given permanency”. I do not say this never happened, but it was not the explanation for the numbers of teachers I am referring to.

    Back in the 1970s, whenever anyone was declared in excess, the union took strike action. (In fact, the only time I was subject to a lockout was when we had ended a stopwork on this issue at my school and the principal then locked us out – but that’s another story.) Consequently, the Liberal government brought in limited tenure employment to replace people on leave. Labor promised to abolish the LTE system before the 1982 election. Once elected it reneged in sprit by renaming LTE teachers EETs, extended emergency teachers. Then when the Liberals were elected in 1992, all new teachers were put on contracts – and that problem is still with us, with about 18 per cent of teachers still on contracts despite Labor policy saying that the standard method of employment will be ongoing and despite the AEU’s trumpeting its victories over contracts in every EBA.

    The cuts in 1992 were to ongoing teachers within school’s entitlements. The Liberals changed the staffing formula by cutting the base from 8-11+ to 4 and by removing most special needs teachers from the system and Labor has never changed it back. I was the timetabler and acting vice principal of Whittlesea College in 1992, the year they were elected. We had 71.4 teachers for 881 students. By 1995, that government had cut the number of teachers to 61.9 (i.e., by 13 per cent), while the number of students had increased to 888. A gain of seven students meant the loss of 9.5 real, timetabled teachers.

    You mention the advantages of large schools. The research says that smaller schools are not only more effective than larger schools but also more efficient than larger schools once you take account of the cost per successful student rather than the cost per student. The push for huge schools in Victoria is just another copy of failed overseas policy, which is already being reversed in New York. It seems to me that we can gain the advantages of wider subject choice without having huge schools, like the monstrosity at Dandenong written up in today’s paper, by having separate senior and junior high schools.

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