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. 200.

    Indeed it was, resolved a fairly significant Myki problem very easily.

    In my opinion, making all tram stop zone 1 was a sensible decision full stop. I previously lived in a zone 1-2 tram overlap area. As i commuted to the city I purchased monthly zone 1 tickets.

    Whenever I wanted to travel more than 2 stop further out on the route, I would be required to purchase a seperate zone 2 ticket for that day.

    The buses in the area also seemed to be mainly zone 2 (although the failure to intergrate bus travel with the rest of the transport network is another issue).

  2. 201.

    You can continue to deny the facts if it makes you feel better. It will not, however, change the fact that you are wrong.

    All tram stops in Melbourne are within zone 1. There is no tram stops that you need a zone 2 ticket to access. There are some trams that are also in zone 2, so a zone 2 would also allow you to access these stops should you wish to.

    As Tom mentioned, the decision to eliminate zone 2 only tram stops was made to prevent tram uses from having to touch-off when using Myki. It was a common sense decision, which is likely to have saved trams from further delays with boarding/disembarking during peak times.

    You can continue to play 101 reasons why your blatanting lying is justified. Or you can just admint you were wrong.

  3. [great new labor ad about baillieu. says it all]

    Interesting. Very clearly inspired by the WA Liberals’ “name three things Carpenter’s Labor has done in eight years”, but done from government rather than opposition.

  4. [Can’t help if you’re blind comrade.]

    GG, it is clear you don’t use Public Transport very often! The combined blue & yellow line sections can all be legitimately travelled using a ticket for either zone 1 or zone 2. They do not require a combined 1+2 ticket.

  5. marg,

    Your Greens waffle blown away again with decisive action.

    “UPDATE 4.10pm: DOCTORS have welcomed a huge hospital funding injection pledge by Labor in a move aimed slashing emergency waiting lists.
    The Australian Medical Association today welcomed Labor’s pledge to put $1.5 billion into the hospital system to improve treatment times for patients.

    AMA Victoria president Dr Harry Hemley said there is no doubt this pre-election speeding promise will speed up waiting times for surgeries.

    “Overall it will significantly reduce the waiting times and that is great.” he said.”

  6. [Rod, Apparently provided by a Labor Government.

    No Greens Glory here.]

    Was anyone suggesting there was, GG?

    [Rod, So there is a Zone 2 ticket?]

    Indeed there is, but you don’t need one to travel anywhere on the tram network. Mind you, if you want to head simply from Bundoora RMIT to LaTrobe then a Zone 2 will be cheaper.

  7. Travis at 205:

    [ As Tom mentioned, the decision to eliminate zone 2 only tram stops was made to prevent tram uses from having to touch-off when using Myki. It was a common sense decision, which is likely to have saved trams from further delays with boarding/disembarking during peak times. ]

    What’s the issue with having to tag off at the end of a trip? Seems to work fine in Perth (and we have 9 zones!). Then again, everything about Myki seems to have been horribly botched.

    Anyone reckon Phil Cleary’s got a chance in Brunswick? He seems to have left his run pretty late, but if there’s something like a three-way tie for second he’d be best placed, getting preferences from both Greens and Libs. He’d probably need at least 20%… can he get it?

  8. 217.

    The touch-off problem is more an issue with Melbourne’s trams than with Myki itself. I would estimate that very few (maybe 10%) of peak hour tram commuters would actively validate tickets everytime they travel on trams.

    Technically you were supposed to validate your ticket everytime you travelled, however a weekly/monthly ticket would become valid the first time it was validated so once valid you could not be fined for not validating it again. As a result, regular tram commuters would rarely validate.

    Getting on-and-off peak hour trams in Melbourne is riddiculous as it is. The things stop about every 30 seconds, people have to get off and get on and do all sorts of gymnastics to allow people through and often the valiaters/Myki readers are blocked simply becasue the tram is so full you just cannot get to them. Requiring every person getting off the tram at each city stop during morning peak times would certainly have increased the time taken at each stop. Slowing down trams really isn’t a sensible thing to do at this point in time.

    Anyway, the Government simply moved all tram stops to within zone 1, meaning you cannot be charged a zone 2 faire for not touching off.

    I also doubt the Public Transport Authority really wanted to deal with the influx of compalints of people who weren’t able to correctly touch off and had thus been charged extra.

    Given making these station zone 1 was a good idea anyway, I would say it’s pretty close to the only true positive to have come from Myki.

  9. Lindsay Tanner says the Liberals are a “red-hot certainty” to preference the Greens.

    “They’re pretending to have a debate about this at the moment but I can guarantee you what the outcome will be,” Mr Tanner told an election forum at Victoria University on Monday.

    “It is an absolute red-hot certainty that on November the 27th the Liberal Party will give preferences to the Greens.

    “The fact that their business constituents are not happy about this and some of their broader constituents won’t change that decision.”

    In a stinging attack, Mr Tanner said the Greens, who he described as “the flavour of the commentary month”, did not have to worry about attracting a diverse group of voters, but could zero in on 10 to 15 per cent of the population.

    But he said less progressive consequences were the net result, with a higher chance of a conservative victory.

    “What you get from the Greens is left-wing rhetoric and right-wing outcomes,” he said.


  10. 216.

    You claimed that one would ‘need’ a zone 2 ticket. There is not tram stop where one would need a zone 2 ticket to access only some where a zone 2 ticket would be cheaper.

    The existence of zone 2 tickets and zone 1 & 2 crossover stops in no way makes your original statement correct or my subsequent statement wrong. I’ve seen absurb pride before but this is ludicrous.

  11. Travis,

    You seem very confused and this is not unusual for people of your persuasion.

    However, there is a zone 2 ticket. Deal with it.

  12. Could you please show me where I have claimed there wasn’t a zone 2 ticket?

    I have simply claimed there are no tram stops where one would ‘need’ a zone 2 ticket. And there isn’t. You have claimed that this is wrong. I am still waiting for either evidence against this or an apology that you were wrong.

    I don’t imagine either will be forthcoming.

  13. Instead of sending a posative message the LIB/LAB Party do what they always do.

    Victorian Election Off to an Acrimonious Start

    [The attack from the ALP on the Greens candidate for Melbourne, Brian Walters, played out extremely badly. The accusations of anti Semitism in particular had the opposite effect with a variety of individuals and groups coming out in support of the Greens’ candidate.]

  14. Saying wrong does not somehow alter the facts (I know I’ve tried it before, never works).

    You claimed:

    “Good news for the Greens is that it’s on a tram route.

    Bad news for Greg Barber is that it needs a Zone 2 ticket”

    This is a factually incorrect statement as has been pointed out be numerous people. You have posted 2 links which show your statement ot be false. You have then tried to claim your argument was about the existence of zone two tickets despite no-one claiming them not to exist. Your quote above clearly claims the tram route needs a zone 2 ticket. This is false and yet you are still unable to acknowledge it.

    All you have been able to manage is blindly stating ‘wrong’ as if that somehow proves something and claiming that my evidence based argument is typical of someone of my ‘persuasion’ (which I can only assume is some kind of school-yard homophobic slur).

    I will ask you again, do you or do you not need a zone 2 ticket to travel to any tram stops in Melbourne?

  15. Travis at 219:

    [ Getting on-and-off peak hour trams in Melbourne is riddiculous as it is. The things stop about every 30 seconds, people have to get off and get on and do all sorts of gymnastics to allow people through and often the valiaters/Myki readers are blocked simply becasue the tram is so full you just cannot get to them. Requiring every person getting off the tram at each city stop during morning peak times would certainly have increased the time taken at each stop. Slowing down trams really isn’t a sensible thing to do at this point in time. ]

    Sounds like you need more trams. 😉

    I don’t understand what’s been so difficult about getting Myki up and running. Perth managed it a lot quicker with about 5% of the budget, while building a major new line at the same time, and now it’s a system that works so well I can just put $20 on my card every week or two, hold my wallet up to a scanner / fare gate twice per journey, and I don’t even have to think about what it costs. (Thanks to its clever little electronic brain, I get the cheapest possible fare without having to think about if I’ll be going elsewhere later that day, etc.) This has been the case for five years now. Naturally there were bugs when it first got rolled out (I had an early version, testing it), but they soon went away.

    So, is that failure down to government, public service, or private operators?

  16. Well, I’d like to see the costings on the major parties’ climate inaction policies.

    I’m pretty sure they cost us a packet, and haven’t been submitted to treasury.

  17. PS: Travis, stop feeding the troll. Barber’s comment about zone 1 tickets was probably just some throwaway line taking the piss out of his fellow MP’s flying around the world, not a deliberate attempt to annoy people in the outer suburbs, and not worth starting an argument about. It’s understandable. The only way it would be hypocritical is if he’d gone on one of these pricey study tours himself.

  18. On transport – the VIC Greens have called the emperor on his nudity, and want Melbourne rail and trams back in public hands,

    It really is the only sensible solution: those profits lining useless rent-seekers pockets should be plowed back into infrastructure. Kosky admitted it last year: privatization hasnt saved the VIC govt a cent. All they’ve done is lose the income. What a shit deal! Would any business operate on this basis?

    Why are these private operators allowed to print money when our fares should clearly be going into failing infrastructure. Go on, tell us. Someone. I’m listening.


    I ask again: how many millions do late trains cost the VIC economy? no one even asks now its private. The whole things been a con. It needs to end with the current contracts.

  19. Ignore GG on trams, Travis.

    He is so used to using the well worn political strategy, beloved of political parties old and new, “If you are wrong and get caught, just lie and blame it on whoever caught you”, that he doesn’t even notice he is doing it these days.

    Takes years of practice to get to this point, but once reached words like “truth” and “logic” have completely different meanings from the ones you will find in the dictionary. As we have seen, even commonplace phrases like “needs a Zone 2 ticket” no longer have their usual meaning in his own mind. Once the old hacks reach this point their value to their own party is, of course, greatly reduced, but Labor tend to still keep them on the books for sentimental reasons.

  20. 227.

    As well as more trams we need to fuamentally review the role of trams (and buses) within our transport network. Trams running up Smith, Brunswick and Victoria streets will often simply sit there banked up behind cars and other trams. More trams on these routes would potetnially increase problems (I was adamently convinced one afternoon) that I could off got off my tram at the bottom of Smith street, walk a couple of Ks up to Clifton Hill and then read a book while I waited for the same tram to arrive). For across suburbs trips and some inner suburban commuting outes that work well, but for true commuting they tend to be quite problematic.

    Myki is such a failure it is hard to determine the key causes of the problems. One day someone will write an extensive book outlining the failures. The private companies building the stupid thing have obviously stuffed it up pretty badly. To what extent the Governme failed in awarding the tender and failing to provide sufficient oversight or ensure value for money for the taxpayer is open to debate.

    It seems pretty obvious that a number of problems have compunded in quite significant ways. The project had been so long and expensive it was never really feasible to just cancel it, meaning the extra time and money spent to fix problems made things look worse in the publics’ eyes.

    All of these was happening at the same time as increasing crowding or the trains, revelations that Melbourne’s train couldn’t operate in temperatures regularly seen in Melbourne summers, braking faults in some of the newer trains as well as what was publically viewed as continued poor performance from the transport Minister. Tangendental issues such as public transport safety fears and problems with ticket inspectors all compunded to create a narrative the public transport had failed in Melbourne.

    The current coalition’s failure to get any real traction out of the public transport issue is, quite frankly, astounding. The public anger, partiularly in the outer suburbs and some regional areas, is there. These correspond to some seats that Labor are already vunerable in. Ultimatley, the issue perfectly highlights Ted’s failure to be viewed as a credible alternative.

    The one caveat I’d add to that is that Brumby is somewhat lucky the elction is taking place now, not at a similar time to NSW. There have been a few days over the last couple of years where the train network has almost totally failed (several hour delays morning and afternoon). These generally take place in February. If the election was taking palce in the shadow of a complete failure of the transport system the media and the libs may be able to make that one stick. As it is, transport is generally pretty solid September through November and Myki has sort of gone away as an issue. They are probably in as favourable period on trasnport as they have been for 2-3 years right now. Maybe Ted can change that, but I doubt it.

  21. [No facts, just ideology.]

    GG, the ideology of privatisation is a fact-free zone of complete policy failure. it hasnt saved the VIC taxpayer money – thats an ideological assertion, contradicted by the facts (Kosky admits this).

    It doesnt provude better service. This hardly needs to be referenced if you live in Melbourne.

    Yet Metro is making millions. This is a ppublicly reported fact. That money comes from fares and govt subsidies. The govt still pays for the infrastructure, but now receives no income. Thats why its shit.

    The ideology is all the major parties – the facts entirely support the Greens position – which incidentally is supported by the Public Transport Users Association.

    But I suspect the ALP will only work this out when they’re in minority govt – AGAIN. Third time in 2 years. When will they learn the public is over this crap?

  22. Rod,

    I’ve had plenty of stalkers in my time at PB. So another dreary no hoper like yourself, full of bile and unrequited ambition is just another burden for me to deal with. Being in bed with Peter Faris was probably as good as it got for you. I’m sad that you’ve got nothing to do with your life but stalk me.

    You need to read your imaginary obituary in your imaginary Diamond Creek Leader, comrade.

  23. Thought I’d lob a grenade into the Green-Red love-fest!

    Imagine if John Brumby said this at the Herald-Sun/ SkyNews “people’s forum” at the Burvale next Wednesday when asked about Greens preferences –

    “Government is formed on the floor of Victoria’s lower house, the Legislative Assembly. We believe that stability of this house is the most important thing for Victoria in the next four years, and so the Labor Party has decided to preference the Greens Party last, behind the Coalition, in all lower house seats in the state. We understand this may upset some of you here, but we are doing this in the interests of stability for the next government of Victoria, whether it is led by myself, or by Mr. Baillieu.”

    Of course, I think such a decision is unlikely to affect the outcome of a single lower house seat, but it would sure put the ball back in the Liberals’ court!

    *awaits hail of abuse*

  24. Lest anyone think I am baiting Greens – I have already stated that I believe Labor’s best chance in the longer term (eg 2014) is to be in a minority government. This tactic outlined above would purely be aimed at the Liberals – can anyone point out one seat that the Greens would be prevented from winning by such a decision by Labor?

  25. Lefty e,

    Trains work fine where I am. So you must live in another time zone.

    PT is actually more than trains and trams. There are buses.

    It seems the Greens approach trains from an ideological point of view. Whereas, the Government is about delivering better and more frequent services to those who need it when they need it.

    I think the State Governemnt is about halfway through a $38 billion dollar spend on PT.

    That’s real money, not ideological waffle.

  26. [Of course, I think such a decision is unlikely to affect the outcome of a single lower house seat, but it would sure put the ball back in the Liberals’ court!]

    Make for an interesting time trying to get legislation through in the upper house after the election, too, Rocket! 😉

  27. Rocket at 242:

    [ can anyone point out one seat that the Greens would be prevented from winning by such a decision by Labor? ]

    Yeah: Prahran. From Antony’s blog:

    [ On this poll, the Greens have a realistic chance of winning a fifth seat from Labor in Prahran (ALP 3.6%) by finishing in second place ahead of Labor and then leap-frogging the Liberal candidate to win on Labor preferences. ]

    The 2006 results were ALP 36.7, Libs 41.9, Greens 20.1, so Labor would need to lose about 8.5% to the Greens for that to happen. Unlikely, but possible.

  28. Rocket Rocket: That’d be a pretty dumb thing for Labor to do, especially with a relatively moderate Liberal leader.

    If Labor went that far in antagonising the crap out of all the Greens in the state, you’d see two things: the Greens going split-ticket across the state in retaliation (nothing to lose in that situation!), and a heck of a lot of more centrist Greens preferencing the Liberals. Now, I really doubt even Labor under Newnham is that anti-Green that they’d risk losing government over it.

  29. Can’t see the Greens winning Prahran.

    And in any case, Labor would probably be prepared to sacrifice a potential Liberal loss there for the problems they would cause “Green Ted” elsewhere.

    It’s hard to see a downside for my theoretical Labor tactic.
    [Make for an interesting time trying to get legislation through in the upper house after the election, too, Rocket!]
    Surely the Greens are above petty “pay-back” politics and would look at all legislation on merit. And any suggestion of such future “pay-back” would be gold for John Brumby.

    Greens not preference Labor in lower house seats? As Antony Green has pointed out many times, Greens prefs flow to Labor at about 80% whether or not their HTV cards say so. Of course Greens voters who were really browned off with Labor could choose to try and install the Coalition as Government – that’s their right.

    Greens not preference Labor in upper house seats? Again, less damaging due to independent nature of Greens voters.

    Green vote increase in inner Melbourne seats? It really doesn’t matter much because they won’t win any seats on primary votes anyway – Liberal prefs will get them there.

    Brumby (theoretical, in response to question about owing the Greens for their support) “We are fighting a battle on two fronts here Tony (Speers), we don’t “owe” the Greens anything – they are fighting tooth and nail to unseat as many Labor members as they can, including two of my ministers. So how do we somehow “owe” them something in return for that?”

  30. 246

    The Greens have gained 3.6% between the 2006 State and the 2010 Commonwealth Elections and have generally polled higher in state elections. The ALP are down 4% on the same results. A swing to the Liberals would cut the ALP vote and if it does win the seat then that helps the Greens chances.

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