Victorian election open thread

With ten days to go, Denis Napthine and Daniel Andrews face a purposefully low-profile “people’s forum” which, barring mishaps, is unlikely to make much difference.

As I type, the one debate-like event of the Victorian election campaign, a “people’s forum” being held in Frankston, is starting. It can be viewed on the Herald-Sun site. So now would seem an opportune time to correct the issue that there’s no obvious current thread for the Victorian campaign.

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.

90 comments on “Victorian election open thread”

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  1. I just can’t do it. Had to turn it off. A plague on both their houses.

    Is that seriously the best the State ALP can offer up? Thankfully I can expire my Legislative Council vote before it goes to either of the majors.

  2. The fact the not even PBers (myself included) are keen to watch suggests this debate (and quite possibly the next 10 days of campaigning) will go through to the keeper.

    Which is not that helpful to Napthine as he needs a bit of movement.

  3. I can never bear to watch any leaders’ “debates” any more. I feel too much on edge thinking the person I am backing will stuff up! I remember listening to Hawke-Peacock on a long drive at night, and in 2012 I did some long drives on Melbourne’s Eastern fringe for the Obama-Romney debates.

    I think it was in the USA where one channel added the actual question asked – putting it in text at the bottom of the screen so that viewers would be reminded how far “off track” the candidate was in their “answer”.

  4. Well, Mumble gets it more right in his latest: Tony’s talking to his base day in day out. Thrilling the backbenchers. And the talkies.

    Good analysis.

    But Mumble needs to take the next step: will that win him the election in 2016?

    Answer: Nup. Somethings got *to change*.

    And this is the left e thesis,if you will: the polls are telling us something. They’re telling us – ceteris paribus – that Tony is going to lose.

    Ceteris has to become non-paribus for that the change, bludgers.

    When’s that going to happen? And what does it look like?

  5. lefty e – I think what will change is the Liberals will change leaders about this time next year.

    I just got my biggest laugh of the day – Abbott proudly spruiking the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to French President Francois Hollande – could have been a bit embarrassing if Francois had been worded up and knew that Abbott wants to get rid of it!

  6. It’s a wonderful thing the Internet, an open thread on the Victorian state election is announced and less than ten comments in it’s a discussion on Tony Abbott.

    Whilst his policies are downright terrible, let’s not lose the thread from NapTime. 🙂

  7. O dear a week out from the Victorian state election and it appears the wheels have fallen off Canberra!

    Thanks Tom for the link to the Green costings, I must say I am impressed with those purposed Tram network extensions, some of those proposals are very smart.

    Tram eight and nineteen are two which should be extended, they current stop in the middle of nowhere.

    Even though the polls show that the Government looks gone, going though each seat it still looks reasonably close.

    William, I like how you have shown the booth results in your preview, its interesting to compare the last state and federal election results.

  8. Unfortunately the Greens tram plan smacks more of amateur enthusiasm rather than any knowledge of what constitutes effective public transport policy in a major city.

    There are two major problems:
    1. A lot of these tram extensions are on already narrow roads. Trams will be delayed and traffic congestion worsen. Examples are the extension of the 8 to Glen Iris.
    2. There are links to train lines for the sake of linking to a train line. Is there a point extending the 112 to Reservoir Station when it is close to the tram line a few stations down the road. And the Gowrie extension sits right next to the Upfield line.

    Some of them do have merit – an extension through Avondale Heights to East Keilor would plug a hole and the North Melbourne Station / Victoria Street link would provide a good cross town link across the north of the city.

    The major issue is that cross town links are not provided – these are what Melbourne desperately needs particularly across the inner North and inner south.

  9. I do hope that this translate into a compromise solution between the Greens and Labor into putting more upgrades into the transport, but more of the key smaller fixes.

    Big projects like the Melbourne Metro sells headlines but what are also needed are the highly demanded simple upgrades.

    Level crossings
    Station near Southland
    Duplication of the Altona Loop (or at least just start with a passing loop at Seaholme)
    More bus routes to connect the orbital routes.

  10. BBP,Raaraa – yes, lots of small local solutions add up. Each level crossing elimination I have seen has made a big difference locally. And some tinkering with tram extensions is warranted. Hopefully this is the pattern in the next few terms of government.

  11. 50 level crossings!!! I will take my hat off to them if they build 5. they could have built another 20 were it not for the dumbest smart card system in the world (i dare not mention its name)
    In fact just build something anybody!!

  12. [Why the ALP doesn’t need to do preference deals with the Greens. They get the vote anyway.]

    Sure. But not later in the upper house when the ALP accidentally elects Fielding or some other flakey right-wing crazy.

  13. Abbott is still doing no favours for Napthine.

    There’s very little Abbott can do to help Napthine except maybe just keep thing quiet at a federal level so his negative campaign against Andrews can be heard.

    No polling for a while, but I’d be surprised in the Libs have made any material in-roads against a backdrop of the federal liberal vote imploding.

    I’d like to think the Napthine is fuming in the background around saying “Jesus guys, trying to win an election, would you just STFU”

  14. Letting your vote exhaust is not a vote against the parties you didn’t preference, it just stops you from having a say in which one gets elected. Your preference will only count for someone against someone else you like less, so by not preferencing the only possible outcomes are either the same or worse. Your vote exhausting doesn’t change which candidates are still in the count at that stage, but it does mean that the last candidates are potentially decided by a smaller proportion of the electorate and a larger proportion of above the line votes determined by preference deals.

  15. GG – Even as a Greens supporter I agree with you. Currently the ALP are doing exactly the right thing (politically) by largely not engaging the Greens, either supporting or outright opposing them.

    Sure, they don’t really speak much to my interests but they’ll get my preferences anyway. Well Federally at least, and in the lower house in this election (Essendon).

    However, this year I’ll likely deliberately exhaust my LC vote (Metro West) before either of the majors.

  16. I have a relative who has voted in all Victorian elections since 1979, supporting Labor (A) and Coalition (C) at different stages.

    Their record is


    corresponding to the actual winners being


    So only in 1979 did they back the loser. At a Federal level they are much more strongly a Labor supporter, but one of the things in 2010 that made me feel on election eve that Labor was about to lose was them saying they were switching to Liberal.

    In this election I have checked and they are back with Labor. Will be interesting to see if they get 10 straight!

  17. WTR 22 – I expect a Vic Newspoll next Tuesday, after an Age/Ipsos one on Monday. And yes I am sure they will just reflect not much movement, on the back of Abbott dragging the Vic Libs down. Wouldn’t it be funny if Abbott decided to spend this coming weekend campaigning in Victoria!

    It is hard to see things turning around quickly enough foir the Coalition no matter what, especially with the ever-larger number of prepoll/postal voters.

  18. centaur009

    [50 level crossings!!! I will take my hat off to them if they build 5. they could have built another 20 were it not for the dumbest smart card system in the world (i dare not mention its name)
    In fact just build something anybody!!]

    If only picking a new smartcard system was left completely to the public service instead of it being something trumpeted by a politician. We could have bought one from Brisbane, London or Hong Kong, but no, we had to make our own.

    The explanation that those systems were not robust enough for our needs were moot anyway when we decided to dumb it down into a simpler system.

    I hope if Labor gets in, they get back into exploring those unused functions we paid for.

  19. Raaraa – yes it always reminds me of “Yes Minister” something that went something like this –

    Sir Mark – but no-one would be stupid enough to take on responsibility for all public transport.
    Sir Arnold – Hacker might.
    Sir Mark – What if we called him “Transport Supremo”?

    later …

    Hacker – “Transport Supremo” – I like the sound of that!

  20. GG @19

    The article you posted about isn’t actually focused on the Greens or Labor. The losers in the article are actually voters who are environmentally conscious. They have no one to turn to exactly if they would like to petition for national parks like the Great Forest to be saved.

    Even if they voted for the Greens (or any other pro-environment minor parties), the preferences that flow towards Labor (or Liberal in some cases) goes hardly anywhere towards saving the Great Forest National Parks or any other environmentally sensitive issues.

  21. zoomster

    Please re-read my comment. I did not attribute the National Parks to the Greens. I also hope that the media is wrong in terms of the CFMEU being successful in lobbying Labor to drop protection for the GFNP.

    But as it is, it only seems like only the minor pro-environment parties that seems to be speaking for the preservation of it. I wouldn’t mind being proven wrong in this case.

  22. 29

    There will be at least some seats where Green preferences do not get distributed. This will be the case in Melbourne, Richmond, Brunswick and Northcote. It has varying chances of happening in Prahran, Footscray, Preston and Pascoe Vale.

  23. 33

    The Greens are various other environmental issues. One example of this is the Greens policy of seeking closure of Hazelwood and the power station near Anglesea. The Greens also support container deposit legislation.

  24. Ah, frighteningly radical stuff like a container deposit scheme!

    Don Dunstan introduced it to South Australia four decades ago and it’s kept the state clean ever since. Only the NT has had the same guts and defied the big battalions who oppose such a system.

  25. Thanks Antony that’s very exciting.

    zoomster, you don’t seem to be responding to raaraa in good faith. Raaraa isn’t trying to give the Greens credit for things others were responsible for – past State governments of both colours have enacted good environmental reforms. It’s just disappointing that neither major party currently has any kind of credible environmental platform.

  26. lefty e,

    The Greens have proven themselves to be unreliable and inconsistent in their voting patterns and policy. Whether it be voting down the CPRS or refusing to deal with the Government on the Petrol tax increase, the Greens talk purity but practice deception.The current incumbent Greens in the Victorian Upper House are bandits that draw a salary for no particular reason. But, that’s the system.

    So, the election of someone else who is prepared to deal with issues rather than lecture people about their purity is very appealing to a Labor supporter. Fielding, in the end, was supporting Labor far more reliably than the Greens. So, while he was accident, he didn’t do Labor any long term harm.

    As for the threats to exhaust the vote so denying Labor seats in the Upper House. I think Labor have accepted that they will not have a majority. Also, I will certainly be returning the favour and exhausting my preferences without including the Greens. So, it would be churlish of me to criticise your little exercise in gesture politics.

  27. Nick,

    Disappointing for whom?

    Environmental issues are mainstream in so many ways and both the major Parties have done plenty over the years to improve matters.

    This recent call for the creation of a National Park has come from nowhere and most people would prefer their responsible Government of whatever colour to at least examine the pros and cons before rolling out superannuated celebrities from overseas to instruct us on what we need to do.

    There is more to running a Government than gesture politics.

  28. zoomster

    If you associate “or any other environmentally sensitive issues” as being a Greens-only concern, then you’re giving the Greens too much credit on this, and dismissing any significant effort by any other party including Labor.

    I’m just saying in my original comment that environmentally-concerned voters need a proper choice and while the Greens (or any other pro-environment minor party) might receive their top preferences, they are fully aware that it will eventually end up with either of the two major parties.

    They want to be assured that those secondary preferences end up somewhere worthwhile or they will end up disillusioned with the options given.

  29. Like or loathe the Greens, 90%+ of the time you have a pretty good idea of where they stand on an issue when it omes to the parliament. In the old days, the Democrats were similar (the DLP were before my time). It is the clowns like the the PUP, Lambie, Lib Dems and Muir who are will o the wisp on everything and flip flop everywhere that are the danger to both democracy and good governance. I am not including Xenophon or Muir in that category as they do seem to try and find the sensible centre on most issues – and in other areas X on gambling, Madigan on social issues you know where they come from.
    Despite the large numbers of fringe dwellers on the LC ballot paper, they might not do too well – the antics of the fringe dwellers in canberra may have soured the experience for the Victorian voter just as the independents in Canberra did for the Vic independents in 2010.

  30. GG – disappointing for Victorians, for tourism in Victoria, for the climate, for native flora and fauna, for the natural beauty of the state. The Leadbeater’s possum has been central to this particular national park debate because of its endangered status, but more broadly, we have cleared a shitload of our old growth forests in Victoria and people who know what they’re talking about say that current practices aren’t sustainable – Maybe we should preserve some of the stuff we’ve got left.

    I absolutely agree that there’s more to government than gesture politics, but I don’t imagine we’ll find much to agree on when it comes to Greens messaging, so probably best we leave that lie.

  31. [Environmental issues are mainstream in so many ways and both the major Parties have done plenty over the years to improve matters.]

    In my view, the rise of the Greens has actually shunted environmental issues away from the political mainstream and parked them in the Greens ghetto. Environmental achievement was higher when there was reasonable consensus in the major parties especially the Libs. The Greens have paradoxically allowed the environmental neanderthals (especially in the Libs – and apologies to any neandertahals out there) to run rampant as the environment is seen as a ‘greens’ issue and hence automatically opposed.

  32. BBS,

    Where did the Greens stand on the CPRS when they had the chance to introduce it? The petrol tax was another doozy?

    Basically they squib every opportunity to actually achieve modest improvements in the forlorn hope there is something better for themselves. The Greens are a hand brake on progress in environmental issues. Always have been.

    I agree we would get better outcomes without the Greens as a political presence for the very good reasons you outline.

  33. Notwithstanding my previous comments. I believe that this could have been a breakthrough election for the Greens if they had a leader who was half believable and/ or charismatic and not the smarmy Greg Barber.

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