Victorian election: the day after

As Victoria ushers in its second change of government at successive elections, a summary of what happened and where.

Firstly, let me note that I have dedicated posts for late counting for the lower house and upper house, so if you’ve got anything to offer that’s particularly related to the progress of the count, I encourage you to do so there. What follows is a summary of the results and the fortunes of the various players.

Labor is up 2.5% to 38.8% on the primary vote, which will come down very slightly, say to about 38.5%, as absent and pre-polls come in. It won 43 seats in 2010, of which five were made notionally Liberal in the redistribution (Bellarine, Monbulk, Ripon, Wendouree and Yan Yean), while two new Labor seats were created (Sunbury and Werribee), giving them a net total of 40. Four of the five notionally Liberal seats have been retained, the exception being Ripon, the only one which was not defended by a sitting member. The ABC computer isn’t giving away Ripon either, but Labor’s chances appear slim. However, Labor appears likely to lose Melbourne to the Greens, although that is not as certain as it may have appeared earlier in the evening.

Assuming Labor loses Melbourne, that brings them to 43, which is supplemented by one clear gain from the Liberals in Mordialloc, leaving them one seat short of a majority. Added to that, Labor is all but certain to win the sandbelt marginal of Carrum, and likely to win the other two, Bentleigh and Frankston. Further, Labor is trailing but not out of contention in Prahran (assuming they finish ahead of the Greens, as seems very likely), and a technical possibility in South Barwon. If everything goes wrong for them they might end a seat short of a majority, but that would leave the Greens holding Melbourne, with no option but to support a Labor government even if they didn’t want to.

The Liberals are down 1.8% on the primary vote to 36.2%, which will probably rise very slightly in late counting, perhaps to 36.5%. The Nationals are down 1.2% to 5.5%, which is unlikely to change much, and have lost the seat of Shepparton, which was vacated by the retirement of Jeanette Powell, to independent candidate Suzanna Sheed. This was the worst aspect of a generally poor result for the Nationals, who were also given a fright in Morwell where their margin has been cut from 13.3% to 1.7%, and suffered meaty swings in a number of their very safe seats.

The Greens looked to be big winners early in the count, but their position weakened as the evening progress, such that it’s no longer entirely certain that they have won Melbourne. Certainly they have fallen short in Richmond and Brunswick, as well as the longer shot of Northcote. Their current primary vote of 11.2% is exactly as it was in 2010, although absent votes will probably push it up a little. However, they look to have won two extra seats in the Legislative Council, in Eastern Metropolitan and South Eastern Metropolitan, while also retaining their seats in the other three upper house regions. In no case do Palmer United preferences look to have been responsible.

There is a lot more to be said about the upper house result and the apparent bevy of successful micro-party candidates, but that’s dealt with here. Keeping things focused on the lower house, the one point to be made about the minor players is that Sheed’s victory brings elected independent representation back to the chamber. The result of the 2010 election was the first Australian federal or state election since 1993 at which all the seats were won by the major parties.

Finally, apart from shooting just a little too high for the Greens, and making no effort to account for the possibility of seats not being won by the major parties, I’d like to observe that my poll tracker (and no doubt poll trackers in general) just about nailed it.

UPDATE: Here’s a Labor swings map which I knocked together for my Crikey article today, but which I’ve decided not to use because it isn’t interesting enough.

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.

541 comments on “Victorian election: the day after”

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  1. Thanks for the summary William – I just watched 4 hours of Channel 9 coverage in 30 minutes thanks to liberal use of fast forward. It was pretty awful and has been instantly erased. Have also got the ABC one – might have to save that till tomorrow.

    It is going to be very interesting to see how prepoll votes go. They are certainly different to postal votes, and they are becoming a bigger and bigger feature of our elections. They were approxiamtely one third this time. If they became the majority in a few elections time surely some method of counting at least those cast in the actual electorate would have to be sorted.

  2. My “predawn patrol” review of the election night I missed:

    Carey Moore 224 “Ah, Kevin Andrews on TV. I imagine that, when he’s speaking, Victorians feel the same shame we feel about Pyne”

    Much worse – his ‘stalking horse’ challenge is essentially responsible for Abbott becoming leader

    William 270 “A Labor source tipped me off about Shepparton the other day, but I didn’t get around to running with it. Can I have the credit anyway?”

    Yes. Someone had mentioned about 2010 the CA person getting 10% and this was some chance so you may as well get credit.

    Socrates 316 “They left the ultimate cause of collapse undetermined before going off to court on a triple fatality!”

    I didn’t know that. It is appalling. Three dead and a $250k fine. No wonder Grocon was so happy to pay up.

    Martin B 352 “Results on the East-West referendum are in.”

    Deadpan and very funny. Someone needs to tell Tony.

    steve kerridge 577 “Hi All.
    I saved my first post for this auspicious occasion after reading the blog with great interest on and off over the past 12 months or so. Congratulations to Tony Abbott on a wonderful election result for the good peoples of Victoria! Of course being a modest and thoughtful man I am sure he will share the credit as much as possible. Tonight I sleep with a smile and dream of a similar outcome for Can Do.

    Welcome. If you are from Queensland – I now look forward not just to the strong probability of Newman being purged from my one time home state, but I can really believe it is possible to dump the LNP after one term.

    Fran Barlow

    It is times like this that I think about all those right-wing males who say there should be more male teachers. When they are not bagging teachers for basically having it so easy, that is. Some of these people are parliamentarians. And some of them may have just been kicked out of office. Maybe they should practice what they preach and become those very same male teachers that they bemoan the lack of.

    Someone else here made the point of how right wing types love to deride anyone who works for the government (other than LNP parliamentarians of course) they should be scorned – teachers, nurses, paramedics, public servants, CSIRO scientists. Well I think these groups got one back tonight.


    Last thought before some sleep – The picture of the list of wine prices at the Liberal Sofitel function was in stark contrast to Andrews’ Mulgrave function. It reminded me of a story told by Neil Brown who was Deputy Liberal Leader under Howard from 1985 to 1987. On the night of the 1993 Federal election he went to the official Liberal “Victory” (well it was certainly planned that way) party and was directed upstairs by the door-person to the “B Grade” party for party workers etc – this was a man who could have been Deputy PM had Howard won in 1987, being treated like a second class citizen compared to their “A-List” celebrities who were all preparing for the joyous rapture of Keating’s certain defeat. He concluded by saying “At Keating’s Labor victory party that night, there was only one room. That’s what’s wrong with the Liberals”.

  3. William, what was the swing to ALP at this election and what would that look like federally if replicated across Australia at the next election?

  4. Abbott wasn’t running in this election but he’s certainly one of the losers. His standing as a campaigner and as an effective governor have both been hit where it really hurts. There will be a lot of unhappy Victorian (and, one imagines, SA) Liberals who will be venting their disappointment. Pressure on Abbott inside the LNP and among their closest supporters must surely increase now.

    What will he do? Go the whole Tory? Or will he continue to try to do one thing and say another? Or will he walk away from the Tory agenda? My guess is more duplicity and sham policy.

    In this respect, I noted that J Bishop has re-floated nuclear power as an alternative to coal-fired power. This is an attempt to wedge Labor and Green voters rather than a serious attempt to reform energy policy. It’s highly unlikely to work any better this time than it did in 2006-7.

    It’s also risky for the LNP because the sub-text is that climate change must be dealt with – something they have been trying to finesse for the last 5 years. The problem is that nuclear power is too slow, too expensive and too controversial. When there are so many other cheaper, faster and greener energy alternatives, they will appear to be trying to avoid action rather than to embrace it.

    Once again, political posturing is defeating clear thinking and rational policy. The LNP show no signs they have yet learned what must be done in this country.

  5. [Abbott wasn’t running in this election but he’s certainly one of the losers.]

    They don’t look like they’re going to last three.

  6. briefly

    It was interesting to watch the Liberals denying reality.

    Mary Wooldridge insisted it wasn’t over – which as a representative of her Party was fair enough.

    But the two who were facing defeat could not find anything at fault with their campaign except “bad unions”. That looked absurd, but is completely in line with the Feds’ inability to accept blame for anything.

    And as for Kevin Andrews 😮 He was away with the pixies. If he represents Fed Lib thinking, as I think he does, they will not change a thing.

  7. Lizzie – re the Kevin Grecian Andrews comment.

    Andrews indicating that the Libs won’t change a thing. The reason Andrews would be hoping that the libs wont change is because if they did he (Andrews) would be in the first batch to be boated off somewhere other than the front bench.

  8. If I were able to advise Daniel Andrews, I would suggest he immediately finds his most talented negotiator and sets him/her to work immediately to work on the upper house rabble.

    I cannot fathom why Labor preferenced Country Alliance.

  9. briefly

    [In this respect, I noted that J Bishop has re-floated nuclear power as an alternative to coal-fired power. This is an attempt to wedge Labor and Green voters rather than a serious attempt to reform energy policy. It’s highly unlikely to work any better this time than it did in 2006-7.]

    Speaking as a Green who isn’t opposed in principle to nuclear power, this doesn’t bother me. The ALP and Greens ought, in my opinion, to respond by calling for an independent decarbonisation commission to assess the feasibility (financial, technical, environmental, schedule and organisational) of all decarbonisation programs — the equivalent of the IPCC in energy and carbon-dependent industrial infrastructure. We could call it ‘Decarbonisation of Industry Australia’.

    ‘DIA’ could evaluate the results and progress of the best decarbonisation programs elsewhere and examine their salience in our setting. They would report every three months on our progress and they would certainly examine nuclear power with each of the feasibility criteria above in mind. They would also examine ‘Direct Action’ and the extent to which it was capable, relative to other possible approaches, of providing the framework needed for Australia to accept an apt share of the burden of achieving world decarbonisation.

    Decarbonisation of Industry Australia would puncture any attempt to use nuclear power as a wedge, because the perspective would be one of assessing in a sober and systematic way, what was possible on each of the relevant timelines. It would surely find that nuclear power, in this country, was unlikely to replace any significant part of existing installed energy capacity before about 2030 — and that the principal reason for this was not political opposition to nuclear power but the technical constraints, the inability to control or even reliably predict costs, and the reluctance here on the right to strand FHC assets. They’d also note the lack of heavy engineering capacity here, which is key if you’re building 15-25 nuclear plants.

    What they would find is that between now and 2030 the heavy lifting in decarbonisation would be in what we call ‘renewables’ since these have far more reliable cost control, are quicker to deploy and would be capable of integrating very well with our patterns of energy use. Between now and then we could, at fairly low cost per unit of effective capacity, decarbonise our stationary energy system by 60% and maybe decarbonise road transport in our major cities by a similar fraction using RE and EV technologies. If we were minded to do the last 40% with nukes, we would need to spend very considerable effort to gearing up our local engineering capacity in fuel fabrication, and heavy engineering. That should take the point-scoring out of it and give us a framework where each of the parties could walk themselves out of the corners into which they are painted.

    I’d very much like my party to dump its anti-nuclear position in favour of a ‘best-fit’ approach to getting decarbonisation done. In practice, I doubt nuclear power is ever going to replace much FHC capacity but my challenge to the Libs right now, if they raised it would be:

    Given that we have roughly 10 GW of excess capacity in the system right now, which 10 GW of fossil hydrocarbon energy assets do you see closing to make way for nuclear power in our energy supply markets? Should we not issue these notices of closure now?

    If they shrug their shoulders, we say this is why we need a body like the DIA. We know that ‘picking winners’ is tricky, so we would like a body that could inform ‘a mature debate’ on the options.

  10. Love reading the retrospective articles by journos who thought the losing party was going to romp it in — such as Josh (“The state Budget is a game changer”) Gordon’s effort.

    [At the time of writing, Labor looked likely to win at least 45 seats in the 88 seat house. That would represent the barest of majorities..]

    It’s a bigger majority than Ballieu/Napthine had, but let’s have a little sneer at it anyway.

    [First, Baillieu’s first two years were characterised by a palpable sense of inertia.]

    This really shouldn’t have surprised anyone observing Victorian politics. The Liberal party – and Ballieu – had been palpably inert since 2000. They had too many Kennett era MPs still firmly adhered to the benches when they won government in 2010, MPs who should have been politely shown the door in around, say, 2001.

    (A general observation: if someone has been an MP for twenty years, and has held a government Ministry, what is the POINT of staying on when their party goes into Opposition? Far better to move on and let someone new settle into the job).

    [Second, switching leaders mid-stream was always going to be difficult.]

    We’ve had an almost endless stream of accolades about how well the Liberals managed this, compared to the ‘chaotic’ way Rudd was replaced (which actually wasn’t that chaotic at all, that’s another hindsight judgement).

    [Napthine was always adept at reeling off a long list of achievements and projects (and it was a reasonably good list), but less capable of fitting all those pieces together such that they would come to be seen by the electorate as a coherent whole.]

    Ah, he didn’t have a NARRATIVE. Poor bugger, that’s what did it.

    [Labor, which had less money, ran a strategically clever ground campaign using thousands of volunteers in key marginals.]

    I’m not metropolitan, so I can’t comment on this (although it’s an interesting counter to the ‘argh, we have no members’ complaint).

    In our very very safe Nationals seat, at a reasonably sized booth, there were only two locals handing out (myself and someone for one of the independents).

    The Greens (interestingly) were from out of the electorate.

    The Nationals were all family members of the MP (it was the same at prepolls) with the exceptions being from NSW and Gippsland.

    Yet I saw local National members at the booth, people who in times past have not only handed out for them but organised local booths.

    The Nats obviously had difficulty motivating their people locally. I’d be interested to know if this was purely a local phenomena, or if other Nat seats had the same issue.

  11. lizzie,

    Labor do not want to deal with the Greens if it can be avoided. They are not our friends or fellow travellers. Never have been.

    I’ve said previously that I’d rather deal with a mixture of parties who actually want to see outcomes than have anything to do with relying on the Greens. They are ideological, capricious and nothing but road blocks.

    The election shows that Labor has moved successfully to the political centre where they need to be to reflect the values of Victorians.

    Andrews will be getting on with the agenda he presented to the election. I doubt he is going to be distracted by the screaming harpies of the extreme left known as the Greens.

  12. One bouquet to Andrews from me — I note with satisfaction that the Victorian ALP proposes to crack down on ‘puppy farms’ .

    I am yet to see the detail on this, but if Andrews has a robust program in mind, then I am for that. Amongst those of us interested in humane dealing and rescuing/rehoming abandoned dogs, ‘puppy farms’ are anathema.

  13. GG,

    Labor needs to put policy first if we are going to be a good government, if that means dealing we the greens, then thats what we have to do.

    It would be shameful if we let personality conflicts between us and the greens prevent us from being a good government.

    Put ideas first.

  14. bug1,

    As I clearly posted, Andrews Labor will be getting on with implementing the policies they successfully put to the electorate.

  15. Lizzie, country alliance are competing against the Nationals, the enemy of your enemy is your friend.

    I spoke to their upper house candidate in W.Vic, he seemed pretty adamant that they are are in the centre and want to stay there.

    They support fixing TAFE for one.

  16. jeffemu,

    Don’t listen to what the Libs say, watch what they do.

    I’ve read this morning that they have already backed down on ADF pay.

    It won’t be the last backdown.

  17. lizzie,

    Labor always has problems with Upper Houses. Hasn’t stopped us before and I can’t see it stopping us this time.

  18. Lizzie, i wasnt aware of that issue, but if CA can take votes away from Nationals, and are left of the Nationals, then i would prefer them.

    It is going to be a new test for Victorian Politics to manage all these minor parties. If they block the ALP from implementing promises it could cause problems.

  19. Interestingly, both the Greens and the Nationals have gone backwards since the 2010 election, the Green vote dropping from 11.2 to 10.65 and the Nats from 6.75 to 5.27.

  20. As I said last night it was a good evening for the psephologists, yourself included William. The final round of polls were all within 1%, and your polltracker was spot on. Good job!

    As for Victorian politics, I hope the air smells a little fresher this morning, and for once I look forward to Tony Abbott’s next press conference. Napthine was not a great premier, but many worse have made it to a second term. He campaigned hard but he (or Credlin?) still kept Abbott in Sydney when his job was on the line, because according to all polls he must have known he was losing. Says it all about Abbott’s current standing post G20.

    Have a good day all.

  21. [Jeff Kennett
    Suns up, many celebrating, many suffering, but no one hurt. All part of the political process. Let’s get on with life and living]

    Someone’s unusually chipper!

  22. Well done William. Do you ever get any sleep?

    I too watched Andrews last night and he was flogging the same ‘We must separate fact from fiction’ line this morning on ABC News Radio. I felt last night and today, neither of the ABC questioners went in hard enough on him while he glossed over Abbott’s virtual non-appearance in Victoria for the last four weeks or so.

    Given that the Libs taunted Labor in WA about the fact the Federal Labor leaders were short on the ground at the last State election here, they know full well the meaning of the impact of Federal issues.

    Toxic Tony may be a soubriquet which might stick.

  23. On the ABC Andrews was evasive when asked if he would “rip up” the East-West contract. I’m getting slightly concerned, although he did say it won’t be built and the whole project was “botched” and he’ll release all the embarrassing documentation that shows that.

  24. Zoomster

    While the overall vote share for us in Victoria was disappointing, I suspect it somewhat reflected the focus of resources in seats regarded as winnable. We may not win three seats, but we have gone close and that’s always heartening for the locals there. Getting fewer votes in areas where we weren’t going close is a price well worth paying, especially considering the structure of the voting system we have.

  25. With so many outstanding votes might need to wait before drawing conclusions about final numbers. If pre-polls favour Greens like at the federal election then last nights figure will go up. Hard to say though.

  26. Ooops, explaining why Abbott will lose 😆 😆 😆 . When explaining why it was nothing to do with the Feds he pointed out that when the polls show a “flat line difference” over a year or more the election results nearly always reproduce that difference.

  27. poroti

    Lovely to watch him trying to back out of that one! His inner campaign manager obviously came out with the honest appraisal before the politician kicked into gear…

    I also liked the chutzpah of accusing Labor of running a ‘dishonest’ campaign.

    On a totally serious note, the dismissal of paramedics, nurses, firies etc as ‘unionists’ shows their blind spot. These professions are also being impacted on by federal cuts; if they are able to influence a state election, then they are a danger federally, as well.

  28. GG:

    And you now have what looks like three roads to passage of legislation: Shooters and Fishers AND the Greens, two of whatever Green-hating other minors get up AND the Greens, or the Liberals.

    While this is going to be entertaining to watch, I do not imagine this is going to be much fun for Daniel Andrews to actually pass any legislation – and thus exposes the flaw in this whole “preference people who hate you! it gives you alternatives!” logic.

  29. Lizzie, GG, bug1 – if the country alliance, dlp and the sex party end up controlling the BoP then I’m pretty happy about Labor’s ability to get stuff through the LegCo. Especially if Vic ALP can show some of that talent for managing crossbenchers that it’s federal counterpart had shown in the past few years.

  30. Let’s be clear though Jimmy: swapping a CA for a Green would have strengthened the ALP’s hand in the LC, including with the other RW minors.

  31. Fran – agreed. I don’t share GG’s blanket opposition to Labor working with the Greens. If the Greens can edge out the shooters and fishers in western Vic, which apparently is possible, I’d be ecstatic.

  32. Barnaby is a real joker, isn’t he.

    Now, this may not be the true series of events, but this is how it looks to me.

    Shepparton needs more money to save local jobs.
    Fed Coalition refuses to help.
    Barnaby says wtte Why should the Nats help them, they voted for the Libs, not us.
    Shepparton says wtte A plague on both your houses, and elects an Independent.

  33. I can’t tell much from the CA.

    Other than the fact that they stay away from the Libs and so can run off their own platform, I don’t see them being too much different from the Nationals. I wonder if they prefer to see the continuation of the Alpine grazing.

    I would like to know what they positions are on the brown coal and the V-line too.

  34. Best of luck to Daniel Andrews. His party preference dealers seem to have have gifted him hell on wheels for the next 4 years.

    Kids-on-quads, death sports, gun proliferation, oppressing women, mass extinction and climate denial will all be on the agenda.

    Next time just do the deal with the Greens and save us all a lot of trouble.

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