Victorian election minus two weeks

The Liberals opt to sit it out in Richmond, as a frenzied weekend behind the scenes looms ahead of Sunday’s deadline for upper house preferences.

With the arrival of today’s deadline for nominations, the campaign action cranks up a notch:

• With party nominations closing yesterday (independents have until noon today), the mystery of the Liberals’ intentions in the inner-city seats is solved: candidates will be fielded in Melbourne, Northcote and Brunswick, but not in Richmond. According to The Australian, the Liberals believe this deals a “near unassailable blow” to Labor’s Richard Wynne in Richmond. Another report in The Australian relates that the Liberals’ high hopes of recovering Prahran, into which they have “poured huge resources”, are looming large in their strategic calculations, the hope being that Labor will take the foot off the pedal in Prahran due to its need to focus efforts on Richmond.

• Reports suggest the Liberals will not make a preference recommendation in the inner-city seats where they are running, which is a happier state of affairs for the Greens than their previous practice of putting them last. The Herald Sun reported Labor had sought Liberal preferences as part of a swap in which they would direct preferences to Coalition candidates ahead of independents in Benambra, Ovens Valley and SouthWestCoast.

• Also confirmed is that Nationals-turned-independent MP Russell Northe will run again in Morwell, which has developed into a highly complex contest that also encompasses Labor, Liberal and Nationals candidates, along with Ricky Muir, the former Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party Senator now running for Shooters Fishers and Farmers.

• The closure of nominations will kick off a frenzy of negotiations over preferences ahead of the deadline for submission of group voting tickets noon on Sunday. The Greens are briefing journalists that they fear losing three of their five seats, leaving them with their core of Northern Metropolitan and Western Metropolitan. While such fears may be sincerely held, publicising them puts pressure on Labor by raising the spectre of a right-wing lockout if they prioritise deals with micro-party preference networks.

• Upper house preferences are again placing the spotlight on Glenn Druery, staffer to Senator Derryn Hinch and freelance preference broker. Druery has been the subject of a police complaint from Fiona Patten, upper house member for the Reason Party (formerly the Sex Party), who raises concerns about the $5000 fee he charges small parties to be privy to his preference networking, and his $50,000 “success fee”.

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.

49 comments on “Victorian election minus two weeks”

  1. A “Senior Andrews Labor government source” was talking up the chances of the Liberals losing South-West Coast to an Independent in a paywalled story in local paper over a week ago. So im not sure why they would be chasing a preference deal here.

    Labor does look like they are trying in South-West Coast more than previous years, but its going to take a long and sustained effort to change anything.

  2. Relating to the comment about the Liberals’ high hopes in Prahran, were there any more detailed voting intention results obtained from the ReachTEL poll commissioned by the Goongerah Environmental group in Prahran, Richmond & Bentleigh last week?

    That poll recorded a 13% plunge in the Liberals’ primary vote in Prahran compared to 2014, which was consistent with a poll from a couple of weeks earlier which had a 12% plunge and could indicate they are in big trouble in the seat.

    I live in Prahran and I don’t know what they regard as “huge resources” but the Liberal candidate has been pretty invisible apart from a couple of letters sent out. Labor’s Neil Pharaoh has been the most visible by far (although the Greens have the most advertising around), and it only seems to have ramped up in the last couple of days so the Richmond tactic probably hasn’t worked.

    Take peak hour train station appearances for example – I’ve seen Neil Pharaoh over 15 times already, Sam Hibbins 3 times and haven’t seen Katie Allen once. A couple of weeks ago there was a garden show on High St, Neil Pharaoh and Sam Hibbins both had tents, no Katie Allen.

  3. James Purcell who was the upper house member for Vote 1 Local Jobs in the Western Region is running in South West Coast. He is the former mayor of Moyne shire which is the shire that surrounds Warrnambool. He is the independent that this being talked about.

  4. Rumours going around about what the ALP is up to in the Upper House preference negotiations. Hope they do not try to be too clever by half in attempts to take resentment on the Greens for existing and try playing games with right wing micro parties. That went well lat time at the Federal level – anyone remember Steve Fielding?

  5. It really feels like there’s been very little state government polling this term compared to the last, even now during the lead-up to the election. I had thought there was much more going on this time last election, though I guess there are just less active pollsters around now.

  6. I expect James Purcell will do good for an independent, but he will still struggle to get ahead of Labor.
    Other key players Neoh (ex Lib, ran for Nats previously), and Doukas (Country Party) will detract from Purcells primaries and enough preference will flow from them to Libs to get them over 50% pretty quickly.

  7. Here is Antony Green`s latest on the state election:

    The final paragraph contains some very interesting information. The Democratic Labor Party will be abbreviated on the ballot paper as “Labor DLP” and they have drawn to the left (where voter generally look first) of the ALP in Northern Metro and Western Metro (the ALP`s two best regions).

    I would say this is bad news for the ALP (who will loose votes by the bucket load), non-DLP micro-parties standing in Northern and Western Metro (who likely loose a potential preference source in the DLP by being outvoted by them), the Reason Party (especially in Northern Metro, where the DLP is likely to preference against them and reduce the number of ALP preferences available) and the Greens in Western Metro (who the DLP are also likely to preference against and reduce the number of ALP preference available to).

  8. It seems a new microparty under the name “Aussie Battler Party” has appeared.

    Not sure exactly where they sit on the spectrum, still a lot of lorem ipsum on their website. Policies page includes the aim to have no battery hens, debeaking, or gassing of male chicks.

  9. Its good to see the end of Family First, Australian Christians and Rise Up Australia, but there is a new right wing extremist party;
    Australian Liberty Alliance, according to wikipedia they stand for;
    – Australian nationalism
    – Islamophobia
    – Conservatism
    – Economic liberalism
    – Right-wing populism

  10. The Liberty Alliance have been around a few years, they stood Angry Anderson as a candidate at the last federal election as their NSW lead senate candidate. They’re hanging out with Fraser Anning and running Avi Yemini for the Vic upper house, which tells you everything you need to know.

  11. “It seems a new microparty under the name “Aussie Battler Party” has appeared.”

    Might be an “AstroTurf” group. Or maybe something to funnel preferences in a certain direction – maybe check where they direct preferences.

  12. Julian Burnside has shifted his support from ALP Wynne to Greens Maltzahn who is running in Richmond.

    Received via email:

    I’m proud to let you know that prominent QC and refugee advocate Julian Burnside has endorsed me at the upcoming state election.

    Julian has previously endorsed Richard Wynne, the Labor member, at the previous two elections.

    Here’s an excerpt from Julian’s endorsement letter:

    “I have decided to support Kathleen because of her consistent advocacy for human rights and social justice, her many years of work with some of the most vulnerable people in our society and her sense of urgency in addressing climate change. I am mindful too that women are still significantly under-represented in our parliaments.”

    It’s time for a change.

  13. @Steve777

    Doesn’t look professional enough to be astroturf. As far as I can tell, it’s basically a guy in Carrum Downs and then whichever hangers on he can attract and personally approve. As far as policy goes, looks like pretty generic populist stuff without much detail. Environment policy doesn’t mention climate or energy for example (the omission saying plenty). Will probably disappear again quickly enough, unless they pull a Muir and get voted into the upper house by accident.

  14. Peg: “Julian Burnside has shifted his support from ALP Wynne to Greens Maltzahn who is running in Richmond.”

    Is that the same Julian Burnside who when facing Sashi Maharaj SC denigrated her with the remark “Oh I do like Sushi, don’t you?”

    Pretentious wanker, who now mostly hoodwinks only the Greens.

  15. Re Matthew Guys comments about yesterdays murderous rampage in Bourke St, I wonder if any journo out there has the smarts (or the independence) to ask him these questions at Guys attempt to blame the present Victorian Government…..
    ” Are you aware that the alleged person involved was already known to both ASIO and the AFP? If so, then this incident comes under their jurisdiction, as they are tasked with preventing incidents such as this happening, while the Victoria Police is tasked,by the Victorian Government, to respond if such events happen. Therefore, how can you attempt to blame the State Government for an incident that is then clearly the responsibility of an Federal Government entity?”

  16. The loss of three religious parties (FF, AC, RISE), whos probably get more than 5% between them could make a difference to outlook of upper house.

  17. The Upper House Group Voting Tickets had to be submitted by today I think.

    Antony Green’s site says they are coming soon. The only good thing about this “1” above the line voting and the group tickets is that it makes it a lot easier to plug in the percentages before or on election night to see who is likely to get elected.

    All the minor parties getting together and preferencing each other with the majors last has resulted in some very strange outcomes both here and previously in the Federal Senate.

  18. So GTV will deliver some total randos to the LegCo here – a good chance for at least one in each region I would think, most likely at the expense of the Greens/current micros. We’ll see if Druery can work his magic for the Hinch lot, although it sounds as though he may have finally overreached. It’s clearly an empty hope that everyone will do above-board and ideologically sound preference deals, and whoever wins should make bipartisan LegCo voting reform a top priority (they won’t of course, but they should).

    I’m not sure about the Age’s fringe ratings – I think they underestimate quite a few of them. Health Australia are nutty anti-vaxxers but they only get a 7, and the Aussie Battlers are certainly a bit DIY but I don’t think they’re the second-most-out-there of a group that also includes the DLP, Animal Justice and Sustainable Australia (although the ALA are definitely the clear winners).

    The Aussie Battler Party has attracted an interesting bunch, including perennial troublemaker Vern Hughes and a few ex-One Nation types. The rest of the micros have some interesting people amongst them too – the new Transport Matters Party includes a number of ex-Liberal candidates, one of the Liberty Alliance kooks ran for the Secular Party last time, the DLP has vacuumed up most of the ex-Family First/ex-RUAP/ex-Australian Christians lot. Interesting to see the “Hudson for Northern Victoria” group running in the other regions as well, presumably for preference-deal purposes. Should be interesting from an experimental position – how many people will vote for a party that explicitly excludes them in its party name?

    Not many surprises in the lower house, except that Craig Langdon is having another crack at Ivanhoe.

  19. Hudson for Northern Victoria is Hudson for NV on ballot papers.

    And a correction to my above post, the DLP are appearing on the ballot papers as “Labour DLP”, not “Labor DLP”. Which is likely to cost them a some of the voters might otherwise accidentally vote for them, thinking they are the ALP, but many still will and this will favour them in the micro party preference grabbing (unless they get preferenced against).

  20. @Frickeg

    I agree re the “Health Party”, they are potentially quite dangerous if they somehow fluke a seat. Should be closer to 9/10 for fringe factor.

    The Battlers deserve at least 9/10 if they have any connection with Vern Hughes though.

    In other news, I saw Laura Chipp’s campaign trailer for her upper house tilt with Patten’s Reason out and about today, she’s recycled her dad’s slogan, although now it’s “*make* the bastards honest”.

  21. Expat

    You may well ask.

    Five months after the 2014 state election:


    Victoria’s voting laws could be overhauled to stem the tide of micro parties who get elected to parliament with only a tiny proportion of the vote.

    Five months after the state election – in which several micro parties won coveted spots in the upper house – Liberals and Labor insiders are considering voting reforms to force candidates to meet a higher threshold of first preference votes before they are elected.
    A shake-up of Victoria’s voting laws was raised ahead of the election last year, when then premier Denis Napthine approached Daniel Andrews with the idea that candidates could be elected only if they secured at least 5 per cent of the vote.

    Mr Andrews rejected the proposal at the time, and the government says changing the system is not a priority at present. However, Labor sources have told The Sunday Age that some within party ranks have started talking about the need for reform, and it was likely that an approach could be made to the Liberals at some point before the 2018 state election in a bid to gain bipartisan support.

    Asked if he would support such a shift, Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said: “As the Opposition, we will consider any draft legislation that the Andrews government puts forward.”

    All talk, no action.

  22. I would guess that as Fiona Patten has proved, there is at least a chance that the minor parties elected might be open to working constructively with the government to achieve good outcomes, which is more than can be said about the Greens who would likely pick up the extra seats if such legislation was introduced.


    In the recently ended Legislative Council, without the Greens the minor parties were useless to the ALP (unless the Coalition parties were split, which I do not believe they were on any issue in that parliament) because the Greens and coalition had a majority. The problems of the ALP not working together enough are more the ALP not being willing to work with the Greens than the Greens not being willing to work with the ALP.

    Fiona Patten`s seat (the final seat in Northern Metro) is not one the Greens can pick up, at this election, given their surplus (should they get one again), is unlikely to be big enough to pick up the preferences required to get a second MLC elected. It will likely either be picked up by Fiona Patten being re-elected (which the reason Party is obviously working hard on), the DLP (Because they will get more votes now they are on the ballot paper as Labour DLP (and they are to the left of the ALP on the ballot paper, which will increase their accidental vote) and there has been a decline in right minor parties that could get enough vote to overtake them) or the ALP. The ALP`s chances are reduced by the ballot paper draw. The ALP`s chances are reduced significantly by the DLP`s ballot paper name/abbreviation change and the ballot paper draw. The same, minus the Reason Party`s chances and with a lower Green vote, applies to Western Metro.

  24. If the postal and pre-poll voting is as high as some are suggesting, election night could be a farce. Unless the result is overwhelming, we could be left with more than a dozen seats uncallable on the night, and having to wait until Thursday before they even start counting the pre-polls. (Or is it Wednesday? I can’t remember. A frustratingly long time, anyway.)

  25. It looks like there will be multiple seats where the result is not known until the final distribution of preferences because who is in the top 2 will not be known.

    Prahran (as last time, except there will be far fewer people who are surprised that this is a 3-way contest), Pascoe Vale (the Oscar Yildiz wild-card), Morwell (ALP, the independent who ran last time (Tracie Lund, both Coalition parties and the Shooter and Fishers with previously reasonable Ricky Muir) and potentially some o the Cathy McGowan offshoot independent candidates in eastern districts of Northern Victoria.

    At least the postals only have until the Friday after the election to be back. Hopefully the VEC have changed their in-seat pre-poll policy and start counting them ASAP.

  26. The VEC will be counting both pre-polls and postal votes on election night. So you can all stop the “we won’t know the result on the night” wails.

  27. I doubt that they will be doing full distribution of preferences on the night though, so some seats (in what will be a close election) will not be known on the night.

  28. My outside tip for the last spot in Western Victoria, is Animal Justice;

    The Lower house seats have the following party representatives;
    ALP – 11
    GRN – 11
    LNP – 11
    Victorian Socials – 11
    Animal Justice – 9
    Labor DLP – 4
    Shooters Fishers Farmers – 2
    Deryn Hinch – 1
    Austalian Country Party – 1

    VS and AJ contesting many lower house seats which might help them, and they also share top preference from ALP

    Greens have incredibly bad preference deals, last on 7, second last on 2.
    Greens and ALP have VS and AJ as top two preferences.

    ALP preference VS, AJ, Reason, Hinch, SFF, LD ahead of greens, i think greens will struggle to get enough preference to get across line.
    (I suspect ALP preferencing SFF ahead of green, is to try and break the block of SFF, Labor DLP, Country party rather than ideology, if not for that, perhaps DLP looking best on the right, so they might want to use SFF to knock out DLP earlier)

    In South-West Coast, Horse racing has been a major issue, jumps racing as usual, but also training on beaches which has overflowed from a local council issue to state, so AJ could get some extra primaries from that (and having lower house contestants in most seats)

    AJ are preferenced ahead of ALP/LNP/GRN with except of SFF (last), DLP (ahead of LNP/GRN), so they will get an incredibly good preference flow from across the board.

  29. Looking at my LegCo region SE Metro, Transport Matters have gotten themselves second on a lot of preference deals. Not sure what swap is going on there? As said elsewhere, they have a number of former Lib members.

  30. In 2014 in Western Victoria District
    AJ – 1.68%
    SFF – 2.29%
    DLP – 1.53%
    LD – 2.56%
    CA – 0.99%
    LNP remainder was about 3%
    ALP was a few votes short of 2nd quota
    (Purcell got elected from 1.26%)

    Preferences blocks between SFF, DLP and AJ;
    (SFF or DLP) then AJ – SFF, DLP, LNP, LD, Liberty, CA
    SFF then AJ then DLP, Transport Matters, Aussie Battler
    DLP then AJ then SFF, Hudson 4 NV
    AJ then (SFF or DLP) – ALP, GRN, AJ, Reason, Voluntary Euthanasia, Derryn Hinch, Socialists, Health,

    The (SFF or DLP) block add up to 7.37 plus LNP remainder (~2%) plus whatever Liberty gets (guess 0.5%), so they will struggle to get to 16%. They also have the one or two of the three micro parties that split them between AJ.

    AJ should get 8% from Greens, maybe 2% from ALP, maybe 2% primary, so they still need 4.6% from other 5 who preference them above DLP and SFF.

    But there is another 7% or so somewhere (last place is between 33% of primaries), but it does look better for AJ as far as i can work out.

  31. To be honest I have no fuckin idea what’s going on with group ticket flows but people seem to reckon Greens might struggle on the upper house.

  32. On initial analysis AJ looked good, but now i dont think they will get enough early preferences, they really need there primary above Labors residual amount.

    And on looking closer at Hinch, his federal elections translates to about 5% primary in this District, which makes a big difference.

    Hinch gets preferences early from micros, Sustainable Australia, Aussie Battlers, Victorian Socialists

    Doing a test run with some estimates takes it down to a four way split between Hinch, Reason, Country Party and green, from there Hinch is heavily favored, but country and reason have a chance.

  33. @Gorks

    I don’t know how the Greens will go. The overall flows are too complicated without stealing the spreadsheet off Glenn Druery’s computer.

    The Greens worries were largely to do with the preference flows between themselves, the Socialists and Reason – that the left afternative options were going to cancel each other out and lose themselves seats that would be picked up by a Right Wing Nutjob Micro.

  34. Just been down to our local Early Voting Centre. Pretty busy and the current local member was there.
    Nice big space but not alot of parking and difficult car access and exit due to roadworks.
    I was suprized at the size of the Leg Council ballot paper but I numbered below the line to put a certain Lib current member as far down the list as possible.

  35. Voted early on the way home from work. Lots of volunteers on hand, plus the current sitting member. I was hoping that voting early would mean I could avoid getting paper waved at me, but twas not the case.

    Anyways – I now realise something which should have been obvious (and which I could have already googled): the “Transport Matters” party is actually just the taxi lobby, more or less operating on the single issue of trying to make Uber illegal again.

  36. Parties and candidates who ignore early voting centres will get much smaller votes. Early voting centres are also easier for smaller parties to provide enough people to hand out how to vote cards, if they have a band of very dedicated supporters with lots of daytime on their hands.

  37. I just voted at the Heidelberg prepoll centre for the seat of Ivanhoe.
    The Liberals were out in force, outnumbering all other volunteers combined, including all the Labor people.
    They seem to believe that this is a winable marginal seat

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