Victorian election minus sixteen weeks

Labor prospects, Liberal prospects, independent prospects and preselection news from a Victorian election now less than four months away.

With low-level leadership rumblings being heard after the resignation of Liberal leader Matthew Guy’s chief-of-staff, taking with him much of the edge off opposition attacks on the government over corruption issues, Kos Samaras of Redbridge Group “believes the prospect of a minority government is growing increasingly possible”. Polling by Redbridge reported in The Age on Saturday had hypothetical teal independents beating Liberals by 51-49 in Brighton, 54-46 in Sandringham, 56-44 in Caulfield, 55-45 in Hawthorn and 55-45 in Kew, albeit that the wording perhaps helpfully specified that the candidates would be “like Zoe Daniel” or “like Monique Ryan”. While no teal independent candidates are in place, John Ferguson of The Australian reports Brent Hodgson, former marketing and data strategist to Monique Ryan, has set up an office in Hawthorn, and a “Kew Independents” group is being run by Ryan’s former social media manager, Hayden O’Connor.

Sumeyya Ilanbey of The Age reported that 20 seats identified by Labor as key contests are dominated by outer suburban and regional seats where it fears blue-collar alienation with the government’s COVID-19 management. Annika Smethurst of The Age offers that the Liberals are “unlikely to win the election”, but that “the Liberal Party is increasingly confident it can snare the seats of Bayswater, Bass, Box Hill, Cranbourne and Nepean from Labor.”

The Liberals have been determining preselections for their Legislative Council tickets, opening a few cans of worms in the process:

• The Liberals’ choice of Melton City Councillor Moira Deeming to head the ticket in Western Metropolitan has prompted suggestions both within the party and without that the party has failed to make a sufficient break from her predecessor Bernie Finn, who was expelled from the party in May after extensive promotion of hard right views, the last straw being a call for a no-exceptions ban on abortion. Deeming has herself expressed opposition to abortion along with drag queen storytimes and the Safe Schools program, and her opposition to COVID-19 vaccine mandates caused the party’s administrative committee to block her preselection for the western Melbourne seat of Gorton at the May federal election. Paul Sakkal of The Age reports that Deeming won more than twice as many votes as her nearest rival in the preselection, and that Finn has said it would be “fair” to describe her as his protege. The result caused Andrew Elsbury, who held a Western Metropolitan seat from 2010 to 2014, to resign from the party, saying Deeming was “basically going to spout the same stuff as Bernie Finn used to”.

• In Northern Metropolitan region, where the party holds only one seat, Craig Ondarchie was as long foreseen dumped in favour of Evan Mulholland, director of communications at the Institute of Public Affairs and a vociferous critics of federal Labor’s carbon emissions targets. Second position goes to Owen Guest, the state party’s treasurer. Paul Sakkal of The Age reports the first round results were 26 for Mulholland, 14 for Catriona Rafael, former staffer to former party leader Michael O’Brien, 11 for Owen Guest and ten for last-placed Ondarchie. With the latter eliminated, Josh Gordon of The Age reports the second round result was Mulholland 32, Guest 15 and Rafael 14.

• Gippsland chiropractor Renee Heath has deposed incumbent Cathrine Burnett-Wake, who filled the casual vacancy created by Edward O’Donohue’s retirement in December, to take top position in Eastern Victoria by what Sumeyya Ilanbey of The Age reported as a margin of 55 to 53. The Age further reports that “several Liberal officials raised concerns about Heath’s family connection to the City Builders Church, which has been accused of encouraging members to take part in the Living Waters Program, an externally run gay conversion therapy that has since closed”, albeit that the connection involves her father rather than herself. The second position on the ticket is reserved for Nationals incumbent Melina Bath.

• Nick McGowan, a former staffer to Ted Baillieu and reported close friend of Liberal leader Matthew Guy, has secured the second position in North Eastern Metropolitan, with Kirsten Langford in the unpromising third position. Gladys Liu, the recently defeated federal member for Chisholm, was unsuccessful, as was Ranjana Srivasta, an oncologist and Fulbright scholar who had previously sought preselection for the Senate and the federal seat of Casey.

Further:

Rachel Eddie of The Age reports the anti-lockdown Freedom Party has organised a bloc of like-minded parties who will exchange all-important preferences for the Legislative Council, also to include Family First and the Federation Party. Among the party’s number is Aidan McLindon, who in his term in Queensland parliament as the member for Beaudesert from 2009 to 2012 successively represented the Liberal National Party, Katter’s Australian Party and the Queensland Party, and will now run against Daniel Andrews in Mulgrave. McLindon says he and his bloc are uninterested in doing deals with Glenn Druery, noted arranger of preference networks that take advantage of the group voting ticket system, which now survives only in Victoria. The Age report also says the United Australia Party, whose sole success at the federal election was a Senate seat in Victoria, plans to “team up with like-minded parties”.

• Following Steph Ryan’s resignation as deputy Nationals leader and announcement she would not contest the election last month, the Shepparton News reports Strathbogie Shire councillor and local caravan park owner Kristy Hourigan will run for Nationals preselection in her seat of Euroa.

• Russell Northe, who held Morwell for the Nationals from 2006 to 2017 and as an independent thereafter, including after his re-election in 2018, has announced he will retire at the election.

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.

85 comments on “Victorian election minus sixteen weeks”

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  1. Victoria
    Its hard to take Kos seriously when when he reckons the Greens May surge should be expected to be replicated in November. Super charged by a generation who discovered during the pandemic that even well meaning governments cannot protect all of society from existential threats In my opinion they have done a lot but they have not sold it. Not entirely their fault given the pandemic sucked up all the bandwidth. However, they have focused too much on blokes in high vis and not enough on women in their 20s living in 6 seats the Greens could end up with.
    ———————–
    Dan Andrews and his government are possibly the most pro-women government in Victorian history and no one is going to vote Green because they think government cannot protect everyone since its the Greens that would say they can protect everyone.

    The Greens should hold their 3 seats and are a chance in Richmond and Northcote while being an outside chance in Albert Park but that has more to do with a collapsing Liberal vote and the absent of Teal candidates and the Andrews Government being a 8 year old government.

  2. “Historyintime says:
    Sunday, August 7, 2022 at 8:40 am
    How do you vote if you think, “I’ve had enough of Dan Andrews, another four years, no way… but ..the Libs are hopeless.””

    I would invite that person to sit down and think hard about his/her reasons for being so upset with Dan Andrews. First of all, I would invite him/her to be critical about how the mainstream media report anything about the Vic ALP government and the Premier in particular. After s/he has done that, I would invite him/her to compare the programs of all parties, so that any decision is reasonably well informed.

    The fundamental question is: Which party has the best program for you? Which party has the second best program?… and so on until you reach the end of the list.

    The point is to vote in support of your own interests.

  3. I have seen Nick Wakeling around a fair bit and he has looked depressed and disengaged. He was standing outside Coles at Mountain Gate for about two hours last week and I saw one person speak to him. Jackson Taylor has made him look totally ineffective as a local member. Taylor will smash him.

  4. @ParkySP

    As a local, I can tell you that there are a ton of people who are quietly in favour of Skyrail through Parkdale.

    They just won’t say it out loud because of the hysteria of the anti-Skyrail astroturf mob.

    Same thing literally every other place that was skyrailed throughout Melbourne.

  5. I didn’t even realise the anti Skyrail thing was still a thing anywhere. Hopelessly shown up for the Liberal astroturfing effort it was when the “Skyrail” seats swung hard to Labor. Level crossing removal is immensely popular. Advocating spending a ton of extra money to go under the road instead of over wasn’t a winner before the pandemic and inflation.

  6. The anti-Skyrail people on the Caulfield to Oakleigh stretch of the Dandenong lines were really just proven to be rusted on Libs looking for an angle to exploit, certainly not voters that the ALP lost or even swing voters. The Skyrail along there was a big success, immensely popular, and swung a lot of votes to Labor.

    The same thing occurred on the Seaford & Carrum area of the Frankston line too.

    Over is better than under because quite simply it unites both sides of the rail line a lot better – you can cross anywhere, and you gain public space such as parkland, bike & walking trails and car parks. With rail-under-road you only get the same number of crossings that you currently have and gain no public space, you limit the benefit only to traffic congestion. Much higher cost, much less benefit.

    The vast majority of people know that; and now that it has already been successfully implemented in two other nearby areas, and even people who were initially sceptical have largely been won over by it and see the benefits, it’s very unlikely that anybody in Parkdale who wasn’t already a rusted on Lib voter looking for an attack angle would have any reservations about Skyrail whatsoever. They’d be looking forward to it.

  7. Greens announce VLC candidates ——

    N Metro – Samantha Ratnam, party leader since 2017

    S Metro – Katherine Copsey, Port Phillip councillor (Lake Ward)
    E Vic – Mat Morgan, federal candidate for Monash in 2022
    NE Metro – Aiv Puglielli
    N Vic – Cate Sinclair, federal candidate for Bendigo in 2022
    SE Metro – Alex Breskin, federal candidate for Isaacs in 2022
    W Metro – Bernadette Thomas, Maribyrnong councillor (Stony Creek Ward)
    W Vic – Sarah Mansfield, Greater Geelong councillor (Brownbill Ward)

    I’ll wait until the publication of all parties’ GVTs until I embarrass myself with predictions.

  8. Just released, the VEC has analysed 2018 State election results data against the new electoral boundaries. On the new map, Labor would’ve picked up net two seats.

    ALP to LIB: Bass, Bayswater
    LIB to ALP: Caulfield, Hastings, Pakenham, Ripon
    IND to NAT: Mildura

    See page 12
    https://www.vec.vic.gov.au/-/media/4dd734d659a44a08b45d415501981cc6.ashx

    The page that VEC pdf link was on is here. There are some other reports on voting etc. that could be worth a look for the keen.
    https://vec.vic.gov.au/about-us/publications

  9. Alpo says:

    The point is to vote in support of your own interests.

    —————————————
    With respect Alpo, I disagree.

    The point is to vote in support of EVERYBODY’S interests.

    Vote for the best outcome for the state and the planet. You and I are just passing through.

  10. And what effect of having Albanese as PM instead of Morrison(disliked by Victorians) who had just replaced Turnbull(liked by Victorians) will have on the voting public along with inflation will tip the result to minority government even though they are Federal issues. The exodus to minor and independent candidates will surge and no party will get 30% plus of primary vote.

  11. Interesting analysis by the VEC.

    Some of the redistributed margins on the close seats are identical to those done on Tally Room and/or by Antony Green, such as Brighton (1.1% to 0.5%) while others are actually a bit more favourable to Labor; notably Glen Waverley’s margin reducing from 1.1% to 0.9% (I believe Tally Room had it increasing to 1.5%) and Caulfield actually flipping the seat to a 0.2% Labor margin (Tally Room & Antony Green both had it as 0.1% Liberal).

    Most worrying for the Libs has to be the table on pages 10-11 which notionally gives 58 seats to Labor, and 39 of them are on double-digit margins. Talk about an uphill battle.

  12. “MABWM says:
    Monday, August 8, 2022 at 11:53 pm
    Alpo says:

    The point is to vote in support of your own interests.

    —————————————
    With respect Alpo, I disagree.

    The point is to vote in support of EVERYBODY’S interests.

    Vote for the best outcome for the state and the planet. You and I are just passing through.”

    Hi MABWM,

    I do realise that the expression that I regularly use sounds controversial, and so it often requires some qualifiers, especially for progressive readers. But first, a bit of history. The expression comes from my realisation on election night of 2019, that given the highly progressive program of the Shorten-led ALP, and their trashing defeat at the ballot box, many people had likely voted against their own interests, following the propaganda and brain-washing initiatives of the Liberal-friendly mainstream media (see especially the massive brouhaha in Queensland about Shorten killing jobs, especially in the mining sector; plus the hysteria around changes in negative gearing, etc.).

    So, the question was: How do you describe a person who is led by devious propaganda to vote against his/her own interests?….. Well, I thought that “Voting Moron” was quite a clear description. In addition, note how focusing on a person’s specific interests interferes with the Liberal propaganda that tries to exploit people’s selfishness. In fact, when you pitch ideological communitarianism against ideological selfishness, I am afraid, communitarianism tends to lose (or to attract just a minority of supporters). So, the point was to use an approach that makes “helping everybody” (communitarianism) become an expression of actually taking care of your own self-interests. If each one of us is happy, then, by extension, we are all happy, the community is happy.

    Now, with this view, you get the naive and the gullible who need more government support to smarten up and resist the right-wing propaganda that wants them to vote for Neoliberal policies (bad for them) using any brain-washing tactics. A needy person should vote for a party with better social policies, voting for a Neoliberal party is voting against your own interests, hence the qualifier of Voting Moron. Same for people experiencing the negative effects of anthropogenic global warming (increased bushfires, floods, cyclones, etc.). They are expected to look after their own self-interests and vote for parties that take global warming seriously. If they vote for denialist parties, they qualify for the description of Voting Moron. Therefore, the process of De-Moronisation involves smartening up each voter to the extent that they vote in support of their own interests.

    Now, following that, a person is not a Voting Moron if s/he is obsessed with maximising personal financial gains at any cost, and therefore votes for the Neoliberal Liberal party. You may call him/her a “selfish bastard” if you like, but strictly speaking s/he is not a Voting Moron. Not in the short-term anyway.

    Likewise, a person who is well-off but has a strong social conscience, may vote for higher taxes (thus somewhat decreasing his/her income) in order to increase wealth redistribution to help those who are less well off. Again, that person is not a Voting Moron, because as part of his/her self-interests you must include the satisfaction of strongly social-egalitarian needs, which can be seen as a social stabiliser. That person may be more interested in living in a fair and stable society, even though it may imply higher taxes, than in one where taxes are lower but life is hell, uncertain and violent (see many third-world countries).

    In other words Voting Morons are those who actually suffer, get no gains whatever, just costs, from voting in the way they vote…. I often wonder how this country may change politically if many people living in rural Nationals and LNP electorates smarten up. Note how those electorates are among the poorest in the country and with a relatively less educated population…. good cannon fodder for devious conservative propaganda spread through the media.

    Finally, you mention the need to take care of our environment. Note how the above approach would transform taking care of our environment from an activity that you do out of responsibility for society (or even nature at large) and future generations, to something that you also do in order to safeguard your own personal interests (an unlivable environment is truly bad for you: more diseases, higher costs of living, lower quality of life, more insecurity, etc.).

    So, taking care of our own interests can also be a way of taking care of our planet (and vice versa).

  13. Everyone votes out of self interest and that goes for people that say they do it for their children or community because that’s their self interest.

  14. “Mexicanbeemer says:
    Tuesday, August 9, 2022 at 11:48 am
    Everyone votes out of self interest…”

    The trick of the Neoliberal propaganda is to get you to vote for their self-interests (which can be bad for you), whilst you believe that you are voting for your self-interests. “Voting Moron” is a real category, believe me.

    In this country there is the common belief that “voters always get it right”. The concept of Voting Morons destroys that myth, because, in fact, voters (the uninformed and manipulated ones) may actually get it very, very wrong.

    The problem is obviously solved with greater responsibility, knowledge, awareness, criticism, etc. in the electorate.

  15. I think I will be the one who defines my self interest, even if someone thinks they know better. That’s the point of democracy.

  16. @Alpo, History in time,

    Bizarrely I think we are in broad agreement!

    Thank you for your comments on this – good stuff.

  17. @Gettysburg1863:

    After the passing of legislation in Federal Parliament last week, the stocks of the Liberal Party nationwide must be the lowest in the Liberals’ living memory.

    I’m old enough to remember when the most senior elected Liberal in the land was the mayor of Brisbane City Council. Good times.

  18. I think the cooker vote is going to be a factor in a reasonable swing away from ALP.

    Still an easy re-election for Dan though.

  19. Liberal Party MP’s are a diminishing number both at Federal level and across the States and Territories

    Why would Victoria buck that trend?

  20. If I had to put my life on it I would say 4.5% swing against Labor in 2pp. Hence modest majority Labor win. After 8 years, including the lockdowns and integrity stuff there has to be some kind of swing.

  21. Here we go again says:
    Tuesday, August 9, 2022 at 7:32 pm

    Liberal Party MP’s are a diminishing number both at Federal level and across the States and Territories

    Why would Victoria buck that trend?
    ———————–
    The Andrews government might suffer a swing because its a 8 year old government and has 39 seats on double digit margins and that’s difficult to maintain.

  22. https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/can-guy-turn-his-political-fortunes-around-before-the-november-poll-20220811-p5b8yd.html

    ‘As one Liberal strategist put it this week: “No one needs a review or poll to tell you that voters want to get rid of Andrews, but we aren’t a party people want to vote for either.”’

    This attitude is part of the problem the Liberals have. They assume that Andrews is as unpopular as their own personal networks are telling them but it is simply not true. All the polling is showing he is generally liked and/or people are indifferent to him; only about a third of electorate have fully negative views of him.

  23. As a Ballarat local and someone who loves Western Victoria, I’m hoping the odious Louise Staley in Ripon loses her seat this time around. Came within a few hundred votes last time, and it appears in the redistribution it’s a notional Labor seat.

    Her echoing of the far-right conspiracy agenda while Dan Andrews was on medical leave was absolutely disgusting.

  24. REBRAND: The Victorian Liberals will rebrand ‘Matthew Guy’ to ‘Matt Guy’ according to reports in The Age. It follows a poll revealing the Andrews Government is now polling better than its historic 2018 “Danslide” win. Will the rebrand be enough to change your mind? #SpringSt

    Anyone know which polling the @PRGuy account is referring to? Or is it the last poll a while back which showed a comfortable win for Dan and Co.

    EDIT: found it. https://www.roymorgan.com/findings/9038-roy-morgan-survey-on-voting-intention-and-approvals-victoria-august-2022-202208131202

  25. Hahahaha! That is hilarious!

    No need to change leader, or policies, or select good candidates, just shorten Matthew to Matt and hope the voters come running into their arms. Haha!

    While those Roy Morgan polls are a bit dubious and they were the least accurate for the federal election, it needs to be mentioned just how consistent all their results have been with Labor constantly in the range of 58 to 61% in every poll they have conducted.

    In the federal election Roy Morgan seemed to average around 4-5% more friendly to Labor than the result, so if this margin of error was replicated in the state election then this poll would translate to roughly a 56-44 Labor 2PP.

    That would lose them 3-4 seats at most on a uniform swing, but given how different areas are likely to swing it could be less, and they’d probably offset that with 2-3 gains in the inner southeast.

    Dan leading “Matt” 66-34 as preferred premier is huge but roughly what I would expect.

    Can’t wait for the rowdy anti-Dan brigade to realise they’re a loud minority.

  26. @Adam that’s good to know, I didn’t realise their last poll had narrowed. I remember a lot being around 56-57% Labor 2PP along the way. The more accurate these Roy Morgan polls are, the better the story is for Labor (and for Victoria) so I’d be happy with that.

    I also think as elections draw nearer, the needle often tends to swing more in favour of the incumbent government. We saw that in the federal election where it was a narrowing – the final polls were all pretty accurate but narrowed about 2-3% in favour of the Coalition throughout the campaign.

    If that is mirrored at the state level then Labor will run away with an even bigger margin (just like in 2018). One can only hope.

    In any case though, every poll that Roy Morgan publishes reinforces the same result – a huge Labor lead – and that all the evidence we have so far points to the “Victorians have baseball bats ready for Dan” narrative being completely false.

  27. I want to mention Prahran as a seat that will probably fly under the radar due to its 8.2% 2CP margin but could very well be the closest GRN v ALP contest of the night.

    Not only is the current gap between GRN & ALP less than 1% at the 3CP stage (although I think the Greens are almost certain to increase that lead), but I’ve been thinking about the possibility of the Liberals falling to third place and turning this into a GRN v ALP contest, which would be Labor’s best chance to win.

    So out of curiosity, I just calculated all the federal numbers from booths within Prahran, to see how possible that may be.

    Obviously acknowledging all the disclaimers around federal & state being different, polling places may have voters from neighbouring state seats, ordinary vs other vote types, etc… The Liberals would have finished a *distant* third in Prahran based on federal numbers.

    I ran a couple of different scenarios based on including or excluding a couple of booths on the border of state seats (eg. St Kilda Town Hall), but it barely made a difference anyway and the primary votes roughly averaged:
    GRN – 37%
    ALP – 30%
    LIB – 24%

    Even adjusting that based on how ordinary votes compared to the overall result in Higgins, the ALP & Greens both only overperformed by less than 1% on ordinary votes while the LNP only underperformed by 1.1% on ordinary votes. So the Liberals still remain in distant third place, and the Greens remain about 7% ahead of Labor even after adjusting for that.

    If Liberal preferences were to break roughly 65-35 in favour of Labor, as they usually do, you’d have close to a 50/50 GRN v ALP count.

    Given the Liberals actually finished third in 3 of the 5 South Yarra booths – and that’s their best suburb in the whole seat – I think it’s very possible (even likely) that Prahran will be a very close GRN v ALP 2CP this year.

  28. 8I doubt it. Prahran isn’t the right demographic for a teal, especially with Toorak removed now.

    Teals appeal to socially progressive Liberal voters. ALP/Greens voters typically only shift their vote to a teal as a strategic vote to unseat a Liberal, because Labor or the Greens have no chance.

    Prahran is a Greens/ALP contest that the Liberals have zero chance of winning (and a high chance of not even making the 2CP count in) so there’s no reason for an ALP or Greens voter to strategically move right to vote for a teal.

    There’s been no rumours of a teal in Prahran either that I’m aware of.

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