Tomorrow is the day of Victoria’s Mulgrave by-election arising from Daniel Andrews’ exit from politics. While it is generally expected that Greater Dandenong mayor Eden Foster will retain the seat for Labor, independent Ian Cook is expected to at least match his feat from the November state election of outpolling the Liberals to reach the final count. In the estimation of Shannon Deery of the Herald-Sun, Cook was “seen as a bloke seeking to exact revenge on Daniel Andrews” last year, but has now “convinced some that he is genuine about representing the local community and being a fiercely independent MP”. This is said to be backed by Labor internal polling, but as Deery tells it, “no-one is seriously suggesting Labor will lose the seat”. The Sunday Herald-Sun’s Backroom Baz column came close to suggesting otherwise, invoking what was presumably the same internal polling as a cause of “mounting concern” in the Labor camp. Here too though, Labor sources familiar with the polling said Eden Foster “should get there on preferences”.
As usual, this site will feature live results and commentary from 6pm tomorrow evening. My page for the former stands ready and waiting here – I have it geared to assume the Victorian Electoral Commission will be conducting a Labor-versus-Ian Cook indicative two-candidate preferred count (a detail that flummoxed many conspiracy theorists who developed an outsized interest in the contest last November), but have no hard information on this at present. A detail worth noting is that the number of election day polling booths has been considerably pared back, from twenty (some of which were split booths in neighbouring electorates) to ten. This is a marked departure from the Warrandyte by-election in August, which utilised the same eleven booths from last November.