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Victorian Election Newsletter
Issue 1, 7 November 2014
 
The Victorian election campaign has finally begun in earnest, with Melbourne Cup day, Victoria’s preeminent race day public holiday, marking the start of the 25-day election campaign with the official caretaker period taking effect from 6pm.
 
Consequently, both the Coalition and Labor campaign units have moved from a parliamentary and policy development posture, to a more reactionary campaign footing, with a focus on detailed day-to-day campaign tactics and vote-winning announcements in key target seats.
 
Within the Coalition, The Premier and Liberal/Nationals Coalition Leader, Hon Dr Denis Napthine MP, kicked-off his Government’s pitch to Victorian voters in a ceremonial visit to Victoria’s Governor the Hon Alex Chernov the day before Cup Day in an effort to focus the beginning of the campaign on the Coalition’s issues of preference, namely, "choice, trust and good decisions". Against this backdrop, the Premier has signalled that the Coalition is prepared to be judged on its commitments to deliver infrastructure – including the East-West Link and Melbourne Rail Link – and that it is the better economic manager, and will respond to concerns by delivering stronger community safety outcomes.
 
However, it has since emerged this week that two Liberal candidates in target seats for the Coalition – local councillors Geoff Ablett in Cranbourne and Amanda Stapledon in Narre Warren North - have been formally interviewed by the Victorian Ombudsman in relation to alleged corrupt Liberal Party donations and council planning decisions. Both have denied wrongdoing.
 
Meanwhile, the Labor Opposition started the campaign with a strong showing in the latest opinion poll with a clear 8 point lead in the two-party-preferred stakes.  Opposition Leader, Hon Daniel Andrews MP, began the week distancing himself from comments communicated to him by Melbourne identity Lloyd Williams, purportedly on behalf of Casino owner James Packer, that Mr Packer would “kick every goal he can for you”. In referring questions about those comments back to Lloyd Williams, Andrews has shifted focus back to Labor’s key themes by announcing that Victoria's vehicle number plates will carry a new slogan, the "Education State", if Labor wins the state election, as well as listing 11 new schools Labor would build in and around growth areas of Melbourne, a message he delivered at a media appearance in Mernda on Wednesday. The money for these new schools is included in the previously announced $630 million package made by Andrews at Labor’s Campaign Launch.


Electoral Landscape

The Victorian Parliament comprises 88 Members in the Legislative Assembly (the lower house) and 40 Members in the Legislative Council (the upper house) who are elected on fixed, four-year terms. The 2010 Victorian Election saw the Coalition returned to government following 11 years in opposition, albeit with an extremely tight majority of 45 seats compared to the ALP’s 43 seats. The majority of one seat, after the government appointed a Liberal MP to the Speaker’s role, allowed the Coalition to form government in the Legislative Assembly.
 
Following the November 2010 election, no minor parties or independents were successful in being elected to the Legislative Assembly. However, following a tumultuous term, the Member for Frankston, Geoff Shaw, resigned from the Victorian Liberal Party in March 2013 to become an independent and ultimately hold the single seat balance-of-power. The resignation was prompted by the investigation into the misuse of his parliamentary entitlements that culminated in an 11 day suspension from the Parliament earlier this year in June. Geoff Shaw is seeking re-election as an independent for the very marginal seat of Frankston, along with eight other candidates.
 
Much has changed within the parliamentary makeup of the Government since its 2010 election success. Former Premier Ted Baillieu, who won office on behalf of the Coalition, resigned suddenly in March 2013 in an effort to bring about a smooth transition for new Leader and Premier Denis Napthine. In addition, Victoria has undergone a significant electoral boundary redistribution on which this election will be fought.
 
The redistribution resulted in the abolition of the seat of Doncaster in Melbourne’s east, which was held by Minister for Community Services, Mary Wooldridge. After failing to secure party pre-selection for another safe Liberal seat in the Legislative Assembly, Wooldridge is now contesting a safe position the upper house. In country Victoria the electorates of Rodney and Swan Hill have also been abolished and the new seat of Murray Plains created. Two new notionally held Labor seats have also been established in the western suburbs; Sunbury and Werribee. Overall the changes has seen five Labor-held seats become notionally Liberal seats. Despite the changes there are still 16 seats with margins of less than 2.5 per cent.
 
The resignation of long time Liberal Member for Bulleen and former Minister, Nick Kotsiras, has paved the way for high profile Minister for Planning, Matthew Guy, and future leader aspirant, to make the switch to the lower house as the candidate for Bulleen, which the Liberals hold comfortably with a new margin of 15.1 per cent. Conversely, the Shadow Minister for Higher Education and Skills and the Teaching Profession, Steve Herbert, is not recontesting his marginal seat of Eltham, instead opting to run for an upper house position.
 
Despite the boundary changes, the most recent Newspoll published on Monday 3 November found Labor holds a two-party preferred lead over the Coalition, 54 to 46 per cent. The poll showed the Coalition’s primary vote to be 39 per cent, Labor 41 per cent, and the Greens 13 per cent, while Premier Denis Napthine remains preferred premier on 47 percent compared to Daniel Andrews on 34 per cent.
 

Seats to Watch

Yan Yean
 
Yan Yean, along with Wendouree, is the most marginal Liberal/National held seat in the state with a 0.1 per cent margin following the redistribution. The seat is currently represented by Labor's Danielle Green, elected in 2002 and subsequently re-elected in 2006 and 2010. Situated in the growth area of the outer northern suburbs of Melbourne, the electoral division of Yan Yean covers Whittlesea, Yan Yean, Mernda, Doreen, Hurstbridge, Yarrambat, Plenty and Wattle Glen.
 
Since its inception in 1992, Yan Yean has traditionally been a Labor held seat. At the 2010 election sitting member Danielle Green received 54.1 per cent of the two-party preferred vote, however the redistribution has radically redrawn the boundaries with the seat losing key suburbs to five other electorates but gaining 6,000 voters from the Seymour district.
 
Sam Ozturk, a lawyer working in the local area of Doreen, is the Liberal Party candidate for the semi-rural area which is experiencing rapid residential growth.
 
Candidates
 
  • Danielle Green (ALP)
  • Sam Ozturk (Liberal Party)
  • Daniel Sacchero (Greens)
  • Bruce Stevens (Australian Country Alliance)
  • Rhiannon Hunter (Sex Party)
 
For more details see the Victorian Electoral Commission and the ABC.

Albert Park
 
Held by Labor MP Martin Foley, Albert Park is located in the inner metropolitan area of Melbourne and is only one kilometre from the Central Business District (CBD). The electorate covers a relatively small geographical area of only 22 square kilometres and includes the suburbs of Albert Park, Middle Park, Port Melbourne, St Kilda West, Southbank, South Melbourne and South Wharf.
 
Although the seat’s origins can be tracked all the way back to 1889 it has been represented by the Labor Party since 1950. Marty Foley become the Member for Albert Park in 2007 successfully succeeding former Labor Deputy Premier, John Thwaites, at the 2007 by-election.
 
The continued growth in residential apartments has resulted in the size of the electorate shrinking during the redistribution, with the suburbs of Elwood and Brighton now falling within the Brighton electorate with other electors relocated to the Prahran district. Once a safe seat, it is now only marginally Labor by 0.9 per cent.
 
Shannon Eeles, the Director of The Centre for Inclusive Schooling of Children with Autism, is the Liberal Candidate for the seat.
 
Candidates
 
  • Shannon Eeles (Liberal Party)
  • Martin Foley (Australian Labor Party)
  • David Collis (Greens)
  • Steven Armstrong (Independent)
  • James Hurley (Sex Party)
 
For more details see the VEC and the ABC.


Leader's Profiles
The Hon. Dr Denis Napthine MLA
Premier
Minister for Regional Cities
Minister for Racing
Member for South-West Coast (Victoria)
Liberal Party of Australia
 
Dr Denis Napthine was first elected to the Victorian Legislative Assembly in 1988 as the Member for Portland. The electorate of Portland was abolished in a 2002 redistribution and the new division of South-West Coast created, with Dr Napthine being elected to represent the seat later that same year.
 
Following the defeat of the Liberal Party in 1999, Dr Napthine was ‘hand-picked’ to replace Jeff Kennett as Leader of the Liberal Party and Opposition Leader; a role he served in until replaced by Robert Doyle in a leadership spill in August 2002.
 
Following the surprise election of the Baillieu Coalition Government at the 2010 Victorian Election, Dr Napthine become the Minister for Ports, Regional Cities and Racing in government, adding the role of Minister for Major Projects to his responsibilities.
 
In March 2013, Dr Napthine was elected unopposed as Leader of the Parliamentary Liberal Party and consequently 47th Premier of Victoria, following the sudden resignation of Ted Baillieu. He has retained the portfolios of Minister for Regional Cities and Racing.
 
Prior to entering politics, Dr Napthine worked as a vet for more than 10 years.
 
Dr Napthine is married to Peggy and they have three children.
The Hon. Daniel Andrews MP
Leader of the Opposition
Shadow Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs
Member for Mulgrave (Victoria)
Australian Labor Party (ALP)
 
Daniel Andrews was first elected to the Victorian Legislative Assembly as the Member for Mulgrave in November 2002, and was subsequently re-elected in 2006 and 2010. 
 
Immediately following his election to Parliament in 2002, Mr Andrews was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health. In late 2006, he was then appointed to the ministry as Minister for Gaming, Minister for Consumer Affairs, and Minister Assisting the Premier on Multicultural Affairs. Following the resignation of then Premier Steve Bracks, Mr Andrews was appointed Minister for Health in August 2007 under John Brumby’s leadership.
 
Following the defeat of the Brumby Labor Government at the 2010 state election, Mr Andrews was elected unopposed as Leader of the Opposition.
 
Andrews attended Melbourne’s Monash University, where he graduated in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts.
 
Prior to entering Parliament, Mr Andrews was electorate officer for the Federal Member for Bruce, Alan Griffin.  An ALP member since 1993, Mr Andrews has also held various party positions, including Assistant State Secretary.
 
He is married to Catherine and has three young children; Noah, Grace and Joseph.
 
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