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Victorian Election Newsletter
Issue 2, 14 November 2014
 
With week two of the Victorian election campaign coming to an end, both of the major parties have spent the week focussing on winning votes in key battleground seats through a mixture of state-wide and local election commitments, media appearances by party leaders and campaign spokespeople, positive and negative television advertising, and grass-roots campaigning by candidates and teams of local party volunteers.
 
This morning’s Fairfax Ipsos poll suggests that at present Labor will win Government on Saturday 29th November, with Labor leading the Coalition 53:47 on a two-party preferred state-wide vote (based on preference flows at the November 2010 election). If this forecast is accurate, it will be the first time since 1955 that a Victorian government has failed to gain re-election for a second term.
 
The Department of Treasury and Finance Pre-Budget Update was released this week, outlining a downward revision to the May Victorian Budget position by $1.83 billion over four years to 2017/18. This was put down to lower estimates for land tax, a deferral of a $500m Commonwealth payment for the Western section of the East-West Link, and further pre-election spending since May. The Pre-Budget Update forecasts Victoria’s budget surplus to be $1.1 billion in 2014/15, growing to $3.0 billion by 2017/18.
 
Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews spent the week touring Victoria in his “putting people first” branded campaign bus. Andrews made announcements in the electorates of Berwick, Ripon and Derrimut, including to:
 
  • Reduce the exclusion zone of wind farms around dwellings to one-kilometre after finding the Liberal-imposed two-kilometre buffer zone has “crippled the industry”.
  • Health portfolio commitments, including $200 million to build the Western Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Sunshine; $106.3 million for a major expansion of the Casey Hospital; and $10 million in funding for the first stage of the Maroondah Breast Cancer Centre, to be built opposite the hospital in Ringwood East.
  • Review the new planning zones and commit to tabling a full report to Parliament.
 
Meanwhile, Labor campaign spokesman Martin Pakula seized on an academic report earlier in the week that stated the East West Link project will cost Victorian taxpayers almost $18 billion in coming decades, with Pakula describing the project as “one big tunnel that will mortgage the future of Victorians for decades to come”, and calling for the Government to release the contracts for the road, as well as toll details.
 
Elsewhere, Premier Denis Napthine has used the week to lift off the back of his campaign launch held last Sunday in the must-win region of Ballarat, where the Coalition is looking to win the newly created seats of Wendouree and Buninyong. Announcing a significant package of investment for rolling railway stock, Napthine toured the electorates of Burwood, Mordialloc, Berwick, Ripon and Prahran to announce some of the following election commitments, including:
 
  • $3.9 billion over 10 years for 75 new trains for Melbourne, 75 new E-class trams and 24 new V/Locity rail cars for V/Line services.
  • A further $98 million investment for another expansion of the Northern Hospital in Epping.
  • $200 million to start construction of the Mordialloc Bypass which will include a new six lane roadway from Springvale Road in Aspendale Gardens, to Lower Dandenong Road in Braeside. This is additional to an existing $10.6 million allocated in the State Budget for the planning and pre-construction phase.
 
The Coalition finished the week by confirming it will be putting the Greens party last in its preferences on how-to-vote cards, severely limiting the chance the Greens have of taking inner-city seats off the Labor Party, including the seats of Brunswick, Melbourne and Richmond.


Seats to Watch

Frankston
 
Frankston is located to the south-east of Melbourne and covers the eastern edge of Port Phillip Bay, including the suburbs of Frankston, Frankston South, Frankston North and parts of Seaford. The seat is currently represented by controversial Independent MP Geoff Shaw after he secured victory as the Liberal Party candidate at the 2010 election.
 
Frankston was first contested in 1967 and was held by the Liberals until the election of the Cain Labor government in 1982. Since that time, the electorate has been redrawn on numerous occasion and existed in different forms with both Labor and the Liberals holding it in recent decades.
 
Following the latest electoral redistribution, the seat is now notionally Liberal by a very thin 0.4 per cent margin. Both the Coalition and Labor party view Frankston as a winnable seat, with preferences likely to play a part in the outcome. Frankston will play a part in deciding which party takes power as it is unlikely a government will be formed without gaining the seat.
 
Sean Armistead, the Manager of the Indigenous Employment Program for Crown Melbourne, is the Liberal candidate. Paul Edbrooke, a firefighter from the Frankston Fire Station, is the Labor candidate.
 
Candidates
 
  • Geoff Shaw (Independent)
  • Sean Armistead (Liberal)
  • Paul Edbrooke (ALP)
  • Jeanette Swain (Greens)
  • Anthony Wallace (Australian Christians)
  • Reade Smith (Independent)
  • Mervyn Vogt (Independent)
  • Alan Nicholls (People Power - No Smart Meters)
  • Jamie Miller (Sex Party)
  
For more details see the Victorian Electoral Commission and the ABC.
 
Ripon
 
Currently held by Labor MP Joe Helper, Ripon is a rural electorate to the west of Ballarat and Bendigo, capturing suburbs including Creswick, Ararat, Maryborough, Avoca, Donald, Bridgewater, St Arnaud and Stawell.
 
Joe Helper surprisingly won the seat at the 1999 election after it had been held by the Liberal Party since 1976. With Helper’s retirement at this year’s election, the Labor Party will be disadvantaged as his personal support contributed to the seat receiving the smallest swing against Labor across the state of only 1.6 per cent at the 2010 election.
 
The most recent redistribution has given Ripon territory in the north following the abolition of the Swan Hill district, effectively wiping out Labor’s margin of 2.7 per cent. The seat is now notionally Liberal, albeit with a slim margin of 1.6 percent.
 
Daniel McGlone, a barrister specialising in criminal law and resident of Ballart, is the Labor Party candidate. Louise Staley, who is currently the Director of the Food and Environment Unit at the Institute of Public Affairs, where she specialises in food policy issues and rural regulation, is the Liberal Party candidate. The Nationals will also be contesting the seat with Scott Turner, a human resources manager at Gasons Agricultural Services in Ararat and former AFL footballer.
 
Candidates
 
  • Daniel McGlone (ALP)
  • Louise Staley (Liberal)
  • Scott Turner (The Nationals)
  • Rod May (Greens)
  • Trevor Domaschenz (Country Alliance)
  • Kevin Loiterton (Australian Christians)
 
For more details see the VEC and the ABC.


Profiles
The Hon. Michael O’Brien MP
Treasurer
Member for Malvern (Vic.)
Liberal Party of Australia
 
Michael O’Brien was first elected to the Parliament of Victoria as the Member for Malvern in 2006 and was re-elected in 2010.
 
The electorate of Malvern covers 19 square kilometres of Melbourne’s inner south eastern suburbs. The main suburbs in the area include Malvern, Malvern East, Armadale, Kooyong and parts of Glen Iris and Toorak.
 
Upon his election to parliament, O’Brien was appointed Shadow Minister for Gaming, and in 2007, was additionally appointed Shadow Minister for Consumer Affairs. In November 2009, he was then given responsibility for a further three portfolios: Energy and Resources; Exports and Trade; and Infrastructure and Public Private Partnerships.
 
Following the 2010 Victorian election, O’Brien was appointed Minister for Gaming, Minister for Consumer Affairs, and Minister for Energy and Resources in the Baillieu Coalition Government.
 
O’Brien was appointed Treasurer of Victoria in March 2013, in a reshuffle which was prompted by the resignation of Ted Baillieu and resulted in the elevation of Denis Napthine as Premier.
 
Before his entry to Parliament, from 1999 to 2004, O’Brien served as a senior adviser to former Federal Treasurer Peter Costello. In 2004, he signed the Roll of Counsel of the Victorian Bar and founded his own practice, specialising in commercial law, trade practices, insurance and corporate law.
 
O’Brien was born in Dublin, Ireland. He lives in his electorate with his wife and two children.
The Hon. Tim Pallas MP
Shadow Treasurer
Shadow Minister for Employment
Member for Tarneit (Vic.)
Australian Labor Party (ALP)
 
Tim Pallas was first elected to the Victorian Parliament as the Member for Tarneit in November 2006, and was subsequently re-elected at the 2010 state election. 
 
The electorate of Tarneit covers approximately 130 square kilometres in the state’s west, including the suburbs of Tarneit, Werribee South, and parts of Hoppers Crossing and Werribee. While much of the north and south of the district remains open country, the central region is a rapidly developing residential area.
 
Shortly after his election to Parliament, Pallas was appointed Minister for Roads and Ports in the Bracks Labor Government. Under the leadership of John Brumby in December 2008, he was then appointed Minister for Major Projects until the Labor Government’s defeat in 2010. Following a reshuffle by Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews in February 2013, Pallas was promoted to the role of Shadow Treasurer. He has delivered two State Budget Reply speeches as Shadow Treasurer. 
 
Prior to his election to Parliament, Pallas held a number of senior roles in the trade union movement, including Assistant Secretary of the ACTU. From 1999, Pallas was Chief of Staff to former Victorian Premier, Steve Bracks, for more than six years.
 
Pallas is married with two children.
 
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