Is Melbourne Ports Going To Be The Surprise Result In The Election?

As counting continues to determine whether the re-elected Turnbull government will have a majority in its own right, attention has turned to an unusual situation in Melbourne Ports.

DanbyThe inner Melbourne electorate includes Port Melbourne, Southbank, South Melbourne, Albert Park, St. Kilda, Elwood, Balaclava and Caulfield, and has been held by the ALP since 1906. In that 110-year period, it has had just 5 members.

Michael Danby has held Melbourne Ports since 1998. He is seeking a seventh term at this year’s election. A member of the ALP’s right-wing faction, Danby is well-known for his defence of Israel and his hostility to the Greens.

At recent elections, Danby’s primary vote has steadily declined and he has been dependent on Greens preferences since 2001. [Read more…]


GetUp! Lauds Its Election Campaign; Liberals Disagree

The activist group GetUp! has congratulated itself on its election campaign and taken credit for campaigns that removed conservative Liberals from parliament.

GetUp! has posted a YouTube video applauding its campaign work, especially its use of phone banks to contact voters in marginal seats and its distribution of how-to-vote cards on polling day.

The Liberal Party has attacked GetUp!, claiming it poured a million dollars into the campaign against Andrew Nikolic in Bass, Tasmania. Nikolic was defeated by a swing of just over 10% in the Launceston-based electorate. Nikolic, a former army officer, was one of former prime minister Tony Abbott’s staunchest supporters in the last parliament. The Liberal Party’s Senate leader, Eric Abetz, has attributed Nikolic’s defeat to the campaign by GetUp!. [Read more…]


Election Gets Willing As Preference Deals Announced; Turnbull Says Libs Will Put Greens Last

The Liberal Party has announced that it will preference the Labor Party ahead of the Greens in every electorate in the election.

The ALP has announced that it will preference the Liberal Party ahead of The Nationals in the rural seats of Murray (Vic), Durack and O’Connor (WA).

The Liberal Party decision is particularly important since it makes it very difficult for the Greens to make up ground in Batman, Wills and Melbourne Ports (Vic), and in Sydney and Grayndler (NSW). The decision all but guarantees that the ALP candidates will win these seats. Late last week, the Greens announced that they would preference the ALP ahead of the Liberals in the inner-city Melbourne seats.

The decision could make Melbourne difficult for the Greens member Adam Bandt, who will need to maintain his primary vote to overcome the lack of Liberal preferences.

The ALP’s preferences in the three rural seats will also prevent The Nationals increasing their numbers in the Coalition, relative to the Liberal Party. ALP preferences will be of particular value in Murray, where the new Liberal candidate, Duncan McGauchie, faces a strong Nationals contender, Damian Drum. [Read more…]


David Feeney’s ALP Talking Points Document

This is the talking points document that David Feeney left in a Sky News studio.

Feeney gave a stumbling interview to David Speers, in which he was unable to explain the party’s policy on the SchoolKids Bonus.

The interview followed days of bad publicity over Feeney’s failure to register a property he owns on his declaration of interests.

Feeney also negatively gears the property. The ALP has undertaken to end negative gearing if elected. [Read more…]


Day 31: Sound And Fury

One of the most revealing pictures of the election campaign appeared on the front page of The Age last Thursday. It showed two women knitting whilst ignoring Julia Gillard who appeared behind them on a large television screen at the Rooty Hill RSL.

Yesterday, Gillard “launched” her campaign and the parties squabbled over holding another leaders’ debate. The Prime Minister was interviewed on the 7.30 Report and Tony Abbott appeared on QandA.

The rest of this final week of the campaign will see Gillard, Abbott and Greens leader Bob Brown make appearances at the National Press Club. A leaders’ forum in Brisbane seems likely. Abbott will be interrogated again on The 7.30 Report. Wayne Swan and Joe Hockey will debate each other on a breakfast TV program.

So much activity, but is anyone taking any notice? Is the electorate in fact engaged in a mass equivalent of those two women knitting? [Read more…]


Day 11: With The Liberals in Deakin

Sections of the media have been preoccupied with Julia Gillard’s marital status this week. Her relationship with her partner is supposedly important. But it’s really just gossip. So far it’s been a week to reinforce one’s contempt for what passes for news.

It was time to instead commune with the Deakin Liberals. Roughly shaped like a revolver, the electorate of Deakin stretches from Blackburn in the west, through Nunawading, Mitcham, Vermont and Ringwood in the middle, to Croydon South and Bayswater North in the east. It is 61 square kilometres of Melbourne’s middle class, residential, eastern suburbs.

More often than not held by the Liberal Party, Deakin was won by Labor’s Mike Symon in 2007. He defeated the Liberal Party’s Phil Barresi by 2,328 votes, after securing an above-average swing of 6.38%. Symon won 28 of the 37 polling booths in the electorate and now holds the seat by 1.41%. [Read more…]


Day 5: In The Arena

As I prepare to leave home to drive to Boronia, the Labor leaning northern part of the marginal electorate of La Trobe, in Melbourne’s south-east, Julia Gillard is speaking to nurses in Sydney. Without warning, Sky News switches to a Brisbane school where Kevin Rudd is surrounded by cameras and engaged in a detailed conversation with the Principal about the stimulus spending which has delivered a new assembly hall.

Rudd’s return excites the commentators but it seems a long way from the concerns of people at The Alchester Village, a nondescript shopping centre which derives its name from the junction of Albert and Colchester Roads in Boronia Heights, nestled at the foothills of the Dandenongs. Internal political party rivalries rate poorly here against the concerns of local traders, small business and suburban home-owners. [Read more…]