Can You Help?

This website is in imminent danger of being shut down. It has been online since 1995, but the personal circumstances of the owner, Malcolm Farnsworth, are such that economies have to be made. Server costs and suchlike have become prohibitive. At the urging of people online, I have agreed to see if Patreon provides a solution. More information is available at the Patreon website. If you are able to contribute even $1.00/month to keep the site running, please click the Patreon button below.


Become a Patron!


Liberals Reject Kroger In Burwood

Liberal PartyThe Liberal Party has chosen Lana McLean as its candidate for the Burwood by-election on December 11, rejecting the public front-runner, Helen Kroger.

It is reported today that McLean performed better at the preselection convention last night than Kroger. Liberal Party preselection conventions are made up of 60% branch delegates (local party members in Burwood) and 40% Victoria-wide delegates.

McLean’s victory is a blow to the Liberal establishment which supported Kroger. McLean was the Liberal candidate for Melbourne in the September 18 election, where she polled 36.24% of the two-party-preferred vote, a swing of 2.15% over the 1996 result.

Jeff Kennett won Burwood on September 18 with 56.79% of the two-party vote. This represented a swing of 1.79% to the ALP.

A victory for the ALP would help it maintain its tenuous grip on government, but Burwood has always been a Liberal seat and will be hard for the new government to win.

Nominations for the by-election close on Monday 22 November.


McNamara To Resign As Victorian National Party Leader

Outgoing National Party leader, Pat McNamaraPolitical change arising out of the September 18 election continues in Victoria with the announcement by National Party leader, Pat McNamara, that he is to relinquish the position he has held for the past 11 years.

McNamara, describing himself as one of the “dinosaurs”, will resign the leadership next month. He is expected to be replaced by the deputy leader and member for Gippsland South, Peter Ryan. McNamara made no announcement about if or when he will resign from parliament.

McNamara was elected as the member for Benalla in 1982, the election that brought the Cain Labor government to power. He became leader of the party following the retirement of long-time leader, Peter Ross-Edwards, in 1988. Prior to the 1992 election, McNamara struck a coalition deal that saw him become Deputy Premier following the defeat of the Kirner government.

The National Party’s role in the coalition government was the first time in over 50 years that the rural party had held ministerial office. Ironically, the Liberal Party had the numbers to govern in its own right throughout its 7 years in office under Jeff Kennett.

The elevation of Peter Ryan to the National Party leadership will come at a crucial period in the party’s history. The party holds only 7 seats in the Legislative Assembly, losing 2 at the recent election, one to the Liberals (Warrnambool) and one to an independent (Gippsland East). The party is battling challenges from independent candidates around the country. The ALP now holds more rural and provincial seats than the Nationals.

Ryan was born on 30 October 1950 in Bendigo. Prior to entering Parliament in 1992, he was a partner in the law firm Warren, Graham and Murphy in Sale.


Victorian Parliament Opened; Andrianopoulos New Speaker; Kennett Resigns

The Victorian Parliament opened today with the election of the Labor member for Mill Park, Alex Andrianopoulos, as Speaker.

Contrary to speculation, the National Party did not field a candidate for the position. With the provision of a Speaker, and the support of the 3 independents, the minority Labor government has a 44-43 margin in the lower house. An absolute majority of 45 votes is needed for constitutional changes.

The new Speaker, Mr. Andrianopoulos, has been a member of parliament for 14 years. He was first elected to the Legislative Assembly seat of St. Albans in 1985. Following the abolition of the seat in the 1991 redistribution, he won the seat of Mill Park. The new Speaker was born in Tripolis in 1955, migrating to Australia in 1965.

Former Premier, Jeff Kennett, has resigned from Parliament. His resignation letter was read to the Legislative assembly chamber by the Speaker shortly after 5pm today. Earlier, Kennett had written to his Burwood constituents advising them of his intention to resign from Parliament. He said he wants to spend more time with his family. Few observers are surprised that the former Premier does not want to face the new Labor government across the Assembly chamber. A by-election in Burwood will be held before Christmas.

The new Victorian parliament was officially opened by the Governor, Sir James Gobbo, this afternoon. The Bracks government faced its first Question Time at 10.25pm today.


Support for Independents Remains Firm

The Age reports today that voter support for the 3 Victorian independents remains firm, but has slipped slightly, since their decision to support the Bracks-led minority Labor government.


Napthine Announces Shadow Cabinet

New Victorian Opposition Leader, Dr. Denis Napthine, has announced his shadow cabinet line-up.

There are 22 members, up from the 18 members in the former Kennett government, including 5 members of the National Party and 4 women. The average age of the shadow ministry is just under 48 years.

In a procedure not used since 1988, the Opposition party room elected 9 members of the shadow cabinet. Dr. Napthine augmented this by choosing Ted Baillieu (newly-elected to replace Phil Gude in Hawthorn), Geoff Leigh (member for Mordialloc and long-time Liberal Party hatchet-man), Victor Perton (anti-Kennett member for Doncaster) and Helen Shardey (second-term member for Caulfield).

Newly-elected member for Brighton and Deputy Opposition Leader, Louise Asher, is the big winner in the line-up, securing the key post of Shadow Treasurer, where she will be pitted against the Premier, Steve Bracks.



Kennett Set To Quit Parliament: By-Election Battle Looms

Shot himself in the foot?Former Victorian Premier, Jeff Kennett, is set to quit parliament.

The Australian reports today that Kennett has decided not to stay in Parliament since his defeat last week.

The resignation could come as early as today, ensuring that Kennett will not sit in the new Parliament when it meets for the first time next Wednesday.

The Liberal Party holds Kennett’s seat of Burwood with a margin of 6.79% and the new Labor government will be keen to consolidate its precarious hold on government with a by-election victory. Expect a big-name, high-profile candidate to be preselected.

Meanwhile, Kennett and his supporters, including party president Joy Howley, have already annointed Helen Kroger, the ex-wife of former Victorian party president, Michael Kroger, as the Liberal Party’s candidate for Burwood.

In a deliciously mischievous move, the attempt to propel Ms. Kroger into Burwood seems designed to pre-empt moves by the Kroger-Costello faction to find their own candidate. Ms. Kroger apparently remains close to Costello.


Napthine and Asher Elected To Lead Liberals in Victoria

Dr. Denis Napthine was officially elected today as the new leader of the Victorian Liberals.

He was unopposed for the position. His deputy will be Louise Asher. The new leadership team signals a final end to the Kennett era in Victorian politics.

Asher, recently elected to the lower house seat of Brighton, defeated Phil Honeywood, Robert Doyle and Robert Dean for the deputy’s job. Asher and Honeywood swapped votes to keep Doyle out.

Parliament meets for the first time since the election next Wednesday 3 November.