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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.


I’ve Never Met a Labor Voter: Felicity Kennett

The wife of former Victorian Premier, Jeff Kennett, is reported in today’s Sunday Herald-Sun as saying “I still haven’t met anyone who says they voted Labor” in the recent State election.

Mrs. Kennett also says that she believes the ALP outsmarted her husband by successfully marketing the word “arrogant” to describe the former Premier who was tipped out of office last week. “He was the best Premier Victoria ever had,” Mrs. Kennett said.

The Murdoch-owned newspaper also reports today that Kennett was on the verge of advising the Governor, Sir James Gobbo, to swear in his government on October 1 for a new term until Mildura independent, Russell Savage, rang the Governor’s official secretary, Charles Curwen. An hour later, Kennett rang Savage to say he had changed his mind, the paper says.

Savage claims Kennett told him he had the support of Gippsland East independent, Craig Ingram. All three independents announced their support for the formation of a minority government a week ago.

The Age today publishes a story about the fight over water in Gippsland that led to the defeat of the local National Party member and the election of the Bracks government.


Labor Government Takes Office in Victoria

Victorian Labor Premier, Steve BracksA minority Labor government headed by Steve Bracks was sworn into office just before noon on Wednesday, marking the end of 7 years and 14 days of coalition government under Jeff Kennett.

The new government has 42 seats in the Legislative Assembly and will be supported by the 3 Independent members of parliament. The new Liberal/National Party Opposition will have 43 seats.

The Labor Government will not control the Legislative Council, where the coalition parties hold 30 seats to Labor’s 14.

Bracks will head the first Labor adminstration in Victoria since Joan Kirner was defeated by Kennett in October 1992. Kirner succeeded John Cain, who had brought the ALP to office after 27 years in Opposition.


Labor Governments Rare In Victoria

Steve Bracks will become a member of a small group of Labor Premiers of Victoria when he takes the oath of office on October 20.

Only 6 people – five men and one woman – have been Labor Premiers since Victoria achieved responsible government in 1856.

Labor governments have taken office in Victoria for a total of only 19 years, 3 months and 14 days during this century. [Read more…]


KENNETT RESIGNS, ALSO QUITS AS LIBERAL LEADER; BRACKS LABOR GOVERNMENT TO BE SWORN IN ON WEDNESDAY

Former Victorian Premier Jeff KennettJeff Kennett has resigned as Victorian Premier. Steve Bracks will be sworn in at 11.30 on Wednesday morning as Victoria’s first Labor Premier since 1992.

Kennett visited the Governor, Sir James Gobbo, at 4pm on Tuesday to tender his resignation. Labor leader Steve Bracks visited the Governor shortly afterwards.

At a brief press conference later, Kennett claimed the new government had no mandate and attacked the three independent members of parliament who delivered government to the ALP.

Kennett will also resign as Liberal Party leader on Tuesday 26 October. It is expected that Dr. Denis Napthine, the newly-elected deputy leader, will succeed Kennett, although other candidates may emerge in coming days.


Historic Decision: Independents To Support Labor in Victoria

11.20am – The 3 Independents in the Victorian Legislative Assembly have announced that they will support the formation of a minority Labor government. Details to follow.

Attention will now focus on whether the caretaker Premier, Jeff Kennett, will resign immediately, or whether he will insist on the opportunity to test his support in Parliament, perhaps as early as next week.

It is understood that the Opposition Leader, Steve Bracks, will seek an appointment with the Governor, Sir James Gobbo, this afternoon. [Read more…]


Media Tipping a Labor Government in Victoria

Steve BracksThe Melbourne media is confidently predicting a change of government in Victoria.

The Age says the three Independent members of parliament are set to choose Labor ahead of the Kennett-led coalition.

The newspapers predict an early recall of State Parliament, perhaps next Tuesday 26 October, and the retirement of Jeff Kennett. The Liberal Party Deputy Leader, Dr. Denis Napthine, is expected to be the new leader of the Liberal Party.

The Independent members appear to be sceptical of Premier Kennett’s undertakings to implement their Charter.

Controversy over the possible filming of the Independents voting out the government in Parliament is being cited as a further reason for the Independents to support Labor. Threats to use the footage in campaign advertising have been condemned by the member for Mildura, Russell Savage.