The State of the polls Commentary on the Victorian State election from an inner city perspective

Governments are voted out of office never in.

Third terms are always the hardest. The pendulum is on the rebound but is the magnetron strong enough to cause an unplanned 1999 Kennett style upset.

Bracks/Brumby have run a good show overall. They have shown restraint and professional responsibility. There is no reason to throw them out of office. Labor will lose around 5 to 12 seats max. It may even consolidate hold on some.

Electors are also mindful that with a Liberal Federal Government with absolute power in Canberra a Labor State Government is a good way of keeping the Howard Liberal Federal Government in check.

Now is not the time to change lanes.

Legislative Council

In terms of the upper house you should look closer at a comparison we did with the 2004 Victorian senate vote. Yes I am aware that there is a difference in voting between Federal and State elections. BUT the senate vote is the same system of election as the new upper-house system. Voters when faced with the above-the-line senate style ballot paper will fall into old habits. The 2004 senate results was the Liberal party’s high and the ALP’s low. The Greens failed to generate enough steam to climb the hill. Whilst they are strong in one seat they will only win on the back of preferences which are still under discussion. Once the party above-the-line registration is finalized and hopefully backed up by a credible public opinion poll based on voter intentions in the eight new upper-house electorates we should know the outcome. +/-2%

The Greening of Melbourne

The Greens have an outside chance of an upset in Melbourne but even then its a big ask.

Melbourne has seen a demographic shift which, if they can reproduce the 2002 result, might, and its not certain, favor them. The Greens came close in 2002 only because the Liberal Party polled badly. The same can not be said for this election. The pendulum is on the rebound (although slowly). The Liberal Party should out poll the Greens

The Liberal Party can not afford this time to hold back their vote, to create an upset, as was the case in 2002. All parties need to maximise their vote state-wide not just to maximise their chances in the upper-house but to also secure valuable public campaign funding.

For the Greens to win Melbourne they will need every preference to go their way and they will need to top the Liberal Party who would need to be below 25% primary vote. A big ask. There is no news as to if Kevin Chamberlain will re-contest the seat of Melbourne.

The main upset in this election will be the Greens failure to cross the line as happened in the 2004 senate vote.

Prahran is the inner city seat to watch. It has always been the inner-city litmus test. Labor held it under Cain and also holds it now. It is vulnerable to a 5-6% swing and yes the Greens can influence the outcome but they will not win it. (It is easier for a smaller based party to win a safe seat then a marginal seat. The key being the weakness of one of the major parties which are always seen as the one to beat and attract lower preferences then other minor parties) Eltham is another seat that comes to my mind worth watching. Ivanhoe may alsoi see a big shift in support.

The Greens will not cross the line in the lower-house for reasons I have highlighted above. More analysis and public scrutiny on the Greens, its structure and policies will be more negative then positive. Their record on governance issues in the City of Melbourne is not good with the Greens supporting the holding illegal meetings of Council behind closed doors. David Risstrom, who was a candidate of note, is not running in this election.

John So – Big Fish in small Pond syndrome

There was a rumor about John So entering the field but I think he will opt not to run. John can not win Melbourne. He is a big fish in a small pond. At the age of 60 he might decide to have a go in the 2007 Senate election in the hope of extending his shelf life and influence but such a move would require him to hand over the keys to the limo, the mayoral chains and robes. (Something John might not want to give up just yet) John So’s resignation would costs the City of Melbourne over one million dollars to hold a by-election, a cost that would rebound against him. But as they say it is not over until the fat lady sings.

Nominations close November 12.