Victorian state election, 2006


Victorian state election, 2006


Marginal seats

Marginal seats are the most tightly contested lower house districts. A marginal seat's sitting member won that seat at the previous election by only a small margin. Opposition candidates therefore have a greater chance of winning the seat at the upcoming election. There is no universal definition for a marginal seat. For Victorian purposes, anything below a 3% to 4% margin is a reasonable indication that a seat is marginal.

For information on winning margin trends on the 20 most marginal seats for this election see 2006 Victorian election marginal seats.

Legislative Council

Under the new structure of the Legislative Council, the number of members dropped from 44 to 40 after this election. This introduced considerable competition within all parties for preselection for Legislative Council seats. The switch from provinces electing one member at a time to regions electing five members also meant that the major parties were more likely to lose seats to smaller parties such as the Greens. The balance in the 2002-2006 Legislative Council was ALP 24, Liberals 14, Nationals 4 and 2 independents (both of whom were former ALP members).

For details on candidates preselected for the Legislative Council see Candidates of the Victorian state election, 2006.

Opinion polls

Leader ratings


Analysis of Morgan Poll conducted on 4 March 2006

The Morgan Poll on 4 March 2006 found that ALP support rose 1.5% from January to 60.5%. This translated to a significant lead of 21% over the L-NP (39.5%) on a two-party preferred basis. With primary support for the Liberal Party declining, if a Victorian State Election had been held in February, the ALP would have won easily. Primary support for the Greens was 7.5% (unchanged), Australian Democrats 2.5% (unchanged), National Party 2.5% (unchanged), Family First 2.5% (up 0.5%) and Independent Candidates and Other Parties 5% (up 1%) [ [http://www.roymorgan.com/news/polls/2006/3988/ L-NP Continues To Lose Ground To ALP In Victoria] , Author, "Roy Morgan Research", 4 March 2006]

ACNielsen/Age poll in late May

Opposition leader Ted Baillieu's rating in the ACNielsen/Age poll in late May was 6 percentage points higher than former leader Robert Doyle's in the last state Agepoll in November 2005. However, Mr Baillieu's 36 per cent approval rating was still eclipsed by Mr Bracks' 59 per cent, up from 53 last November. On these poll results, the Bracks Government would be returned with a majority of seats with 55 per cent of the vote after preferences, despite a 2.8 per cent swing against Labor since its 2002 landslide. The Liberal and National parties were on 45 per cent. The poll also showed that most people prefer Mr Baillieu as Liberal leader to former premier Jeff Kennett [ [http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/bracks-stays-ahead-in-poll/2006/05/24/1148150327049.html Bracks still ahead, but hope for Baillieu] , "The Age", 25 May 2006] .

Morgan Poll in June 2006

A Morgan Poll of 1003 voters in June showed support for the Liberals collapsing (42.5%) and Labor rebounding (57.5%) to a lead of landslide proportions (after preferences) just five months before the state election. The poll results were reported as "an end to Ted Baillieu's honeymoon as State Opposition Leader" [ [http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/baillieus-honeymoon-at-an-end/2006/06/30/1151174396122.html Baillieu's honeymoon at an end] , "The Age", 1 July 2006] .

Galaxy Poll in October 2006

A Galaxy Poll of 800 voters, conducted on October 17 and 18, showed the ALP down at 44%, the Libs up at 39% and the Greens vote collapsing at 7%; and said that would amount to a 10 -17 seat swing to the Liberals [Ellen Whinnett, [http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,20633526-661,00.html Poll reveals Labor backlash] , "Herald Sun", October 24, 2006] .

ACNielsen Poll in October 2006

An ACNielsen poll of 1005 voters showed the ALP at 42%, the Liberals and Nationals combined at 40% and the Greens at 13%. After distribution of preferences it had the ALP on 56% and the Libs/Nats on 44% [Paul Austin [http://www.theage.com.au/news/victoria-votes/libs-face-crushing-loss-at-poll/2006/10/23/1161455664070.html Liberals face crushing loss at poll] , "The Age", October 24, 2006] .

McNair Gallup Poll in November 2006

A McNair Gallup poll of 609 voters, conducted between November 14 and 16, showed the ALP primary vote at 39%, a combined Liberal and National vote at 46%. After distribution of preferences it had the ALP on 50.5% and the Liberal/National on 49.5%. The poll suggests a 7% swing against the ALP and a heavy reliance on preferences for a re-election of a Bracks government [Chris Tinkler, [http://www.news.com.au/sundayheraldsun/story/0,21985,20781475-661,00.html Baillieu's Libs gaining fast] , "Sunday Herald Sun", November 19, 2006] .

Parties

Australian Labor Party - Victorian Branch

With a huge majority in the lower house, the Bracks government was expected to be re-elected.

Tim Pallas entered Parliament in November. Pallas, Premier Steve Bracks' chief of staff, defeated Labor parliamentary secretary Mary Gillett for Labor preselection for the safe seat of Tarneit.

Liberal-National Coalition

The Nationals leader Peter Ryan had terminated the Coalition agreement in mid-2000 after losing Benalla, when it became apparent that the minority Bracks Government would serve out its term. This allowed the Nationals to maintain a distinct profile from the Liberals over the succeeding years, demonstrated during the 2002 Labor landslide when the Nationals won back Benalla.

Tensions emerged between the conservative parties over issues such as the Liberal policy of halving tolls on the EastLink freeway. Peter Ryan stated that his party did not back the policy, because it would mean public money was spent on motorists in Melbourne's eastern suburbs, at the expense of services for country Victorians. [ [http://www.theage.com.au/text/articles/2006/04/09/1144521210663.html Liberals, Nationals to consider coalition] , "The Age", 10 April 2006]

The Nationals also took offence at then Liberal leader Robert Doyle's repeated statement that the Liberals only needed 20 seats to win government, a figure which implied the support of the Nationals. [ [http://www.theage.com.au/news/Opinion/Rivalry-set-to-spoil-coalition-victory-plans/2005/04/07/1112815666089.html Rivalry set to spoil coalition victory plans] , "The Age" - 8 April, 2005]

Liberal Party of Australia (Victorian Division)

During March 2006, Phil Honeywood, the Deputy Opposition Leader, then Victor Perton both announced they would not contest the next election. This contributed to ongoing speculation about Robert Doyle's leadership, during which Ted Baillieu emerged as a possible challenger. Tensions between the Liberal factions were temporarily resolved with the appointment of Louise Asher as deputy opposition leader, with Doyle retaining the leadership unchallenged. [ [http://theage.com.au/news/opinion/a-rivalturnedally-rescues-doyles-leadership/2006/03/30/1143441273689.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1 A rival-turned-ally rescues Doyle's leadership] , "The Age", 31 March 2006]

Robert Doyle's media director Rob Clancy's resignation became public on 26 April 2006, two weeks after his chief of staff Ron Wilson left for a job in the private sector. The Liberal Party state president Helen Kroger is another Doyle supporter who moved on. This string of resignations raised questions about the strength of Doyle's team in the lead up to the election. In response, Doyle denied that people were leaving because they did not think the party could win the election and that the resignations did not reflect well on the Liberals. [ [http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/opposition-leader-doyle-loses-another-player/2006/04/25/1145861348256.html Opposition Leader Doyle loses another player] , "The Age", 26 April 2006]

Strong rumours of an imminent "forced resignation" and Doyle "losing the support of the party" were aired on the front page of Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper on 4 May 2006. Doyle did indeed resign as both Opposition Leader and MP for Malvern that day, although he stated that the "decision was his own" [ [http://www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,19020329%255E661,00.html Doyle ready to quit] , "Herald Sun", 04 May 2006] and that "his best was not enough to lead the party to victory in a state election just six months away". [ [http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2006/05/04/1146335845749.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1 Doyle: my best not enough] , "The Age", 4 May 2006]

On 5 May 2006, it became clear that Ted Baillieu would become Opposition and Liberal Party Leader after former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett and Shadow Minister for Transport Terry Mulder both withdrew from the leadership race. Baillieu was subsequently elected unopposed on 8 May 2006.

National Party of Australia - Victoria

With declining voter support over the last two Victorian state elections the Nationals almost lost Third Party status in the 2002 State Election. They entered the 2006 election with 11 seats (7 in the Legislative Assembly and 4 in the Legislative Council), the minimum required to for official party status. [ [http://www.aph.gov.au/Library/pubs/CIB/2002-03/03Cib13.htm Victorian Election 2002] , "Parliament of Australia Parliamentary Library", Current Issues Brief No 13, 13 February 2003] Several of their Assembly seats were marginal, particularly Shepparton (4.27%) and Benalla (1.97%).

Several commentators predicted that the Nationals would face destruction at this election. The changes to the Legislative Council created large country regions which would negate the personal appeal of several candidates. Upper house member Bill Baxter became the candidate for the lower house electorate of Benambra in an attempt to remain in Parliament.

In the absence of a Liberal/National coalition, preference deals between Labor and the Liberals looked set to crush Nationals representation in the Assembly as well. [ [http://www.theage.com.au/news/vic-election-06-opinion/preference-shifts-to-sideline-nationals/2006/11/15/1163266640225.html "Preference shifts to sideline Nationals"] , The Age, 16 November 2006] Leader Peter Ryan gave what one commentator called "the speech of the campaign thus far" on November 16, when he lambasted the major parties for their (perceived) action against the Nationals. [ [http://www.theage.com.au/news/vic-election-06-opinion/the-preferences-fallout-peter-ryan-plays-survivor-of-springstreet/2006/11/15/1163266640222.html "The preferences fallout: Peter Ryan plays 'Survivor of Spring Street'"] , The Age, 16 November 2006]

In fact the Nationals increased their vote and won two additional Assembly seats

Australian Greens - Victoria

Greg Barber, former City of Yarra mayor, won the fourth seat in the upper house region of Northern Metropolitan, where the Greens were considered most likely to win their first seat in the Victorian Parliament. Sue Pennicuik, previously co-covener of the state party, also won the fourth upper house seat Southern Metropolitan region. Colleen Hartland won an upper house seat as well, the fifth seat in the Western Metropolitan Region. Bill Pemberton was preselected as the lead upper house candidate in the Eastern Metropolitan Region but didn't manage to get elected.

In the lower house, Dr Richard DiNatale needed a 2.4% swing in the seat of Melbourne to unseat Labor's cabinet minister Bronwyn Pike, but wasn't successful in taking the seat from her, although he came quite close. Gurm Sekhon also wasn't successful in winning a seat, he needed a 3.1% swing in the seat of Richmond to unseat Labor's Richard Wynne.

Overall, The Greens exceeded their expectaions for the election by getting 3 people into the upper house.

Australian Democrats (Victorian Division)

After a fairly quiet campaign in the 2002 state election, the Democrats experienced a significant decrease in votes, despite concentrating their efforts on the upper house. After poor results in the 2006 South Australian election, and despite not contesting the 2006 Tasmanian election, the Victorian Democrats are running candidates in Upper House regions where they believe they have a chance of picking up the fifth seat. Their campaign was lead by Paul Kavanagh (lead candidate for Southern Metropolitan Region). They also stood candidates in Eastern Metropolitan, Northern Metropolitan, Western Metropolitan and South Eastern Metropolitan Regions. They did not run candidates in any lower house seat. [ [http://www.vic.democrats.org.au/elect06/elect06.html Upper House Candidates for the 2006 Victorian State Election] , Democrats, 2006] .

Independents

The two current independent lower house MPs, Russell Savage (Mildura) and Craig Ingram (Gippsland East) had comfortable margins and were therefore considered highly likely to be re-elected. However, Russell Savage lost his seat to the Nationals, with the planned Nowingi toxic waste dump in the electorate cited as one of the main factors contributing to his defeat [Jacqueline Freegard, [http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,20825829-5008560,00.html Bracks' attack was fatal ~ Savage] , Herald Sun, 27 November 2006] .

The fate of the two independent upper house MPs was less clear. Maverick Labor-turned-independent MLC Dianne Hadden attempted to shift to the lower house and run in Ballarat East against the incumbent Labor MP Geoff Howard, but no polling was carried out as to the potential result. Liberal-turned-independent Andrew Olexander attempted to retain his seat in the Legislative Council, having attempted to build a profile for himself after being expelled from the Liberal Party over disputes stemming from a drink driving conviction.

Also running for the Northern Victoria Seat in the Legislative Council was Mildura cook Stefano de Pieri, ambassador for the Murray River and television star of 'Gondola on the Murray'.

Other parties and groups

*Christian Democratic Party (Victorian Branch)The CDP ran candidates in the Northern, Eastern, and South Eastern Metropolitan regions in the upper house.

* Family FirstFamily First announced Cameron Eastman as their lead candidate and spokesperson for the election. Eastman works in a civilian capacity for the Victoria Police and contested the upper house region of Eastern Victoria. He stated that Family First's Victorian campaign would include a strong anti-gambling stance and would raise concerns about hospital waiting lists and the sale of public assets. Family first contested all upper house seats and all 88 lower house seats.

*People Power, a group formed in 2000 by Vern Hughes and Stephen Mayne, fielded candidates in both the Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly.

Other parties registered in Victoria that fielded candidates include:

*Citizens Electoral Council (Victorian Division)
*Democratic Labor Party (DLP) of Australia
*Socialist Alliance (Victoria)
*Country Alliance

Preference deals

The chances of minor political parties, including the Greens, of securing a seat largely depended on the outcome of preference deals and cross preference deals with other parties. Party preference directions for the Legislative Council were not known until after close of nominations Friday November 10. Party preference directions for the Legislative Assembly were not known until they were announced or "how to vote" cards were distributed. Party preference directions only take effect when people vote "above the line" on the Legislative Council ballot, or follow party "how to vote" cards on the Legislative Assembly ballot.

The Campaign

:"See main article: "2006 Victorian election campaign"'

Results

:"See main article: "Results of the Victorian state election, 2006"'

External links

* [http://www.vec.vic.gov.au/ Victorian Electoral Commission]
* [http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/indepth/section/0,,5008560,00.html Victoria Decides] , Herald Sun
* [http://www.theage.com.au/victoriavotes/ State Election '06] , The Age. Includes a manifesto for Victoria.
* [http://www.abc.net.au/elections/vic/2006/guide/default.htm Antony Green ABC Election Guide]
* [http://www.pollbludger.com/ Poll Bludger Election Guide]
* [http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/marybolling/ Mary Bolling Herald Sun election blog]
* [http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/johnferguson/ Herald Sun election blog]

References

ee also

*2006 Victorian election marginal seats
*Candidates of the Victorian state election, 2006
*2006 Victorian election campaign
*Results of the Victorian state election, 2006


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