Friday, November 26, 2010
WHATEVER the fate of the Greens hopefuls in the four inner Melbourne seats in tomorrow's election, one thing looks almost certain: the Greens will hold the balance of power in the new upper house, whoever wins government.
At the federal election, the Greens won 14.6 per cent of the Senate vote in Victoria, with 471,000 first preferences. The opinion polls suggest that they are heading for a similar vote at the state election.
If so, they are odds-on to win five seats in the new 40-member Legislative Council, with neither Labor nor the Coalition winning enough seats to control the chamber. This would mean that any legislation in the new Parliament would require support from two of the three sides to get through the Legislative Council.
In the old council, Labor had 19 members, the Coalition 17, the Greens three and the DLP one the seat of Western Victoria, where its leader, Peter Kavanagh, won the final seat with just 2.6 per cent of the vote.
There is a chance that similar results could happen this time. For the council, Victoria is divided into eight electorates choosing five members each in a Senate-type election. To win a seat, a candidate needs just 16.7 per cent of the vote and the result can depend on the order in which candidates with small votes are eliminated.
In Western Victoria in 2006, Labor preferences ended up giving the seat to the DLP. But this time Labor is directing its preferences to Greens candidate Marcus Ward, who looks odds-on to take Mr Kavanagh's seat.
In both Northern Victoria and Eastern Victoria, the five seats are likely to divide 3-2 between the Coalition and Labor, as in 2006. But this time Labor, the Coalition, the Sex Party and the DLP are all directing preferences to the hunters and fishers of the Country Alliance. If it can win enough first preferences, it could take the Coalition's third seat in both.
In Melbourne, at least two seats appear likely to change hands, with Northern Melbourne an outside chance of seeing an upset.
The Liberal heartland of Southern Metropolitan last time saw a cliffhanger, with the ALP's Evan Thornley winning the last seat from the Liberals by just 1500 votes. But Labor will probably lose the seat this time, with the Coalition taking three and Labor and the Greens one each.
But the Coalition is likely to lose a seat to the Greens in Eastern Metro, while in Northern Metro Labor's third seat could go any of five ways.
In the most bizarre preference deal of the campaign, the Liberals, Labor and the Country Alliance are all directing preferences to Sex Party leader Fiona Patten. Journalist Stephen Mayne, an independent, has a chance, as does the DLP's John Kavanagh, brother of Peter. If none of them scores enough votes to matter, it will come down to Liberals versus Labor, with Greens de facto leader Greg Barber set to hold his seat and the balance of power.
THE OTHER ELECTION THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
Who might win seats on Saturday
LABOR LIB/NATS GREENS THE REAL CONTEST
Eastern 2 2 1 *Liberal v GREENS
Northern 3 1 1 *LABOR v Libs/Sex/Mayne
South-East 3 2 - *LABOR v Greens
Southern 1 3 1 *Labor v LIBERAL
Western 3 1 1 *LABOR v Libs/Greens
Eastern 2 3 - *LIB/NATS v Greens
Northern 2 3 - *LIB/NATS v Country Alliance
Western 2 2 1 *DLP v GREENS/Ctry Alliance
Total 18 (-1) 17 (-) 5 (+2)
*SITTING MEMBER. LIKELY WINNER IN BOLD CAPITALS. DLP LIKELY TO LOSE ITS ONE SEAT.