VIC Election 2022: Campaign Insights & Analysis Issue 2
Issue 2, 10 November 2022
Campaigning has officially begun for the Victorian State Election, scheduled to be held on Saturday 26 November 2022. Enrolments closed this week, on Tuesday 8 November, ahead of early voting opening on Monday 14 November.
Polling released by Newspoll on 4 November indicated (paywall) that the Labor Party will retain government and Daniel Andrews will enter a third term as the Premier of Victoria with a two-party preferred vote of 54 per cent to the Coalition’s 46 per cent.
While the pre-election pitches began with a focus on health, the first week of the campaign saw the major parties spruik cost of living, transport and housing policies.
This is the second VIC Election newsletter distributed by GRACosway, and features analysis of campaign activities, policy announcements, polling and other political developments. View Issue 1 here.
The Campaign Trail
Throughout the first week of the campaign, more than $1 billion was promised by both Labor and the Coalition towards cost-of-living relief. This included a $261 million plan to cut stamp duty to zero for 12 months for first-home buyers purchasing properties worth up to $1 million by the Coalition, and Labor committing to provide discounted or free car registration, public transport, and boating and fishing licences for veterans.
Campaigning and advertising became personal on both sides this week, with name-calling and attack ads run on both Premier Andrews and Opposition leader Matthew Guy. Historical questions were raised around the Premier’s back injury, harking back to an incident in 2021 when he was forced to take several months off his official duties after reportedly falling down a staircase, and a 2013 car crash involving Premier Andrews and his wife. The Opposition also ran ads criticising Andrews for his handling of the COVID-19 lockdowns and enforcing a vaccine mandate.
Meanwhile, the Opposition was targeted in ads that claimed the Party has an alleged drinking culture, with Labor blaming Matthew Guy for mismanaging his own party members. Focus returned to a lunch Guy had with an alleged mafia boss in 2017, echoing attack ads from the last State Election in 2018.
The issue of integrity again became prominent as The Age reported (paywall) that Premier Andrews is being investigated by the Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC) for payments totalling $3.4 million to the Labor-aligned Health Workers Union. The Premier was tight-lipped with journalists in relation to the allegations, referring repeatedly to a formal statement he released on the matter. With much of the narrative focussed on the IBAC investigation, Labor has struggled to achieve cut-through with its Election promises.
In response, Matthew Guy has promised to allow public hearings in anti-corruption investigations, bringing Victoria in line with the protocols of NSW and other jurisdictions, and pledged to lower the threshold for investigations by removing the requirement for “serious or systemic” corruption. However, Guy is facing his own share of integrity issues, following the resignation of his Chief of Staff over a request made to a donor, which remains the subject of an investigation by the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC).
Additionally, while it is an offence to disclose the contents of a draft IBAC report before it is published, both leaders confirmed they would not pursue stricter regulations to curtail press freedom, despite calls from IBAC to do so.
- $37 million to introduce (paywall) a veterans card that would provide a $100 discount on the registration of one vehicle and offer dedicated employment programs to veterans.
- $15 million for a sponsorship deal with Netball Australia in partnership with Visit Victoria after mining company Hancock Prospecting pulled its proposed sponsorship of the same amount following a dispute with the Diamonds playing group.
- $9.7 million for vehicle registrations to be fully subsidised (paywall) for eligible apprentices, including those working in bricklaying, carpentry, joinery, electrical and plumbing, and chefs.
- Further support for nurses and midwives with the provision of a $5,000 sign-on bonus for student nurses and midwives who graduate between 2022-2024 when they enter the public system, and the promise to hire more than 450 additional nurses to strengthen the nurse- and midwife-to-patient ratios in hospitals.
- Building on the Government’s successful level crossing removal program, the Premier announced a new target of removing 110 level crossings by 2030.
- $260 million to fund stage one of a new freeway bypass around Shepparton, to be completed with Federal assistance.
- $200 million in additional funding over four years for public dental services, and a $500 dental voucher scheme.
- $190 million to build (paywall) five new schools across Melbourne’s western suburbs.
- $160 million package to expand or deliver new bus routes across Melbourne’s outer-suburbs and regional areas.
- $20 million increase to the IBAC’s budget to expand its remit and enable public hearings.
- On housing affordability, the Coalition pledged to cut stamp duty for first home buyers over 2023 for properties valued up to $1 million, stepping up the Labor Government’s existing arrangement for zero stamp duty on properties valued at up to $600,000.
- Outlined a plan to make 150,000 new housing lots available over the next two years across Melbourne and regional Victoria by cutting red tape and expediting planning reforms.
The latest Newspoll (paywall) published by The Australian showed that while Labor retains a majority in the two party preferred vote with 54-46 over the Coalition, primary support has levelled out for both major parties at 37 per cent. This saw Labor’s primary vote fall by four points, while the Coalition gained one point.
Consequently, more than a quarter of voters indicated they would support minor parties or Independents. This furthers the trend of voters moving away from major parties, displayed clearly at the Federal Election in May this year.
PRIMARY VOTE (%)
- 37% Labor
- 37% Liberal/National
- 13% Greens
- 13% Other
Seats in the Spotlight
This week we focus on regional Victoria where there are a number of contests between Labor, the Coalition and Independents. All figures are sourced from ABC psephologist Antony Green’s calculations.
- Mildura (0.0 per cent Independent vs Nationals) is in the rural north-west of Victoria and is narrowly held by Independent Ali Cupper, a former Labor party candidate. A 2021 electoral redistribution captured areas in the south-east that were not contested by Cupper in 2018, which could favour Nationals’ candidate Jade Benham in the upcoming Election.
- Morwell (4.0 per cent Labor) is based in rural Gippsland and is dominated by the coal mining industry. Independent Russell Northe is retiring at the next Election, leaving Morwell with a notional Labor majority.
- Ripon (-2.7 per cent Liberal) is a regional seat in Western Victoria, held by Louise Staley, however due to the aforementioned redistribution, her seat has shifted into a notional Labor seat. The Labor candidate is Martha Haylett, a former adviser to Daniel Andrews.
- South Barwon (3.0 per cent Labor) has been held by incumbent Labor MP Darren Cheeseman since 2018. However, the 2021 redistribution reduced the Labor margin from 4.6 per cent to an estimated 3.0 per cent. The former Liberal MP for the seat Andrew Katos is re-contesting, after losing to Cheeseman in the 2018 Election.
- Bass (0.7 per cent Liberal) is currently held by Labor MP Jordan Crugnale, however the redistribution saw the Labor-aligned northern end of the electorate removed, changing margins from a Labor seat of 2.4 per cent to a notional Liberal margin of 0.7 per cent. The Liberal candidate is Aaron Brown.
- Nepean (0.7 per cent Labor) covers the western tip of the Mornington Peninsula. It changed hands from Liberal to Labor in a major upset at the 2018 Election. This is a key seat for the Liberals to win at the upcoming Election, with the Party selecting high-profile journalist and former professional tennis player, Sam Groth, as its representative.
This is the second of our Victorian Election 2022 newsletter series, featuring analysis of campaign activities, policy announcements, polling and other political developments. For more information about the election, or to enquire about our services in Victoria, please contact:
Richard King, Managing Partner – Public Affairs
M: +61 407 766 633
E: [email protected]