VIC Election 2022: Campaign Insights & Analysis Issue 3
Issue 3, 16 November 2022
Early voting for the Victorian State Election opened on Monday this week, following the campaign launches of both major parties over the weekend. Today marks 10 days until the election on Saturday 26 November.
The second week of the campaign focused on energy, with duelling announcements from the Coalition and Labor to cut household electricity bills. Labor also announced additional TAFE funding to train apprentices for renewable energy jobs, while the Coalition announced a domestic gas reservation policy for new onshore projects in Victoria.
This is the third VIC Election newsletter distributed by GRACosway, and features analysis of campaign activities, policy announcements, polling and other political developments. View previous issues here.
The Campaign Trail
Labor’s campaign launch was held (paywall) in outer-suburban Cranbourne, with a strong focus on the Party’s commitment to bring back the State Electricity Commission (SEC), including the announcement that an SEC base would be built in the marginal seat of Morwell. Premier Daniel Andrews also announced that a re-elected Labor Government would provide additional support to children with disabilities, as well as a second round of the $250 power savings bonus in 2023.
The Liberal campaign was formally launched (paywall) in Port Melbourne, with Liberal Leader Matthew Guy stating, “We’re confident, we’re energetic, we’re determined,” in the lead up to polling day. Mr Guy also announced that the Liberals will ‘turbocharge’ gas development within the state, as well as reserve 100 per cent of new gas for domestic consumption. This announcement sparked (paywall) a war of words with Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio, who described the Coalition as “fakes, liars and frackers” as its gas policy would allegedly necessitate the overturning of the State’s fracking ban.
Also of note was the Liberal Party’s announcement (paywall) that it would place Labor last on all of its how-to-vote (HTV) cards, which is expected to boost the chances of the Greens in several tight inner-city contests, as well as the chances of the wide range of Independents contesting Labor seats across the state.
Further on preferences, the ‘Teal independents’ Melissa Lowe and Sophie Torney (backed by Climate 200) had the registration of their HTV cards rejected by the Victorian Electoral Commission as they did not recommend preferences, with the Commission stating that they had the potential to mislead voters. The independents have confirmed an intention to commence legal action against the VEC in the Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal to attempt to overturn the decision.
Early voting opened on Monday, with several delays due to ballot paper printing errors and wet weather. Despite this, as of 8pm Tuesday 15 November, 269,892 people had voted early. This is the first election where voters do not need a reason to vote early, which has increased uptake of this option by constituents.
- $207 million to increase service provision at state specialist schools, including extended after-school care and on-site NDIS navigators (advocates).
- Up to $170 million to upgrade TAFEs across the state, with $50 million set aside to support renewable energy training.
- $125 million to build Stage 2 of the Barwon Heads Road Upgrade, which will duplicate four kilometres of road, remove a level crossing, and allow for intersection upgrades.
- $71 million to support women’s health, including $58 million for 20 comprehensive women’s health clinics and $6.4 million for nine more sexual and reproductive health hubs.
- $42 million to install 100 neighbourhood batteries across the state, which is expected to support 25,000 households access battery storage.
- $32.8 million to construct a shared path between Montmorency Station and Eltham Station in Melbourne’s north-east.
- The Party committed to run a second round of the $250 power savings bonus in March 2023.
- $2.4 billion to redevelop the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne’s south.
- $500 million to eliminate the daily fixed electricity supply charge for six months, which is the equivalent of up to $235 for each household.
- Up to $130 million to build the Wallan Diamond Interchange on Melbourne’s northern fringe, as well as upgrading nearby Watson Street.
- $100 million to support local councils to provide mental health and community wellbeing initiatives across the state.
- $21 million to provide rebates of up to $7,000 for women experiencing cancer or other severe health issues such as endometriosis, to access services for the collection and initial storage of eggs.
- Removing 15 level crossings across Melbourne’s south-eastern and western suburbs.
- A 100 percent domestic reservation policy on all new conventional onshore gas projects.
A RedBridge poll (paywall) conducted on behalf of Herald Sun found that while Labor was still ahead 53.5 to 46.5 on two-party preferred terms, it is equal with the Coalition on primary vote.
PRIMARY VOTE (%)
- 38% Labor
- 38% Liberal/National
- 14% Greens
- 8% Independent
- 3% Other
Seats in the Spotlight
This week we focus on the outer suburbs of Melbourne, where there are a number of key marginal seats. All figures are sourced from ABC psephologist Antony Green’s calculations.
- Bayswater (-0.6 per cent Labor) is located in Melbourne’s outer east and saw a significant redistribution which shifted it into a notional Liberal seat. Current Labor MP Jackson Taylor is standing against Liberal MP Nick Wakeling, whose seat of Ferntree Gully was abolished.
- Pakenham (2.2 per cent Labor) is located on Melbourne’s south-east fringe, and is a new seat created during the most recent redistribution. Labor’s candidate is Emma Vulin, a former political staffer, while the Liberal candidate is design and construction consultant, David Farrelly.
- Box Hill (3.1 per cent Labor) is located in the middle-ring of Melbourne’s east, with current MP Paul Hamer standing for a second term. The Liberal candidate is Nicole Ta-Ei Werner, who works as a business development manager.
- Ringwood (3.2 per cent Labor) is based in Melbourne’s outer east, with incumbent MP Dustin Halse retiring. Labor’s candidate is Burwood MP Will Fowles, who is attempting to transfer to this seat following the abolition of his previous electorate. The Liberal candidate is Cynthia Watson, a Councillor for the City of Boroondara.
- Melton (5.0 per cent Labor) is on Melbourne’s western fringe and is held by Cabinet Secretary Steve McGhie. It is expected to be a three-way contest between Mr McGhie, Liberal candidate Graham Watt and Independent Ian Birchall, however the late entry of former Councillor James Bingham into the race as an Independent has further complicated the race.
- Monbulk (7.4 per cent Labor) is situated on the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges in Melbourne’s east. Current member and former Deputy Premier James Merlino is retiring at this election, with local small business owner Daniela De Martino running as the Labor candidate. The Liberal candidate is Gareth Ward, another local business owner.
- Point Cook (12.8 per cent Labor) is a new seat located in Melbourne’s rapidly growing west that largely replaces the abolished electorate of Altona. While notionally very safe for Labor, Independent Joe Garra – who secured second place in the neighbouring seat of Werribee in 2018 – is standing for the seat. Labor’s candidate is Socialist Left faction convenor Mat Hilakari, with the Liberals nominating teacher Angela Newhouse.
This is the third 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]