VIC Election 2022: Campaign Insights & Analysis Issue 4
Issue 4, 23 November 2022
With three days until the Victorian State Election on Saturday 26 November, the third week of the campaign descended into a political fracas through integrity accusations, referrals to the state’s anti-corruption commission and continued disagreements over preferences.
This is the fourth VIC Election newsletter distributed by GRACosway, and features analysis of campaign activities, policy announcements, polling and other political developments. View previous issues here. Our team will publish a note on the Election outcome early next week.
The Campaign Trail
Last week, the Victorian Election Commission (VEC) referred its investigation of Opposition Leader Matthew Guy and his former chief of staff Mitch Catlin to the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC), with the VEC stating that it had not received co-operation from those connected to the investigation. This sparked a response from the Liberals who accused the VEC of “serious, deliberate and unprecedented interference in the Victorian State Election”.
The ‘Teal independents’ contesting the key seats of Kew, Mornington and Hawthorn were successful in their Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal case against the VEC, overturning the Commission’s decision to refuse registration (paywall) for their how-to-vote cards. The Tribunal decided it was not satisfied that the cards met the VEC threshold of ‘misleading and deceptive’.
The Herald Sun released (paywall) a video of self-described ‘preference whisperer’ Glenn Druery, outlining his plans to manipulate the Victorian Group Voting Ticket system, as well as charge success fees for parties that win seats. Druery alleged that he helped the Labor Government in 2018 by delivering them a ‘crossbench they can work with’ last election. The Liberal party, as well as other political parties, has referred the matter to IBAC.
Over the weekend, following an investigation into Liberal candidate Renee Heath by The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and 60 Minutes, Matthew Guy announced (paywall) that Ms Heath would not sit in the Liberal Party room after the election. While she has been informally disendorsed, she remains at the top of the Liberal ticket in Eastern Victoria and is likely to be elected.
On Monday, following the death of Nationals candidate Shaun Gilchrist, the VEC declared that the election in Narracan had ‘failed’, resulting in the premature end of voting in the seat. Voters in Narracan can still cast their ballots for the Legislative Council, with the seat set to have a supplementary election in the near future on a date yet to be determined.
Also on Monday, the Coalition launched its Real Solutions Plan[PDF], a manifesto-style document outlining nearly 200 separate policy commitments made over the course of the campaign. At the launch of this document, Matthew Guy declared that “we are ready to govern”, making a pitch to voters that were disenchanted with Daniel Andrews but unsure about supporting the Coalition.
Meanwhile, Premier Daniel Andrews has been travelling through regional Victoria, visiting Morwell to re-iterate Labor’s commitment to bring back the State Electricity Commission (SEC), and travelling to Milawa to announce a $30 million package to support Victoria’s wineries and hospitality businesses.
Last night, the only debate of the campaign was held, with Premier Daniel Andrews going head-to-head with Matthew Guy at a Sky News “people’s forum” in front of 100 undecided voters. 38 per cent of the audience said that Mr Andrews won, while 34 per cent supported Mr Guy, and 28 per cent remained undecided.
As of 6pm yesterday, 1,170,290 voters had cast their votes at early voting centres, with 104,685 voters having returned postal votes. This means approximately 29 per cent of the electorate has cast their vote early.
- $34 million for support to the live music industry, which is estimated to back approximately 10,000 gigs over the next four years.
- $30 million package to support primary producers, including $10 million for distillers, $5 million for hospitality scholarships and $5 million to boost wine exports.
- $21 million to construct a ‘People’s Gallery’ to increase exhibition space at the Bendigo Art Gallery.
- Up to $20.5 million to rebuild the St Leonards Pier on the Bellarine Peninsula near Geelong.
- $16 million to hire an additional 40 Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance Paramedics.
- Committed to enshrine the revived SEC in the State’s constitution.
- $87 million to upgrade Evans Road in Cranbourne by duplicating the road between Hall Road in Cranbourne and the South Gippsland Highway in Lynbrook.
- $30 million to start Stage 1 of the Caulfield Land management plan, which will include sporting facilities, parklands and a renewable energy hub.
- $13 million to support the food relief sector, including $1 million each to Foodbank, Second Bite and OzHarvest.
- $5 million to develop a business case for “Federation Square East” a potential urban park between Flinders Street and Batman Avenue.
- Launch a new ConnectVic app and portal, a ‘one-click shop’ style app designed to help Victorians better access Government services.
- Committed to bring back Parliament before Christmas to pass new appropriation legislation and other key bills.
On Tuesday, The Age published (paywall) a poll conducted by Resolve Strategic, which found that while the major parties were even on primary vote, Labor was ahead 53-47 per cent on a two-party preferred basis. This continues the trend highlighted by previous polls, with over a quarter of the electorate intending to vote for a party other than Labor or the Coalition.
PRIMARY VOTE (%)
- 36% Labor
- 36% Liberal/National
- 10% Greens
- 6% Independents
- 12% Other
Seats in the Spotlight
This week we focus on the inner suburbs of Melbourne, where there are a number of key marginal seats, including those targeted by ‘Teal independents’ and the Greens. All figures are sourced from ABC psephologist Antony Green’s calculations.
- Caulfield (0.04 per cent Liberal), located in the inner south-east, is likely to be a three-cornered contest between sitting MP and Liberal Deputy Leader David Southwick, Labor candidate Lior Harel and ‘Teal independent’ Nomi Kaltmann.
- Brighton (0.5 per cent Liberal), running along Port Philip Bay in the inner south-east, where incumbent member and Shadow Minister James Newbury is being challenged by independent Felicity Frederico and Labor candidate Louise Crawford.
- Hawthorn (0.6 per cent Labor) is a seat in the inner eastern suburbs and is a three-way contest between the incumbent John Kennedy, Liberal candidate (and former Member) John Pesutto and ‘Teal independent’ Melissa Lowe.
- Northcote (1.7 per cent Labor) is a seat in the inner-north, with Labor MP Kat Theophanous being challenged by Greens candidate and local school teacher Campbell Gome. The Greens won this seat in 2017 in a by-election before losing it to Labor in the 2018 general election.
- Kew (4.7 per cent Liberal) in Melbourne’s inner-east also has its incumbent MP Tim Smith retiring at this Election. The Liberal candidate is Jess Wilson, who was an adviser to Josh Frydenberg and has worked for the Business Council of Australia. She is being challenged primarily by ‘Teal independent’ Sophie Torney, with Labor nominating Lucy Skelton.
- Richmond (5.8 per cent Labor vs Greens) in Melbourne’s inner-suburbs has incumbent MP and former Minister Richard Wynne retiring, making this seat a top priority for the Greens. Labor’s candidate is Lauren O’Dwyer, with the Greens nominating local councillor Gabrielle de Vietri.
This is the fourth 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]