Victorian Election Newsletter – Issue 1
7 November 2014:
The Victorian election campaign has finally begun, with Melbourne Cup day, Victoria’s preeminent race day public holiday, marking the start of the 25-day election campaign with the official caretaker period taking effect from 6pm.
Consequently, both the Coalition and Labor campaign units have moved from a parliamentary and policy development posture, to a more reactionary campaign footing, with a focus on detailed day-to-day campaign tactics and vote-winning announcements in key target seats.
Within the Coalition, the Premier and Liberal/Nationals Coalition Leader, Hon Dr Denis Napthine MP, kicked-off his Government’s pitch to Victorian voters in a ceremonial visit to Victoria’s Governor the Hon Alex Chernov the day before Cup Day in an effort to focus the beginning of the campaign on the Coalition’s issues of preference, namely, “choice, trust and good decisions”. Against this backdrop, the Premier has signalled that the Coalition is prepared to be judged on its commitments to deliver infrastructure – including the East-West Link and Melbourne Rail Link – and that it is the better economic manager, and will respond to concerns by delivering stronger community safety outcomes.
However, it has since emerged this week that two Liberal candidates in target seats for the Coalition – local councillors Geoff Ablett in Cranbourne and Amanda Stapledon in Narre Warren North – have been formally interviewed by the Victorian Ombudsman in relation to alleged corrupt Liberal Party donations and council planning decisions. Both have denied wrongdoing.
Meanwhile, the Labor Opposition started the campaign with a strong showing in the latest opinion poll with a clear 8 point lead in the two-party-preferred stakes. Opposition Leader, Hon Daniel Andrews MP, began the week distancing himself from comments communicated to him by Melbourne identity Lloyd Williams, purportedly on behalf of Casino owner James Packer, that Mr Packer would “kick every goal he can for you”. In referring questions about those comments back to Lloyd Williams, Andrews has shifted focus back to Labor’s key themes by announcing that Victoria’s vehicle number plates will carry a new slogan, the “Education State”, if Labor wins the state election, as well as listing 11 new schools Labor would build in and around growth areas of Melbourne, a message he delivered at a media appearance in Mernda on Wednesday. The money for these new schools is included in the previously announced $630 million package made by Andrews at Labor’s Campaign Launch.