Victorian Election Newsletter – Issue 4

28 November 2014:

With less than 24 hours until polling booths open across the state for the 2014 Victorian Election, all signs point to a victory for Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews and the Labor Party come tomorrow night.  The sentiment reflects the way the Coalition Government and Labor Opposition have both tracked in published opinion polls, with Daniel Andrews’ holding a poll-winning lead over Premier Denis Napthine for the past 12 months.  The latest Galaxy opinion poll published in the Herald Sun this morning is no different, with Labor heading into election day with a handy lead of 52 per cent to 48 per cent on a two-party-preferred basis, despite Andrews trailing Napthine as preferred Premier.

This week the leaders maintained a gruelling campaign pace, with Labor releasing its election policy costings, and both parties continuing to make new announcements and local spending commitments aimed mainly at the all-important marginal seats.  The Coalition concentrated its efforts campaigning in the seats of Ringwood, Burwood and the newly redistributed seat of Eildon, as the Premier sought to shore up seats that would normally have been thought ‘safe’ Coalition electorates.  In a further worrying sign for the Government, polls suggest that key marginal seats on the Frankston line that the Liberals won in 2010, including Mordialloc, Bentleigh and Frankston, remain up for grabs on Saturday.

Across town the Labor team remains cautiously optimistic about its chances for victory.  This week Labor has continued to link Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the Liberal ‘brand’ to Victorian Liberals, in what they see as a successful strategy to take advantage of the PM’s apparently low popularity across the Victorian electorate.

And while the flurry of the final week is still ongoing, this election has quietly confirmed the trend of an increasing number of voters casting their ballot before election day, through pre-polling and postal voting.  As of 5pm Wednesday, over 20% of Victorians had voted – a sizeable chunk of the electorate too late to be influenced in the final days of the campaign.

The Opposition released its costings yesterday less than 42 hours until the polls open, revealing $3.3 billion worth of recurrent spending over the next four years.  The spending promises have been matched by approximately $300 million in savings over the same four year period which will be achieved by cutting taxpayer-funded advertising, cutting 52 departmental executive positions, ceasing to print hard-copy reports for Parliament, and axing the Construction Code of Compliance for the Building and Construction Industry.

Despite Labor’s costings being undertaken by small business advocate Professor Bob Officer, who led the Kennett and Howard Government’s Commissions of Audit, the Coalition slammed the costings saying Professor Officer has not taken into account information available about the cost of public infrastructure.  The Coalition also took aim at the underfunding of Labor’s key policy platform to remove 50 level crossings.  The Opposition’s costings were also signed off by accounting firm Moore Stephens, and former Chairman of Victoria’s Transport Accident Commission James MacKenzie.

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