The Nationals, Legalise Cannabis Party, and the Greens are expected to be the big winners in the new-look Victorian Upper House. Sources: Timberbiz, Herald Sun, Weekly Times, chart WA Today
Labor is unlikely to win a majority so the state’s Upper House will again be controlled by minor parties.
Premier Daniel Andrews is poised to be Victoria’s longest-serving Labor premier, winning a third term for the ALP.
Counting and preference distribution to decide the 40 MPs will take days and a result in some hotly contested regions could take weeks.
The Greens could pick up three more MPs to sit along state leader Samantha Ratnam in the Legislative Council, while the Nationals are expected to pick up two seats.
But Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party is facing an electoral wipe-out, with early indications showing that his party will lose all three seats.
Frustration with Labor and the independents led to a far greater swing against Labor in regional Victoria, boosting the National Party’s numbers in the Lower House from six to nine MPs.
The Nationals have wiped out Shepparton independent Suzanna Sheed and Mildura independent Ali Cupper.
But one of the biggest surprises was Morwell, which the Nationals gained on the back of a 10% swing against Labor candidate Kate Maxfield, despite Premier Daniel Andrews’ attempts to win over voters on the back of his promise to revive the State Electricity Commission.
One of the biggest issues to hit the Morwell electorate has been Labor’s failure to defend the timber industry from green lawfare, which has led to a log shortage that is set to force the closure of timber mills and the white paper processing line at the Maryvale mill.
Nationals Leader Peter Walsh said wins in Shepparton and Mildura reflected frustration with the independents, who had repeatedly voted with the government.
As for Morwell, Mr Walsh said: “Labor had deserted the shop floor and become a party of the intellectual elite, not workers.”
Following the death of National Party candidate Shaun Gilchrist in the seat of Narracan a special ballot will take place in the New Year.