Labor’s primary falls, but Andrews still expected to retain power

Labor’s primary falls, but Andrews still expected to retain power

November 26, 2022

Victorian election 2022

Labor’s primary vote suffered huge blows across Victoria, especially in traditionally safe seats in Melbourne’s outer suburbs where residents bore the brunt of the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With 11 per cent of the votes counted just before 8pm, Labor’s party’s primary had fallen by 6.9 per cent, but the Liberals failed to capitalise on the government’s woes, with the Coalition’s primary also falling by 1.7 per cent.

Labor is on track to hold on to power, despite suffering a blow to its primary.

Despite those early swings, Labor was on track to retain government. Labor won in a landslide in 2018, and the party expected its primary to fall significantly in a “correction” to 2014 levels.

The ABC at 8pm reported Labor had won 28 seats, the Coalition 16, the Greens one and independents one.

“It is pretty clear that some small booth results that are coming in within the COVID [and] lockdown electorates – the western Melbourne seats, more safer seats for the Labor Party – [there are] very significant swings against them,” former Labor campaign strategist Kos Samaras told ABC TV’s election night coverage.

Samaras, who is director for polling company RedBridge, has spoken throughout the election campaign about the expected swings against Labor. On Saturday evening, he said he was not surprised by the early results.

“I think this pattern will continue throughout the night,” Samaras said.

Former premier Steve Bracks told Channel 7 he expected Labor to win, but it could be faced with minority government.

“He’s got a very good chance actually. It is more likely he will get a third term. Well, he will get a third term as a majority government or minority government,” Bracks said.

“In any event, it will be a third term for sure for Daniel Andrews. Yes, I think he will. He will be joining John Cain who got a third term, myself, the only three Labor leaders who have done that.”

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Premier Daniel Andrews has consistently said “no deals will be offered and no deals will be done” with independents, or the Greens. His deputy Jacinta Allan told ABC it was too early to know what the make up of the 60th parliament would look like, but insinuated Labor would not enter into a coalition with minor parties or independents.

“As we’ve heard the Premier, it doesn’t matter whether it’s in the context of outcome of elections or indeed delivering election commitments, he keeps his word,” Allan said. “Victorians know he is a premier who keeps his word.”

Despite those significant early swings against the Labor Party, voters were not turning to the Liberals, and instead parking their first preference votes with independents and other minor parties, including the Greens.

Just before 8pm, the ABC projected Labor would retain Bendigo East, Bendigo West, Bentleigh, Bundoora, Dandenong, Eureka, Geelong, Lara, Clarinda, Eltham, Ivanhoe, Macedon, Monbulk, Mordialloc and Ringwood, despite swings against the party on a two-party preferred basis.

Labor lost the seat of Nepean, a traditional Liberal seat, to former tennis star Sam Groth but was ahead in Box Hill and Ashwood, which the Liberals were hopeful of winning.

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