By-election in Victoria

There is a by-election today for the seat of Melbourne in the Victorian legislative assembly. State by-elections are normally not that significant.

However, the Victorian Liberal government only has a majority of 1 in the assembly (not counting the speaker) and the ALP opposition really needs to hold this seat. The state seat overlaps the federal seat which is already held by the Greens. The ruling Liberals have not presented a candidate. The by-election has become somewhat of a proxy for Julia Gillard’s leadership and for a recent campaign by some ALP elements against the Greens.

7 thoughts on “By-election in Victoria

  1. Why no candidate for the ruling party? Which party held the seat before it was vacated?

    Personal side note: I was at the Green Party HQ in Melbourne in November, and had an interesting meeting with a member of the state Legislative Council and the party’s psephologist. So it is good to know of this contest, now that I know some of the folks involved with one of the parties there.

  2. MSS, Peter Brent’s “Mumble” blog is the go-to source here: see and

    Antony Green would also be the other Australian psephological guru to consult, but his blog is on hiatus as he’s on a cycle tour around Europe.

    (Let’s hope the words “Green” and “cycle” don’t set off the Condorcetistas’ Google alerts…)

  3. It had been an ALP seat for over a century and was narrowly retained by the ALP. The ALP primary vote was 32% and their 2PP was 51.4% in what used to be one the safest Labor seats in the country.

    It’s not uncommon for the major parties to stay out of a by-election in a seat that is very safe for the other major party. The Liberals judged that for Labor to lose the seat to a Green would be more damaging to Labor than the very remote chance of actually winning the seat for themselves.

    The first Green MHR, Michael Organ, was returned in a by-election the Coalition declined to contest.

    • Interesting:

      With nearly all votes counted, Oke has 36.4 per cent of the primary vote and Labor’s Jennifer Kanis has 33.3, but after the distribution of other candidates’ preferences Kanis has won the seat 51.4 to 48.6. See Victorian Electoral Commission page.
      Usually the Greens do well out of preferences. Not this time.
      The Sex Party’s Fiona Patten (6.6), Liberal-ish David Nolte (4.7), the African Think Tank’s Berhan Ahmed (4.2) and Family First’s Ashley Fenn (2.9) all advised their voters to put Kanis ahead of Oke.

      Patten’s explanation is wonderful:

      Patten has said she put Kanis ahead of Oke because of the “anti-sex feminist movement” in the Greens.

      Mumble Blog continues:

      Oke if elected would have generated a personal vote and been difficult to shift at future elections…

      If Saturday was a sign of things to come—major and minor parties and independents colluding against the Greens—it’s difficult to see them ever again winning another single-member seat.

  4. Alan, wouldn’t it have made sense for the Liberals to run a candidate, and preference Green over the ALP? By-elections tend to have low turnout, more Liberals voting might have pushed the Greens in front.

  5. At the same time as wanting mightily to embarrass Labor, the Liberals made a song and dance at the last state election of preferencing Labor over ‘irresponsible’ Greens. Preferencing them in a by-election after depreferencing them in the general election would be a little hard to explain to the electorate.

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