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Victorian election was lukewarm all round

By Graham Young - posted Wednesday, 10 December 2014


Background

To make sense of the result of the Victorian election, one has to take it in the context of the previous election in 2010 when the Liberal Party accidentally became the government in Victoria, unexpectedly winning the 2010 Victorian election.

There was no public expectation that they would win. According to Newspoll, in 2010 55% of voters expected Labor to win, while only 25% expected it to be the Coalition.

Neither party was particularly popular and neither won more than 40% of the vote. Labor had 36.2% of the vote and the Liberals 38%.

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That delivered the Liberals a majority of one in both the upper and lower houses.

So while the Libs were there, they were only just there. Liberal premier Ted Baillieu was widely criticised for not acting quickly, or having a coherent program as premier.

There were some controversial decisions with respect to the environment – allowing grazing in Alpine parks and cutting support for alternative energy production. He also cut funding to TAFE (in response to a blowout of hundreds of millions caused by the federal Labor government implementing a program of contestability in the sector).

He was then forced from office when tapes surfaced implicating his chief of staff in undermining the police commissioner, and the government in stymieing a corruption inquiry.

Liberal MLA Geoff Shaw resigned from the party and refused to commit to support it with Baillieu as leader.

That led to the resignation of Baillieu, and the election of Denis Napthine as leader of a minority government.

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Subsequently Shaw was found not to have acted diligently with his parliamentary expenses which led to the Liberal Party eventually expelling him, and he threatening to withdraw his support from the government.

Close to the election the government decided to commit to building the eastern end of the East-West Link, and there was controversy about this decision, although polls showed that most voters were in favour of it. The tunnel was first proposed by Jeff Kennett in 1999.

The result

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About the Author

Graham Young is chief editor and the publisher of On Line Opinion. He is executive director of the Australian Institute for Progress, an Australian think tank based in Brisbane, and the publisher of On Line Opinion.

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