Labor Landslide in Victoria

Nicholas McCallum

Hard work in the streets, on the phones and door-knocking homes pay off! 

In the lead up to the Victorian election on November 24, the trade union movement mobilised thousands of volunteers who made 10,825 door knocks and 63,842 phone calls to Victorians across the state. This paired well with an immaculate campaign by the Labor Party, who made big infrastructure guarantees focusing on schools, health and public transport.

ETU Victoria contributed to the campaign by hosting one of the largest door-knocks in Victorian history, and by supporting Labor candidates in marginal seats who defend union values. We were actively involved in the We Are Union campaign and through our own commitments, mobilising hundreds of volunteers for phone banks, doorknocks and handing out how to vote cards during pre-poll and on election day.

READ MORE: The ETU comes knocking

As we got closer to the election, the polls started to swing towards Labor. On the day before the election Labor was leading 54-46 in two-party polling. Although there was still the potential for some close calls, it was looking like Daniel Andrews was going to secure another four years as Premier. The ambitious campaign promises he made were going to come to fruition.

Ivan Balta (R) out on the campaign trail.

On election day ETU members turned up throughout the marginal seats to hand out How to Vote cards and encouraged people to put the Liberals last. After the polls closed, results came in quickly and it became apparent that the swing to Labor was going to bigger than anyone could have anticipated. By 7.15pm the ABC’s election analyst Antony Green had called a Labor victory and celebrations began.

While we were expecting Labor to win, nobody was expecting a win of such astonishing magnitude. The marginal seats in Melbourne’s sand belt are now convincingly held by Labor, and what were once super, safe blue-ribbon Liberal seats have become marginal. At the time of writing Liberal strongholds like Caulfield and Hawthorn are coming down to the wire.

ETU Organiser Steve Diston (L) and Michael Watson (R) with Premier Daniel Andrews.

The Liberal Party is in turmoil. Victorian Liberal Party leaders Matthew Guy and Michael Kroger have both resigned, and federal MPs from Victoria have been urging their party to reflect on the Victorian results and what they might mean for the federal election next year. If they maintain the swing against them, they are on track to lose six federal seats in Victoria alone.

In an interview the day after the election, the now-former Liberal Party president Michael Kroger summed it up best when he said “this premier Daniel Andrews has embarked on the biggest infrastructure spend Australia has ever seen”.

“He’s promised schools, hospitals, he’s building a big underground train network and he’s promised another underground train network, and a massive road link in the north-east. This is a government that has embarked on the biggest infrastructure spend in history and in addition to that he’s saying there’s no tax increases, no levies, no tolls.

“We were beaten on policy Labor outdid us and I congratulate them.”

Well said.

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