Cover 📷 AAP: Joe Castro
Daniel Andrews’ dominance of Victorian politics continues, landing 18 of 40 Upper House seats, with enough progressive parties winning spots on the crossbench to potentially provide an avenue for any controversial legislation.
Final calculations for the Upper House have been released by the Victorian Electoral Commission, and show as many members will now sit on the crossbench as they will in Opposition.
Micro-parties scored well from complicated preference deals, with 10 MPs from seven parties to sit on the crossbench.
The Coalition’s shocking campaign continued, with the number of Upper House MPs slashed from 16 to 11.
Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party was the biggest winner on the crossbench, picking up three seats, with the Liberal Democrats winning two.
They both picked up more spots than the Greens, who lost four MPs in the election rout, leaving party leader Samantha Ratnam as the only Green left in the Upper House.
Ms Ratnam said the results showed the need for urgent voting reform in the Upper House.
“However, the Greens will also be reviewing our 2018 election campaign and we take full responsibility for our results,” she said.
“The Greens have a crucial role to play in the next Parliament in holding Labor to account as they continue to log our native forests, burn coal and fail to address the state’s housing crisis.
“We are determined to continue the crucial work of our outgoing MPs to be the voice of logic, compassion and equality, and we will be loud.”
Fiona Patten was returned for the Reason Party, and Jeff Bourman survived for the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party. His colleague Daniel Young was defeated.
Three other parties are making their debut in state politics: Transport Matters, Animal Justice Party and Sustainable Australia.
Sustainable Australia won a spot despite wining just 1.32 per cent of the vote in Southern Metro, compared to the Greens who were unsuccessful with 13.5 per cent.
The Liberal Democrats in South East Metro won a seat with just 0.84 per cent of the vote.
Minor party MP says reform is needed
Reason Party MP Fiona Patten had a tense fortnight of waiting, after she was locked out of preference deals in the Upper House.
Ms Patten has referred the so-called preference whisperer Glenn Druery to police to investigate whether taking money to arrange preference deals was legal.
But perhaps benefitting from the increasing number of voters shunning preference deals to vote below the line, she was re-elected to her Northern Metropolitan seat.
“This certainly proves that the preference whisperer Glenn Druery can only go so far and we were ultimately successful despite every attempt to knock us off,” she said.
Ms Patten said reforming the group voting ticket that allows the deals to take place should be a priority for the new parliament.
“We absolutely need reform,” she said.
“The Parliament must look at how we can make this a fairer, more transparent election system for the Upper House.
“We need to look at this idea that you can make money out of elections.”
Many of the new Upper House MPs did use the preference whisperer to get over the line.
Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party now has three seats in the parliament.
One of the new members, Catherine Cumming, said the first priority would be to establish a public sex offender registry.
“I’m looking forward to working with everyone,” she said.
Animal Justice expecting challenges from farmers
Several of the newly elected MPs appear to have campaigned on a single issue: Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party has pushed for tougher courts and Transport Matters was founded by taxi drivers angered by the Government’s overhaul of the sector.
The Animal Justice Party platform is focused on veganism, but its new MP for Western Victoria, Andy Meddick, said they were about broader issues.
“We’re here to represent all animals, human and non-human alike,” he said.
“All of the things that are of interest for all Victorians are the same for us, all of our candidates, all of our members are members of society.
“We make your coffees, we take public transport, we know the issues that surround everything and we’re ready to go in to bat for them as well.”
Asked how he would be received by Western Victorian farmers, Mr Meddick acknowledged there would be challenges.
“We’ll work through those, the door is always open,” he said.
“I’ve always said nobody wins an argument and we’re looking forward to meeting with them and talking with them and going through the issues.”