Welcome to my live post for the Batman by-election.
For both the Greens and Labor, the moment of truth has finally arrived. Will five time candidate for the Greens, Alex Bhathal, finally wrest the seat of Batman from Labor? Or will the factional drama within her party, combined with the Ged Kearney factor, see her miss out once again?
Has Labor finally found the right candidate and policy combination to be able to effectively defend its once safe inner city seats against a rising Greens tide? Or is it just inevitable that these seats will fall to the Greens regardless of what Labor say or do?
Keep an eye on this post throughout the day for live updates relating to any significant developments and after the close of polling, for the results as they come in. If you have Facebook, feel free to contribute in the comments below this post. You can also check out my guide to the Batman by-election.
(Times are Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time)
Polling opens at 8.00am.
circa 1.00pm - A lunch time primer - Labor's announced proposal to end franking credit cash rebates for self-funded retirees has potentially thrown a spanner into the works of their campaign; with the Greens yesterday even making an appeal to conservative voters, which, in a progressive electorate, may actually negate the backlash against Labor. The negative effect, if any, for Labor will probably be minimal in any case due to the Batman electorate having younger demographic compared to the national and state average.
Alex Bhathal, with her children in toe, has cast her vote. No guesses as to who for.
5.30pm - Polls for the Batman by-election will close at 6.00pm and counting will begin promptly at that time. Live updates will be posted as the results come in. I expect the first results will start coming in from around 7pm.
6.00pm - Polls are now closed.
6.50pm - First primary vote result has come in from the Newlands Senior Citizens Centre (Murray): Labor: 39.76%, Greens: 38.96%, Conservatives: 6.83%. This is north of Bell St, the so-called "Hipster Proof Fence".
6.57pm - First big polling places north of Bell St have come in - Reservoir and Reserviour West, which are strong Labor booths. Labor are ahead on primaries, for now. But still a large swing (8%+) to the Greens on primaries at this early stage. Labor have a modest 1.2% swing in their favour.
7.06pm - First big polling booths south of Bell St have come in (Collingwood North and Northcote), which have pushed the Greens ahead on primary votes. So far, both the Conservatives and the Greens are absorbing most of the Liberal vote.
7.15pm - The early results so far indicate that the polling places north of Bell St are still holding up firm for Labor while the south is holding firm for the Greens. Still no results from most of the Preston booths, a suburb which straddles on Bell St, which will be likely what determines the outcome of this election.
7.33pm - with a total of more than 30,000 votes now counted (21 of 46 booths), Labor is currently leading the Greens on primary votes. Labor are also currently leading the Greens on the two party preferred vote (with 7 polling places counted, most of which are in the north). Still no results in from most of the Preston booths as yet.
7.45pm - Most of the south of Bell St polling places have been counted, with a number of northern suburbs polling places still to come in. It is not looking good for the Greens, but I'm not prepared to call it until those Preston booths are counted.
8.05pm - 50% of the vote is now counted with most of the regular polling places now in. The primary vote in the Preston booths have come in and it hasn't shifted the primary vote in one way or another. This is likely to reflect the same on two party preferred terms. The two party preferred vote currently sits at 51.7% / 48.3% to Labor. The primary vote sits and has stabilised at 42.9% for Labor, 40.6% to the Greens and (probably crucially) 6.2% to the Australian Conservatives.
8.21pm - Most of the Preston booths are now counted and Labor are still ahead on two party preferred terms with a small swing in their favour. I'm calling this as a Labor retain.
About the author:
Matt Hrkac is a writer and photographer based in Geelong. He has particular interests in politics, elections, social movements and the trade union movement.
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