Matt Hrkac's Blog

The Victorian Legislative Council has produced a remarkably consistent list of candidates between each region. This consistency, with pretty much every party contesting every region, is no doubt the work of Glen Druery - the 'preference whisperer' who orchestrated a series of complex preference deals that got Ricky Muir elected to the Senate at the 2013 Federal Election on just 0.51% of the primary vote.

These same complex preference negotiations got two Shooters and Fishers Party MPs, a Democratic Labour Party MP, Fiona Patten of the Sex Party as well as James Purcell of Vote 1 Local Jobs elected on a minuscule percentage of the primary vote in their respective regions,

Druery, now a staffer for Federal Senator Derryn Hinch, has struck again. Reports are that Druery charges a fee of $5000 for each minor party to be involved in his alliance. He then charges a stipend of $50,000 if a candidate he engaged is successfully elected.

The system of Group Voting Tickets, whereby parties can dictate where their preferences go to if they are eliminated from the count, has been thoroughly discredited and has become nothing more than a farce - especially if it can become a nice little money-kicker and business model for preference whisperers such as Druery.

This was the system used for the Federal Senate prior to the 2016 Federal Election, until it was rightly reformed to allow above or below the the line semi-optional preferential voting. Group voting tickets are still in use in Victorian State Elections for the upper house.

The conservative parties have kept their preferences largely as a block. However, the progressive parties have not been so disciplined. In a number of regions, the Labor Party have directed preferences to a combination of the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, Derryn Hinch's Justice Party and the Aussie Battler Party ahead of the Greens.

On the contrary, despite their bellyaching on social media, the Greens have directed preferences to a combination of Sustainable Australia, Health Australia Party, Derryn Hinch's Justice Party and the Aussie Battler Party ahead of the Labor Party in most regions.

The Transport Matters Party as well as Hudson for NV also appear higher than the Labor Party on the Greens group tickets for some regions; likewise, they appear higher than the Greens on the Labor Party's group tickets for some regions.

The Reason Party have also directed their above the line preferences to Derryn Hinch's Justice Party, Transport Matters, Sustainable Australia and hard-core libertarian Liberal Democratic Party ahead of both Labor and The Greens.

The Animal Justice Party are also directing preferences to the above mentioned Right-wing minor parties ahead of both Labor and the Greens.

All of this means that a 1 above the line vote for any of these parties risks parties of the Right getting elected, thus helping Druery to make his living, rather than a progressive of one stripe or another getting elected.

Would a voter of the Greens be pleased to know that vote would potentially be contributing to the election of nationalists into the state parliament? Would a voter of the Reason Party be pleased to know that their vote could potentially deliver a seat to the tough-on-law and order and right-wing reactionary populists Derryn Hinch's Justice Party?

Would a voter of the Labor Party be pleased to know that their vote could contribute to Shooters, Fishers and Farmers candidates getting elected?

No, neither groups of voters would. They would infect be mortified if they were to find out that the party they are voting for could deliver a seat to someone of the complete ideological opposite.

None of these parties can take the moral high-ground here. As they have all done deals with parties of their ideological opposite.

In fact, the only party that can rightly and legitimately take the moral high-ground is the Victorian Socialists - who have directed preferences in an order, in every region, that their voters would likely go with anyway. They have directed preferences to The Greens, followed by Reason and Animal Justice Party, followed by Labor in most regions.

However, there is a way to completely break the back of Druery's business model. That is by voting below the line.

In Victorian State Elections, you only need to number in sequence from 1 to at least 5 below the line to cast a valid vote. However, it is recommended you go beyond that, numbering as many boxes in sequence as you can.

This means you can vote for Labor, or the Greens, Reason and Animal Justice Party and ensure you preference other progressive parties, without unwillingly directing your preferences to right-wing parties - you can leave them unnumbered completely.

If you intend to vote for any of the Right-wing parties, voting below the line is helpful for you too. 

The point being, regardless of which party you vote for in the upper house, in this state election; voting below the line takes control of your preferences away from the preference whisperers and gives it to you, the voter.

However, it probably isn't the readers of this blog who have to be convinced. Most people who avidly follow politics are already well informed and educated as to how voting and preferencing works. At the last state election, 93.8% of Victorian voters placed faith in their party of choice to direct preferences by just voting 1 above the line. It is these people that need to be convinced and informed.

So get the message out there. Tell your friends, your neighbours, your coworkers and your family: in the upcoming Victorian State Election - vote below the line and explain to them how easy it is. This is the way, and only way, we can bust the business model of Druery and ensure an upper house that is representative of the voting population.

With group ticket voting, it has become clear that voters can no longer trust parties to direct their preferences in good faith. Take the power, and your vote, back.

I have had polls up for about a week now, asking website viewers what percentage of the state wide primary vote that they think each of the three major parties will get.

Here is a visualisation of the results so far.


For Labor, a large majority of respondents believe that the party will get between 35% and 45% of the state wide primary vote.

In 2014, Labor achieved a primary vote of 38.1%, indicating that the party will hold its ground at worst or at best, improve its vote by a few percentage points.

Of particular note is that a significant minority of respondents are optimistic that Labor could get a primary vote of more than 50% in the upcoming state election, while very few respondents think that the party will get less than 35%.

The Coalition

The results for the Liberal Party are a little more mixed. Like with Labor, a similar large majority of respondents believed that the Coalition will get between 35% and 45% of the state wide primary vote.

However, in contrast to the Labor Party, a significant minority of respondents believe that the Coalition will get less than 35% of the state wide primary vote, while very few think that they will get more than 45%.

In general, most respondents believe that the Coalition will get a lower primary vote than Labor in this election at worst and will lose further ground compared to their 2014 result. 

The Liberal and National parties got a combined primary vote of 42% at the 2014 State Election.

The Greens

For The Greens; an overwhelming majority of respondents agree that the party will get less than 12.5% of the vote and little over 50% contend that the party will get less than 10% of the primary vote.

The Greens got 11.48% of the vote in 2014, indicating that at best the party will hold its ground and at worst, will go backwards, compared to 2014.

Very few respondents believe that the Greens primary vote will improve in any significant way - which is indicative of the trend for the party over the last decade where it has held its ground or gone backwards in state and federal elections over that time period.

*Disclaimer: the above poll results are in no way scientific and merely serve to provide an indication of what primary vote each party may achieve.

A Newspoll of Victorian state voting intentions (courtesy of GhostWhoVotes on Twitter) with just 25 days to go until the State Election, has shown that Labor is on the front foot and has pulled well and truely streets ahead in its fight to retain government in Victoria. It leads the Coalition 54% to 46% on a two party preferred basis, a swing of +2% to Labor since 2014 and +3% since the last Newspoll.

On a uniform swing, the seats of Ripon and Morwell would be gained by Labor; in addition to the party holding on to their existing seats where the main opposition is the Coalition.

On the primary vote, Labor sits at 41% (a swing of +2.9% since the last election, and +1% since the last Newspoll), the Coalition on 39% (-3% and -2%) and The Greens on 11% (-0.5% and steady).

The poll also asked questions on approval and disapproval of each leader, as well as questions on preferred Premier.

On the former: Danial Andrews has a +5 net approval rating with 45% (+2 since last Newspoll) approving of his leadership, and 40% (-7) disapproving. Matthew Guy has a net approval rating of -15, with 31% (-1) approving of his leadership and 46% (+1) disapproving.

On the latter question: Daniel Andrews leads Matthew Guy as preferred Premier by a large margin - 45% (+4 since the last Newspoll) to 29% (-5).

Photos from the refugee rally in Melbourne on Saturday, October 27, organised by the Refugee Action Collective (RAC) calling for the closure of the Manus Island and Nauru off-shore detention centres and to settle asylum seekers in Australia.

Victorian Allied Health Professionals Association (VAHPA) Secretary Craig McGregor.

A couple of opponents gatecrashed the rally and attempted to intimidate the attendees by filming them. They were however soundly outnumbered and the rally proceeded undeterred.

The rally was attended by at least 2,000 people calling for the closure of the Manus Island and Nauru off-shore refugee detention camps.

View full album.

Courtesy of GhostWhoVotes on Twitter, a new ReachTEL poll released tonight of Victorian state voting intentions shows the Labor Party leading the Coalition on a two party preferred basis, 52% to 48%. This result, completely unchanged since the 2014 State Election, indicates that the Labor Party is on track to retaining government at the upcoming November state election. 

On primary vote, the Coalition sits on 39.4% (−2.6% since the 2014 State Election), Labor on 37.6% (−0.5) and The Greens on 10.9% (−0.58). The poll also shows the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party sitting on 4% of the vote, Derryn Hinch's Justice Party on 2%, Reason Party on 0.9 and collective others on 4.2%.

Daniel Andrews leads on the question of preferred Premier, with 51.3% of respondents preferring him over Matthew Guy. 48.7% of respondents prefer Matthew Guy.

Labor 3.8%

The seat of Macedon covers the rural area immediately to the north west of Melbourne and includes the towns of Daylesford, Hepburn Springs, Macedon, Malmsbury, Mount Macedon, Riddells Creek, Romsey, Taradale, Toolern Vale, Trentham and Woodend. The economy of the area constituting this electorate is based largely on tourism.

Macedon was created in 2002, replacing the seat of Gisborne. Like it's predecessor, Macedon is a marginal electorate and Labor have held the area uninterrupted since the 1999 election. Prior to that, the seat was a reliable Liberal seat. Notably, Athol Guy, who is a member of the band The Seekers, retained the seat for the Liberal Party at the 1971 by election and held it until he resigned at the 1979 State Election.

Labor's success in this seat in recent years is largely owed to the changing demographics of much of the area. The seat has always been held by the Labor party, despite its status as a marginal electorate.



Who do you think will win? Vote in the poll and post your predictions in the comments below.

Read the full electorate profile.

Labor 3.4%

The Ivanhoe electorate is located in the north-eastern suburbs of Melbourne and includes the suburbs of Heidelberg, Ivanhoe, Rosanna and Macleod.

Once a seat safely held by the Liberal Party, Labor have gradually been eroding at their margin after successive electorate boundary changes have made the seat more favourable for the Labor Party. It is now a reliable, albeit marginal, seat for Labor, who have held it since 1996.

Though the seat is notionally a marginal seat, it will be hard ask for the Liberal Party to gain. The seat has firmed up for Labor over recent elections.




Who do you think will win? Vote in the poll and post your predictions in the comments below.

Read the full electorate profile.

Liberal 3.2%

In the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Burwood includes the suburbs of Ashburton, Ashwood, Box Hill South, Burwood, and parts of Camberwell, Chadstone, Glen Iris, and Surrey Hills.

A marginal seat in recent years, Burwood was held by Jeff Kennett from 1976, who was Premier from 1992 to 1999, when he resigned from Parliament following the government's defeat in that year's state election. In the ensuring by-election, Labor gained the seat and held it for the next 11 years, until the defeat of the Bracks/Brumby Government in 2010. The Liberal Party were able to retain the seat in 2014, despite being voted out of government.

The Liberal Party would be favoured to hold on in Burwood, however it will be one of those seats that Labor are hoping to gain in 2018 to offset any potential losses to the Greens in the inner city Melbourne electorates, ensuring they retain a majority. It will be a tough ask, though certainly by no means impossible, for an incumbent government to pull off.




Who do you think will win? Vote in the poll and post your predictions in the comments below.

Read the full electorate profile.

Labor 3.0%

Covering an area of 22 square kilometres in inner suburban Melbourne, the Albert Park electorate includes the suburbs of Albert Park, Middle Park, Port Melbourne, St Kilda West, Southbank, South Melbourne, South Wharf, and parts of St Kilda.

Albert Park has been held by Labor since the 1950's. Like with much of inner city Melbourne, the area has undergone considerable gentrification in recent years. This has contributed to a gradual decline in Labor's primary vote and a steady increase in both the Liberals and Greens primary votes. This has seen the seat become a lot more marginal in recent elections, with potential for both the Liberals or the Greens to take the seat in what will be a real three way contest in 2018.

The seat has been held by Labor since the 1950's. However, demographic changes have seen the seat become more marginal in recent elections. Labor would be favoured to hold on, however any significant increase in the Liberal vote will put them at risk of losing the seat. Support for The Greens has also been growing in recent years, however their primary vote would have to increase significantly for them to be a threat.




Who do you think will win? Vote in the poll and post your predictions in the comments below.

Read the full electorate profile.

Liberal 2.9%

South Barwon covers the Geelong suburbs of Grovedale, Highton, and Waurn Ponds and the growth area of Armstrong Creek, and extends out to the Surf Coast region, including the towns of Torquay and Jan Juc and the rural towns of Barrabool, Bellbrae, Connewarre, Gnarwarre, Modewarre, Moriac and Mount Moriac.

Once a relatively safe Liberal seat, the South Barwon district has become increasingly marginal in recent years. Labor were able to win the seat for the first time at the 2002 State Election and also successfully retained it in 2006, before the Liberal Party regained it in 2010.

Due to demographic changes, South Barwon represents the most likely gain for the Labor Party in 2018 and will be a key target for the party; who are banking on the profile of former Federal MP for Corangamite, Darren Cheeseman, to help them get over the line.




Who do you think will win? Vote in the poll and post your predictions in the comments below.

Read the full electorate profile.

« 1 2 3 4 ... 6 7 »