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Election Overview

In 2018, the Daniel Andrews-led Labor government will be attempting to win a second term. The Liberal/National Coalition (opposition), led by Matthew Guy, will be attempting to gain government after a single term in opposition.

Andrews led Labor to victory against a first term government at the 2014 State Election, a feat that hadn't been achieved in Victorian state politics since the 1940's. This was achieved with controversies concerning rogue MPs, instability within the government and with a perception of the Baillieu/Napthine Government doing very little in its four years in office.

Infrastructure spending, particularly with regards to transport and schools, has been the core of the Andrews Government agenda, particularly in marginal electorates within the Melbourne Metropolitan area. The government has also been keen to spruik its environmental credentials with regards to renewable energy and a legislated ban on fracking.

Despite this, the government has not been without controversies - with Don Nardella and Telmo Languiller facing heat after claiming secondary residency allowances while living outside of their electorates. Nardella resigned from the Labor Party completely, setting the government back a seat. Another MP, Steve Herbert, also found himself in hot water after claiming travel allowances for his dogs.

A second major set back followed the death of Labor MP Fiona Richardson, who was the MP for Northcote. In the ensuing by-election held in late 2017, the Greens were able to gain that seat despite a string of policy announcements from the government intended to appeal to voters in that electorate.

The Coalition has also had some major controversies - including reneging on parliamentary convention, that saw two paired MLCs ( Bernie Finn and Craig Ondarchie) return to vote in the Legislative Council to vote down the fire services bill that would restructure the Country Fire Authority (CFA) and the MFB (Metropolitan Fire Brigade). The Coalition has also been keen to push the law and order angle, with the government all too keen to follow along. Both of these issues are setting up to become major issues leading up to the election.

Labor will be facing challenges on two fronts: from the Liberal Party in the ultra-marginal seats in the south east of Melbourne gained at the 2014 election, and from the Greens in the inner city of Melbourne; the latter of which has been looming for more than a decade.

While law and order will be pushed heavily by the Coalition, it is likely that Labor will prioritise its record of infrastructure investment and push the message that it is a government that gets things done.

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Key seats

The Coalition

The Liberal Party and National Party, to win government, need to win a minimum of four seats off of the Labor Party. The four seats key to their chances of winning government all lie in Melbourne's south east, which are as follows:

Frankston (ALP 0.5%) - currently held by Labor's Paul Edbrooke since the 2014 State Election and is a solidly working class electorate. The current incarnation of this seat has existed since 1992, where it was held by the Liberal Party for a decade up until the 2002 State Election, when it was gained by Labor in their landslide election win of that year, and stayed in Labor hands for 8 years. The Liberal Party's Geoff Shaw was able to gain the seat in 2010; though controversy ensued through his misuse of parliamentary entitlements. Shaw subsequently resigned from the Liberal Party to sit as an independent. He was defeated at the 2014 State Election when the seat was gained by Labor. The Liberal's chances in this seat will be largely determined by whether the Liberal brand, locally, has recovered.

Carrum (ALP 0.7%) - currently held by Labor's Sonya Killkenny. This seat has historically been a solidly and relatively reliable Labor seat that was occasionally gained by the Liberal Party when they were doing well, but increasing gentrification in parts of this seat has turned this seat into a bellwether seat that is usually held by whichever party is in government. Carrum was created in 1976, when it was gained by Labor and held for two decades. The Liberal Party were able to win the seat in 1996 who held it for a term until 1999, when Labor regained it and held it for a further 11 years until the 2010 State Election.

Bentleigh (ALP 0.8%) - currently held by Labor's Nick Staikos since the 2014 State Election. Bentleigh has always been a marginal electorate that changes hands relatively regularly, usually with a change of government. The Liberal Party will be eying this seat intently as it is a seat that they must gain if they are to gain government.

Mordialloc (ALP 2.1%) - currently held by Labor's Tim Richardson since the 2014 State Election. Like Bentleigh, the seat has historically been marginal and the seat's status, since its creation in 1992, is a good indicator as to which party is on track to forming government.

Prahran (GRN 0.4%) - currently held by the Greens' Sam Hibbins since the 2014 State Election. The electorate has been a marginal seat for most of its history; but gentrification and increasing affluence of the area saw the seat become a more reliable Liberal seat in recent elections - Labor, though, have been able to gain it on occasion, as they did in 2002 and held it until 2010. The changing demographics also favoured the Greens, who were able to narrowly gain the seat in 2014 after benefiting from minor party preferences to leapfrog Labor into second place, taking their preferences to defeat the Liberal Party. The Liberal Party will be wanting to regain the seat in order to supplement its numbers if it is to form government.

However, the Liberals will be surely looking to make gains outside of the above four electorates in order to give itself a bigger buffer then just a single seat. The seats of Cranbourne (ALP 2.3%) and Eltham (ALP 2.7%), also located in the eastern sandbelt suburbs, will likely be key Liberal targets - despite not being held by the Liberal Party since before the 2002 State Election.

In addition, the Nationals will be wanting to gain back Shepparton (IND 2.6%), but it won't be an easy task for them to achieve against a first term independent incumbent.

If the Liberal Party is on track to doing particularly well, seats like Albert Park (ALP 3.0%) may come into play. The seat of Bellarine (ALP 4.8%) has also been particularly volatile in past elections and could also be vulnerable in a Liberal surge. Cranbourne (ALP 2.3%) and Eltham (ALP 2.7%), seats last held by the Liberal Party prior to the 2002 State Election, may also be vulnerable to Labor in a Liberal surge.

Labor

On the Labor side, they will be aiming to retain the seats they currently hold, particularly the marginal seats above which are being targeted by the Liberal Party, as well as possibly gain a couple of others in order to offset potential losses to the Greens in Melbourne's inner city and thus to retain their outright majority in the lower house.

Ripon (0.8%) - currently held by the Liberal Party's Louise Staley since the 2014 State Election is a mix of rural and increasingly suburban, making this once relatively safe Liberal seat more marginal over successive elections. It was effectively the only gain by the Liberal Party in 2014 after the most recent redistribution turned it into a notional Liberal seat. Prior to this, tt was held by Labor's Joe Helper for 15 years.

South Barwon (LIB 2.9%) - currently held by the Liberal Party's Andrew Katos since 2010. South Barwon was once a relatively safe Liberal seat but increasing suburban development over recent years, along with changing demographics, has made this seat more marginal. Labor gained the seat for the first time at the 2002 State Election.

Burwood (LIB 3.2%) - currently held by the Liberal Party's Graham Watt since 2010. It was gained by Labor for the first time in a 1999 by-election following Jeff Kennet's resignation and went on to hold the seat for 11 years,

Morwell (1.8%) may also come into play for Labor - though the local issues that affected the outcome there in 2014 may have passed by now.

The seat of Bayswater (LIB 4.6%), located in Melbourne's east, was also held by Labor relatively recently and may be vulnerable if Labor are to perform better than expected.

The Greens

The Greens will be targeting two key seats in 2018: Richmond (ALP 1.9%) and Brunswick (ALP 2.2%) as well as holding the three seats it currently has. It faces a tough task in Prahran and in Northcote (GRN 5.6%) but is probably secure in Melbourne (GRN 2.4%) despite the slim margin.

Other wildcards

Geelong (ALP 6.0%) - currently held by Labor's Christine Couzens since the 2014 State Election. The Geelong electorate is generally a working class electorate with pockets of gentrification and affluence, and has usually been a reliable seat for Labor with the Liberal Party only winning the seat on occasions where they are performing exceptionally well across the state. With high-profile former City of Greater Geelong Mayor Darryn Lyons now running as an independent candidate (who is a former member of the Liberal Party), there is a real possibility that either Lyons or the Liberals could gain this seat off each other's preferences, depending on which candidate finishes ahead.

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Victorian State Opinion Polling

Each data point in the graphs below represents a published opinion poll. The lines represent the running averages for each party.

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Party Abbreviations

Throughout this guide, the parties may be abbreviated. A list of abbreviations used in this guide, and their full party name, are listed in the table below.

Abbreviation/Initials Full Party Name
ALP Australian Labor Party
LIB Liberal Party of Australia
NAT National Party of Australia
GRN Australian Greens
DLP Democratic Labour Party
AJP Animal Justice Party
ASP / RP Australian Sex Party / Reason Party
SFP / SFFP Shooters and Fishers Party / Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party
FFP / CBAC Family First / (Cory Bernard's) Australian Conservatives
AC Australian Christians
ACA / ACP Australian Country Alliance / Australian Country Party
SA Socialist Alliance
VFTW Voice For The West
ONP One Nation Party
PPV People Power Victoria / No Smart Meters
RUAP Rise Up Australia Party
VEP Voluntary Euthanasia Party
PUP Palmer United Party
LDP Liberal Democrats
CYC Australian Cyclists Party
V1LJ Vote 1 Local Jobs
TBRNR The Basics of Rock 'n' Roll