The big novelty in Victoria this year is the Legislative Council, being elected by proportional representation for the first time. There are eight regions, each electing five members.

Unlike the lower house, where parties are still fighting over preferences down to the wire, upper house preferences are already set (Antony Green has all the group voting tickets, and Graham Allen has do-it-yourself result calculators), so now is as good a time as any to hazard some predictions. I’ve arranged the regions from weakest to strongest for the non-Labor parties.

Northern Metro: Not much doubt about this one; it’s the Greens’ strongest region, they and the Liberals will each get a seat and Labor the other three.

Western Metro: Three Labor and one Liberal are definite, with the last seat up for grabs. It’s not strong Greens territory and the preference deals go against them, so unless Labor’s vote is down sharply it looks as if a fourth ALP will get up on Liberal preferences.

South Eastern Metro: Hard to see this as anything other than three ALP and two Liberal; theoretically a Green could beat the second Liberal if the Liberal vote drops, but even then preferences from the religious right would probably save them.

Western Victoria: There’ll be two ALP and two Liberal, but the fifth seat is a lottery. On 2002 figures the ALP would get it on Liberal preferences, but if there’s a swing against them the third ALP might drop behind the Greens, which might elect them; alternatively a third Liberal or a National could get up on preferences from the DLP and Family First. There’s been some talk of the DLP winning a seat, but I can’t see it; my guess is three ALP and two Liberals.

Eastern Metro: On 2002 figures it’s three ALP and two Liberals, but a likely swing back to the Liberals means the third ALP will probably be eliminated rather than the third Liberal, and that would elect the Greens for the final spot.

Southern Metro: Looks pretty clear as two each for Liberals and ALP plus one Green, but if the Liberals are doing well they might just edge out the Greens for the fifth seat.

Eastern Victoria: On 2002 figures would be two ALP, two Liberals and a Green, but I think the Nationals will pick up a spot: probably at the expense of the Greens, although it’s just possible they could knock out the second Liberal.

Northern Victoria: Almost certainly two ALP, two Liberal and one National, although favourable preferences have given the Greens a faint chance of beating the second Liberal.

That gives a total of 21 ALP, 14 Liberal, 3 Greens and 2 Nationals. If it comes off, it’ll be a Labor majority in the Council entirely due to Liberal preferences in Western Metro and Western Victoria. (For an alternative analysis, see Ardel Shamsullah in today’s Age, who tips those last two to go the other way for a total of 19-15-4-2.)

Peter Fray

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