Christian Kerr yesterday undercooked his sledge about People Power’s preferences in Western Metropolitan giving Labor the balance of power in the upper house. Rather than just one seat, Antony Green’s figures suggest we’ve actually given Labor an additional three seats, lifting their tally from 18 to 21 out of 40.

Charles Richardson had a hand in one of them because his stern lecture a couple of months back about the importance of getting his mate Evan Thornley into the Parliament did influence the decision to preference Labor’s star recruit in Southern Metro.

You can see Antony Green’s preference flows here although it is not entirely accurate because 0.54% of the total vote came to me below the line, yet Antony’s calculator lumps these 1,581 votes on Thornley’s count.

Our original deal with Labor was to shore up Thornley in exchange for Labor preferencing us in Eastern Victoria and Eastern Metropolitan – our two best prospects. We literally missed out by 1000 votes in Eastern Victoria because while 1% wasn’t good enough, 1.2% would have done the trick.

Labor then offered a first preference in five of the other six regions but wanted one more marginal in return – so we offered Western Metro, partly because the Greens candidate, Colleen Hartland, is an old Trot who makes Kerry Nettle look moderate.

We ended up running dead with just one lower house candidate in Western Metro but Max Jackson was helped by the donkey vote and polled 1.25%. This went to Labor’s number four, Henry Barlow, and Antony’s Greens figures suggest was enough to keep them fractionally ahead of the Greens and then surge to victory on Green preferences. Oh dear!

The other seat we may have inadvertently delivered Labor is the fifth spot in Western Victoria, even though we deliberately put their number three, Elaine Carbines, behind everyone except Family First.

This is because we preferenced the DLP ahead of the Greens and the DLP was never eliminated. If we’d gone straight to the Greens, they would have crept ahead of Labor and then grabbed the fifth spot on Labor preferences, although Labor might still have won on Country Alliance preferences.

Having helped get Labor elected in 1999 with, it really is bizarre to have run and then inadvertently given Labor upper house balance of power – the very thing we were hoping to stop. Given our disappointing vote, this will be a terrible cross to bear if it pans out.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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