At 5pm last night, various political and media types gathered at Jeff’s Shed, the Melbourne Exhibition Centre, to watch the Victorian Electoral Commission run a computer program and reveal the final composition of the new upper house.

The big shock was the claim that the DLP has secured two seats, thereby denying Labor control of the Legislative Council. Labor immediately claimed a computer malfunction and demanded a recount in Northern Metropolitan, where the DLP’s John Mulholland was declared the winner of the fifth spot despite being 5,000 votes behind Labor on the VEC’s own figures earlier in the day.

The VEC has removed all the detailed figures from their website and merely published the final margins between the successful fifth candidate and unsuccessful sixth candidate in the eight regions.

Looksmart founder Evan Thornley has clearly got up on People Power preferences in Southern Metropolitan. His final vote was 59,905 versus 58,369 for the third Liberal, David Southwick — a margin of 1536. Thornley collected about 3000 above the line preferences from me.

People Power preferences appear to have helped determine the outcome in three other seats. Labor won four of the five quotas in Western Metro but the Greens would have picked up the fourth if they’d received our 5,000 preferences.

Similarly, the two DLP wins over Labor would not have happened without our preferences, something that has delighted our outgoing President Vern Hughes, who has this morning emailed all People Power candidates revealing he has been “asked to consider a staffer position with the DLP”.

Vern and I did all the preference negotiations and he was very strong on giving a high preference to the DLP.

Despite clearly assisting the DLP and Labor, People Power actually gave a high preference flow to the Greens, but none of these ever reached their target where it mattered.

The Greens won a quota in their own right in Northern Metro but had Democrats preferences as a back-up and it was the Democrats who got them over the line in Southern Metro.

Apart from that, they were friendless as it was the ALP that got the DLP up in Western Victoria, prompting Greens MP Greg Barber to claim the bruvvas have put another “right wing nutter” into a Parliament, following on from the Steve Fielding debacle of 2004.

Peter Fray

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