Crikey Media Wrap: It came as no surprise that Victoria's aging Labor government suffered a significant swing against it at the state poll over the weekend, but few pundits predicted anything near the scale of the voter backlash that will almost certainly claim the scalp of Premier John Brumby.
It came as no surprise that Victoria’s aging Labor government suffered a significant swing against it at the state poll over the weekend, but few pundits predicted anything near the scale of the voter backlash that will almost certainly claim the scalp of Premier John Brumby.
Behind closed doors, frazzled Labor strategists are no doubt asking themselves what went wrong as their hopes of forming a minority government slowly evaporate.
The media have been more than happy to throw their two bob in, of course, and responses are varied. Some interpreted the election results as further evidence of the “ten year cycle” theory – that any government that reaches double digits will struggle to get re-elected. Others discussed the personalities of the two candidates and Labor’s ineffective strategic focus.
Crikey founder Stephen Mayne could hold the balance of power in the Victorian Upper House, with an unexpected Steve Fielding-style preference run close to delivering him the fifth and final seat in Northern Metropolitan.
…while Labor was defending on one wall, the Liberals were climbing over the other. Of Labor’s 18 seats south of the Yarra, no fewer than 10 were taken by Ted Baillieu’s men.
It was a mirror image of the 1999 poll that brought Labor to power. That day, Jeff Kennett was focussed on retaining his marginal seats south of the Yarra, and did so – but was felled by Labor and the independents storming regional and rural ramparts.
To those who said he lacked the hunger, or the killer instinct, or the leadership qualities to lead the Liberals back to power – and, especially, to those Liberals who asserted things without attribution – Baillieu is measured.
The last time a new Liberal premier took office, in 1992, he claimed power via a landslide majority. His policies and political style were so unique and far-reaching that his time in government was given a name: the Kennett Revolution.
The most likely outcome of the 2010 Victorian election would usher in something less ambitious. Call it the Velvet Handover.
If there is a hung parliament, that will mean voters will probably go to the polls again early in the new year. The conventional wisdom is that a damaged government forced back to the polls is likely to be put out of its misery rather than win a reprieve.
As Hillary Clinton refused to admit defeat in the 2008 Democratic Party primary battle against now-president Barack Obama, US talkshow host Conan O’Brien summarised the situation with devastating humour.
“Obama is favoured in the states of Oregon, Montana and South Dakota,” he said. “And Hilary is favoured in the state of denial.”