It’s the first day on the job for new Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu and the first day for a new Victorian government after 11 years of an ALP government.
At 5pm yesterday a stoic John Brumby admitted defeat, after it became obvious that the contentious seat of Bentleigh would be claimed by the Coalition. What a week for Brumby, with polls a week out from the election expecting his return with a small majority, and then a late voter surge to the Coalition. As Paul Austin writes in The Age “Victoria’s political complexion has changed in the blink of an eye.”
Baillieu is expected to recall parliament before the end of the year to get his political agenda happening, particularly creating a seperate tansport authority — from the Myki debacle to overcrowded and slow trains, public transport was one of the key reasons for Brumby’s downfall — and to abolish suspended sentences for serious crimes. Other first plans are to create an anti-corruption commission, abolish the Office of Police Integrity and get more police officers on the streets.
But what lies ahead for the Big Ted? Are his policies and plans achieveable? Is this the end for Brumby? Will the Victorian Labor problems beset federal Labor?
Here’s what the pundits are predicting.
Paul Austin: In a blink, Coalition sets course
Like all new leaders, Baillieu will now enjoy a honeymoon. His early task will be to dampen the expectations he created during the campaign that he can somehow ”fix” the state’s many problems. If he can pull it off, the Coalition can realistically expect to be in office until at least 2018. That’s how much Victoria has changed.
Kenneth Davidson: Labor’s loss is explained by rail politic
The hardest part of the reform process will be the necessity for root and branch reform of the Transport Department. In other words, real public transport reform means dismantling the bureaucratic structure put in place by the Kennett government – a task that the Bracks/Brumby government failed to do, thus sowing the seeds of its own ultimate destruction.
Paul Austin: Now the hard part
But beyond the specifics, Baillieu’s big political task is to manage expectations. The Coalition won the election because it skilfully exploited people’s disaffection with a long list of government services and policies. Now the buck stops with Baillieu, and his electoral honeymoon will be brief unless people feel that things are getting better.
Yet Baillieu is an incrementalist by nature, and his policy agenda reflects this.
Tony Wright: Brumby’s long, long goodbye
And so, with the promise of summer bursting from a Melbourne sky that had hunkered sullen and dripping for days, Ted Baillieu slid through the great ornate gates of Victoria’s Government House to tell the Governor he was ready to serve as the state’s 46th premier…
…John Brumby had already come to hand in his commission, and he was gone. The road ahead for Premier Ted was finally bathed in sunlight.
Jo Chandler: Curtain closes without regret over history
There was only time for one question for Mr Brumby as he was swept from the room by family and faithful. Would he be staying in the Parliament? For that, wait to hear the drums beat another day.
David Rood: Labor needs to get over it. And fast.
As Labor reels after Saturday’s rout, the danger is that it will spend valuable time wondering why voters could have been so cruel, instead of rebuilding the kingdom.
John Ferguson: John Brumby hands Ted Baillieu the keys to Victoria
Party powerbrokers were last night debating how to deal with the fallout from the loss, with several names floated as potential members of the Labor leadership team. Tim Holding is at the forefront, along with Daniel Andrews and Jacinta Allan. Two other Right faction members — Rob Hulls and Justin Madden — also have been mentioned as possible replacements.
Melbourne is a city divided. The new electoral maps paint a picture of a Melbourne where Labor still dominates the west and much of the north and northwest. But the Liberal Party has now regained control of the east and much of the southeast. he maps make Melbourne look distinctly tribal.
Susie O’Brien: Helping Victorian families will be Ted Baillieu’s big test
As the Liberals prepare to take power, I can’t help wonder if Ted Baillieu can really understand what Victorian families are going through… Baillieu, generally thought of as a down-to-earth nice guy, is not the Toff from Toorak he’s been labelled. But, given his enormously privileged background, he needs to work harder than anyone else to stay connected to Victorian voters.
Phillip Hudson: State Labor parties hurt Julia Gillard’s federal government
It never hurt John Howard’s Liberals to have state Labor governments across the country. But there are good reasons for Gillard to be worried about the Victorian result.