There may have been a record 16 candidates in the Melbourne byelection but only two of them bothered to turn up for yesterday morning's formal declaration of the poll.

With 13 Victorian Electoral Commission staff looking on and in the absence of anyone else, I was left to give the formal acceptance speech on behalf of the defeated 15. The successful Labor candidate Jennifer Kanis was there with her husband, David, and their much-photographed 10-month-old son, Blake, so it wasn't the time to let fly with any bitter political barbs. I congratulated Labor on a hard-fought win and said Melbourne City Council would be the lesser for the elevation of Cr Kanis to the state Parliament.