There is a long history of byelection defeats triggering major concerns or changes in a government and Victorian Labor’s loss of Northcote to the Greens on Saturday may very well be another classic of the genre.

The Andrews government threw everything at Northcote -- pork-barrelling of school funding, slick preference deals with minor parties such as Reason, Animal Justice and the Liberal Democrats, $500,000 in party funding which included buying up all the best billboard sites, a range of new progressive policies and a steady stream of cabinet minister visits to the seat.