Victory Night - Dan is BACK

Was Daniel Andrews in any danger of losing 2022 election? The simple answer to this question is a big NO.

Election 2022 will be spoken about for a long time. Too many pundits had their varied reflections on what the issues were and what the possible outcomes would be. Looking at the history of how Australians and Victorians tend to vote, the mere number of seats needed to win by the Coalition – 18, was a big hurdle. Such a huge ask, is usually tamed in a two-step (read elections) strategy by the oppositions in Australia.

Thus, mathematically, whether Michael O’Brien or Matthew Guy, the task was a lot bigger than what would have been surmountable. Thus, to blame Matthew Guy – one person as if it was all his fault is plain WRONG. I have already argued Matthew Guy is an asset (for the Liberal party) and must be part of the Liberal party gameplan to get back into government in 2030.

“It is your election to lose Premier and you are not going to do that,” I told Daniel Andrews on September 19 when I met him at 1 treasury Place. All I wanted to know if he would serve full term and take his party to the 2026 election.

The premier laughed of course and said the usual thing politicians say, “every election is close, this election will be close” and “we will be working very hard to win it.”

Casting an eye on how the Labor party ran their campaign, with selected appearances and shortlisted places, the party knew, if they do not stuff things up, they would win. And they did.

For Matthew Guy, given the challenge he faced from Daniel Andrews who is a very smart political operator and a “doer” (as he is seen by many in the community), it was extremely hard but not with a zero mathematical possibility.

Having met Matthew Guy many times, I find him extremely affable, humble, and intelligent guy who would make a good leader when his time is right. This time though he had to run a very ‘sketchy’ campaign – with fits of some disjointed action/announcements without the common, central thread which is vital to keep the voters’ consciousness ticking.

Many commentators have been very quick to blame Matthew for the loss. He was the face of the election campaign; thus, he must get the blame, but only to that extent.

Others blame him for the Mitch Caitlin saga. The VEC announcing their referral to the IBAC was inauspicious but perhaps not as huge a blow. Daniel Andrews was facing four or five and it was public knowledge.

I sincerely hope the new leader – potential John Pesutto, can, in light of where the party needs to go, see the asset Matthew Guy can be for the Liberal party.

Also Read: Guy Execution is not the answer to the Libs woes

If we look at the result, Victorians do believe in the adage – ‘innocent until proven guilty.’ It would be the longest bow to suggest they found Matthew against Guy on that score and gave Andrews the benefit of the maxim.

Remember the time-tested slogan, “it is the economy stupid.”

It was the Victorian economy. With 3.1% unemployment below the national figure of 3.4%, and Labor’s big build plan with added sweeteners of – ‘Free kinder’, ‘Energy bonus’, ‘Sick Pay Guarantee’ and the plan to bring back the SEC – proved too good for the potential voter against ditching Labor and choosing the Liberals.

The result, as I predicted on November 24, is a Labor win, albeit ‘bruised’. I saw swings against Labor, but not of the right size and in the right places.

Not surprisingly we have Daniel Andrews returned with at least 52 seats (55 in 2018) and the Opposition with 26 (they had 27 in 2018 as well). Within the Coalition, the Liberals have gone backwards. From 21 in 2018, they have only (as of now) 17 MPs in parliament. Their Coalition partners – the Nationals have gained at least 3 more seats this time.

The Greens have made gains with 4 members in the Lower house, addition of 1 from 2018.

2022 Gains:

Liberals: Nepean
Greens: Richmond
Nationals: Mildura, Morwell & Shepparton
Labor: Rippon, Glen Waverley.

The legislative Council:

From the counting so far, it seems there will be two Upper House MPs from the Legalise Cannabis Victoria party.

Fiona Patten is facing a stiff challenge from Adem Somyurek and may not return.

Darryn Hinch’s Justice Party and their 2018 rebel MP Catherine Cumming may also no longer be sitting the new Upper House.

Vote Counting continues.

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