In the 2022 election, the results of which have now been finalized by the Victorian Electoral Commission, it seems, the Greens have come out to be the biggest winners with now 8 MPs (in total) along with the National who increased their numbers by 3 just in the lower house. Among the Liberals, Michael O’Brien and unfairly labelled ‘controversial candidate’ Renee Heath have managed to increase their/electorate’s votes, despite it being a dismal day for the party.
With 8 members, the greens and their leader Samantha Ratnam would hope to influence if not set the states’ policy agenda. With Legalize Cannabis members also entering the arena, the upper house business will require a lot of dexterity from Labor to have their legislation pass through.
One could not underestimate the presence of Adem Somyurek, the former Labor minister, then a rebel cross-bencher and now Democratic Labour party MLC who managed to oust Fiona Patten who had worked closely with Premier Daniel Andres.
As far the Liberal, their problems are much more complex. Although John Pesutto, the new leader reversed the decision to not allow Renee Heath in the parliamentary party room due to her links with the conservative City Builders Church and where her father Brian Heath was the Pastor, the party and Renee Heath need to be careful going forward.
Renee Heath has managed to increase the Liberal party’s first preference votes by more than 10,000 in her electorate of Eastern Victoria Region. Her predecessor, Edward O’Donohue took the party backwards in 2018 reducing the party’s 1st preference vote from 180,013 or 41.21% (in 2014) to 157,232 or 33.62%. Renee Heath managed to increase the vote to 167,133 or 35.31%.
Axiomatically, the party has its base in the area and must not do or say anything to unsettle or lose them.
The increase in vote should also be seen because all the bigwigs of the party including the leader Matthew Guy, Brad Battin, David Southwick also recorded swings against them all. Only Michael O’Brien increased his vote by 2435. See table below:
1st Pref Votes – Renee Heath – Eastern Victoria Region
2022 HEATH, Renee Liberal 1,67,133 35.31%
2018 O’DONOHUE, Edward LIBERAL 1,57,232 33.62%
2014 O’DONOHUE, Edward LIBERAL 1,80,013 41.21%
1st Pref Votes – Matthew Guy – Bulleen
2022 GUY, Matthew Liberal 20,645 48.06%
2018 GUY, Matthew LIBERAL 19,441 52.18%
2014 GUY, Matthew LIBERAL 21,983 56.20%
1st Pref Votes – John Pesutto – Hawthorn
2022 PESUTTO, John Liberal 18728 42.27%
2018 PESUTTO, John LIBERAL 17231 43.89%
2014 PESUTTO, John LIBERAL 20551 54.50%
1st Pref Votes – MIchael O’Brien – Malvern
2022 – O’BRIEN, Michael Liberal 21438 52.54%
2018 – O’BRIEN, Michael LIBERAL 19003 51.25%
2014 – O’BRIEN, Michael LIBERAL 22642 62.63%
2010 – O’BRIEN, Michael Liberal 22160 65.29%
2006 – O’BRIEN, Michael Liberal 17927 56.88%
1st Pref votes – Brad Battin – Berwick
2022 – BATTIN, Brad Liberal 20031 45.23% – Berwick
2018 – BATTIN, Brad LIBERAL 21202 48.26% – Gembrook
2014 – BATTIN, Brad LIBERAL 20646 54.68% – Gembrook
2010 – BATTIN, Brad Liberal 18427 47.93% – Gembrook
1st Pref votes – David Southwick – Caulfield
2022 – SOUTHWICK, David Liberal 18088 44.46%
2018 – SOUTHWICK, David LIBERAL 17861 46.85%
2014 – SOUTHWICK, David LIBERAL 18860 51.70%
2010 – SOUTHWICK, David Liberal 19018 57.75%
Given the 2022 result, if Daniel Andrews runs his full term in office and takes the party to election in 2026, it would herculean task for John Pesutto to record a victory for the party and take office. 2030 looks more likely a time when the Liberals and Nationals can really hope to be in government.
Although there were a number of Indian heritage candidates in the arena, none of them made it. A really hopeful was the number two ticket holder for the Liberal party – Manju Hanumatharayyapa, but he and the party could not muster enough votes in that electorate to get him over the line and in the parliament.
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