Victoria’s election holds lessons for Labor, but it’s the Liberals who now face the challenge of reform

Home Politics Victoria’s election holds lessons for Labor, but it’s the Liberals who now face the challenge of reform
Victoria’s election holds lessons for Labor, but it’s the Liberals who now face the challenge of reform

A different election, but a familiar result.

Despite grand predictions of a Labor retreat, the government has maintained a strong majority in the Victorian parliament.

Questions of integrity and the premier’s popularity dominated the hostile campaign period, but Labor stuck to its policy guns — it went directly to voters and worried less about the media.

There was a swing against the government – 3.5 per cent (two-party preferred) across the state – but the heaviest backlash was in Melbourne’s northern and western outer suburbs, where Labor suffered a 6.7 per cent swing.

Oft described as Labor’s heartland, the party must now address why voters in these suburbs have turned away.

Luckily for Labor it had enough fat to withstand the trim, and it says it heard the message.

These are traditionally working-class areas, highly diverse and hit hard by COVID. Make no mistake, this was an election triumph for Labor, but there is room for improvement.

That should worry the opposition, especially the Victorian Liberal Party.

Once again, it has had a stinker.

No matter the spin (the defeated Matthew Guy highlighted “the respectable state-wide two-party preferred swing to the Coalition of 3 to 4 per cent”) the Liberals were still belted on the seats won.

And in an election, that’s the only statistic that matters.

Liberal brand ‘damaged’

This is not an unfamiliar discussion.

Four years on from the soul-searching of the 2018 annihilation under Guy, the Liberal Party is wondering again what went so badly wrong.

The problems are much, much deeper than who leads the party. Liberals concede the whole party needs to be reformed and rejoin mainstream Victoria.

“We are seen to be representing the fringe,” one senior figure said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.