One Nation on track to have its first MP in Victorian parliament

Rikkie-Lee Tyrrell expected to enter upper house, where Labor needs six crossbench votes to pass legislation

Victoria is set to elect its first One Nation MP, who will sit on an upper house crossbench that will likely be dominated by progressive parties, including up to four Greens.

The Victorian Electoral Commission will distribute preferences in the eight upper house regions on Wednesday. ABC election analyst Antony Green has said it is looking likely that One Nation’s Rikkie-Lee Tyrrell will beat Labor’s James McWhinney for the final seat in Northern Victoria.

“It’s hard to see how she’s missing out,” Green said.

Tyrrell, who lives in the northern Victorian town of Invergordon, has managed One Nation’s Victorian team since 2019. Before the state election, Tyrrell was the party’s candidate in the federal seat of Nicholls, currently held by Nationals MP Sam Birrell.

In an interview with Shepparton News before the May federal election, Tyrrell said she wanted to get into politics because of her experience as a dairy farmer and her passion about issues such as water management and immigration. She also expressed concern about Covid-19 vaccines and related mandates.

Tyrrell told Guardian Australia it was too soon to say if she would be elected but she was feeling “hopeful”.

“As a farmer, I don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch, so I will wait for the final result before I make any comment,” she said.

One Nation’s leader, Pauline Hanson, also refused to comment until the result was confirmed on Wednesday.

Also likely joining Tyrrell on the crossbench representing Northern Victoria will be Georgie Purcell from the Animal Justice party, following a sting on so-called preference whisperer Glenn Druery.

In 2018, Druery helped eight of 11 crossbenchers get elected by directing their preferences to one another under the group voting ticket system.

This election, he hasn’t been so successful. He is on track to get Jeff Bourman from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party and David Limbrick from the Liberal Democrats re-elected, along with former Labor minister Adem Somyurek, who contested the election for the conservative Democratic Labour party in the Northern Metropolitan region.

Reason party MP Fiona Patten, who held the fifth seat in the region, conceded defeat on Monday.

Transport Matters MP Rod Barton, who holds the title for being elected in Victoria with the smallest number of first preference votes, could lose the fifth seat in the North Eastern Metropolitan region to the Greens’ Aiv Puglielli.

Election analyst Ben Raue said the Greens were expected to increase their representation in the upper house from one seat to as many as four, while Legalise Cannabis was on track to pick up one or two.

Labor, which is likely to drop from 18 seats to 15, will need the support of six crossbenchers to pass legislation.

“It’s likely Labor will have to rely on the Greens and the other progressives to pass legislation, but there could be a possibility of working with parties like Legalise Cannabis, Animal Justice and those on the right if they want to circumvent them,” Raue said.

The Victorian Greens leader, Samantha Ratnam, said the party would be in a “strong position” to hold the government to account and push for greater action on issues such as climate change, housing affordability and integrity.

“The Greens will also be in a stronger position to push Labor to abolish the undemocratic group voting system once and for all, to make the upper house more democratic and representative of the will of Victorian voters.”

The Liberals and Nationals, meanwhile, look likely to increase their combined representation from 11 to 14 seats.


Benita Kolovos

The GuardianTramp

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