What we learned, Sunday 27 November
After a big day in state and federal politics, we’re going to wrap things up. These were the day’s big developments:
Labor is on track to secure more than 51 out of 88 seats in the Victorian lower house, six more than required to govern in majority. The Coalition is projected to win at least 25 seats and the Greens – who are eyeing balance of power in the upper house – at least four.
Matthew Guy announced he would step down as Victorian Liberal leader after Saturday’s crushing defeat, with the party now turning its mind to who will replace him.
The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, called on Scott Morrison to apologise for signing himself on to multiple ministries.
The federal government struck a deal with the independent senator David Pocock to pass its industrial relations bill in return for a boost to safeguards for small and medium businesses and regular reviews of the adequacy of welfare payments.
Thanks, as always, for joining us. I hope you enjoy the remainder of your weekend.
The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for parts of New South Wales.
Labor has won 51 seats so far in Victorian election
AAP has the provisional leaderboard in the Victorian state election as of 5pm AEDT.
With counting still under way, the Labor party has won 51 seats, the Liberal party 16, the National party nine and the Greens four.
The seats projected to change hands are Glen Waverley (Liberal to Labor), Mildura (independent to Nationals), Morwell (independent to Nationals), Nepean (Labor to Liberal), Richmond (Labor to Greens), Shepparton (independent to Nationals).
Among the seats yet to be called are Hastings (Labor ahead of Liberal), Mornington (Liberal ahead of independent) and Northcote (Labor ahead of Greens).
As her forecast “Greenslide” failed to materialise, the Victorian Greens leader, Samantha Ratnam, turned her attention to hopes the party can hold the balance of power in the upper house to influence a returned Daniel Andrews government.
Read more from my colleague Adeshola Ore here:
Labor could finish one seat ahead of ‘Danslide’
As Daniel Andrews strolled into the history books, Matthew Guy quietly made the call to walk away from the Liberal leadership after another Victorian election drubbing.
Labor is on track to win more than 51 of the 88 seats in the lower house after yesterday’s poll, six more than the number required to govern in majority.
The Coalition is projected to win at least 25 seats after starting the count with 27 and the Greens a minimum of four.
Seven seats remained too close to call as of this afternoon, although Labor was predicted to win or was ahead in five of those.
If it takes all five, Labor will finish one seat ahead of its “Danslide” 2018 election victory result despite a plunge in its primary vote and double-digit swings against it in Melbourne’s north and west.
It looks as though Labor will hang on to Melton, according to the ABC. Labor are also on on track to hold Albert Park despite a challenge from the Greens, who ended up finishing third in the count.
Man charged after pedestrian allegedly hit by hearse in inner-west Sydney
A pedestrian is fighting for his life in hospital after being hit by a hearse last night in Sydney’s inner west.
The driver of the Mazda hearse allegedly fled the scene before emergency services arrived about 8.50pm.
Paramedics treated the 61-year-old pedestrian at the scene before taking him to hospital in a critical condition.
The hearse driver, 21, attended Newtown police station later in the night, when he was arrested.
Police seized the hearse in Five Dock and charged the man with multiple driving offences, including dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm.
He was refused bail and was due to appear in court today.
Good afternoon, this is Lisa Cox taking over from Royce Kurmelovs who has done a fantastic job taking us through the Victorian election wash-up. I’ll be here with all of your afternoon updates.
Student doctors to help relieve pressure on NSW hospitals
More than 1,000 NSW final-year medical students will be working in hospitals in paid positions to reduce pressure on a health system still battered by Covid-19.
Premier Dominic Perrottet said the assistant in medicine (AiM) initiative was introduced in 2020 as a temporary workforce surge measure during the pandemic but was so successful, it made sense for it to continue. He told reporters today:
This Australian-first program is good for students, good for hospital workers and it’s great for patients.
Perrottet said the pilot program had expanded from 400 part-time positions to 1,100 final-year medical students who have been placed across regional and metropolitan hospitals as part of the state’s $33bn investment in health.
Regional health minister Bronnie Taylor said the program allows “medical students who are highly qualified ... to get into the system fast ... and to have a really significant role”.
The announcement comes on the back of pharmacists being authorised by the government to administer a wider range of vaccinations. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has slammed the move as “madness” and “a recipe for disaster”.
Dr Jose Arguelles, who underwent the AiM program, said the initiative provided hands-on training and enabled future doctors to navigate the health system by taking on patient care:
You’re given a set of responsibilities coming in day in and day out and learning about these patients – that’s a privilege. It’s a human job as well. We’re not just robots.
A Bureau of Health Information survey, released this month, reported that NSW hospitals were less organised, their staff were not working together effectively and the care being provided was not as good.
It asked more than 19,000 adult patients to rate the care they received throughout 2021. The results showed worse outcomes than the 2020 survey.
More than one in five patients reported receiving contradictory information about their condition or how it would be treated.
Victorian Liberals eye up leadership options after election defeat
With Victorian Liberal leader, Matthew Guy, announcing he will step down following a resounding election loss, the party is now turning its mind to who can replace him.
Several Liberal MPs have told Guardian Australia Warrandyte MP Ryan Smith has been canvassing support for a leadership bid, as has Berwick MP Brad Battin and the party’s Hawthorn candidate, John Pesutto.
The seat of Hawthorn remains on a knife edge between Pesutto and a “teal” independent, Melissa Lowe. Lowe was ahead on election night but Pesutto edged ahead today off the back of postal votes. With 70% of the vote counted, Pesutto leads by 480 votes.
Pessuto, considered a future leader of the Liberals, previously held the seat between 2014 and 2018 before he lost it unexpectedly at the “Danslide” election.
Another possible contender for the leadership is Matt Bach, the party’s shadow transport infrastructure minister, though this would require a move from the upper to the lower house.
Mixed review of new economic inclusion advisory panel
The Australian Council of Social Services has welcomed an announcement that an economic inclusion advisory panel will be created to report publicly on issues such as the rate of income support ahead of federal budgets.
The panel will be led by the treasurer and social services minister and will aim to bring together experts, advocacy groups and peak bodies.
Acoss CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said the body would help address the “structural issues in our income support system that entrenches poverty”:
We welcome the government’s commitment to hear from the experts on these issues in the lead up to May 2023 and future budgets. Importantly, this should include the voices of people who are experts by experience, people with direct experience of poverty and income supports.
It will be crucial that the government acts on the Committee’s recommendations, which will no doubt shine a light on the inadequacy of JobSeeker and related payments to meet essential costs.
We know the inadequacy of these payments forces people to go without food and without essential medicines, and that an adequate increase to income support payments is needed urgently right now.
People on JobSeeker and other income support payments are suffering poor health, losing their homes, and going without other basic goods and services because no one can survive on $48 a day. We cannot let this continue now, and we cannot end up here again.
The proposal, however, has not been well received among anti-poverty activists who have been campaigning for years to raise social security payments.
Kristin O’Connell from the Anti-Poverty Centre said the proposal was a “technocratic” solution that was “at best pointless, at worst, harmful”:
The only people it serves are those who want to perform empathy for folks on welfare. Doing this without an independent determined poverty line is inviting disaster.
She said immediate action could be taken by lifting payments now but the government has so far asked welfare to wait at least another year “for the sake of budget”.
Nervous wait for inflation data before interest rate decision
A key consumer price index will be closely watched for a further inflation spike as the Reserve Bank weighs up yet another cash rate hike.
The CPI release on Wednesday will be only the second time the Australian Bureau of Statistics has issued a monthly rather than quarterly inflation figure.
The index rose 7.3% in the 12 months to September – the highest rise in more than three decades – after significant increases in the costs of housing, food and transport.
The annual inflation rate is expected to hit 8% by the end of the year.
The RBA meets for the final time this year on 6 December, when it is expected to hike rates again as it seeks to get inflation back to its target band of between 2% and 3%.
CoreLogic’s national index of house prices will be released on Thursday and CommBank economists expect it to show a monthly fall in prices of about 1%.
On Friday, the ABS will issue its lending indicators report for October, which is expected to show an increase in the value of home loans.
Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe will take part in a panel discussion hosted by the Bank of Thailand in Bangkok on the same day.
IR law will lead to ‘chaos and confusion’, Michaelia Cash says
Michaelia Cash has attacked the government’s IR bill, saying the amendments negotiated by senator David Pocock and others amount to little more than “tinkering around the edges”.
Speaking to reporters in parliament today, Cash said the bill would compel employers into an agreement and would lead to “chaos and confusion”:
What you have today is a deal has been struck and the legislation will pass. The employers of Australia, the employers who create the jobs today, remain united.
I have one last plea to Mr Albanese and that is please listen to the job creators in this country. It is going to be a really rough Christmas for so many employers out there.
Cash said she wanted the government to hold off on passing the bill over the Christmas break to talk to employers.
She also said the proposed law would “fundamentally take away the right of the employer and the employee to negotiate terms and conditions” between each other.
On the prospect that the government may move to censure Scott Morrison following the findings of the Bell report, Cash said she would “wait and see” what decision will be made tomorrow.
Proposed new IR law gives workers hope, ACTU says
ACTU secretary Sally McManus has welcomed the announcement that Labor’s industrial relations bill is likely to pass the Senate.
McManus said the law would benefit women in sectors like aged care by improving their pay and conditions:
This gives people hope. It gives people hope that we can start unwinding the large numbers of insecure jobs that we have in this country.
PM defends plan for an economic inclusion advisory committee
Anthony Albanese rejects criticism suggesting the proposed economic inclusion advisory committee is “kicking the can down the road” on a decision to raise jobseeker, as the body will have no power to actually push through a rise in the payments:
This is an important process being established that will assist government decision making but will also assist transparency. I take David Pocock at his word, as I do with others as well.
A final question now on whether the government will act to bring down gas prices.
Albanese says the government “will be having further discussions” on whether it will intervene in the federal gas market. He says it aims to make a decision before Christmas and “this remains the timetable”.
Albanese calls on Morrison to apologise for secret ministries
Anthony Albanese says former prime minister Scott Morrison should apologise for signing himself into multiple ministries and in light of the findings of the Bell inquiry.
Asked about the results, Albanese would not be drawn on whether parliament would vote to censure Morrison:
You had a shadow government operating in an unprecedented, extraordinary way. You had a prime minister who was standing up in parliament and not telling, not telling his own side, or not all of his side knew, let alone the parliament as a whole, who held what portfolio and who was responsible for decisions.
There’s a reason why, under the Westminster system, ministers are held accountable by the parliament. It wasn’t possible to hold the ministers to account because people didn’t know who the ministers were. The parliament is likely to want to express a view on that and we will have a discussion of it and we will let you know once that decision is made.
Albanese says he has yet to see an apology from the former prime minister:
Our democracy requires, I think, deserves an apology for this. I didn’t see any contrition in Scott Morrison’s statement last Friday, and I find that just extraordinary that anyone could read the Bell inquiry and not be embarrassed if you’re the subject of it.
It’s also the case that Scott Morrison said he’d fully cooperate with the inquiry, but he chose to talk with his lawyers, through his lawyers. And that of course is his right to do but I’ll leave people to draw their own conclusions there.
Any payment increases subject to the state of the budget
After some questions about commentary on the Victorian election, Anthony Albanese is brought back to the question of whether social security payments will rise. The question is that his comments just now are the clearest indicator that jobseeker payments will rise at the next budget.
Albanese, however, waters this down and says his comments are “consistent” with what he has said previously: that any decision will be subject to the state of the budget:
Each and every budget, Labor will consider what we can do to provide further assistance to people but we’ll do so in the context of the economic circumstances that we face.
So we’ll do so responsibly. I would always want to do more for people who are disadvantaged – that’s the Labor way. We don’t like seeing situations whereby people are doing it tough, but what we know is that we need to be responsible.
Albanese says though his government would have liked to have done more, they had to “do the right and economically responsible thing, which is to return 99% of the revenue growth that had occurred to the budget because that’s what the economy needed at that the point in time”.
Albanese won’t guarantee social security payments will rise
The first question is about the commitment from the government to establish an economic inclusion advisory committee.
Albanese is asked if he accepts as true that one in six Australian children live in poverty and if so, why a committee is necessary when immediate action could be taken.
Government will continue to make decisions, but it should make decisions based upon the best possible advice, putting out the facts there, which this committee will be able to do.
There are a range of other sources of advice. This will be an additional one. We know that I said before the election repeated again: there’s more I would like to do.
The prime minister however did not go so far as to guarantee that social security payments will rise and said there were “fiscal constraints”.
We do have to make sure that any action of the government bears in mind inflation and the economic circumstances, which are there. This committee I think will add to the amount of information and the quality of the information which is out there.
IR law will ‘get wages moving’, Burke says
Tony Burke says the IR bill, if passed, will help get wages moving after a decade of stagnation:
The decision that gets taken this week means that we will have a pathway to secure jobs we will get wages moving and we will be taking action to close the gender pay gap.
We have legislation where every section of the bill is still there. There are amendments which improve it in various ways. But the bottom line is there will be a pathway now for wages to get moving again in Australia. It’ll be a deliberate design feature of how we manage things.
Now we’re going to questions.
Decade of low wages result of ‘bad policy’, PM says
Anthony Albanese has congratulated both Daniel Andrews and the Socceroos for their wins overnight, with the prime minister saying the Victorian premier and his team deserve “a great big pat on the back”.
The PM praises Andrews for laying out a positive vision for what his government will do for Victoria in a sometimes heated campaign.
On the proposed industrial relations bill, Albanese also thanks David Pocock for his negotiations on the bill:
We went through an election saying that we wanted to get wages moving again. We said that the low wages that we’ve seen over the previous decade wasn’t a result of bad luck. That was bad policy. The former government said that low wage growth was a design feature of their economic architecture. And they certainly delivered that low wages for year after year after year.
This is a sensitive proposition and Labor has been prepared to sit down with business, with unions, with the crossbench, with civil society to work through the legislation to ensure that any improvements can be offered have been taken up.
Albanese says this method will define its approach to future legislation.
Business groups claim proposed IR law will take Australia back to the 1970s
The Australian Industry Group says Labor’s proposed industrial relations law will lead to more conflict, complexity and uncertainty.
Innes Willox, the chief executive of the national employer association, said the bill did not address business concerns, saying it “shattered” the system that has operated for the last four decades and warned of a return to the 1970s:
The primacy of the enterprise agreement system which has underpinned much of our economic success over the past four decades has now been shattered. There is nothing in the deal or the legislation that will drive the substantial productivity growth Australia needs to deliver wages growth.
We now truly face a return to a 1970s industrial model, entirely unsuited to the 21st-century open and productive economy we need. The ramifications of the proposals on employment, investment and business certainty will be far-reaching.
We now face the prospect of more strikes and fewer jobs. There has been no modelling on any economic benefit of the legislation, only the vague hope that employers with an industrial gun to their head will pay more and somehow not pass costs on to consumers or reduce their headcount.
Of the concessions agreed to by the government, there is very little improvement for the vast bulk of Australian businesses. They largely amount to tinkering around the edges of what at its heart remains a fundamentally flawed bill.
Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Andrew McKellar said his organisation appreciated efforts by senator David Pocock to consult “in good faith” but believed the bill is “fundamentally flawed and simply cannot be improved through the amendments that are now proposed”.
McKellar said his organisation remained opposed to the bill:
The bill, as it stands, will do nothing to achieve the aim of increasing wages, and will only add cost and complexity to Australian businesses at a time when they are dealing with deteriorating conditions.
Ultimately, this bill represents a fundamental delinkage of wages with productivity and will detract from the flexibility and dynamism required by modern economies.
We remain of the view that this bill is not fit for passage.
IR bill not ready to pass, peak construction body says
Master Builders Australia has welcomed changes to Labor’s proposed industrial relations reforms but is disappointed the Australian Building and Construction Commission is still facing the axe.
The industry group’s CEO Denita Wawn acknowledged Senator David Pocock’s “efforts to engage with the business community over this short timeframe” but said the organisation remained opposed to the bill in its current form and “urges the Senate to not rush this through”:
The building and construction industry welcomes the proposed expansion of a carve-out for civil construction but concerns remain for various subcontractors within the sector, including electricians, plumbers and metal workers.
Builders don’t operate in an economic silo and while many have been spared from multi-employer bargaining, they will still experience impacts from disruptions along the supply chain.
If industries like shipping, transport, warehousing and logistics are adversely impacted by multi-employer bargaining, then so will building and construction. You can’t build things if the products you need are caught up in a ports strike, can’t be delivered due to transport strikes, can’t be accessed due to logistics strikes, or can’t be obtained because of a manufacturing strike.
It is disappointing there were no amendments agreed to around the abolition of the ABCC despite glaring observations made in the recent Senate inquiry around culture and unlawful conduct in the sector.
Greens expect to hold balance of power in Victoria’s upper house
The Victorian Greens say they are confident they will hold the balance of power in the state parliament’s upper house.
The Greens seized the historically safe Labor seat of Richmond – held by the party since 1958 – on Saturday night. But the Labor-held seats of Northcote and Albert Park, which the Greens believed were winnable, are too close to call. In the upper house, the party is hopeful it could double or quadruple its representation, where the minor party this term has just one MP.
The Greens had hoped to hold the balance of power if there was a minority government, but Labor has secured enough seats in the lower house to govern with a majority. The party’s leader Samantha Ratnam said holding the balance of power in the upper house was crucial to deliver reform on climate change and housing affordability:
We’re willing to work constructively and cooperatively with this Labor government to get really progressive reform.
Ratnam declared the result a “Greenslide” last night, despite the party’s primary vote now being lower than its 2010 and 2014 results.
She was asked about this at today’s press conference:
I’ve seen really significant two-party-preferred swings to the Greens in a number of areas across Melbourne. Our sitting MPs have been rewarded with a huge vote of confidence from their electorates because they’ve been working so hard to support their electorates for years on end.
We know the count is still continuing. There’s still races that are too close to call, but this is a strong result for the Greens.
Prime minister Anthony Albanese is expected to give a presser at 1.30pm.
Victorians have backed ‘most ambitious climate change agenda’ yet
The head of Environment Victoria has described the re-election of the Andrews Labor government as an endorsement of the “most ambitious climate change agenda in Australian political history”.
Environment Victoria CEO Jono La Nauze said the result showed voters did not want an “each way bet” on climate change and demonstrated “what’s possible” following community-led efforts to address climate change within the state:
The Andrews government pledged to close all remaining coal power stations by 2035, build massive amounts of offshore wind and large-scale batteries, and cut Victoria’s emissions by up to 80% by 2035 – and voters gave this plan a resounding yes.
The centrepiece of Labor’s election campaign was a promise to invest in publicly owned renewable energy through a revived State Electricity Commission, and last night’s result shows voters will reward governments willing to take the fight to big polluting energy companies.
In the SEC, Victoria has the chance to show Australia what a good energy company looks like – one that acts in the public interest and delivers clean affordable energy for all.
Renewable energy will transform Victoria’s economy and it is important this transition benefits everyone, including the First Nations on whose country every wind turbine, solar panel and transmission line will be built.
In taking the driver’s seat in Victoria’s renewable revolution, the Andrews government has the opportunity to always seek First Nations consent and ensure they receive a share of the wealth generated from renewable energy projects on their land.
And given the SEC helped dig the mines in the Latrobe Valley, we’d like to see the same commitment to cleaning them up as there is for government-owned energy. If done right, the enormous task of rehabilitating the scars left by a century of coalmining can bring jobs and an improved environment to the Latrobe Valley community.
La Nauze also said the strong result for the Greens and teal independents would pressure the Andrew government to “bring forward its closure date” for native forest logging.
Lenders offering better deals for electric cars as end of petrol cars in sight
Less than eight years from now, the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned in at least nine countries.
A further 10 nations, including China and Japan, will join them by 2035.
By 2040, experts say, new petrol cars will be significantly harder to find around the world as manufacturers face increasing pressure to stop production.
In the face of these depreciating assets, some financial institutions are withdrawing from the traditional car market to only offer electric and hybrid car loans.
Others offer significant discounts for loans on low- or no-emission cars.
More than 20 Australian lenders, including Westpac, Macquarie and RACQ, now offer lower rates for loans on electric vehicles, including discounts of more than one percentage point in some cases.
Bank Australia took the trend one step further this year, announcing it would no longer offer car loans for new petrol, diesel or hybrid vehicles by 2025.
The company’s impact management head, Jane Kern, says the bank created the policy after feedback from its customers and considerations of the vehicle market and its climate impact:
We think supporting customers to buy electric vehicles makes a lot of sense, both financially, because of the running cost of electric vehicles, but also because of the future vehicle value.
Kern adds that reaction to the bank’s announcement has been largely positive and she hopes other financial institutions will follow its lead.
Swinburne University professor Hussein Dia says despite Australia’s slow uptake of electric vehicles, there is soaring interest in the technology and a growing acceptance petrol and diesel vehicles will soon be phased out:
Many people recognise today that their investment in petrol vehicles [will depreciate].
In 10 to 15 years’ time, even if someone wanted to buy a petrol vehicle, I don’t think they would be able to find a new one on the market because car manufacturers are under a lot of pressure to stop producing and selling petrol and diesel vehicles.
China, India, the UK, France: there is a long list of countries that have policies in place to ban the production and sale of petrol vehicles by 2030 to 2040.
Pocock confirms push to increase jobseeker payments in return for support on IR bill
The ACT independent senator, David Pocock, has spoken to reporters in Canberra about his deal to help pass Labor’s IR bill in return for safeguards for small businesses and a new committee to conduct ongoing reviews of the adequacy of welfare payments.
Asked if he’d asked for payments to be increased, Pocock appeared to confirm he had:
I’ve been pushing them on jobseeker since I started meeting with relevant ministers and the treasurer. It makes no sense to me for one of the wealthiest countries in the world to have one in six children growing up in poverty. That’s not good for all of our collective [community and] I’ll continue to push them on. Having this independent committee, I think will raise awareness about the state of social security payments in Australia and hopefully will really push the government to address it.
Asked if he expects the committee to flow through to jobseeker, Pocock said:
That’s my hope. They’ll publish their recommendations at least two weeks before the budget. So, there’ll be a level of transparency there and then government will have to make the case of why they are or aren’t taking those recommendations on board.
Pocock – who has previously linked his vote to wiping the ACT’s public housing debt – ruled out that further measures might be coming in return for his vote. He told reporters “this is the whole deal” and rejected any suggestion it amounts to horse trading:
I’ve been pushing to make this bill as good as it can be. I’ve been taking concerns raised with me by various stakeholders, employers and workers, and we’ve landed with a better, improved bill.
Electric vehicle fair held in Peter Dutton’s electorate
An EV fair has been held in federal opposition leader Peter Dutton’s electorate today, with electric cars, motorbikes, bicycles, scooters and trucks on display.
The display has been organised by energy advocates Solar Citizens to promote zero-emissions transport at John Scott Park in Samford Village in the seat of Dickson.
Solar Citizens national director Heidi Douglas said those who turn out will have an opportunity to ask questions, take test rides and enjoy a cooking demonstration from celebrity chef Alastair McLeod on an EV-powered barbecue:
We’re running this event off the back of an extremely successful consultation for the first national electric vehicle strategy – where our community members made over 600 submissions, calling for strong fuel efficiency standards to address the national shortage of EVs.
There’s a clear demand in the community for EVs, but we’re just not getting enough of them into the country. People know they can save big bucks by making the switch to an EV – if only they could get access to them.
Rooftop solar is very popular in Queensland and by charging your EV from home solar during the day you can basically run your vehicle for free. With fuel and energy prices rocketing, now is the time for Australians to be able to harness our abundant sunshine to save our hip pocket.
Socceroos jubilant after World Cup match win
The Socceroos have marked their first World Cup victory in 12 years after Australia beat Tunisia in its World Cup group match.
A header by Mitch Duke secured the 1-0 win last night at Al Janoub Stadium in Qatar.
The win means the Socceroos have recorded their first clean sheet at the World Cup since 1974 and moves Australia into second place behind France in Group D.
Coach Graham Arnold was taking a cautious approach after the win. He said “the nation is extremely proud” and “there’ll be a few hangovers in the morning” but has warned his team not to become overconfident.
Australia squares off against Denmark on Thursday and needs to win or draw – and for France to beat Tunisia – to make it through to the next round.
Flooding to persist across much of Australia
Multiple catchments holding months of heavy rainfall paint an unfortunate picture of continued flooding for regional communities in NSW, Victoria and South Australia.
As NSW enters the 74th day of its flood crisis, dozens of emergency warnings remain in place across Australia’s east and flood peaks continue to wreak havoc around inland rivers.
Locals have pulled together to protect their homes and keep the beers flowing in the tiny NSW town of Moulamein despite the swollen Edward River cutting all access roads and isolating the community.
Residents were told to shelter in place on Tuesday by the State Emergency Service, with the river reaching 6.2 metres and continuing to rise last night.
It’s expected the tiny town of about 500 will remain cut off through to December.
Overnight NSW SES performed one flood rescue and fielded 90 requests for assistance after it had issued a dozen emergency warnings including for renewed flooding in Condobolin and Euabalong.
The Lachlan River has slowly begun to fall but remains above record levels set in 1952.
Flooding is also affecting the nearby towns of Jemalong and Hillston, where water is not expected to recede until next week.
The far-west towns of Hay and Balranald towards the Victorian border have also been hit with major floods, with the Murrumbidgee River set to peak next week.
A dozen emergency warnings were in place in NSW on Saturday afternoon, while 71 areas were the subject of watch-and-act alerts.
Victorians living around parts of the Murray River have also been told to prepare to evacuate as a peak approaches the north-western towns of Colignan, Nangiloc, Iraak and Lambert Island.
Flooding will last for many weeks in this area, as the Murray River will rise, peak and fall very slowly.
Major flooding is also occurring on the Murray at Boundary Bend above the historic levels seen in 1975.
In SA, flood warnings have also been issued for parts of the upper and lower Murray River.
The river is expected to hit an early peak in December, before peaking again at higher levels towards Christmas.
Resources industry urges Andrews to embrace gas amid renewables push
Australia’s oil and gas industry has congratulated Victorian premier Daniel Andrews on his re-election but has “urged” a returned Labor government to drill for more gas.
The government has promised to revitalise public ownership of the State Electricity Commission with a $1bn fund to drive renewable energy projects and government ownership enshrined in the state’s constitution.
It is part of an ambitious agenda on climate change and energy by the returned government that plans to increase renewable energy targets – from 50% to 65% by 2030, and to 95% by 2035. It has also taken early steps towards moving away from fossil fuels with an ambitious plan to stop gas connections on new homes.
Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association chief executive Samantha McCulloch said on Sunday morning the Andrews government should “recognise the role of gas in a cleaner energy future”.
We congratulate Premier Daniel Andrews and his government on again securing the endorsement of the people of Victoria.
Victoria is facing significant energy challenges during this term: its population is a large user of gas but the state is not producing needed new supply and regulators forecast production to decline 43% by 2025 – only three years away.
The state is outsourcing its energy security to Queensland and South Australia. This is putting pressure on the east coast energy market and costing Victoria’s 2 million domestic and 65,000 business users at least an extra $2 a gigajoule whenever they need to transport gas from Queensland.
McCulloch said “the best way to put downward pressure on prices is to bring on new gas supply that is close to where it is found” but blamed fracking bans and “regulatory uncertainty” for a lack of development within the state.
The International Energy Agency has previously said limiting global heating to 1.5C as set out in the Paris agreement meant there can be no new oil, gas or coal investment beyond the end of 2021.
This morning Andrews said he wanted gas reservation policy to help control prices but constitutional arrangements meant the Victorian state government could not go it alone and must wait for action by the federal government.
Matthew Guy to step down as leader of Victorian Liberal party
Victorian opposition leader Matthew Guy has announced he will step down after last night’s crushing defeat.
He just released a statement:
Once again, I congratulate the Australian Labor party on winning the 2022 Victorian state election. I want to put on record my deep appreciation to all the Liberal and National party candidates, their campaign teams and volunteers for the tireless work they have done, particularly over recent weeks.
The respectable statewide two-party-preferred swing to the Coalition of 3-4% was most profound in the exceptional swings to the Liberal party in Melbourne’s north and west. This represents a huge future electoral opportunity for the Liberal party.
As soon as it is clearer which Liberal party candidates will form the next parliamentary party room, I will call them together to elect their new leadership team. I will not be a candidate for the position of leader.
It’s all happening.
The Greens to back IR bill after amendments
Greens leader Adam Bandt said his party will support the governments proposed industrial relations bill after key amendments were secured, including giving parents the right to request unpaid parental leave and no changes to the better-off-overall test.
In a statement released this morning Bandt said the amendments would ensure no one was left behind and hailed the bill as “an important win for all workers”:
The Greens strongly back most of what is in his bill, including abolishing the ABCC and multi-employer bargaining, but we wanted to ensure low paid workers wouldn’t go backwards because of some of the changes.
This is an important win for all workers, especially low-paid workers in the retail and the hospitality industries. The better off overall test has been preserved.
Workers will now have an enforceable right to unpaid parental leave and better work-life balance.
Greens senator Barbara Pocock said the changes would ensure pay and conditions for those in the care sector:
It’s time workplace law caught up with the real lives of Australia’s 5 million working carers – women and men. Our workplace relations system is broken, but we can fix it, and this bill is a good start.
Australian workers, especially women, have waited decades for an enforceable right to flexibility that actually works for them. The Greens have secured important changes on flexibility and on unpaid parental leave. These will now be enforceable rights.
There is more to do and we will move further amendments in the Senate and continue to fight for greater flexibility and workplace laws that support working carers in the coming months.
Government’s IR commitents
Here is the list of commitments the government has made to secure David Pocock’s support on its IR bill:
A commitment from the prime minister to establish a new independent economic inclusion advisory committee led by the treasurer and social services minister to review the adequacy of support payments annually ahead of each federal budget, and publish any recommendations.
A commitment from the prime minister to consider and respond to the recommendations of the Murray review within this term of government to better protect subcontractors.
A commitment from the employment and workplace relations minister to review modern awards.
Small businesses with fewer than 20 employees based on headcount (and excluding seasonal workers and other irregular casuals) will be excluded from the single-interest multi-enterprise bargaining stream.
The government will undertake a statutory review no later than two years after the passage of the bill
The “grace period” during which a single-interest multi-enterprise bargaining authorisation can be granted from six to nine months.
Introduce a new reasonable comparability threshold into the common interest test.
Introduce new safeguards for businesses that have fewer than 50 employees based on headcount wanting to exit multi-enterprise bargaining and with the onus of proving a common interest on the applicant for these businesses.
Increase the “minimum bargaining period” for the purpose of intractable bargaining declaration from six to nine months.
Require conciliation to take place before arbitration over working arrangements unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Remove the right to veto an agreement by allowing the Fair Work Commission to compel a multi-enterprise agreement to be put to a vote regardless of whether employee organisations agree and prevent parties unreasonably withholding agreement.
Carve out civil construction from all streams of multi-enterprise bargaining.
Give the minister a new power to declare an industry or occupation eligible for the supported (previously low paid) bargaining stream.
Make it much easier for firefighters, including volunteer firefighters, to access workers compensation benefits for seven additional cancers, including women’s reproductive cancers.
Task the new national construction industry forum with providing advice to government on measures that will ensure contractors are paid accurately and in a timely manner in the construction industry.
Pocock says he ‘struck a wide-ranging’ IR agreement
Senator David Pocock has released a statement following the announcement this morning that the federal government’s new IR bill will pass the Senate with his support.
Pocock says he has “struck a wide-ranging agreement with the Albanese government” to amend the legislation in a way that “doesn’t put small business at risk or leave the most vulnerable behind”.
His agreement also “includes a commitment from the government to establish, in legislation, an expert advisory committee, led by the treasurer and minister for social services, to review the adequacy of support payments annually ahead of each federal budget, and publish their recommendations”.
This is now a substantially different bill to the one introduced in the House of Representatives a month ago. It is better for business, better for workers and makes sure the most vulnerable in our community are no longer left behind.
I have worked with the government to push them as far as they would go, and then a step further to ensure they addressed key concerns raised with me.
This legislation introduces significant reforms to Australia’s industrial relations system that will benefit women and low-paid workers in particular.
There are now additional safeguards in place for business, especially small businesses, and some important new powers to better protect the low-paid and those reliant on government support.
In what I believe will be a game changer for people living below the poverty line in our country, the government will now also receive independent expert advice that is made publicly available before each federal budget looking at how the most vulnerable in our community are faring and what needs to change to ensure we don’t leave them behind.
Given the pace at which this legislation has moved, my concern has been to ensure stakeholders are heard and any issues addressed. Along with my team we have worked incredibly hard to hear from those who will be affected by it and balance the concerns to help secure a better bill.
I went into this seeking to get the best policy outcome, balancing the urgent need for workers to get a pay rise, with legislation that will work in practice by delivering pay rises for those that need it while not placing unreasonable burdens on small businesses.
I believe we have achieved the right balance, significantly improving the legislation with the added commitment that will help stop governments leaving our most vulnerable behind.
I acknowledge the tough but fair negotiations with the government that have got us to this point.
I thank the prime minister and Minister Burke for their constructive engagement and the many, many workers and businesses, along with their representatives, who have come to me over the past month.
I also pay tribute to the efforts and advocacy of members in the lower house as well as community advocates who have championed many of these reforms for years.
‘Our politics may be divided but our community is united’
Daniel Andrews on when he saw the numbers:
I was probably on the phone. I was probably on the phone but there were lots of hugs and obviously, went and gave the speech and then went home with family and friends senior staff and had a couple of glasses wine.
On whether the election process could require reform given the number of early votes and funding issues:
I think 25 people handing out for one candidate essentially harassing people, getting – 25 people – getting up in their face, being deliberately as ugly as possible – that’s perhaps not consistent with our mainstream values as cross our state.
Conduct matters. The amount of feedback I had from people who were intimidated and fearful and all of that, that’s not us. That is not us. I just say again, our politics may be divided, but our community is united.
Andrews condemns ‘nasty stuff’ on election campaign trail
Daniel Andrews thanks Labor volunteers and staff for their endurance over the course of the campaign despite “violence” and “nasty stuff”:
We’ve seen some pretty nasty stuff. On behalf of my booth workers and volunteers and my staff and friends and family who handed out for me yesterday, there’s no place for that. We can disagree. Violence and some of the commentary, the partisanship in the worst sense, that doesn’t do anyone credit. I want to thank my team across the state but particularly in my community for keeping their cool, not taking the bait, not engaging in it.
He also stresses a positive message:
On a broader level, across the state these last few years, I have never been more certain that hope always defeats hate. You have to work hard, get things done. That’s what I’ve done.
Dan Andrews is asked about his first 100 days of government and says it will look like “a lot of hard work”:
I’m not here to talk about what the first bill will be. The parliament will sit this year as soon as the writ is returned. We will get rid of the formalities to make a fast tart.
There’s a considerable amount of sloganeering going on here and not a lot of detail.
‘You’ve got to do what matters’ not what’s popular, premier says
Dan Andrews says he had “very little” sleep last night and that Victoria is playing a significant role in Australian politics as a progressive state:
We are the centre of critical thinking, the centre of all the big ideas in our nation and we are best when we’re out in front, leading our nation and in so many different agendas: mental health, family violence, early childhood , renewable energy, climate change action – not climate change talk, climate change action – and many other areas.
We are well out in front and it does every Victorian great credit that we have voted as a community to keep that big agenda going, those big ideas, because big ideas make a big difference in everyone’s life.
Andrews is also casting the election result as a repudiation of the politics that attacked the government over its handling of the pandemic – particularly the anti-vaccination protesters who have been a loud presence within Victorian state politics over the last two years:
I’m not going to do what is popular. Doing what is right will be from time to time very unpopular, but when you swear that oath, you get in the job, you don’t have the luxury of pandering. You’ve got to do what matters, what’s right. That’s what we’ve done. For me, that’s the ultimate expression of a brand of politics that isn’t about me and my team but the people we serve, because trying to be popular all the time doesn’t work because you have to do what’s right. That is what we will always strive to do.
Andrews promises to govern for ‘all Victorians’
Victorian premier Daniel Andrews is speaking to reporters now, where he is promising to deliver on free kindergarten, more nurses and ambulances, more schools and and a state power company that will bring “renewable energy for all Victorians rather than greedy profits”.
He begins the presser with a pitch to those who didn’t vote for him.
I do however have a really important message for those who couldn’t see their way clear to vote [for] us last night. We will govern for you as well. We will make sure that your kids get free kindergarten, we will make sure that you get lower power bills because of more energy, not less. We will make sure that you will get the skills you need for the job you want. We will make sure that we govern for all Victorians no matter where you live, what you do for a living or how you voted. That’s the most important thing. We have always done that and we we recommend today to doing that important work.
We’re now moving to questions.
Victorian state election outcome a ‘powerful result’: Rishworth
The federal childcare minister, Amanda Rishworth, also commented on the result.
Rishworth told Sky News:
It was a very powerful result ... and suggests is, I think, a stamp of approval on [Daniel Andrews’] positive plans going forward ... The federal government’s been working with the states. There has been a real change in the way that the new Labor government federally has been working positively with the states and territories. And one of Dan Andrews’ messages is that positive plans, when you put them forward, explain them to the people, then you will get a sense of endorsement from them. So certainly, I think the implications federally is that there is a good partnership between the federal government and the Dan Andrews Labor government. And I think we will all look forward to continue to work to deliver for Victorians. But also right across the country.
Is there a message from an increase in non-major party primary vote though?
Look, there’s no doubt that there has been ... when other options are put on the table, there are people, there are voters looking at other options and we’ve seen an increased [minor-party vote] but we do have a majority government in Victoria. There’s a clear majority government in Victoria and that bodes well, I think for decision making going forward.
Money talks in Victoria as federal Coalition looks for lessons in election loss
One of the fun games on the day after a state election is to look for federal implications (and vice versa).
The shadow immigration minister Dan Tehan is a senior Victorian Liberal and has drawn out one interesting takeaway for the federal Coalition.
Tehan told Sky News:
Well, well, first of all, in terms of the federal implications, there’s only one that I can can see and that’s to do with campaign finance. Now, one of the things that Dan Andrews has successfully done in the Labor party here in Victoria through the campaign finance reform is made sure that the incumbent, the Labor party, has an advantage. Now, the Labor party federally is looking at campaign finance reform.
Now, the Liberal party and the National party needs to look at this legislation very carefully because in Victoria, it has meant that it has cemented an advantage to those in power. We cannot stand by and let the same thing happen again because otherwise we will be giving Labor a financial advantage over us when it comes to a national campaign. So we need to learn that lesson.
Guardian Australia revealed in July that in addition to election pledges to have real-time disclosure of donations and a $1,000 disclosure threshold that federal Labor wants to legislate caps on spending.
There’s no bill before parliament yet – the joint standing committee on electoral matters is considering the issue as part of its 2022 election review first.
But it’s one to watch, especially because similar arguments about not entrenching incumbents have been made by Climate 200.
Things are moving quickly this morning.
Major parties claw back ‘Greenslide’ as count continues
For those waking up wondering what happened to the Greenslide and teal gains in the Victorian election, the major parties have had a bit of a comeback with the benefit of favourable prepoll votes.
While the Greens are on track to win Richmond, their second potential pickup (Northcote) is in doubt. Labor’s Kat Theophanous now holds an 865-vote lead against Green Campbell Gome.
Albert Park is now being counted as a Labor-Liberal contest, with Labor easily winning. The seat is still in contention but the Greens will need to boost their primary (20.5%) and benefit from preference flows to overtake the Liberals (29.3%) and leapfrog into second place.
In Hawthorn the early teal lead has been gobbled up by Liberal John Pesutto, who now has a narrow 383-vote lead against Melissa Lowe.
In Mornington, former federal MP Chris Crewther has a super-slim 177-vote lead against independent Kate Lardner.
Remember in the 2020 US presidential election in which Donald Trump benefited from a “red wave” of election day votes before Joe Biden took the lead courtesy of a “blue shift”?
A similar dynamic is at play here, with mostly younger voters favouring the teals and Greens in election day votes, and the major parties having a comeback courtesy of mostly older prepoll voters.
Parliament will sit into next Saturday to pass bill
Tony Burke says he understands parliament will sit into next Saturday to pass the bill in the Senate before the end of the parliamentary year:
What will happen is on Thursday afternoon, we will suspend, rather than adjourn the House and then on Saturday morning at nine we will come back. No matter what happens and no matter how quickly the secure jobs better pay bill gets through, there will still be legislation going through the Senate and still amendments to be considered by the House – we will still be here on Saturday to deal with that.
On the fallout from the Bell report and the conduct of Scott Morrison signing himself into multiple ministries, Burke says the behaviour of the former prime minister undermined the principles of responsible government:
The parliament is where you have responsible government. If you are not allowed to know who the ministers are when you are directing questions, the whole concept collapses, and what happened with what Scott Morrison did wasn’t simply a decision of him on this particular matter.
Burke would not be drawn on where he stood on a motion to censure Morrison as he did not want to “get ahead of the cabinet deliberations”.
Small business and multi-employer bargaining
Tony Burke says the head count in business won’t be able to be “gamed” with a “sudden upping or downing of casuals who are just on the books and aren’t getting shifts”.
Businesses with up to 50 staff will be able to argue that it is not reasonable to include them in a deal struck under multi-employer bargaining. Burke explains how this will work in more detail:
There is a new test within the common interest test that is being added. It is being added for everybody. As to whether the businesses are reasonably comparable, so that’s the new test that is there. So, for example, if a business says, ‘Look, we have nothing to do, not enough to do with these other businesses that are in the multi-employer stream,’ asks if you are fewer than 50, it is effectively the case has to be made that you should be included, and that makes it much easier for small businesses. Not like there is an onus on them to make that case.
The onus then would be on a union to prove that a workplace should be included, rather than it being automatically assumed a small business with under 50 employees should be included.
On the operation of how this will work more broadly:
What happens is employers either opt in or their workforce votes to opt in, and then before the Fair Work Commission, they have to work out whether there is a common interest, whether it’s reasonably comparable and also whether or not it is in the public interest, and where you go sector-wide for sectors that are critical to the national economy, at that point, it is pretty hard to see things passing the public interest test.
Burke working through IR bill’s ‘structural issues’
Tony Burke is working through each of the “structural issues” that will be dealt with as part of the bill.
The minister says the government will be adopting all the recommendations of the Senate inquiry, including the shift to the small business head count going to 20, to be “excluded from the interest stream”.
Provisions have been included for small businesses with fewer than 50 employees to make it easier for them to argue at the Fair Work Commission that they don’t believe an agreement made under the new multi-employer bargaining system is not reasonable:
In terms of workers, to make sure that we don’t run into the same problem that happened with the previous low-paid stream where you had a section of a bill of an act that looked fantastic but nobody could get into it, a capacity to make sure that specific occupations can be deemed to be part of that supported stream for low-paid workers.
And finally, there will be outside of my portfolio – so I can just give you the high points of it – there will be a new statutory advisory committee made up of experts that, in the lead-up to every budget, will provide independent advice as to the structural challenges on economic inclusion, as well as going all the way through to looking at the different rules and the levels of payments to provide independent advice to the government, as those budgets are put together.
IR bill set to pass with support from David Pocock
Federal minister Tony Burke says the industrial relations bill will pass with support from David Pocock.
Burke said he is in Canberra where he has been meeting with the senator is “confident” the bill will pass:
It hasn’t been an easy negotiation and Senator Pocock has been very clear on a series of principles that he wanted to look at. As you know, he would have preferred that everything was dealt with next year when we said we wanted to make decisions this year. It has involved a very intense process, a lot of meeting, a lot of detail.
There are effectively three sorts of issues that have come to the fore. One is with respect to small business, the other is low-paid workers, and finally a concern that he has that is outside of my portfolio, but is part of the agreement, that goes to structural issues that we can put in place to deal with people [receiving welfare payments].
Morrison treated his supporters ‘with contempt’, Niki Savva says
Interesting conversation by the Insiders panel this morning, with Niki Savva saying the mood within the Coalition has turned sharply against Scott Morrison. She says there is a belief inside the party that they were loyal to Morrison, but he took it for granted:
They are furious with him and I think the general view is that he showed contempt for them, for the people who were closest to him, who followed him religiously in many ways, and were loyal to the fold, and he treated them with contempt.
He treated cabinet with contempt and he treated parliament and parliamentary processes with contempt, for whatever reason. None of the reasons that he has given stack up, except, it sounds like he was deluded …
And so the view amongst them now is that he should just pack his bags and go.
Morrison has maintained he acted in the national interest in secretly appointing himself to a range of ministries while he was prime minister.
‘We are in danger of a reverse Coalition,’ Katharine Murphy says
Guardian Australia’s political editor Katharine Murphy is on the ABC Insiders panel and says the Victorian election result is a “massive realignment” of the Australian electorate that is “shifting away from major parties”:
Serious point – the Labor party thus far is winning the realignment war. They did federally. They did at the state level. Both of those results could have resulted in minority governments. It didn’t in either contest.
She also said the result showed that with a good climate policy, the Liberal and National parties can hold off challengers from independent teals in their seats – which is a lesson for the federal Coalition “if Peter Dutton is listening”:
We see Peter Dutton doing some weird Tony Abbott reboot, despite seeing a federal result and now a state result that suggests that that is quite dangerous as a political strategy. I think the Liberal party is in danger at this point of becoming a regional party. We are in danger of a reverse Coalition, where the National party is the dominant player in the Coalition.
‘I’m thrilled to do it for another four years’
Asked about the “ugly” nature of this campaign, Daniel Andrews casts the result as a direct rejection of the anti-vax politics that have dominated headlines the last two years. He says he plans to serve the full four-year term and has no plans to retire early:
It is the greatest honour of my life. I’m here to get things done. I’m thrilled to do it for another four years.
And that’s it.
‘We need a gas reserve,’ premier says
Daniel Andrews is asked about the 6% swing Labor has suffered against it, and the 9% swings in Melbourne’s north-west suburbs. He doesn’t directly address the question, but points to the austerity politics of the Victorian Liberals, which “were going to cancel projects”.
What happens when you cancel projects – you cancel jobs.
He is asked about what the strong result for the Greens means for the state’s approach to climate change and energy – and specifically whether the result will force him to shift his view on a gas deal:
When it comes to energy, the cheapest form of energy is renewable energy. That is a fact. On gas, I’m very encouraged. My discussions with prime minister Albanese have been very positive. We need a gas reserve. Our gas for our businesses and our households. That’s what’s really, really important.
Andrews says he would like to see a gas reservation policy and would introduce one at state level but cannot do so as it would not be constitutional:
These companies are making Australians pay terrible European prices. Yes, there is a terrible war going on in Europe. We are a long way from Europe. What we don’t need, sell it, by all mean.
Andrews also takes a swipe at the former federal Coalition government on climate change:
We’ve had nine wasted years and things are so much more challenging today because we’ve had a revolving door of energy ministers and no coherent energy policy. Albo is turning that around and that’s good for households, good for jobs and really good for the planet, too.
‘So proud to lead the best state in the nation’
Daniel Andrews is asked about the moment after his win – the raised fist – and about whether the victory was vindication after two hard years:
My politics has never been about the win, it is always about the work. You’ve got to win to do that, but I grew up being taught every day that with opportunity comes a profound obligation to do your best, to work hard, to do what matters, and that’s exactly what I’ve delivered over these last eight years.
Andrews says the outcome was a sign of Victorians rejecting the divisive politics of the last few years:
We got vaccinated. We looked out for each other. That kindness and compassion, it makes you so proud to lead the best state in the nation and a state that has faith in science, a state that is prepared to make big sacrifices to save tens of thousands of lives.
Victorian premier Daniel Andrews is speaking to David Speers on ABC Insiders this morning after his historic election win.
Victorian Greens stake their claim with election ‘Greenslide’
The Victorians Greens are claiming a “Greenslide” result after recording an increased primary vote and probably gaining two seats, with more to come as counting continues.
Teal independents were also leading in two tight contests last night, with Melissa Lowe slightly ahead of former Liberal shadow attorney general John Pesutto in Hawthorn. In Mornington, Kate Lardner – who isolated from her supporters after testing positive to Covid – was also slightly ahead of former federal Liberal MP Chris Crewther.
The Greens retained inner-city seats of Melbourne, Prahran and Brunswick on Saturday, while picking up hotly contested Richmond, where Gabrielle De Vietri beat Labor’s Lauren O’Dwyer. The party was also on track to win Northcote.
But the Greens were also outperforming expectations in other seats, including Albert Park, Footscray, Pascoe Vale and Preston, with all of them too close to call by 11pm.
Addressing supporters after the party claimed Richmond, Greens leader Samantha Ratnam declared:
Tonight, my friends, I’m so proud to be up here to tell you all that the Greenslide continues tonight.
We’re on track to colour in the map of inner-city Melbourne green. Melbourne is green, Prahran is green, Brunswick is green and now Richmond is green.
Our statewide vote means we have also won [the upper house seat of] Southern Metro back. And I am pleased to say that it looks very good in Northcote, and I’m hoping to be back with an update soon, and there are a number of other seats in play.
For more details on this story read the full report by Guardian Australia correspondent Cait Kelly.
Victorian Liberal party shellshocked after heavy election loss
Victorian opposition leader Matthew Guy has conceded the Coalition has “a lot of work to do” after the party lost its third successive election to Labor’s Daniel Andrews.
While Labor’s primary vote fell by about 5.6% statewide, the Coalition failed to capitalise on it, with the Liberal party in particular going backwards and recording a primary vote below 30%.
It was not yet certain last night whether the Coalition would be able to improve on its 2018 tally of 27 seats in Victoria’s 88-seat parliament.
The election loss is sure to trigger more soul searching within the Liberal party, which also suffered humiliating defeats at the federal election in May.
By the time the next term of government ends, the Coalition will have led Victoria for just four of the past 27 years.
While Guy did not address his leadership when conceding defeat, it seems unlikely he will stay on after two successive defeats as leader.
After calling Andrews to concede, Guy spoke for less than five minutes to a subdued crowd of supporters at the Doncaster bowling club in his electorate of Bulleen.
He said it was important the state put the difficulties of recent years behind it and “come together”:
The best of our state should be ahead of us, not behind us.
For more on this story read the full report by Guardian Australia’s Victorian state reporter Adeshola Ore.
And welcome to another Sunday morning Guardian live blog.
Daniel Andrews has become the first Victorian premier since fixed four-year terms were introduced to win three elections back-to-back in a historic win for the state’s Labor party. Labor retained government despite a 6% swing against it, holding on to its majority in an election contest that was widely read as a verdict on Andrews’ handling of the state’s pandemic response. Other winners in the election were the Greens, who cemented their place within Victoria’s political landscape, and the independents, who grew their share of the vote.
The result is disastrous for the state’s Liberal opposition, with questions now about the fate of the leader Matthew Guy, who led the party to its second significant defeat. The loss follows the federal election defeat this year, while the Coalition is in retreat across the country, with Labor governments dominant in Western Australia, South Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland.
I’m Royce Kurmelovs, taking the blog through the day. With so much going on out there, it’s easy to miss stuff, so if you spot something happening in Australia and think it should be on the blog, you can find me on Twitter at @RoyceRk2 where my DMs are open.
With that, let’s get started ...