Boost for Greens in upper house as Victoria confirms election result

Samantha Ratnam says Greens will work with Labor toward ‘progressive reform’ after her party quadruples upper house seats

The Victorian Greens and Legalise Cannabis will typically share the balance of power in the upper house, after the state’s electoral commission finalised the election results on Wednesday.

The Greens quadrupled their representation in the upper house, with Labor losing three seats to hold 15, meaning it must win over at least six of the 11 crossbench MPs to pass legislation without the support of the opposition.

The state’s Greens leader, Samantha Ratnam – who was elected in the Northern Metropolitan region – said the party would work “cooperatively” with the Labor government to achieve “progressive reform”.

“We went into this election with a mission to be in a position to push this Labor government to go further and faster on climate action, housing affordability, strengthening integrity and more,” she said.

The Andrews government has surpassed its 2018 Danslide election result following the 26 November vote, with Labor’s lower house tally now 56 out of 88 seats – one more than the 55 it won at the previous election.

But Labor will need to negotiate with the upper house to pass legislation.

Election analyst Ben Raue said the Greens and Legalise Cannabis would be the “easiest pathway to a majority” for the Labor government.

“They’ll have other options, but they are not easy options,” he said.

Without the support of the Greens, the Andrews government would need the support of all but one of the crossbench MPs to pass legislation.

Ratnam – who was previously the party’s only upper house MP – will be joined by Aiv Puglielli in the North-Eastern Metropolitan region, Katherine Copsey in the Southern Metropolitan region and Sarah Mansfield in the Western Victoria region – the party’s first regional seat.

Legalise Cannabis will be represented by two MPs as it enters the Victorian parliament for the first time. The minor party has vowed to push for cannabis decriminalisation despite the premier, Daniel Andrews, refusing to budge on the issue.

Alongside the progressive parties, the upper house will also include One Nation’s first Victorian MP, Rikkie-Lee Tyrrell. Incumbent MPs – the Liberal Democrats’ David Limbrick and Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MP Jeff Bourman – were both re-elected for the South-Eastern Metropolitan and Eastern Victoria regions respectively.

The Coalition won an extra three upper house seats, boosting its representation to 14, including Moira Deeming and Renee Heath.

Animal Justice’s Georgie Purcell was elected to the Northern Metropolitan region, while former Labor MP and powerbroker Adem Soumyurek secured the final spot in the Northern Metropolitan region for the conservative Democratic Labour party, ousting Reason MP Fiona Patten.

The Animal Justice party enacted a sting against the state’s so-called preference whisperer Glenn Druery by gaining the support of other parties working with him – only to direct its own preferences to others at the last minute. Druery described the stint as the “most elaborate sting in minor party history”.

Victoria’s Legislative Council is the only jurisdiction in Australia still using a particular type of group voting system that allows parties to allocate voters’ preferences when they choose just one party above the line on the ballot paper.

In 2018 Druery helped eight of the 11 crossbenchers get elected by directing their preferences to one another. Druery has helped to direct preferences to just three of the state’s 11 crossbench MPs – Bourman, Somyurek and Limbrick.


Adeshola Ore

The GuardianTramp

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