The Victorian Greens are claiming a “Greenslide” result after recording an increased primary vote and gaining at least one seat, and a further two still in contention as counting progresses in Saturday’s election.
Teal independents are also in contention in two tight contests although Liberals retook a narrow lead in Hawthorn, where former Liberal shadow attorney general John Pesutto is battling independent Melissa Lowe and Mornington, where former federal Liberal MP Chris Crewther is battling Kate Lardner – who isolated from her supporters after testing positive to Covid.
The Greens retained the party’s existing inner-city seats of Melbourne, Prahran and Brunswick on Saturday, while picking up the hotly contested seat of Richmond, where candidate Gabrielle De Vietri beat Labor’s Lauren O’Dwyer.
Despite an early Green lead in Northcote on election night, Labor has retaken a narrow lead after prepoll votes favoured the government.
The Greens outperformed expectations in other seats including Albert Park, Footscray, Pascoe Vale and Preston, with all of them too close to call by 11pm Saturday night.
In Albert Park Labor leads in the two-party preferred count against the Liberals, but the seat could be in contention if the Greens can use preferences to leapfrog the Liberals into second place.
Addressing supporters after the party claimed Richmond, the Greens leader, Samantha Ratnam, declared the result a “Greenslide”.
“Tonight, my friends, I’m so proud to be up here to tell you all that the Greenslide continues tonight,” Ratnam said.
“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.”
The Greens were confident they will pick up Northcote, where Campbell Gome was leading against the sitting Labor MP, Kat Theophanous, by 53.8% to 46.2%, with 16.2% of the vote counted.
Ratnam also defended the party’s win in Richmond, saying they would have done it even without the Liberals directing preferences to the Greens over Labor.
“Just to be clear, despite Labor’s spin – you’re going to hear a lot of that in the next few hours – we’ve seen massive swings to the Greens on primary votes. Meaning the Liberal preference difference hasn’t made a difference to the outcome,” she said.
“Even if they had preferenced Labor, we would have still won these seats.”
With a record of more than 40% of voters voting early, the final results might not be known in many seats for several days.