Greens challenge ALP in Victorian by-elections


Labor has retained the seats vacated by former Victorian premier Steve Bracks and deputy premier John Thwaites. The results of the recent Williamstown and Albert Park by-elections confirmed the ALP's Wade Noonan (a former Transport Workers' Union assistant secretary) and Martin Foley (former state secretary of the Australian Services Union, who is chief of staff to Victorian police minister Bob Cameron) as respective successful candidates.

However, the Greens are welcoming their rising vote as an indication of increasing dissatisfaction with the ALP. Greens leader Senator Bob Brown said the results in Victoria were "fantastic".

In Williamstown, the Greens nearly doubled their primary vote from last election, going from 12% to 22%, holding 35% of the two-candidate preferred vote and also managing to trump the Liberal results of 21% and 19% at the last two elections.

The Greens polled most strongly in areas where they had been campaigning around local community-based issues, such as public transport, road safety and the closure of a community centre.

Greens candidate for Williamstown, Councillor Janet Rice, said "despite the fact that the Liberals weren't running, there was a distinct 5% vote swing away from Labor — most of our vote was taken off Labor, rather than what would otherwise have been Liberal votes. It appears that most of the Liberal vote went to independents, Family First and the DLP [Democratic Labor Party]."

In Albert Park, the Greens polled 28% on primary votes and nearly 43% on a two-party preferred vote.

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