- The Guardian
- Issue #2035
Daniel Andrews. Photo: Bentleigh electorate – creativecommons.org (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Victorians went to the polls on 26th November to decide their next state government. In the wake of the past three years, with the pandemic still ongoing, it was highly uncertain whether Daniel Andrews would be re-elected for a third term.
Labor declared victory on Saturday night with a strong majority in the lower house. The results are promising overall for socialists and the workers movement, with left wing parties expected to gain multiple seats in the upper house and controversial conservative MPs losing their seats.
THE RESULTS SO FAR
While the count hasn’t yet been completed, the ALP has won a commanding victory with fifty-two seats in the Legislative Assembly (the lower house of the state parliament). This is the third consecutive term for the Labor government in Victoria, which has been in power since 2014. Daniel Andrews is set to become Victoria’s longest serving Labor premier by early 2023.
As it stands, the Liberal Party has won twenty-five seats, two less than in the previous Parliament, having lost the seats of Ripon and Glen Waverley. The Greens have won four seats, retaining Brunswick, Melbourne, and Prahran and gaining Richmond. There are seven seats still undecided, with many of these too close to call. At the time of writing, the margin in Pakenham is just eight votes.
The Nationals swept regional Victoria, winning several seats, including the seat of Mildura from independent Ali Cupper, as well as Morwell and Shepparton. The Nationals now hold a number of regional seats, including Lowan, Murray Plains, Ovens Valley, Gippsland East and Gippsland South. In the upper house, the Legislative Council, less than thirty per cent of votes have as yet been counted, but the Greens are projected to win multiple seats, as is the Legalise Cannabis party.
WHAT NOW FOR VICTORIAN WORKERS?
In his victory speech, Daniel Andrews made some promising nods to key issues facing workers in this election. The new Labor government has committed to regulating the apprenticeships system and the gig economy, expanding sick pay for casual workers and introducing free childcare and kindergarten, among many other electoral promises.
The electoral map shows a deep divide between the Nationals-dominated regions and the metropolitan Labor and Greens dominated seats. Regional Victorians are (rightly) feeling that their needs and aspirations are not being met by the Labor Party. This a key site of struggle for the future of Victorian politics. Regional workers are fed-up with the Labor status quo, suggesting that regional areas are going to be key sites of struggle in the years to come. Close attention should be paid to the movement in regional Victoria.
At the end of the day, parliamentary politics cannot deliver the outcomes workers need, but they can be a significant tool for leverage support for the workers movement. Now is the time to put pressure on the new government to make the changes they have promised and to continue the fight for workers’ rights both inside and outside of the parliament.