September 2013 Archives

Summary 2013

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There aren't many Labor MPs heading to Canberra these days. It's safe to say that most that aren't going to have the same spring in the step they had in 2007. Not, I guess, unless you are Lisa Chesters and you've held out against a surging Liberal Party to clinch the seat of Bendigo.

Chesters has a couple of reasons to be proud. She's a first term MP and the first woman to represent the seat. 

Still, when she stands next to her colleagues, she'll look like a cheerleader at a funeral. The last time the Labor party had such a small primary vote was in 1903.

Local Liberals might not have won Bendigo but they won't be spewing. This result is good for them. Riding a broade­­­­r state-wide swing to the right they came within spitting distance of a plane to Canberra. It didn't hurt that the sitting member was retiring or that Liberal candidate Greg Bickley's advertising budget was big enough to buy China. 

That shouldn't take away from the Liberal's achievement though. Anyone familiar with the demographic makeup of the electorate would know the Liberals shouldn't have had a snowballs chance. Bendigo city and every town southwards are overflowing with cafes, art galleries and antique shops. There is a growing metropolitan tree-changer vote. These voters are as comfortable with conservative pollies as cows are with abattoirs.


Bringin' out the (banjo) vote

But there's more to the final election result than a wrestling match between Labor and the Libs. We also need to highlight the relatively low profile campaigns of Greens candidate, Lachlan Slade and Nationals candidate, Sarah Sheedy. Their results give us an interesting picture of the contemporary Bendigo electorate.

Sheedy, a recent university graduate and business woman, was personally approached by local Nationals bigwig Damien Drum to stand for the seat.

During the campaign she stated she was 'in it to win it.' Awkwardly, she only got 5.12% of the vote. If you spoke to her off the record, she was always happy to concede that she wasn't going to make much of a dent on the vote. The Nationals nominated her for the role to give a capable but highly inexperienced candidate a taste of the campaign trail.

It's all part of their push to reinvigorate the party. They want to throw everything into a new generation of party leaders. Nominating Sheedy was an election investment, rather than election strategy.

Actually she should be over the moon about that 5.12% vote. At the outset of this election campaign it would have been clear to The Nationals that their coalition partner was incapable of garnering a convincing primary vote outside of Bendigo's city limits. Previous elections had seen the Liberals unable to make headway to the North, East and West of the city.

This time the Coalition effectively ran two candidates for Bendigo. Two candidates, two campaigns and two voices talking to disaffected conservative voters. Not bad considering Sheedy and Bickley didn't campaign together and, from all reports, barely knew each other.


If only trees could vote

Slade, on the other hand, would be a bit disappointed with his party's results. In 2010 The Greens managed to romp it home with a record 12.29% of the primary vote in Bendigo. They should have had a reasonable chance of coming close to that again.

It wasn't to be. Instead their primary vote dropped to 8.93%. After three years in minority government, not enough Liberal voters felt like preferencing them anymore. 

At least they can walk away knowing that yet again they dominated every booth south of Harcourt. Throughout Mt Alexander Shire, The Greens actually marginally increased their vote. The Liberals are slowly becoming the third party down there.


Cheer up, Bicko

At least when Bickley pauses for thought he'll sigh happily. After all, he doesn't have to fly to Canberra at the drop of a hat. That, after all, is the great paradox of Australian politics. Chesters might get the honour of serving the electorate, but everyone else can avoid Roundabout City.

Episode Three: Post Election Round Up

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The polls are in. As we enter a new Australian government, Tom and I caught up to talk about the results.



As promised, here is Adam Bandt's victory speech for the Melbourne seat:



Here is Kevin Rudd's concession speech:

Part One


Part Two



Here is Tony Abbott's victory speech:




Election Night

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As we find ourselves waking up to another election hangover, we see Tony Abbott as Prime Minister of a new Coalition government. Meanwhile, Lisa Chesters wins a tight race and retains the Bendigo seat for Labor.

While everyone was sitting in front of their respective televisions, laptops, and radios, eagerly awaiting every polling booth to come in, I was on the streets of Bendigo, chasing down the local candidates for a few words on this fateful night.

Lisa Chesters and the Labor party watched the election from their regular stomping ground, the heritage listed Trades Hall. Here is what she had to say:



Greg Bickley and his Liberals spent the election night at their campaign headquarters on Bull Street. I managed to catch Greg shortly after he returned from watching that night's Bendigo Braves game:



Stay tuned for the Bendigo Decides post-election summary podcast with Tom O'Callaghan and myself later this week.

For detailed election results, visit vtr.aec.gov.au.
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Episode Two: Pre-Election Polls

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This time Tom and I talk about the local polls, the Labor launch party, and the outlook of the election on a Federal level.

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This page is an archive of entries from September 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

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