The Horse has (finally) bolted

Do you not live in Victoria? Do you not pay attention to the news? Do you, in fact, live under a rock?

If you answered yes to some of these questions you may not be aware but Ted Baillieu has (some say surprisingly) won the recent Victorian Election ousting Former Premier John Brumby and the Labor party. Brumby suffered a large 6.6 swing against him allowing Baillieu (and his Nationals friends) to get to the magical Forty-Five seats needed to form Government, leaving Brumby with a measly Forty-One seats.

So what gives? What did the Labor Government do that was so bad Victoria needed to elect the Lib/Nat Coalition?
From a South Australian viewpoint… nothing. Victoria is really “the place to be”, I know that far more of my fellow South Australians would rather travel to Melbourne than Adelaide, and would probably much rather have Brumby than Mike Rann right now. In fact Brumby and the Labor Government has had many broad successes, from enacting a Human Rights act to weathering the GFC remarkably well (without depending on mining too).

So yes, I am one very confused South Australian right now.

Of course it’s not exactly hard to find out why people didn’t want to vote Labor, just travel through the comments on any Age or Herald Sun article that has anything remotely to do with Politics and you’ll often encounter people complaining about transport, planning, and perhaps more commonly the fact Brumby is percieved as arrogant. Some of the commentators are simply blaming the ‘It’s time factor’ which is probably a fair point given that Labor has been in power more often than not.

Now not being a Victorian and having not actually met Brumby I can’t really speak to the thruthfulness of these complaints, and the it’s time factor certainly didn’t kick Mike Rann out over here (though no doubt some are now wishing it had) but I think it should be noted that (if my understanding is correct) it was the Melbourne areas that inflicted the most hurt on Brumby, not the  Regional areas.

So what now for the bested Labor party? Well Brumby has taken the first step and has stepped down as leader of the Victorian Labor Party. Whether he chose or was forced, while fun to speculate about, is immaterial. The important thing is he has stepped down, allowing the party to begin the (possibly messy) process of Generational change. Rising stars will now have the opportunity to rise and those who are fading will be able to leave the spotlight and assume different roles within the party. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect a very different looking Labor Party at the next election.

The other interesting aspect of the Election is that the Greens barely lifted their vote, only managing a 0.4% swing, which some people are a little shocked at given the massive swing The Greens recieved during the Federal Campaign. Personally I’ve always seen the Green vote as a measure of Labor’s Progressiveness; and it seems Vic Labor was rather Progressive which probably is why the vote has not increased as much as some would have expected (or perhaps hoped). Obviously the Greens are going to be doing a little navel gazing over this.

So what’s next for Victoria? Will it remain “the place to be” (or not to be) under Ted? Who is going to take over the Labor leadership? Will they be competent?

I can honestly say I have no idea, but I can say I’m looking forward to finally getting South Australian news again.

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