The rise of the Greens, teal independents and a new wildcard centrist party threaten to throw Victoria into political chaos.
The Labor government of Premier Daniel Andrews is seeking a third term at the state election to be held in November.
Even if it wins, it is in danger of losing traditionally heartland seats as voters express disapproval of draconian Covid lockdown measures.
However, the Liberal opposition led by Matthew Guy does not seem to be gaining much ground.
Dan Andrews’ bid to secure a third term for his state Labor government in Victoria could leave him having to scramble together a partnership with independents and Greens
They face a threat from potential teal independents who stunningly snatched a swathe of formerly blue-ribbon electorates off the federal Liberals in the federal election.
The Greens, who had unprecedented party success in the federal election, are also looking set to eat into the majors parties’ votes but the unknown factor is the new Victorians Party.
An electoral analysis shows the new centrist party could pick up 10 seats, according to the Herald Sun.
Other more cautious analysis predicts the Greens, teal independents and the Victorians Party winning between nine and 13 seats from the major parties.
A view down of the deserted Melbourne CBD during the state’s long and harsh Covid lockdowns, which have threatened to voters turn away from the Andrews government
Labor sources fear they could lose up to 10 seats, which would put the party on the edge of having to form a minority government.
If just 54,000 voters move away from Labor in 19 marginal seats, they could all be in play.
While the Greens are looking likely to encroach on inner city seats such as Richmond and Albert Park, the threat to Labor in traditionally safe suburban electorates would likely be from the Victorians Party rather than the Liberals.
However, if the Victorians Party preferences the Liberals that would bolster their chances.
Broadmeadows, Kororoit, Werribee, Melton and Point Cook are five seats identified as being at risk of falling to strong local Victorians Party candidates due to the backlash over the state’s handling of Covid.
Businesswoman Ingrid Maynard is one of the founders of the new Victorians Party, which will target Victorians unhappy with both the major parties and could threaten some Labor seats
If teal independents run, and they so far have only fielded candidates against Liberal incumbents, they will have their sites set on wealthier and inner-city seats such as Hawthorn, Brighton, Caulfield, Kew, Bulleen and Sandringham.
The Victorians Party was formed in November last year and promotes itself as an alternative for those dissatisfied with the major parties.
The party was founded by Small Business Australia executive director Bill Lang, Moreland councillor Oscar Yildiz, retired AFL great Paul Dimattina, and businesswoman Ingrid Maynard.
‘The Victorians Party has been formed to provide a credible third party alternative to a bad Andrews Labor Government that won’t listen and a weak Liberal Opposition,’ the party’s website reads.
Bill Lang told the Herald Sun that Victorians were telling his party they felt ignored and voiceless with no connection to the major parties.
The potential of independent candidates in Victoria was shown at the last state election where local GP Joe Garra did surprisingly well in Werribee, held by state treasurer Tim Pallas.
AFL champion Paul Dimattina is another figure behind the Victorians Party, which states that it is credible alternative to a bad Andrews Labor Government and a weak Liberal Opposition
Despite running a campaign on the smell of an oily rage, Dr Garra managed a very respectable 20 per cent of the vote.
The drift away from the major parties was demonstrated at the last federal election where both the Liberals and even the triumphant Labor party suffered downturns in their primary vote.
Polling in The Age last month also showed Labor’s primary vote fell in Victoria, although they did not predict it was enough to see the Andrews Government lose its majority following the thumping win it had in 2018.
Labor has 55 seats in Victoria’s lower house with 45 needed to form a majority government.