Early votes give Greens a boost in former Labor strongholds

Victorian election 2022

Early votes in key inner urban seats were favouring the Victorian Greens in former Labor strongholds, prompting the minor party to be cautiously hopeful of doubling its representation in the Victorian lower house from three to six.

As results trickled in from 6pm, the Greens were given a boost in their target seats of Richmond, Northcote, Albert Park, where many predicted they would win, and also in Footscray, where pundits had considered them an outside chance.

Leader of the Victorian Greens Samantha Ratnam, with husband Collin Jacobs and daughter Malala, cast her vote in Brunswick East. Credit:Eddie Jim

The Greens looked likely to be beneficiaries of the Liberal Party’s decision to direct preferences to them above Labor on their how-to-vote cards, which could make the difference in a number of formerly safe Labor seats.

In the seat of Northcote, Greens candidate Campbell Gome was reaping 37 per cent of first preference votes in the early count, and a majority after the distribution of preferences, with Labor incumbent Kat Theophanous on about 35 per cent of first preference votes.

With a small proportion of votes counted in the seat of Richmond, about one-third were falling to Greens candidate Gabrielle de Vietri, a third to Labor’s Lauren O’Dwyer, and another 13 per cent to Liberal Lucas Moon. If those results persisted, de Vietri would seem to have an edge over Labor.

Labor’s prospects in Richmond suffered from the retirement of longstanding MP, and former Planning Minister, Richard Wynne.

Greens candidate for Richmond Gabrielle de Vietri casts her vote.Credit:Julian Meehan

The Greens candidate for Footscray, Elena Pereyra, had swept 29 per cent of first preference votes in the early count compared with 39 per cent for Labor incumbent Katie Hall, but a strong 14 per cent vote for the Socialist Party candidate and 11 per cent for the Liberal made it anyone’s seat.

In Albert Park, which was a key Greens target, Labor’s Nina Taylor had about 40 per cent of first preference votes, compared with 27 per cent for Greens candidate Kim Samiotis. Again Liberal preferences made the seat too close to call.

Greens leader Samantha Ratnam said the early results were positive.

She voted in her electorate in Brunswick East on Saturday morning and spoke of her confidence of expanding the minor party’s numbers in parliament.

Labor candidate for Albert Park Nina Taylor at a polling station in the electorate on Saturday.Credit:Paul Jeffers

“We’ve been talking to thousands of voters over this campaign who want politics done differently, and who are sick and tired of the major parties taking them for granted,” Ratnam said outside the polling booth.

“Voters are saying that they feel like the major parties are ignoring some of the biggest issues bearing down upon them. [They want] stronger action on climate change … and housing affordability.”

Ratnam, who represents the Northern Metropolitan region in the upper house, was due to speak to party faithful at a gathering of supporters at a bar in Collingwood on Saturday night in the Richmond electorate.

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