Play a giant role
candidates to be elected on slender first preference percentage.
“It’s very difficult for the major parties to win extra seats on preferences in the Upper House. It’s a game for the micro parties,” he said.
“They are all engineering the ballot paper with parties engaging in preference swaps.”
Mr Green estimated that 95 per cent of Upper House votes were above the line, which fed into the success of preference deals.
Leader in the Upper House Mary Wooldridge — who concedes the election will be “exceptionally close” — said voters needed to be aware of preference flows.
“There are strange bedfellows in terms of deals that are done,” Ms Wooldridge said.
She said the Upper House was one of the most diverse in the country and the current iteration solidified its role as the house of review due to the eight parties represented.
In Western Victoria, which takes in Greater Geelong and the Surf Coast Shire, Deakin University politics lecturer Geoff Robinson expects the Liberals and Labor to win two members each, and preference deals to play a major role in selecting the fifth and final position.
“The (voting above the line) system in the Upper House has enabled the Labor Party to make opportunistic deals with parties like Vote 1 Local Jobs and Shooters, Fishers and Farmers to assist them against the Liberals,” Dr Robinson said.
“Labor has been quite willing to do deals with those smallish centrist and even further right-wing parties.”
He said Labor’s partnership with the Vote 1 Local Jobs Party in 2014 saw James Purcell elected to the Western Region with just 1.26 per cent of first preference votes.
Corrections Minister Gayle Tierney was elected to the Western Region with 761 or 0.17 per cent of first preference votes.
At the 2014 election 184,838 votes did not count towards the end result and accounted for 5.22 per cent of all votes counted.
Dr Robinson said voting above the line was essentially placing blind trust in parties to allocate preferences in accordance with a voter’s political ideologies.
“(The voting system in the Upper House) potentially makes it possible for voter preferences to be manipulated to a degree,” he said.
Dr Robinson expects a modest victory by Labor with between 30 and 40 per cent of the primary vote.
He predicts a resurgence from the minor parties in both the upper and lower houses due to “political disillusion” permeating the minds of Victorian voters. one parties have registered for the Victorian election, but Pauline Hanson’s One Nation has pulled out. Locally, Labor’s Christine Couzens, Victorian Socialists candidate Sarah Hathway and Liberal Freya Fidge will contest Geelong. They are up against former Liberal Party member and mayor Darryn Lyons, who has thrown his hat in the ring for Geelong in recent weeks, declaring himself an independent.
In Bellarine, Greens candidate Rachel Semmens and Surf Coast Shire councillor Brian McKiterick — on leave of absence until December 1 from council — will take up the Liberal fight in a bid to dethrone Police Minister Lisa Neville.
Challengers to Labor MP John Eren are yet to emerge in Lara.
In the Upper House, Western Victoria MP Simon Ramsay won’t recontest the election and Corangamite Shire councillor Bev McArthur is