Liberal leader fights on ALP turf
Liberal leader Matthew Guy has been on the offensive, visiting Labor-held marginal seats 18 times during the first 13 days of the Victorian election campaign, compared with just three visits to Coalition-held marginal seats by Premier Daniel Andrews.
The Australian’s analysis of the first half of the campaign also shows that, surprisingly for a Labor premier, Mr Andrews has spent 61.5 per cent of his time outside Melbourne, compared with Mr Guy, who has spent 63.5 per cent of his time in the capital.
While Mr Andrews has also spent 61.5 per cent of his time shoring up Labor seats, the Opposition Leader has been in Coalition-held seats just 26.9 per cent of the time.
The Liberal leader has spent two-thirds of this time in Labor and independent-held marginals.
Melbourne’s southeastern suburbs — home to Labor’s five most marginal seats in which the Liberal Party is the main opposition — have been the most commonly visited part of the state for both leaders.
Mr Andrews has spent 30.8 per cent of his time in Melbourne’s southeast, while Mr Guy has been there 49.4 per cent of the time.
The southeastern suburbs include the bellwether bayside seats of the sandbelt: Bentleigh, Mordialloc, Carrum and Frankston, as well as rapidly growing outer suburban marginal seats such as Bass and Cranbourne.
In the regions, both leaders have spent considerable time in Gippsland, in the state’s east, with Mr Andrews visiting the area 23.1 per cent of the time, and Mr Guy 12.2 per cent.
The area is home to the marginal La Trobe Valley seat of Morwell, where former Nationals MP Russell Northe is running as an independent, having secured a margin of just 1.8 per cent against Labor in 2014.
Bendigo and Ballarat, classified in the analysis as “northwestern Victoria”, have also attracted several visits, with Mr Andrews spending 28.2 per cent of his time there, compared with Mr Guy’s 10.2 per cent.
Labor holds Bendigo West by 12.18 per cent and Bendigo East by 5.05 per cent, while Ripon, northwest of Ballarat, is one of the most marginal seats in the state, held by the Liberals by just 0.75 per cent.
Wendouree, which takes in the city of Ballarat, is Labor-held by 5.79 per cent, while Buninyong, southeast of Ballarat, is Labor territory by a 6.39 per cent margin.
Neither leader has visited any of the five inner-city seat being targeted by the Greens, which include Labor-held Richmond, where the Liberals are not running, Greens-held Northcote and Melbourne, Labor-held Brunswick, and Greens-held Prahran, which is a three-way contest.
There are 14 days of campaigning left before Victorians go to the polls on November 24.