Baillieu hails Labor ‘collapse’ as Brumby refuses to admit defeat
- From: AAP,
Sunday Herald Sun
- November 27, 2010
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UPDATE 11.50pm: OPPOSITION Leader Ted Baillieu has saluted the Victorian people’s demand for change, but Premier John Brumby is refusing to admit defeat.
Mr Baillieu, speaking to his supporters at the Sofitel Hotel in Melbourne, described the day’s events as a “stunning result”.
“As you know the final election outcome may still be uncertain. But what is clear is that there has been a huge swing against the Labor Government,” he said.
“Labor’s vote has collapsed.
“Many, many Labor MPs have only survived on the back of Greens preferences and the Victorian people have removed the authority of this government and the authority of Mr Brumby as Premier.
“The status of the continuing government is as a caretaking government until a final result is concluded, so we presented a clear and stable alternative to the people of Victoria.
“That has been very strongly embraced by the people of Victoria and this has been a stunning result.
“This result is a direct reflection of the failure of this government over 11 years.
“I urge each and every one of you and each and every one of our Liberal supporters to get involved in the scrutiny of the count because each and every vote will count.”
Mr Baillieu was greeted with cheers of “we want Ted” from the jubilant Liberal Party faithful, who appeared to be celebrating what they expect to be ultimate victory.
Earlier, Mr Brumby assured supporters the most likely result of the state election is a hung parliament.
Speaking to the party faithful at Broadmeadows Town Hall, he said the election was always going to be a very tight and close contest.
“The most likely result … is a hung parliament, that is the most likely result,” he told party supporters
“I am more determined than ever that we deliver strong and stable government to the people of Victoria should we be given the opportunity to govern for the four years ahead.”
There has been a significant swing against the Labor government and Mr Brumby said the message had been heard.
“I know that we’ve been sent a loud and a clear message today from the people across our great state and I’ve heard that message, our government has heard that message,” he said.
“We have heard that message and I know that we can do better in government.”
He said Labor would serve as caretaker government until an election result was declared.
“At this stage we simply don’t have a clear result,” he said, pointing to the 550,000 pre-poll votes that still had to be counted.
“As a consequence I believe we will not know the result of this election for some days and counting of those pre-poll votes will not begin until Monday.”
Mr Brumby said a hung parliament would create uncertainty for Victorians.
“I want to see that uncertainty resolved at the earliest opportunity and I want to keep on building a better Victoria to take our state to the next level.”
His words echoed those delivered earlier by his deputy Rob Hulls, who described the election as “too close to call”.
Hanging in the balance are the regional seats of Ballarat East and Macedon, and the suburban seats of Eltham, Monbulk, Mordialloc, Narre Warren North and Prahran.
Health Minister Daniel Andrews earlier said a hung parliament – with Labor and the Coalition both holding 44 seats each – was “absolutely” possible.
Mr Andrews noted that there were still a number of doubtful seats where it was becoming clearer that Labor would hold on.
“This is perhaps a little tighter than people think.”
The Liberals/Nationals need 13 seats to deprive Labor of a record fourth term. They have clinched at least three and are leading the polls in a further eight.
The ALP is clinging on to the regional seats of Ripon, 52-48, with 66 per cent of the vote counted, and Ballarat East, 51-49, with 59 per cent counted.
Also in danger are the suburban seats of Monbulk, 52-48 (66 per cent counted), and Narre Warren North, 52-48 (57 per cent counted).
South Barwon has been snatched from Labor, while the Nationals have taken the seat of Gippsland East from the state’s only independent, Craig Ingram.
Gaming Minister Tony Robinson has conceded his suburban seat of Mitcham to the Liberals’ Dee Ryall, while Minister for Children and Early Childhood Development, and Women’s Affairs Maxine Morand has conceded Mount Waverley.
In Forest Hill, held by former Olympic skier Kirstie Marshall by a margin of .78, Liberal candidate Neil Angus has 2546 votes to Ms Marshall’s 1957 with a quarter of the votes counted.
In Ballarat East, Labor MP Geoff Howard is trailing against the Liberals’ Ben Taylor, 45-55, with 30 per cent of the vote counted.
The regional seat of Seymour also looks likely to fall to the Liberals, along with the suburban electorates of Bentleigh, Carrum, Gembrook, Burwood, and Frankston.
Early counting showed a seven per cent swing against the Brumby Government in a number of key metropolitan seats and six per cent in regional areas.
The Greens did not fare as well as they would have hoped in the four inner-city seats they expected to wrest from the ALP.
Victorian Electoral Commissioner Steve Tully said heavy rain may have kept some people away from polling booths, with turnout possibly down by about one or two per cent.
“Generally it has affected large groups of people coming out together and we have had some queuing issues, but we’ve done the best we can with that,” Mr Tully told the ABC.
Victorian Electoral Commission spokeswoman Sue Lang said there were no major incidents at the state’s 1838 voting centres, apart from a protest group at Mr Brumby’s planned polling station in Prahran and a group of people trying to distribute unregistered election material in Brunswick.
Mr Brumby was due to vote at Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School in Armadale at 11am, but decided against it after police were called because of an anti-development protest.
Instead, he voted a few blocks away at a community centre in Grattan St, far from his electorate of Broadmeadows.
He cast his vote in the marginal seat of Prahran to support local Labor MP, Tony Lupton.
Mr Baillieu was given a warm welcome when he cast his vote in his electorate of Hawthorn, flanked by his wife Robyn, 49, and their children Martha, 20 – who voted in her first state election – and Eleanor, 16.
When asked who he voted for, Mr Baillieu replied playfully: “I voted for me! I voted for the local member.
“It comes as no surprise, I know.”
He was optimistic about his chances of becoming premier, saying he felt “very positive” about the campaign.
Mr Brumby and Mr Baillieu were both attempting to win a state election for the first time after both failing in a previous attempts