VIC State Election – Labor & Liberal – Head To Head


In less than three weeks, Victorians will head to the polls and decide who it is that will govern the State for the next four years. The current Labor Premier, John Brumby, is keen to win this election as it will be the first time he would hold the States top job in his own right. If Labor do win a record fourth term in office, it would mark the longest consecutive reign for a Labor Government in Victoria’s history.

Few could argue that Victoria has managed to ride the global economic crisis, virtually unscathed. But whilst the Labor Government has presided over strong economic growth and jobs stability, critics believe that after 12 years behind the wheel, the current office bearers are incompetent, arrogant and failing to deliver on basics such as policing, transport, education and hospital waiting times.

It happened in the UK. Last week it happened in the USA. And when the recent Federal Election returned a hung parliament, our nation experienced it like never before. Some call it a new political paradigm whilst others say it’s an unworkable scenario that delivers too much power to a handful of independents. Whatever it is….the recent Federal Election left Victorian’s in no doubt….the Greens are here to stay. .. bigger and bolder and with more force than ever before.

With Political commentators speculating a shift to the Greens of somewhere between 14 and 20% – the prospect of the Greens holding the balance of power in the Victorian State Election, is a real and present danger to the Liberal and Labor Parties alike.

One thing is certain however, if you live in a marginal seat, or in a seat where the Greens have been successful in recent times, you can be sure that your community will befit from the pork-barreling from both the major parties as they try to win your vote. Many safe, heart-land and blue-ribbon seats across Victoria are fully aware of the irony in the economics of such bribes.

Now one of those key marginal seats is the Richmond. It’s the state’s second smallest electorate at just 14 square kilometres and sits in the bend of the Yarra River and Merri Creek east of Punt Road, Victoria Parade and Nicholson Street. It includes the old working class but increasingly gentrified suburbs of Abbotsford, Burnley, Clifton Hill, Collingwood, Fitzroy, Richmond and parts of Fitzroy North.
The 2006 Census revealed Richmond to be less affluent than neighbouring regions – per capita – due to the high number of public housing tenants concentrated in Housing Commission Towers. On a State Wide Basis, The Richmond Electorate has
• the second highest proportion of residents of working age 25-64 (66.4%),
• the fourth lowest proportion of couples with children (24.5%),
• the third highest proportion of rented dwellings (53.0%)
• the second highest proportion of residents who use bicycles to travel to work (5.8%).
• the third highest rate of residents reliant on public transport to travel to work (22.8%).
Since 1908 – the seat of Richmond has been held by the Labor Party, however in 2002 and again in 2006, Labor was forced to preferences from the Greens, to retain the seat.

Since 1999, the Richmond Electorate has been served by former Melbourne Lord Mayor, Richard Wynn. Richard is well known and some might say well loved by Victoria’s GLBTI Community, due to his outspoken stance regarding legal equality for Victorians …regardless of their sexuality. As Victoria’s Minister for Housing, Richard Wynn showed extraordinary foresight and leadership with the development of … Elizabeth Street Common Ground. The precinct is Australia’s most supportive and inclusive community housing development and undoubtedly a befitting legacy to a man who has devoted so much of his life to serving the public.

The recently re-indorsed Liberal Party candidate for the seat of Richmond is a man well known to Melbourne’s Gay Community. A successful business man, he’s a publican, a poof and now a politician….Often outspoken and always passionate, its no surprise that the colourful Scotsman has already made his mark amongst the conservative rank and file within the Liberal Party.

As proprietor of the Peel Hotel in Collingwood, Tom made world headlines when he managed to win a Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal ruling granting his hotel an anti-discrimination exemption so that he could exclude heterosexuals. It was a world first where he was allowed to discriminate on the basis of ones sexuality, rather than ones gender.

In 2006 Tom and his partner of 18 years, tied the knot at the British Consulate here in Melbourne. He is opposed to gay marriage (because of its religious connection) but supports civil partnerships,