Docklanders desert Libs in Greens rout

Voters in Docklands mirrored their Melbourne counterparts with an overwhelming vote for the Greens in the last federal election, but it was a sharp turn against the Liberal Party that was perhaps the most notable trend locally.

A total of 1,702 voters headed to the polls at Victoria Harbor Library in The Dock on Saturday 21 May, up slightly from last year’s total of 1,667.

Nearly half of voters (47.6 per cent) in Docklands put a ‘1’ next to Greens leader Adam Bandt in his lower house document, largely in line with the entire Melbourne electorate.

Mr Bandt was elected with a whopping 50.9 per cent primary vote in Melbourne, the first time a candidate had received more than half of all the first preference votes in the seat since the Labor Party in 2004. Chosen by For the first time in 2010, the victory secured Mr. Bandt a fifth consecutive term.

This distribution of votes in the Docklands primary was a strong result for the Greens, who have never received more than 40 per cent in the local area. Since the 2010 election, the first time the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) opened a polling place in the Docklands, votes in the local area have bucked the trend of the electorate and influenced more Conservative than the rest of Melbourne.

For example, in 2019, the Liberal Party received only 21.5% of the vote in the primary in Melbourne; however, that figure was considerably higher in Docklands at 34.6%.

However, in 2022, local voters turned their backs on the Liberals, and it was a damning result for candidate James Damches.

While the swing against the Liberal Party in the electorate was 7.1 per cent, in Docklands the swing was more than 17 per cent.

That is, the party received just 16.4 percent of the vote in the Docklanders’ primary (from a high of 41 percent in 2013).

Indeed, such was the Liberal Party’s lack of confidence in the Melbourne headquarters, a source said. Docklands News that when they cast their vote there were no liberal volunteers handing out “how to vote” flyers at the Library at the Dock.

It was also the first time that more Docklanders voted Labor (23.7 per cent) than the Liberals, noting that the first time the area hosted a local polling place was in 2010.

That year, and the two following elections (in 2013 and 2016), locals cast their ballots at The Hub on the Harbor Esplanade, before moving to the Library at the Dock for the 2019 count.

As the Greens enjoyed an eighth successive election in which their primary vote rose in the Melbourne seat, voters across the borough expressed frustration with waiting times at polling places.

This included the Library at the Dock, where a local took to social media to complain about a wait of more than two hours at the polling station.

Similar queues were reported at nearby North Melbourne Primary School.

The issue was forecast by the AEC ahead of Election Day, who said the delays in the issue were largely due to COVID-19.

In fact, the commission hired a record 105,000 staff for the 2022 election, including additional staff for security, as well as padding for rotation.

The humble sausage of democracy was provided this year by volunteers at the Alma Doepel; a five-minute walk down North Wharf from the library.

Jamal Hakim, a resident of Docklands and the City of Melbourne, cast his vote that day and noted the privileged position we have in a functioning democracy.

“Today is about democracy in action. I voted at the Docklands Library. What a fabulous sunny day. I take seriously our obligation and responsibility to vote, as it is an important part of our democracy. I will continue to fight for bodily autonomy, equity, and representation,” he said.

Docklands votes: Greens rise, Liberals decline

  • 2016: Greens 31.9 percent of first preference votes, Liberals 39.8 percent
  • 2019: Greens 38 percent, Liberals 34.6 percent
  • 2022: Greens 47.6%, Liberals 16.4%

Shown above is the percentage of first preference votes received in Docklands in the last three federal elections.

Burns returned in Macnamara

For the residents of Yarra’s Edge on the south side of the Yarra River, the news of who would lead them for the next three years in the Federal Parliament remained a mystery until May 31, more than a week after the federal election.

Labor MP Josh Burns ultimately retained his seat ahead of the Greens’ candidate, Steph-Hodgins May, despite a nearly six percent shift to her party. Labour’s victory at Macnamara gave him his magical 76th seat and a majority government.

The Macnamara branch represents Southbank, Fishermans Bend, Port Phillip and the Caulfield region. Mr. Burns defeated Liberal Party candidate Colleen Harkin in the bipartisan preference, but faced a strong challenge from Ms. Hodgins-May, who finished second in the first preference. •

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