By Cam Lucadou-Wells
The Labor Government’s landslide win in the State Election has been mirrored in its Greater Dandenong heartland, which has now deepened in red.
Premier Daniel Andrews, front-benchers Martin Pakula and Luke Donnellan, Gabrielle Williams, Sonya Kilkenny and Tim Richardson were returned with significant swings, with Greater Dandenong councillor Meng Heang Tak becoming Clarinda’s new MP.
In the Upper House south-east metro region, the ALP gained a rare third seat through physics professor and new MP Tien Dung Kieu.
Liberal MP Inga Peulich and Greens MP Nina Springle faced uphill battles to retain their jobs.
According to the ABC News predictor, Transport Matters candidate Ali Khan is in front of them. With just over 1 per cent of the vote, the micro-party has benefited from a profitable flow of preferences.
Gavin Jennings and Adem Somyurek (both ALP) and Gordon Rich-Phillips (Liberal) have been returned to the Upper House.
Dandenong MP Gabrielle Williams achieved one of the highest-ever votes in her seat, nearly 75 per cent in two-party-preferred terms. She scored one of the state’s strongest swings.
Ms Williams said voters had profoundly rejected the Opposition’s “negative and at times hateful” campaign and its “simplistic” politics.
“With law and order, it was something people cared about and felt personally but they didn’t believe Matthew Guy was the solution.
“Their campaign treated people like idiots.”
The Government’s infrastructure, schools, TAFE and hospitals investments over the past four years were rewarded by voters, she said.
The priorities were to continue to cut unemployment in the South East and push behind “game-changers” such as the Team 11 A-League bid.
Premier Daniel Andrews, as well as leading his Government to a spectacular triumph, scored an emphatic 9 per cent two-party swing in his Mulgrave seat.
Mulgrave had tightened to a marginal seat at the 2014 State Election. Now Mr Andrews holds the seat with a safe 13 per cent margin.
It was a disappointing end for Liberal opponent and former MP Maree Davenport. Her 15-month “grass-roots” campaign had been out-resourced by the Premier’s electorate office mailouts and high-profile advertising, she said.
“There was a swing that is consistent with seats across the metropolitan area.
“Why? With the crime, the rorts, the Sky Rail… I don’t get it.
”People have voted and got what they deserved.”
Ms Davenport said the State party suffered due to leadership turmoil in the Coalition Federal Government.
“Unfortunately there are elements in the party that are out to further themselves and their agenda.”
She paid tribute to Ms Peulich’s hard work and passion, but some other Liberal MPs “did nothing in their electorate”.
“We need to reflect on why the Liberal Party was formed and what we believe in and stick with it.
“There’s going to be a lot of blood letting and cannibalism but I’m not going to be any part of that.”
Attorney-General and Racing Minister Martin Pakula comfortably retained Keysborough with nearly 65 per cent of the two-party vote.
His 2.7 per cent swing against former Frankston mayor Darrel Taylor was relatively modest compared to the statewide ‘Danslide’.