It’s official: Northe, Blackwood retain seats

Successful candidates for the seats of Morwell and Narracan have been officially declared by the Victorian Electoral Commission, as results for the lower house were finalised this week.

Coalition incumbents Russell Northe and Gary Blackwood were re-elected.

After preferences, Mr Northe drew 51.8 per cent of the vote and Labor’s Jadon Mintern drew 48.2 per cent.

In first preference votes, Morwell residents shifted back to their Labor roots, favouring Jadon Mintern in all four of the town’s booths.

The 2010 election saw Russell Northe marginally poll better than Labor in every Morwell booth.

This year Traralgon booths, including Traralgon South, remained conservative, with Northe polling better than Mintern.

The outlying towns of Boolarra, Cowwarr, Glengarry, Hazelwood North, Toongabbie, Tyers and Yinnar also favoured The Nationals.

Churchill residents directed 643 votes to Labor, compared with 551 to The Nationals, while Yallourn North favoured Labor 253 votes to The Nationals’ 196.

Early voters favoured The Nationals, but it was a tight contest, with Mr Northe polling 6330 and Mr Mintern 5055.

In the Narracan electorate, which takes in Moe, the town proved to be Labor heartland, with Kate Marten drawing significantly more votes than Mr Blackwood in all three Moe booths.

Upper house

Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Danny O’Brien says he is in favour of a review of the upper house voting system, describing it as having gone “too far towards representing minor parties”.

The Victorian Electoral Commission is still counting votes for the upper house, with official declarations due to be made by Wednesday next week.

However, Liberal Edward O’Donohue, Labor’s Harriet Shing and Mr O’Brien, are set to be elected, with the ABC predicting Shooters and Fishers Party candidate Jeffrey Bourman and Labor’s Daniel Mulino will also be successful in the five-seat Eastern Region.

Mr O’Brien said it was great to be officially elected by the people, after replacing longstanding member Peter Hall earlier this year upon his retirement from politics.

He said it was disappointing his colleague, Liberal member Andrew Ronalds – who replaced Philip Davis after his retirement in January – had not been successful this election.

“Nonetheless, Edward O’Donohue and I will be there to keep the government to account,” Mr O’Brien said.

“We’ll also be pursuing them to implement a number of the commitments we made which we think are crucial to Gippsland’s future including the duplication of the rail line between Bunyip and Longwarry.”

Mr O’Brien said a number of minor parties had been elected to the upper house through “complex preference arrangements”.

“They work within the system, but I think the system’s now gone too far towards representing minor parties.

“When people are getting elected with two per cent of the vote, you have to question how representative they are.

“I’d be in favour of the review of the upper house voting system to make it more democratic.”