By Sean Car
While Greens MP Adam Bandt is to be congratulated for tightening his grip on the seat of Melbourne, the result leaves many wondering why the major parties put forward such weak candidates.
After Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Coalition government claimed a shock victory on May 18, Bill Shorten and Labor might be wishing they had invested more energy into winning back seats like Melbourne.
Mr Bandt claimed a fourth successive victory in a landslide, winning more than 50 per cent of the primary vote and more than 70 per cent on preferences overall. His nearest opponent, unknown Liberal candidate Lauren Sherson, recorded just over 26 per cent overall. A Sher-lacking!
As Melbourne’s crown as the progressive capital has strengthened over the past decade, so too has the Greens’ hold on the seat. However, prior to 2010, it was held by Labor since Federation.
Victorian Premier Dan Andrews and his Labor government recently recorded a landslide election win in November on the most progressive policy platform this state has ever seen; a fact not lost on Federal Labor which invested plenty of its resources into leveraging Andrews’ success in its own pursuit of government.
However, those same resources seem to have bypassed the seat of Melbourne, with Labor putting forward unknown 29-year-old school teacher Luke Creasey several months out from election day.
While youth should serve as no barrier to entering politics, Labor couldn’t have seriously thought that a candidate with next to no political experience could challenge Mr Bandt, could they?
But we didn’t even get to find out. Mr Creasey was ultimately brought undone by some unfortunate Facebook posts he made several years ago, resigning before the electorate were even given the chance to have its say.
No one doubts that Mr Bandt is a worthy member for Melbourne. He continues to serve the electorate with unwavering dedication to his supporter base and for that he is to be congratulated.
But locals might appreciate a choice come the next election. While the Libs are probably never going to pose much of a threat here, even their supporter base must question the legitimacy of self-proclaimed “global entrepreneur” Lauren Sherson.
Might Labor choose to put forward a serious challenger come next election that is given time well ahead of polling day to connect with the people of Melbourne, it might just make a difference.
After all, if it means contributing to unseating a Scott Morrison government and achieving greater action on issues like climate change, perhaps some Greens voters might be persuaded to change their preference …