After months of fierce competition for the honour of representing Melbourne Ports in the 45th Parliament, it is now beyond any doubt that Labor’s Michael Danby will retain the seat.
With only a few thousand votes left to count, neither the Liberal nor Green party candidates can usurp Labor’s lead. A swing of just 2% to the Liberals will not be enough to topple Mr Danby who has now seen off seven successive challengers.
Mr Danby expressed his gratitude to the people of Melbourne Ports for their backing and the many supporters and volunteers who contributed to the campaign.
“This endorsement is of enormous importance to me. I am a life-long Elwood resident and have dedicated much of my life to representing Melbourne Ports, so this community means the world to me.”
“I’d like to thank all of those who understood the challenge and gave me their support.” Mr Danby said.
The campaign was not without incident with Greens Party volunteers employing increasingly aggressive tactics at polling booths and at the early voting centre, leading to allegations of bullying and intimidation towards Labor voters and volunteers.
“The Greens party didn’t show much interest in electing a progressive government this election, instead trying to do preference deals with the Liberals and splashing enormous sums of money in failed efforts to supplant Labor MPs.” Mr Danby said.
A long-time advocate on the issues of animal justice and anti-discrimination and a determined opponent of the local council’s gutting of St Kilda’s cultural icons, Mr Danby also benefited from strong preference flows from the minor parties despite some of those appearing to have been set up as ‘feeder parties’ for the Greens.
The Greens party failed to make any significant gains in Melbourne Ports (3.70%) as distinct from Wills (8.60%), Higgins (8.53%) and Batman (9.88%).
Melbourne Ports is one of the highest per capita income Labor-held seats and takes in an array of contrasting areas from South Melbourne to Caulfield and Docklands to Elwood.
“It’s an incredible seat, Melbourne Ports; very culturally diverse, highly educated and politically engaged; it’s not easy to reconcile the different points of view, but it’s a pleasure to represent this great community in the federal parliament” Mr Danby said.
Ultimately voters have deserted Turnbull’s Liberals after a fumbling, directionless leadership saw them propose and then reconsider a 50% rise in the GST, state government income taxes and retrospective changes to superannuation.
Likewise, many Greens voters understood Labor’s positions on Medicare, renewable energy, Melbourne Metro rail, the National Broadband Network, university funding and penalty rates.
“This was without doubt the most ugly campaign that has ever been mounted against me in my 18 years in the job, with many fly-in-fly-out campaigners from north of the Yarra”
“But I’m thankful that our message was a positive one, which appealed to people’s better sense of fairness and presented a strong, credible, united Labor alternative government”
“I’m looking forward to getting on with holding this bumbling government to account and – as always – fiercely advocating for the interests of the people of Melbourne Ports” Mr Danby said.