Results: Batman is Reddy for Geddy18 March 2018
Labor’s Ged Kearney has won an incredibly close by-election in Melbourne’s electorate of Batman, beating out perennial Greens candidate, Alex Bhathal, in a seat that many predicted Labor would lose.
The results may still be ongoing with postal and pre-polling results to come in over the next few days, but Kearney’s lead appears to remain constant.
As it stands, Kearney is sitting on 54.1 per cent of the two-party-preferred vote, compared to Bhathal’s 45.9 per cent.
The race stretched from Thornbury to Bundoora, with voters traditionally divided by the Bell Street demarcation with Greens voter doing strongly south whilst the converse can be seen up north. This was especially true with the key polling booth of Northcote recording over 58.7 per cent primary votes to the Greens but at the expense of a six per cent swing to Labor.
Similarly, Reservoir, a booth that the Greens hoped to take saw Labor retaking it at the expense of 4.5 per cent swing but still retaining it on the basis of two-party preferred votes at 55-45 respectively.
The general consensus of the by-election was that the Greens would have to gain 3 per cent north of Bell Street or Labor would have to do the same south vice-versa. With a required swing of 1 per cent, Labor faced an uphill battle to retain a seat marred by controversy. However, the events that transpired throughout the night was that whilst Labor indeed lost ground north of Bell Street, they made insurmountable gains south with one notable example being an 11.2 per cent two-party preferred swing in Northcote South and a 6.7 per cent swing in Thornbury, contrasting their shock loss to Lidia Thorpe in Northcote in the 2017 state by-election.
Speaking to party supporters at approximately 9:30pm, Ms Bhathal officially conceded the election for the Greens saying “Regardless of the outcome we will have strong progressive woman representing us in this seat and I wish Ged all the very best in Canberra.” The result just demonstrates the volatility of the 44th Parliament of Australia and that the result may have been more optimistic than anticipated for Labor.
You can check out the rest of our coverage of the Batman by-election here.
Image credit: Blue Mountains Gazette.