Victorian election: What we did together
When Fair Agenda launched earlier this year, we asked members – everyday Australians like you – to tell us which issues you wanted to see on the agenda.
When Fair Agenda launched earlier this year, we asked members – everyday Australians like you – to tell us which issues you wanted to see on the agenda. Two of the issues that members said were top concerns were family violence and reproductive rights –- that’s why, for the past two months, Fair Agenda members have worked together to keep these issues on the agenda, and to collect the information Victorians need to cast a vote in line with their values.
And together, we’ve had a big impact. Here’s what we were able to achieve in the past eight weeks:
On reproductive rights
Before the election, polling showed that 85% of Victorian voters support the legal right to choose to have a termination – and that 48% of voters would be likely to shift their vote away from those who attacked abortion laws. It meant shining a light on where candidates stand during the election was going to be powerful.
That’s why Fair Agenda members and partners came together to ask more than 300 candidates four simple questions about where they stand on critical reproductive rights issues. Together, we collected responses from140 candidates, and got the survey and its results covered in both major Victorian papers - the Herald Sun and The Age.
With support from Fair Agenda members who chipped in to help us buy crucial online advertising space, we were then able to get this critical information about candidate positions in front of thousands of voters in the 3 key marginal raceswhere anti-choice candidates had a chance of winning seats, and to ensure our message was put in front of key Victorian facebook users more than 33,000 times in the week leading up to the election.
On current predictions, none of the anti-choice candidates in these key races were elected to parliament (though a number of key anti-choice parliamentarians and parties were elected in other races for safe and upper house seats); and 44 of the parliamentarians expected to win seats are publicly committed to protecting reproductive rights. It’s an important foundation for the next parliament, and Fair Agenda members were part of the effort that made it possible.
On family violence
Fair Agenda worked with the experts to survey and score the parties’ policies on family violence, and in the week before the election Fair Agenda members worked together to get this scorecard in front of more than6,000 voters online.
The scorecard and campaign were also covered by The Age, and ABC News in the week leading up to the election - providing a critical resource for voters like Carmen who wanted to use their vote to support action on family violence this election...
The exact result of Saturday’s vote won’t be known for a few weeks yet – with question marks above key lower house races and Legislative Council seats remaining.
But here’s what we do know about Victoria’s new parliament:
It’s expected that women will make up approximately 47% of the Labor caucus. A fantastic step towards equality in our parliaments!1
Yesterday Premier Daniel Andrews announced a new Cabinet made up of 9 women and 13 men2 – a significant improvement on the proportion of women appointed to the previous cabinet, and more than 9 times the number of women currently serving in our federal Cabinet.
Emma Kealy, Nationals MP has been elected as the member for Lowan – and will be the first woman ever to represent the Wimmera region in state or federal politics.3 Stephanie Ryan MP is also making history as the youngest woman ever elected to represent the Nationals in the Victorian Parliament, and as the new deputy leader of the party. Congratulations to these two history making women!4
The government will not have a majority in the Legislative Council – and will need to work with other parties to pass legislation. While seats aren’t confirmed yet, on current projections the parties the Government is expected to have to negotiate with could include: the Greens, Shooters & Fishers, Country Alliance, Democratic Labor Party, Sex Party and Vote 1 Local Jobs party. Of these parties – the Greens and Sex Party have public pro-choice positions; and the DLP have already stated they plan to launch attacks on the Abortion Law Reform Act.
As the new Victorian government get to work, Fair Agenda members will have to keep working together to ensure the issues that matter to us remain on the agenda – including showing key decision makers that the public support the actions experts say are required on family violence, and making sure anti-choice parties aren't able to build momentum for attacks on our reproductive rights.
This was the first major election campaign Fair Agenda members have fought together -- and we’ve still got a long way to go to make sure the issues Fair Agenda members care about stay on the political agenda across the country. But this campaign shows us what's possible when we work together. NSW and Queensland both have state elections in 2015. Together we can make sure that Fair Agenda is heard loud and clear across Australia.
1. The incoming Victorian State government sure has a lot of women of calibre, SMH, 4 December 2014.
2. Premier-elect Daniel Andrews reveals his cabinet but not their portfolios at caucus meeting, The Age, 3 December 2014.
3. Nationals candidate Emma Kealy wins Lowan and becomes the Wimmera's first female MP, ABC News, 1 December 2014.
4. New Nationals MP Stephanie Ryan breaks the country party's mould, The Age, 3 December 2014.