Saturday’s federal election saw a swing to the right in Victoria, but generally less so than the dramatic shift towards the Coalition in most other states that helped install Tony Abbott as Prime Minister.
With two electorates still in doubt at the time of writing, the election delivered at least 18 seats to the Australian Labor Party, who lost the three marginal seats of Corangamite in Southern Victoria and Geelong, and Deakin and La Trobe in Eastern Melbourne to Liberal Party candidates.
The Australian Greens retained their only lower house seat in the electorate of Melbourne, where marriage equality and strident LGBTI-rights advocate Adam Bandt was re-elected despite losing the Liberal Party preferences that helped propel him into the House of Representatives in 2010.
One of the Coalition’s few marriage equality supporters, Kelly O’Dwyer, retained her seat of Higgins, which encompasses the historic heart of Melbourne’s LGBTI community in the suburbs of Prahran and South Yarra. Before the election O’Dwyer promised she would advocate for a conscience vote on marriage equality within the Coalition party room.
The Senate ballot for Victoria has seen the upper house gain a marriage equality supporter in Greens Senator Janet Rice, and retain another in Labor’s Gavin Marshall.
Openly gay Liberal Party candidate Kevin Ekendahl lost the contest for Melbourne Ports for the second election running, despite a swing against longstanding Labor MP, backbencher Michael Danby.
Danby has been the focus of some controversy within the LGBTI community, after abstaining on last year’s marriage equality vote despite publicly indicating his support for the change. In this year’s campaign he was accused of hypocrisy after issuing an alternative how to vote card to members of his conservative Jewish constituency preferencing anti-LGBTI party Family First.
Another controversial Labor figure, David Feeney, was elected in the seat of Batman, despite a serious contest by Greens candidate Alex Bhathal. Former Senator Feeney’s stated support for marriage equality appears at odds with his vote against the Senate bill in June to recognise overseas same-sex marriages.
At the time of writing the North-East Victorian seat of Indi is still in doubt, with a strong campaign by independent candidate and marriage equality activist Cathy McGowan. The seat is held by Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella, whose campaign against McGowan included emotive and controversial anti-marriage equality leaflets.