A NEW preferencing strategy has boosted the Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) chances of winning the fifth upper house seat representing the south-west.
The DLP has officially signed a pre-election deal with two other minor parties — Australian Christians and Rise Up Australia (RUAP) — ahead of the November state election.
The three religious-conservative parties have almost no chance of winning lower house seats but could win a seat or two in the Legislative Council due to the upper house’s preferencing system.
RUAP leader Daniel Nalliah said as part of the deal, the three parties would specifically target two of Victoria’s six upper house regions.
The DLP will be in the driver’s seat for Western Victoria, with preferences from the other two parties redirected to the Democratic Labour candidate.
“Once we have shared preferences between our three parties, then we would look to preferencing Family First and Palmer United before the major parties,” Mr Nalliah said.
“If a Liberal or Labor candidate is pro-life, then we will preference one candidate over the other who is pro-choice. If both are pro-choice, then we’ll preference whichever party has more pro-life candidates in its ranks.”
DLP state secretary Michael Murphy said the party had a front-runner for its preselection with an announcement scheduled for the next week or so.
“We’ve put a lot of thought into the process and Western Victoria has been a key area for us for quite some time,” Mr Murphy said.
The protectionist and social conservative party was formed in the 1950s after a split in the Labor party over the influence of communism.
It became a significant third force in the 1960s but its influence waned during the Whitlam years.
Geelong-based solicitor Peter Kavanagh reinvigorated the party when he became the DLP’s first parliamentary member in three decades,winning a Western Victoria region seat at the 2006 state election.
Mr Kavanagh indicated earlier this year he was unlikely to recontest Western Victoria. Australian Christians have selected Ballarat teacher Anne Foster as their Western Victoria candidate.