VOTE1 Local Jobs has been named as one of a handful of parties in contention for the region’s fifth upper house seat.
The new political party spearheaded by Port Fairy accountant James Purcell has been identified by ABC election analyst Antony Green as one of five contenders likely to secure the much-coveted final spot.
“(Western Victoria) is a critical contest where preference harvesting could deliver victory to a micro or minor party,” Mr Green told the ABC. “Labor and the Coalition will elect two seats and have a third seat in play against the Greens and whichever micro party can benefit from preference harvesting.”
Country Alliance, Democratic Labour, the Greens, Palmer United and Vote1 Local Jobs are all considered by Mr Green to be in with a shot of winning the fifth seat due to preference deals among the minor parties.
“I think the field is more narrow than (the ABC prediction),” Mr Purcell said. “It’s really down to a competition between Vote1 Local Jobs and The Greens.”
All-important group voting tickets were a source of debate yesterday as the preferences of each of the 17 parties contesting the upper house became clear.
Mr Purcell and National Party MP David O’Brien were critical of each other’s preference deals, which are crucial for either candidate to win later this month.
Mr O’Brien said Mr Purcell’s decision to preference the Animal Justice Party ahead of the Coalition undermined the Vote1 Local Jobs commitment to jumps racing.
“The Animal Justice Party’s clearly stated position is to ban jumps racing in Victoria,” the National Party MP said.
“Mr Purcell is doing backroom deals with minor parties irrespective of where they stand on important issues. It’s important that these preference flows are made public prior to November 29.”
Mr O’Brien said south-west voters were well-represented by the Coalition given Premier Denis Napthine was based in the region.
The Vote1 Local Jobs leader said the Animal Justice Party was 15th out of 18 parties on the ballot, the lowest out of all minor groups preferenced.
“We had a commitment earlier this year to put the Greens and major parties last because Animal Justice weren’t floating around back then,” Mr Purcell said. “If they were, I would have put them last but I believe in sticking by our commitments.”