Did the Suburban Rail Loop win the Victorian election for Labor?
Yowser. I think that accurately describes what happened on Saturday 24th at the Victorian state election.
The ALP under the leadership of Daniel Andrews will be returned with, what looks like, a minimum of 55 seats out of the 88 that exist in the Legislative Assembly.
Save for the seat of Bulleen, Matthew Guy's seat, and two northern suburbs peculiarities, all legislative assembly seats lying in the path of the ALP's Suburban Rail Loop switched from Liberal to Labor.
All seat-by-seat results discussed below were present on the ABC's seat breakdown as 12:30am on the 25th of November.
Starting on the eastern side of the bay and working our way anti-clockwise, Mordialloc & Carrum (which share a boundary near Cheltenham - the foreshadowed terminus of the Suburban Rail Loop) have seen swings of 12% and 14% respectively.
The safe Labor seat of Clarinda now has a two-party-preferred of 70:30 (an increase of 4% to Labor), and the seat of Oakleigh which hosts Monash University's Clayton campus has seen an 8% swing to the Labor member.
Heading northwards we reach the seats that have flipped from Liberal to Labor.
The seat of Mount Waverley which will host the station at Glen Waverley has a 6% swing to Labor which the ABC are predicting will be gained by Labor. Next door in the seat of Burwood - the seat which hosts Deakin University's campus - the ABC has given that seat to ALP with almost a 9% swing.
And then Box Hill - the seat that's already seeing rapid change and will be the northern terminus of the first phase of the Suburban Rail Loop, the ALP have picked up that seat from the Liberals as well with a 7% swing.
North of Box Hill is Bulleen - Matthew Guy's seat - and even though the opposition leader will hold the seat, he wasn't immune from the swings with the ALP candidate clawing 5% away from the Liberal leader. Bulleen will host Doncaster's station.
Heading Westward, the second seat (after Bulleen) that would see the second phase of the Suburban Rail Loop - Ivanhoe (hosting Heidelberg's interchange station) - has seen an 8% swing to the incumbent. The seat of Bundoora which will host La Trobe University's station saw a 5% swing to the ALP.
In Labor heartland, Preston which will host the interchange station at Reservoir, there's been a 2.5% swing to the Greens against the sitting Labor member. The two-party-preferred vote according to the ABC is 72:28 however.
Next door in Pascoe Vale where the Fawkner interchange is located (the station is more accurately just inside the seat of Pascoe Vale near the boundary with the seat of Preston), there's been a 10% swing away from Labor to an independent candidate.
Up in the seat of Broadmeadows, the incumbent has seen a 4% swing bringing his two-party-preferred to 82:18.
In the seat of Sunbury - hosting the Airport and the future station on the Suburban Rail Loop/Airport Rail Link - there was a 10% swing and in the seat of St Albans which takes in Sunshine, a 4% swing to Labor is registered.
The seats of Kororoit, Tarneit and Werribee which will see the other end of the Surban Rail Loop as well as the benefits of the ALP's Western Rail Plan all registered swings of 6%, 5% and 1% to Labor respectively.
There's already a tonne of commentary about the how, the why and the what on the bloodbath that has been thrust upon the opposition - much of it has tended to focus on Federal implications, how Victoria is now the unparalleled progressive leader in the country and how ineffective the law and order angle the Liberals pursued has been. That might be true (or not) but the Premier said it himself in his victory speech.
Shit's getting done (I'm quoting Jon Faine from The Drum on Friday here) and despite the Suburban Rail Loop coming out of nowhere, voters have responded accordingly. Mount Waverley, Burwood and Box Hill are now red with blue on two sides - as outlined above, they are the seats which the Suburban Rail Loop maps released to date pass through.
Regardless if it was a factor or not, an enormous responsibility to get it right now falls on the returned government.
We now know the Treasurer is on board with financing other projects through state debt - Airport Rail Link, North East Link and more level crossings removals were cited as the beneficiaries of the cheap finance - but what of the Suburban Rail Loop?
Interesting times ahead.
Lead image credit: bigbuild.vic.gov.au.