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Upper house election results confirmed

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In a state election that saw Labor and Premier Daniel Andrews convincingly re-elected, results from the upper house will mean that Labor now needs six crossbench votes to pass legislation in the future.

The official calculation of upper house results took place on Wednesday.

Political experts described the upper house crossbench as ‘diverse and progressive’, with negotiations to pass any contentious legislation expected to be difficult in this term of parliament.

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In the Northern Victoria region, Labor’s Jaclyn Symes and the Liberals’ Wendy Lovell retain their seats and will be joined by Gaelle Broad, of the Nationals, and Georgia Purcell of the Animal Justice Party.

A Pauline Hanson’s One Nation candidate was elected into the Victorian Parliament for the first time, with Rikkie-Lee Tyrrell winning a seat in the Northern Victoria Region, while Tania Maxwell of Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party was not re-elected.

Ms Maxwell attributed her loss to her party’s contentious preference deal with the Animal Justice Party, and said the Northern Victoria region still needed attention to deliver important reforms.

“There is much work left to do to ensure … important reforms that we have worked closely with our communities to advocate for are finally delivered,” she said.

“Delivery of the new mental health reforms need to reflect the specific needs of our regional communities, and ambulance response times in Northern Victoria remain a barrier to accessing timely healthcare.

“Family violence rates remain high in northern Victorian communities and yet we have no specialist family violence court or legal aid office in the north-east.”

Despite her election loss, Ms Maxwell thanked the organisations, councils, community groups and individuals she had worked with during her time as MP.

“I appreciate the time that each of you gave every piece of correspondence, every meeting, and to developing the policies and proposals that we took to the government to push for action,” she said.

Further south, former Labor MP Adem Somyurek was elected in the Northern Metropolitan region, now representing the Democratic Labor Party following his resignation from Labor in October.

Formerly the MP for the South-Eastern Metropolitan Region, Mr Somyurek was sacked from cabinet in 2020 following allegations of his involvement in branch stacking, a method used to influence the outcome of internal preselection of candidates by recruiting members for a party’s localised branch.

He sat as an independent following his departure from Labor, publicly criticising Mr Andrews and his former party on multiple occasions.

The Northern Metropolitan region will also consist of Sheena Watt and Enver Erdogan, both Labory, Evan Mulholland from the Liberals, and Samantha Ratnam from the Greens.

Despite a record number of votes cast in this year’s state election – 3,828,791 lower house votes and 3,877,213 upper house votes, the overall proportion of Victorians casting a vote continues to decline.

This year’s votes represented a turnout of 88.14 per cent in the lower house and 88.23 per cent in the upper house – compared to a 90.16 per cent turnout at the 2018 election.

Acting electoral commissioner Dana Fleming said it was encouraging to see that levels of informal voting had decreased.

“This is a pleasing outcome, and it’s great to see that our extensive efforts to help the community understand how to cast a vote correctly may have been having an impact,” she said.

“We will be conducting an in-depth study on informal voting in 2023, analysing ballot paper from this election, to help us better understand why and how people are voting informally.”

A further update on electoral participation trends and informal voting is expected to be provided in 2023.

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