BOTH major parties have promised major investment in Frankston to try to convince voters to back their candidate in this week’s state election.
The Liberal and Labor parties have pledged tens of millions of dollars to upgrade Frankston train station and its surrounds, provide more funding for Chisholm TAFE and increase health services spending at Frankston Hospital.
Opinion polls favour the Labor Party to win back government after the defeat of the Brumby government in 2010, but a week is a long time in politics and the Liberals could still retain government.
Premier Denis Napthine must hope the innately conservative Victorian electorate do not decide to make his Coalition the first one-term government in the state’s history and give him another chance to impress having taken the reins when his predecessor Ted Baillieu stepped down early last year.
Labor opposition leader Daniel Andrews, or Dan as he now prefers to be called, seems poised to lead his party back into government but faces criticism concerning Labor’s refusal to give their costings for about $3.2 billion worth of pre-election pledges to Treasury for assessment.
Mr Andrews has said Labor’s costings will be “signed off” by accountancy firm Moore Stephens before polling day this Saturday 29 November.
Frankston and the marginal bayside seats of Carrum, Mordialloc and Bentleigh along the Frankston line will be crucial in determining which party forms government.
Former Liberal, now independent, MP Geoff Shaw’s frequent clashes with Premier Napthine have ensured the Frankston result will be a high-profile one at this state election.
Liberal candidate Sean Armistead and Labor hopeful Paul Edbrooke have struggled to escape the shadow of Geoff Shaw at times during the pre-election campaign but there is little doubt that one of those two will be Frankston’s next member of parliament.
Mr Shaw’s time in the political limelight is drawing to a close, barring a political miracle on polling day. The maverick MP is expected to win less than 10 per cent of the vote but his preferences could ultimately decide whether the Liberals or Labor win the seat.
If the major parties honour their pre-election promises Frankston could be a winner no matter which party wins government.
Headline pledges by both major parties include plans to upgrade the Frankston train station precinct into a transport hub with a multi-storey carpark (‘Fast track for station upgrade’, The Times 17/11/14) and pledges to remove several level crossings along the Frankston line to ease traffic congestion.
Fourteen candidates will contest the Frankston election, including several independents, and preference flows could again be crucial to the outcome if the majority of voters decide not to vote ‘below the line’.
The candidates in order of the ballot paper draw by the Victorian Electoral Commission are:
-Sean Armistead (Liberal Party)
-Anthony Wallace (Australian Christians)
-Joseph Toscano (Independent)
-Jeanette Swain (Australian Greens)
-Alan Nicholls (People Power Victoria/No Smart Meters)
-Jamie Miller (Australian Sex Party)
-Marianne Tootall (Independent)
-Paul Edbrooke (Australian Labor Party)
-Reade Smith (Independent)
-Jerome Breen (Independent)
-Paul Mason (Family First)
-Geoff Shaw (Independent)
-Mervyn Vogt (Independent)
-Lin Tregenza (Rise Up Australia Party)
Five candidates will contest the seat of Carrum:
-Richard Vernay (Family First)
-Donna Bauer (Liberal Party)
-Sonya Kilkenny (Australian Labor Party)
-Henry Kelsall (Australian Greens)
-Margaret Quinn (Rise Up Australia)
Since the seat of Frankston’s 1967 inception, whichever party has won the seat has formed government.
Whether this will be the case this time around will be determined on Saturday.
Whichever candidate wins will be under pressure almost immediately to be a ‘champion for Frankston’ and ensure Liberal or Labor pre-election promises are honoured, be it their party in power or in opposition.
Frankston will not forget.