Melbourne Ports federal election: Wow that was close!

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By Daniel Wilson

It took weeks to count the votes. No one could say for sure who had won. No one wanted to concede defeat. It was a nail-bitingly-close three horse race between Labor, the Liberals and the Greens.

What were the candidates to do? Ten days after the election they were still rallying the troops. Liberal candidate Owen Guest said, “With only 66 per cent of the vote counted in Melbourne Ports … we are still in with a chance.”

Guest lead in the primary vote with over 40 per cent, but Labor incumbent Michael Danby benefitted from Greens preferences to inch past the Liberal candidate.

Had the Greens candidate Steph Hodgins-May managed to advance past Danby in the primary vote, and at times it looked possible, it would have catapulted her into a close two-party-preferred race with Owen Guest.

All three parties scrutinised every vote.

Greens Lead Organiser for Melbourne Ports Lucy Wells asserted, “We’ve worked too hard, and campaigned for too long, to not do everything in our power to make sure that every Greens vote in Melbourne Ports is counted”

A factor why counting in Melbourne Ports went at a snail’s pace was due to an unusually high number of postal and absentee votes. This has prompted some to suggest the Australian Electoral Commission should transition to electronic voting.

Eyal Halamish, CEO of, a digital democracy organisation told St Kilda News, “The role of digital is becoming more and more prevalent and we are getting closer and closer to the day when we don’t have to wait this long for the result.”

Although pressed, Halamish would not hazard a prediction as to who would take Melbourne Ports. He submitted, “It’s a knife edge race and it’s exciting to watch democracy at the edge of our seats”.

Liberal candidate Owen Guest - Photo by Donna Killeen

Liberal candidate Owen Guest – Photo by Donna Killeen

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