Victoria’s Labor government has achieved an overwhelming victory at the state election, securing majority government and coming close to controlling both houses of parliament. While counting is still ongoing, Labor won almost 43 per cent of the primary vote, with support for the state Liberal Party dropping to a little more than 30 per cent. Labor candidates won in several blue-ribbon Liberal seats in Melbourne’s east, while independent candidates were challenging the Nationals in country electorates Mildura and Benambra. In the Legislative Council, complex preference deals appear to have cost the Greens four of their five upper house seats, with as many as 10 seats likely to be filled by microparties such as the Transport Workers Party, Sustainable Australia and the Aussie Battlers Party.
A group of 34 former judges has urged prime minister Scott Morrison to support a national anti-corruption body. In an open letter organised by progressive lobby group the Australia Institute, former High Court Chief Justice Michael Brennan, former Federal Court judge Jane Mathews and former NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption commissioner David Ipp warned that “existing federal integrity agencies lack the necessary jurisdiction, powers and know-how” to combat corruption in federal politics, and that “confidence and trust in government and public institutions is at an all-time low”. The crossbench push for a federal ICAC will be strengthened when Wentworth MP Kerryn Phelps takes her seat in parliament today, in time to vote for fellow independent Cathy McGowan’s private members bill creating a national integrity commission.
Leaders of the European Union have approved the United Kingdom’s proposed withdrawal agreement, ending more than 18 months of negotiations to enact Brexit. In a meeting lasting less than an hour, the 27 leaders of the EU nations gave their assent to UK prime minister Theresa May’s 585-page withdrawal agreement, and to a 26-page Political Declaration governing future diplomatic and trade relations. The UK parliament will vote on May’s Brexit deal on December 12, with MPs from several political parties vowing to oppose it.
And Liberal senator for NSW, Jim Molan, has withdrawn from a scheduled appearance on the ABC TV’s Q&A tonight after being demoted to an unwinnable position on the party’s Senate ticket. In a preselection ballot on Saturday, NSW Liberals placed disability support advocate Hollie Hughes and former Business Council of Australia executive Andrew Bragg ahead of Molan, who was pushed into the Coalition ticket’s unwinnable fourth spot, while the Nationals’ Perin Davey was placed third. Molan told the ABC he “cannot bring myself to defend my party at the moment”.