Bumpy start to Victorian election campaign

November 04, 2022 09:58 AM AEDT | By AAPNEWS
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The wheels are turning on the Victorian state election campaign but both major parties are off to a bumpy start.

Labor rolled out its traditional big red bus on the first official day of the campaign for the November 26 poll.

The coalition kickstarted its campaign with a 1970s-style ambulance dubbed the "Ditch Danmobile", complete with its own Twitter page.

Daniel Andrews' week went downhill as he was forced to bat away repeated questions about a 2013 car crash involving his family, after the young man who was seriously injured cast doubt on the premier's version of events.

The timing of the Herald Sun story raised the eyebrows of Monash University political scientist Zareh Ghazarian.

"The timing is really interesting. Just as the campaign starts, for this to come out," he told AAP.

A legal stoush over an Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission draft report cast a further cloud over the campaign, with the watchdog granted an injunction to stop The Age from publishing any information about it.

Dr Ghazarian believes the IBAC situation could impact the election narrative, but notes the report into Labor's "red shirts" scandal didn't derail the party four years ago.

"The Labor Party performed really strongly in 2018," he said.

"Whether that's going to have any impact ... based on recent history, you wouldn't be holding your breath."

While published polling suggests Labor is on track for a third term in office, former Victorian Liberal deputy state director Tony Barry said voter disengagement has left the door open for the Liberals.

"It's going to be very difficult (to win) but it's so volatile and febrile out there you wouldn't rule it out," he told AAP.

"The Age had it right with the Resolve poll that said there was a 27 per cent soft vote. You only need five points of that 27 per cent to land in your column and suddenly it's a tight race."

The Ditch Danmobile political stunt somewhat backfired on the Liberals, as a union noted it may be illegal to plaster the word "ambulance" on a vehicle under the Ambulance Services Act.

Liberal leader Matthew Guy couldn't hide his frustration as his promise of water bill relief for households gave way to a barrage of questions about the vintage van.

"I won't be lectured from the Labor Party when it comes to political advertising," he boomed.

Since returning to the top job last year, Mr Guy's advisors have been keen to soften his image after the coalition's law and order-focused 2018 campaign ended in an election thumping.

Mr Barry said the image of the party leader's irritation bubbling to the surface wouldn't worry voters.

"There's far bigger things - it's all cost of living," he said.

The senior pollster with Redbridge said the Victorian election was struggling to rate a mention with voters amid the latest interest rate rise and a 56 per cent energy price hike forecast in the federal budget.

"Financially, they've been barely hanging on by their fingernails for the last 12 months and now it's hit them that this is going to continue for years, not months," Mr Barry said.


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