Taylor makes history as Labor retains Albert Park
Labor’s Nina Taylor has become the first woman to serve the Albert Park electorate, after the Southbank resident and former upper house MP claimed victory in the Victorian Election.
As it has since 1950, Albert Park remained in Labor hands after Ms Taylor saluted on November 26, successfully maintaining the party’s grip on the electorate.
Labor’s primary vote had received a hit of around seven per cent at the polls when compared with the 2018 election (at the time of publication, when more than 80 per cent of votes had been counted), however the party’s two-party-preferred victory margin was set to be comfortable.
Ms Taylor will serve as as the Member for Albert Park, which encompasses Middle Park, Port Melbourne, St Kilda West, Southbank, South Melbourne, and parts of St Kilda, after a 15-year period in office from the now retired Martin Foley.
Prior to the election, Albert Park was a seat making Labor figures nervous.
Despite having held onto the electorate for more than 70 years, the Federal Election in May this year saw Macnamara, an overlapping federal seat, almost fall to the Greens, and there were fears Albert Park could change hands on November 26.
In an interview with Southbank News after Mr Foley retired in July, the outgoing MP reiterated this point.
“This is not a safe Labor seat,” he said.
“Clearly, I’m going to support the Labor candidate Nina Taylor, but I don’t take it for granted for a moment that this is anything other than a demanding, hard-to-convince community that needs to be actively engaged with to win their support and confidence.”
However, the Greens’ expected challenge never eventuated.
Victory for candidate Kim Samiotis would have likely required Labor to fall into third place during the count, however this did not occur.
While the Greens improved its Albert Park primary vote by around four-and-a-half per cent, it was not enough to usurp Labor from its long-held seat.
On election day, some Greens figures had declared Albert Park a significant chance of falling to their party along with nearby Northcote, Footscray, Pascoe Vale and Preston.
Victorian Greens leader Samantha Ratnam had even declared a “Greenslide” on the evening of election day, however once counting gave a clearer indication of results the party’s presence in the lower house had increased by just one; from three MPs to four.
It was, however, set to more significantly increase its presence in the upper house.
Ms Taylor said she was looking forward to working alongside locals.
“I would like to express my gratitude for the privilege to be able serve the people in the seat of Albert Park, as the first woman to ever be elected for this district,” she said.
“Albert Park is a seat of many contrasts, with incredible diversity, a creative heart, a generous and caring community, and a place that I call home.”
“I am grateful also for the wonderful assistance of so many volunteers, supporters, colleagues, family and friends. In particular, I pay tribute to the support of the former Member for Albert Park, Martin Foley.”
Hibbins holds Prahran
Meanwhile the seat of Prahran, which for the first time ever this election contained a pocket of Southbank after a 2021 change to electoral boundaries, was retained by Greens MP Sam Hibbins who secured a third term.
The boundary shift had seen an eastern pocket of Southbank change hands from Albert Park to Prahran and, prior to election day, it was thought that those 4000 Southbankers would have a huge say in who took what was viewed as a knife-edge seat.
However, a significant upswing in the Greens’ primary vote in Prahran of around eight per cent saw Mr Hibbins salute with ease.
Labor candidate Wesa Chau, seen as a huge chance of reclaiming the seat for the party prior to November 26, suffered a drop in first preference votes of around four per cent. •
“I am so overwhelmed and humbled by our incredible result,” Mr Hibbins said post-election.
“This result comes at a critical time for climate action and tackling inequality and if anything, is a call to action.”
Prahran has been held by Mr Hibbins since the 2014 Victorian Election when he, alongside fellow Greens member Ellen Sandell in the neighbouring seat of Melbourne, won the first ever seats for the party in the Victorian lower house.
Fittingly, Ms Sandell similarly held onto her seat in the neighbouring electorate of Melbourne, in a result where first preference votes for the three most prominent parties barely budged.
The Greens increased their lower house presence from three MPs to four, as Gabrielle de Vietri ensured the party won the seat of Richmond for the first time, while Brunswick MP Tim Read held onto his seat alongside Mr Hibbins and Ms Sandell.
Caption: New Albert Park MP Nina Taylor pictured with the outgoing Martin Foley.