By Daniel Lang - Managing Director
It was called early and it was called decisively.
It took ABC's election guru Antony Green little more than an hour to call Saturday's election in favour of the returning Daniel Andrews and Labor, but the fallout from the devastating Liberal National Party losses will be felt for some time.
As of early Sunday morning, the expectation was that the ALP would pick up anywhere between 55 and 61 seats in the 88-seat parliament as a swing of around 4.8% statewide to the sitting government left a trail of destruction on the other side of the aisle.
Andrews and his team rain a strong, democratically socialist campaign that focused heavily on the cost of living and handing out big leg ups to Victorians across the state and it proved a popular message in stark contrast to the heavy law-and-order tone of Matthew Guy's opposition.
Most concerning for the Liberal National Party will be the decisive swing against their politics of fear and division, a platform they have seemingly adopted right up the federal level and which could see Scott Morrison in a similar position when the whole country goes to the ballot some time in 2019.
While the returning Premier told his party faithful that Victorians had "overwhelmingly endorsed a positive and optimistic plan for our state" at his election night function in his seat of Mulgrave, Guy and the Liberals were left reeling and counting the cost of a campaign run in the style of the increasingly unpopular Peter Dutton.
With counting still taking place, Labor look a chance of claiming former LNP safe seats like Sandringham and Nepean while 19-year-old candidate Declan Martin remains in with a shout of winning the blue-chip seat of Brighton, which has never been won by the Labor Party.
A raft of eastern suburbs seats turning their back on conservative fear-mongering and negative politics appears to have gutted the Liberal party, with just 24 seats to their name at the time of writing and just 10 remaining in doubt. Regardless of which way those 10 fall, Daniel Andrews has entered the pantheon of tremendously successful ALP leaders and the result will go down in the history books as a decisive and loud call for more progressive thinking across the state and, quite possibly, across the country.
ABC election analyst Antony Green suggested on air on Saturday night that the red-wave of Labor wins right through Melbourne's east was strongly reminiscent of John Cain's famous 1982 election triumph which ended 27 years of opposition for the party at the time.