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Wednesday, 29 November 2006
Page: 154

Mr BRENDAN O’CONNOR (9:36 AM) —I rise to acknowledge the third successive victory of the Bracks government and, in doing so, pay my tribute to four local state members who share constituents with me inside the electorate of Gorton, being Rob Hulls, Telmo Languiller, Andre Haermeyer and George Seitz. These four members have been re-elected, as I guess was expected, but what might not have been expected was the vote that was returned to Labor in the west of Melbourne. There has been a view that the Labor vote would decline in the west; there has been an effort by non-Labor spokespeople and parties to suggest that there would be a decline. However, the vote has held up extraordinarily well. In the case of the member for Keilor, his vote increased.

What was interesting to note was that in the seat of Kororoit the Liberal vote was only two per cent higher than Family First’s. I guess that means that the Liberals have a lot to do in relation to claiming any ground in the west of Melbourne, but it does say that people did vote for Family First in significant numbers. They matched the Greens in the west of Melbourne, which I think is also important to note; in fact, in most booths they outstripped the Greens, which is significant. It was interesting that they actually almost beat the Liberal vote—they were only two per cent shy of that. That is something we will have to keep an eye on.

I would also like to indicate to you, Mr Deputy Speaker, that I recently sent out a survey to 4,000 young people, between the ages of 18 and 24, in my electorate seeking some of their views on all sorts of matters. I was happy to see a return of those surveys from more than 500 young people, 100 of whom are willing to catch up and meet with me to discuss local concerns in areas including education, transport issues and health matters. I will be conducting the first meeting of the Gorton Youth Forum on 13 December and I look forward to meeting these young people. Many of the responses were comprehensive, in that they not only ticked the boxes and indicated their concerns but wrote at length about some of their major concerns. I look forward to meeting them. I am happy to say I have already met Matthew Lang, Felicity Cronin and Donna Fenech, three young local people who were able to attend the opening of my office when the Leader of the Opposition, Kim Beazley, was present. That was a good start to what I am sure will be a fantastic, successful and important youth forum. (Time expired)