One of the most significant victories for the Labor party in the Victorian state elections was secured by Kat Theophanous in reclaiming Northcote from the Greens.
By Sunday night, the 31-year-old held 52.82 per cent of the two-candidate preferred vote beating Lidia Thorpe.
Ms Theophanous, daughter of former Labor minister Theo Theophanous, entered the battle for the inner northern suburbs seat a few months ago, knowing that it wouldn’t be an easy one.
“There is no easy time to run for public office. I chose a particularly hard time, with a baby at home and another one on the way.
“But I put my hand up because there is too much at stake,” Ms Theophanous posted on her official Facebook page the night before the elections.
While historically a Labor stronghold since 1927, the Northcote seat was won by Greens MP Lidia Thorpe during last year’s by-election where she was elected with a swing of 11.6 per cent after preferences.
It was previously held by former Minister for Women and Minister for Prevention of Family Violence Fiona Richardson, whose death in August 2017 triggered the by-election.
Ms Thorpe made history taking control of the seat, being the first Indigenous woman elected in the Victorian Parliament, but did not succeed in the bid to secure a four-year tenure in office.
Talking to ABC, the Greens candidate called for a much-needed review into the party’s campaign which she said resulted in “losing quite a considerable amount of Greens members”.
Most recently, Ms Theophanous was among Fiona Richardson’s staffers working on the state’s family violence reform strategy, an experience she credits for shaping her political values and aspirations.
“That ignited my passion. I do come from a political family, growing up with politics has shaped who I am,” she told The Age.
“I was born and raised in this area, went to local schools and I’m raising my own family here now – I’m incredibly proud that this community has given me this support.”
Theophanous’ win adds to the swing in favour of Labor in many of the inner city suburbs leading to an impressive electoral performance for the party.
As far as other Greek Labor candidates are concerned, both state ministers Jenny Mikakos and Philip Dalidakis managed to get re-elected in Northern and Southern Metropolitan Regions respectively, as well as Steve Dimopoulos in Oakleigh and Nick Staikos in Bentleigh.
Meanwhile, the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) described the Victorian election result overall as a “victory for decency”, congratulating the Andrews government for its re-election.
“Voters at the weekend rejected racist and alarmist claims about law and order in Victoria.
“Instead, the people of Victoria, overwhelmingly, voted for a strong, stable and positive agenda which puts families at its centre,” said FECCA’s Chairperson Mary Patetsos.