In a week that saw Labor lead the Napthine government in a Nielsen Poll by a commanding eight points (54 to 46 percent on a two-party preferred basis), a record number of ALP nominees of Greek heritage have thrown their hats into the ring to contest seats at the November 2014 state elections.
Those hoping to make it to Spring Street – and who are unopposed – include sitting MP Jennifer Kanis (Melbourne), ex-mayor and current deputy mayor of Monash Steve Dimopoulos – who hopes to succeed retiring Labor MP Ann Barker in Oakleigh, and former Glen Ira councillor Nick Staikos, who is set on reclaiming the seat of Bentleigh for Labor.
Sitting Legislative Council Member Lee Tarlamis will seek pre-selection for the South Eastern Metropolitan Region and is expected to secure it.
Another tilting for the Legislative Council is Phil Dalidakis – former deputy chief of staff to Labor heavyweight Stephen Conroy. Dalidakis will run for the Southern Metropolitan Region and is widely favoured to win the nomination.
Frankston-born lawyer Helen Constas, CEO of Peninsula Community Legal Centre, is not only up for pre-selection in the Frankston seat held by Independent Geoff Shaw, but could be in pole position to topple the controversial MP.
For Labor’s safe seat of Pascoe Vale, where local MP Christine Campbell is retiring, Moreland mayor Lambros Tapinos has put his name forward, but faces a hard fight, with Lizzie Blandthorn – supported by the Distributive and Allied Employees Association – widely tipped as favourite.
Shadow Minister Jenny Mikakos – who is seeking reselection for the seat of Northern Metropolitan told Neos Kosmos that she was delighted to see so many candidates of Greek heritage wishing to play their part in the ALP’s future.
“I’m very pleased that this looks like a record number of candidates of Greek heritage seeking pre-selection, and I’m confident we will have a number of new Members of Parliament of Greek heritage after the next state election.”
Pre-selection candidates will be decided by the nominees’ local branch in conjunction with the central Victorian ALP pre-selection panel on December 16.
Some ALP members have publicly expressed concerns that pre-selections will have rank and file participation only for Victorian Legislative Assembly seats, while Legislative Council candidates will be decided by the party’s faction-ruled national executive.
Leader of the Opposition Daniel Andrews is keen to wrap up pre-selections by Christmas, in order to avoid potential infighting in the lead up to the November 2014 elections.