Seven seats going down to the wire in Victorian election

<span>Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian</span>
Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

Seven seats are still in play in the Victorian lower house after Saturday’s state election, with just eight votes separating two candidates in Pakenham.

The seat, along with Bass, Hastings, Hawthorn, Mornington, Northcote, Preston, remain in doubt, with some results expected to take another week as the Victorian Electoral Commission sorts absentee, pre-poll and postal votes.

The Labor candidate in Pakenham, Emma Vulin, was eight votes in front of the Liberal party’s David Farrelly on Tuesday night.

Vulin said the vote count was “too close to be feeling confident” but that she was proud of the party.

“I’m feeling good, I’m really pleased we won government,” Vulin said.

“That’s amazing and Pakenham would be a bonus, but it’s far too close to call.”

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She said she was not constantly looking at the count due to how close it is, but was happy with her campaign.

In the previously safe Labor seat of Preston, a 19% swing away from the party has seen its candidate, Nathan Lambert, in a tight race against independent Gaetano Greco.

With 63% of the vote counted, Lambert was leading by 1,319 votes.

Greco said he was confident he could take the seat.

“In one fell swoop, we’ve made the Preston a marginal seat. Since 1945 it’s been safe Labor,” said Greco, who campaigned heavily against a redevelopment of the Preston market.

“We’ve put Preston on the map … if that’s not an achievement I don’t know what is.

“Where do you get a safe Labor seat currently been made marginal, and possibly changing hands to an independent? Where is another example of that?”

He said preferences from the Greens, Socialists and Liberal how-to-vote cards could help him.

“With the two-party preferred process, it’ll be really tight. The Labor party I think are shitting their pants whether they can hold it.”

He said “Labor copped it” for taking the seat for granted, and has promised to donate $100,000 of his salary if elected.

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Lambert, a former Labor assistant secretary, has said the result was uncertain.

“We won’t know until all the postal votes are received and a full distribution of preferences is completed. I will post any major updates,” he said on Sunday.

The Greens had hoped to win the seat of Northcote, but were trailing the sitting Labor MP, Kat Theophanous, by 880 votes, with 72.6% of the vote counted.

Labor’s candidate in Hastings, Paul Mercurio – best known for his role in film Strictly Ballroom – was leading by just 474 votes against Liberal candidate Briony Hutton, with 76% of the vote counted.

In Hawthorn, with 71% of votes counted, former Liberal shadow treasurer John Pesutto is leading teal independent Melissa Lowe by 479 votes.

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Another teal independent candidate, Kate Lardner, is trailing former federal Liberal MP Chris Crewther by just 180 votes, with 78.2% of votes counted, in Mornington.

In Bass, Labor MP Jordan Crugnale is leading by 225 votes against the Liberals’ Aaron Brown, with 67.4% of the vote counted.

Labor has already secured 51 of the lower house’s 88 seats, despite a 5.8% state-wide swing against it since the 2018 “Danslide” election, in which it had won 55 seats.

There are also doubts about the makeup of the upper house. Several seats are yet to be decided, including that of Fiona Patten, who is in a tight race against former Labor power broker Adem Somyurek.

Labor is projected to win about 15 seats in the Legislative Council, so will need the support of the crossbench.

“We’ll work with that crossbench in good faith,” said the premier, Daniel Andrews, on Tuesday.