Victoria votes 2014: Bendigo decides LIVE

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UPDATE 10.15PM: Liberal Candidate for Bendigo West Michael Langdon says he is disappointed with election result but running for parliament had been a "good learning experience".

He said the Labor Party spent a significant amount of money on advertising on the seats of Bendigo East and West during the campaign, while his campaign was "locally funded".

He said this played a role in the election outcome.

He said "federal issues" had affected people's votes in the state election but stopped short of saying the public was dissatisfied with the federal government.

"I think the Labor Party concentrated on federal issues," he said.

"I think it distracted from state issues."

He said having just three months to campaign as the candidate was a "difficult ask".

But he said controversy surrounding former candidate Jack Lyons did not impact the outcome for Bendigo West.

He said he had taken three months leave from work with no pay, and would take one week's holiday before returning to work.

He thanked his supporters.

"All of my supporters did a marathon effort and I would like to thank and praise the work of everyone who assisted in the campaign.”

Maree Edwards and Jacinta Allan just after they declared victory. Picture: BRENDAN McCARTHY

Maree Edwards and Jacinta Allan just after they declared victory. Picture: BRENDAN McCARTHY

UPDATE 10.10PM: Both Jacinta Allan and Maree Edwards gave emotional speeches to the gathering at Bendigo Trades Hall, before addressing the media after claiming victory in Bendigo East and Bendigo West.

Ms Edwards said she was "very pleased" to see Maldon and Castlemaine in particular giving her a strong result in the seat.

"When you work hard, you put in the effort, you listen to people, people thank you for that," she said.

"What people have been looking for is a member who will talk to them, listen to them and advocate on their behalf. What we have seen from the Liberal Party is a government that won't listen to people."

UPDATE 10.00PM: Denis Napthine announces he will step down as leader of the Liberal Party.

UPDATE 9.52PM: Denis Napthine says he will contact Daniel Andrews to concede defeat in the state election.

Dr Napthine says it has been a "tremendous privilege" to be Premier of the state of Victoria.

UPDATE 9.35PM: Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards says her first priority will be rebuilding Kalianna School Bendigo, with work towards the goal starting immediately.

UPDATE 9.10PM: Labor Party members Jacinta Allan and Maree Edwards have declared victory for the seats of Bendigo East and West.

They are making victory speeches.

UPDATE 8.55PM: Liberal candidate for Bendigo East Greg Bickley says he is facing an "uphill battle" but isn't conceding defeat.

"I won't be conceding anything tonight - it will be interesting to see a pre-poll figure because it will be very important to the overall result," he said.

"I accept it will be an uphill battle - it looks like a sea of red across a lot of marginal seats.

"The pre-poll for Bendigo East is in an area that draws on a more favourable area for me."

With 46.57 per cent of votes counted, Labor's Jacinta Allan leads the two-party preferred votes, with 55.44 per cent of votes in her favour.

However, as the Bendigo Advertiser reported earlier, a record number of people cast early votes in Bendigo East, so the result might not be clear tonight.

UPDATE 8.50PM: The ABC reports there has been a 2.5 per cent swing to the Labor Party in Bendigo East and a 10 per cent swing to Labor in Bendigo West.

UPDATE 8.45PM: Veteran political journalist Laurie Oaks has called the election a Labor victory.

UPDATE 8.30PM: Bendigo West MP Maree Edwards says it looks "highly likely" she will retain her seat.

A large crowd has gathered at Bendigo Trades Hall where cheers are going up after results in Ripon and Macedon.

Ms Edwards said the results were "very promising".

"It's only early in the night, but based on the trend it looks like I'll hold my seat," she said.

"It also looks like a result is likely tonight."

UPDATE 8.20PM: The Labor Party looks set to retain the seat of Macedon, with a 2.4 per cent swing recorded towards the party.

Reporter Adam Holmes says the beers are flowing at Labor's Bendigo function at Trades Hall.

UPDATE: 8.10PM: Maree Edwards retains her comfortable lead in the seat of Bendigo West, holding 63 per cent of the the two-party preferred votes.

Ms Edwards has received 48.12 per cent of primary votes, while Liberal candidate Michael Langdon received 31.59 per cent.

Greens candidate John Brownstein received 12.60 per cent, Australian Country Alliance candidate Elise Chapman received 2.73 per cent and Rise Up Australia Party candidate Sandra Caddy received 1.88 per cent.

UPDATE 8.05PM: Of the Lower House votes that have been counted so far, the Labor Party has received 36.17 per cent of first-preference votes, the Liberal Party has received 34.46 per cent, The Nationals 6.16 per cent and the Australian Greens have received 10.48 per cent.

UPDATE 8PM: Labor Party candidate Maree Edwards has extended her lead over Liberal candidate Michael Langdon.

She now has 68.5 per cent of the two-party preferred votes that have been counted, and looks to hold the seat by a significant margin.

UPDATE 7.52PM: The ABC is predicting a strong Labor victory, reporting the Coalition has won 36 seats and Labor has won 42.

It is predicting the coalition will win 38 seats and Labor will win 48.

It reports there has been a two per cent swing towards Labor.

UPDATE 7.50PM: Labor's Jacinta Allan has increased her lead over Liberal candidate Greg Bickley, recording 54.78 per cent of the two-party preferred votes.

Labor Party Bendigo West candidate Maree Edwards has retained her lead, holding 64.66 per cent of the two-party preferred votes.

UPDATE 7.42PM: Nationals candidate Stephanie Ryan looks set to retain the seat of Euroa, holding 64.9 per cent of two-party preferred votes, with 45 per cent of votes counted.

UPDATE 7.30PM: Labor candidate for Bendigo West Maree Edwards leads the two-party preferred votes by a significant margin, with a 7.8 per cent swing towards Labor.

With 23 per cent of votes counted, Ms Edwards has 66 per cent of the two-party preferred votes, with Liberal candidate Michael Langdon holding 34 per cent.

So far, votes of 13 of 26 Bendigo West voting centres have been counted.

UPDATE 7.25PM: Almost 22 per cent of Bendigo East votes have been counted and Labor's Jacinta Allan leads the two-candidate preferred votes.

Ms Allan has 51.07 per cent of votes to Liberal Party candidate Greg Bickley's 48.93 per cent.

UPDATE 7.15PM: We apologise for our results blog, which is having technical difficulties.

We will now use this blog to report all results.

Click here for the latest results of Bendigo East and Bendigo West.

UPDATE 7.10PM: The numbers are flowing in now for Bendigo East and Bendigo West.

With 14 of 31 voting centres counted in Bendigo East, the polling is close between Labor's Jacinta Allan and the Liberal Party's Greg Bickley.

Allan is at 44.2 per cent and Bickley is at 42.3 per cent.

Labor's Maree Edwards has made a strong start in Bendigo West with six of 26 centres counted.

She is at 48.7 per cent, while the Liberal Party's Michael Langdon has received 31.6 per cent of first preference votes.

Counting at the Bendigo Town Hall.

Counting at the Bendigo Town Hall.

UPDATE 7PM: Counting is underway at the Bendigo Town Hall! We'll keep you updated of results as they flow in.

UPDATE 6PM: That's a wrap - voting booths are officially closed and now it's time to start counting!

To follow any individual seat you want, including Bendigo East and West, use our great vote count interactive by clicking here

UPDATE 5.40PM: One of Bendigo's local candidates standing in the election, the Animal Justice Party's Lola Currie, spent a busy morning making sure the party's signs were at all polling booths in Bendigo.

The California Gully resident said she was pleased with how her campaign had went and had discussed plenty of ideas with Bendigo voters.

"I would definitely do it again," Ms Currie said.

"I've had a great time. I think the number one thing has just been education about why animal rights issues are important."

The Animal Justice Party was among a number of minor parties in with a chance at a Victorian upper house seat.

Ms Currie represented Northern Victoria region.

MAKING A STAND: Danielle Scanlan.

MAKING A STAND: Danielle Scanlan.

UPDATE 5.15PM: Danielle Scanlan has been "planting the seed of awareness that there's another system" all day.

Ms Scanlan has been wearing a Guy Fawkes mask and holding a sign reading "I don't vote" and "democracy is a pointless spectacle".

Ms Scanlan said she believed voting was a "token gesture" and that "we need a revolution of the system".

When asked what she thought the alternative system should consist of, Ms Scanlan said she "didn't have all the answers" but wanted a system that was based on equality.

She said on the whole, people had been receptive to her message, with many passers-by saying they agreed with her.

UPDATE 4.35PM: It's pretty quiet at the Bendigo Town Hall - it seems most people voted in the morning to avoid the afternoon sun.

Party faithful of all persuasions have used the lull in demand for how-to-vote cards by being productive.

They have decided to form the "pasty, white-people party", whose main agenda is to erect umbrellas in public places on hot days.

Watch out, people – there’s yet another micro-party about to set sail!

Joking aside, the mood among the party members is upbeat; unlike in Prahran, Melbourne, where a Liberal volunteer allegedly called a Labor woman a "fat b****", the Bendigo volunteers all seem to respect each other.

Liberal Party member Coby Prigg said he enjoyed spending time with the other volunteers.

DEMOCRACY IN ACTION: Sex Party member Morgan Heenan, Labor's Ebony Farley, Liberal volunteer Megan Purcell, Labor's Geoff Styles, Liberal member Coby Prigg and Greens member Matilda Henley-Johnstone.

DEMOCRACY IN ACTION: Sex Party member Morgan Heenan, Labor's Ebony Farley, Liberal volunteer Megan Purcell, Labor's Geoff Styles, Liberal member Coby Prigg and Greens member Matilda Henley-Johnstone.

"I for one think it's important not to just define people purely from what their party is," he said.

"It's good to get to know people from other parties - you learn a lot about them. 

"You can have a lot of fun with people, despite our political differences."

All said the voting lines had been shorter this year - perhaps due to a significant increase in pre-poll voting in Bendigo East and West - and they said fewer people had requested how-to-vote cards.

"A lot of people have made up their minds," said Liberal volunteer Megan Purcell.

When asked where her passion for politics stemmed from, Labor member Ebony Farley said her involvement in the party was "sort of a family affair", but also based on her socialist principles.

"I'm very interested in socialist policies and aside from a few minor parties, like the Sex Party or the Greens, Labor's the one that best represents my political standings ... in a two-party preferred system, Labor is the horse I've decided to back."

FAMILY AFFAIR: Maree Edwards with Rachael Edwards, Angus Kolotylo and pet dog Blue.

FAMILY AFFAIR: Maree Edwards with Rachael Edwards, Angus Kolotylo and pet dog Blue.

UPDATE 4.20PM: Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards has been crossing the length of her electorate on polling day.

The Labor MP started the day in Castlemaine where there were more voters in the morning. Castlemaine did not have a pre-polling centre.

She then visited Big Hill and is now at Crusoe College.

Ms Edwards said it was "hard to say" if there would be a winner announced tonight or tomorrow.

"A lot more people voted earlier today to avoid the hot weather I think," she said.

UPDATE 4.10PM: The election isn't everyone's cup of tea, and some are doing what they can to question the purpose of voting.

THINK ABOUT IT: Jacob Shanahan and Brenton Patty hand out blank pieces of paper at Crusoe College as their own protest against the election.

THINK ABOUT IT: Jacob Shanahan and Brenton Patty hand out blank pieces of paper at Crusoe College as their own protest against the election.

Bendigo mates Jacob Shanahan and Brenton Patty are handing out blank pieces of paper to people as they walk into the Crusoe College voting centre.

Mr Shanahan said Australian democracy was an "outdated system" that doesn't have the interests of people in mind.

"Every time you come here to vote, you basically have a choice between this set of lies and that set of lies," he said.

"The blank pieces of paper are just to get people thinking about other ways we could run society.

"We're just trying to change the world one person at a time."

The pair were not registered with the Victorian Electoral Commission but had been given permission to remain outside the college.

UPDATE 4.00PM: Former Liberal candidate for Bendigo West Jack Lyons is lending his support to the party's cause.

Mr Lyons is handing out how to vote cards at the busy Crusoe College voting centre.

He was replaced as candidate in August.

UPDATE 3.25PM: Liberal candidate for Bendigo East Greg Bickley said the outcome of the seat might not be determined until Monday, due to 39.2 per cent of voters voting early.

"These votes are traditionally not counted until the Monday after the election, so if the result was close the outcome might not be clear until then," Mr Bickley said.

"If there's not a massive margin after counting today it would be a brave person to claim victory."

Mr Bickley said he had spent the day at polling booths in Epsom, Strathfieldsaye and central Bendigo.

He said he received an especially warm reception by voters in Strathfieldsaye.

"Everyone said they were voting for me," he said.

He said it had been good to meet people and he was glad voting was being conducted in a peaceful manner.

"What we've seen in Bendigo is much more civil than what we've seen in other booths in Melbourne."

​UPDATE 2.45PM: Is this the most prepared person at this year's State Election? BYO pen!

UPDATE 2.30PM: Federal member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters has been out all day handing out flyers in support of her state Labor colleagues Jacinta Allan and Maree Edwards. 

BRIDESMAID: Lisa Chesters says supporting her state Labor colleagues on Election Day is like being a bridesmaid - she plays an important role, but it's not about her.

BRIDESMAID: Lisa Chesters says supporting her state Labor colleagues on Election Day is like being a bridesmaid - she plays an important role, but it's not about her.

Ms Chesters said it was like being a bridesmaid because she was an official member of the team, but not the centre of attention. 

"You can't overshadow the bride," Ms Chesters said. 

Wedding-type festivities will continue tonight at a Labor gathering at Trades Hall where Ms Chesters will give the first speech, introduce other speakers and sip champagne. 

UPDATE 2.20PM: Young voters emerging from the booths at Crusoe College in Kangaroo Flat are varied in their political preferences.

FRIENDS: Brad Pattinson, 24, Christie White, 23, Cameron Dalton and Zarah Phillips-Williams, 18. Between them they voted for three different parties.

FRIENDS: Brad Pattinson, 24, Christie White, 23, Cameron Dalton and Zarah Phillips-Williams, 18. Between them they voted for three different parties.

Urban planning student and ex-truck driver Brad Pattinson, 24, voted Liberal because of one issue - infrastructure. 

"It's bringing Melbourne up to where it needs to be in the present day," Mr Pattinson said. 

He said a rail link to Melbourne Airport and the East-West Link project were important to him. 

But Mr Pattinson said he felt 'incredibly dirty' voting for the Liberal Party. 

"I hate the federal Liberal Party with a passion," he said.

"Old Denis (Napthine) doesn't really have a say in any of the stuff that angers me so much."

Zarah Phillips-Williams, 18, said she voted Green in the lower house and for the Animal Liberation Party in the upper house. 

"Because I like animals better than humans and because I know where all of their preferences go to," she said. 

Ms Phillips-Williams said the party preferenced Labor, which was 'just like voting for Labor without the guilt'. 

Cameron Dalton, 18, said he voted Labor because he didn't know much about the other parties. 

Stacey Michelle, 24, voted Greens because she likes what they stand for. 

Ms Michelle said the Liberals were too focused on the economy but Labor was too focused on 'giving people money', so the Greens were the 'middle ground'. 

UPDATE 2.00PM:  Crusoe College is a popular spot for Bendigo West minor party candidates today with several turning out to rally last-minute support.

MOTLEY CREW: Charlie Crutchfield, flanked by Michael Langdon (in billboard form) and the Greens' John Brownstein.

MOTLEY CREW: Charlie Crutchfield, flanked by Michael Langdon (in billboard form) and the Greens' John Brownstein.

Greens candidate John Brownstein said very few voters were willing to stop and chat. 

He said people probably found it intimidating to walk through a row of party faithful all waving different pieces of paper. 

Mr Brownstein said most of the work in convincing voters to support him was done before today. 

This is his first candidacy at state level, but he has previous experience in council and federal elections. 

Mr Brownstein said he enjoyed public speaking during this election campaign because it gave him the opportunity to communicate his message with passion. 

"I really care about what's happening in the world. We need an economy that serves people, not one that makes it harder for them," he said. 

"It's either do nothing and get depressed, or do something and feel like I'm fighting for the future.

"It gives me a sense of hope."

Australian Sex Party upper house candidate Charlie Crutchfield said he had been 'flat out' and had little sleep in preparation for Election Day. 

Mr Crutchfield said voters were showing interest in the Sex party. 

"We're definitely not the boring choice," he said.

He said the Sex Party's best chance of winning a seat was in the Northern Metropolitan region, close to Melbourne. 

"We're at least trying to block Family First from getting a seat, or at least any right religious party."

Country Alliance candidate and City of Greater Bendigo councillor Elise Chapman declined to comment when approached by the Bendigo Advertiser

Greens candidate for Bendigo West John Brownstein.

Greens candidate for Bendigo West John Brownstein.

UPDATE 12.50PM: Liberal candidate for Bendigo West Michael Langdon is at Crusoe College in Kangaroo Flat handing out how to vote flyers.

He said public interest in the Liberal party seemed to come in waves.

"It's very difficult to tell," Mr Langdon said.

" At least 15 per cent of people are not taking any flyers."

He said it was impossible to gauge his success at the polls so far.

"At times you can be very buoyed at other times you wonder."

Mr Langdon said he took three months leave without pay from his job to focus on the election campaign.

He said he was humbled by the number of people who had volunteered their time to help his campaign.

"They want to see a change," he said.

"We've had 18 years of Labor in this electorate."

VOTE FOR ME: Liberal candidate for Bendigo West Michael Langdon hands out how-to-vote brochures outside Crusoe College. Picture: ANDI YU

VOTE FOR ME: Liberal candidate for Bendigo West Michael Langdon hands out how-to-vote brochures outside Crusoe College. Picture: ANDI YU

UPDATE 12.40PM: Not everyone plays the game when it comes to voting. So, what's the most common doodle scrutineers find on voting papers these days. To find out click here

UPDATE 12.30PM: Oh, Labor... will you stop at nothing to win people over? Great little tweet by the Labor Party using thoughtfulness to push the party's people line! Nice work! Very important message for all to heed all the same.

UPDATE 12.10PM: Bendigo Advertiser exit poll predicts Labor victory.

The Addy has polled 50 people leaving the main polling booth in Bendigo Town Hall to get a feel for how the vote might go today.

Here's our results from those 50 votes.

Labor 27 votes (54 per cent)

Liberal 11 votes (22 per cent)

Greens 5 votes (10 per cent)

Animal Justice 5 votes (10 per cent)

Nationals 1 vote (2 per cent)

Sex Party 1 vote (2 per cent)

Voters said knowledge of the political leaders, promises to improve towns and family voting traditions had influenced their decisions.

A small sample - yes - but will this ring true by night's end?

Oh, by the way, the wait in line to vote at the Bendigo Town Hall presently sits at about 30 minutes.

UPDATE NOON: It's high noon in the Victorian election... and the leaders of both the big parties have cast their vote. Mmmm... do you think they voted for themselves?

UPDATE 11.30AM: Voters casting their ballot at Strathfieldsaye Uniting Church say this year's election campaign was uninspiring.

Local resident Peter Archer said both major parties were full of 'broken promises'.

"They all tell us they're going to do something and very little of it gets done," he said.

That said, Mr Archer said his choice today was easy, and he voted Labor.

But he said he didn't know the 'exact reason', other than that he had always voted for Labor.

Resident Yvonne Besanko said this year's campaign went 'on and on and on'.

"You just don't know who to trust. There seems to be a lot of lies happening."

Laurie Davies said he voted Green just to 'stick it to the major parties'.

"What I'm doing is giving a wake up call vote to both of them," Mr Davies said.

He said he voted Liberal for 40 years but recently changed because of the number of broken promises by federal and state governments.

VOLUNTEER: Donna Sheers supports Greg Bickley.

VOLUNTEER: Donna Sheers supports Greg Bickley.

UPDATE 11.05AM: ​Volunteers handing out 'how to vote' cards at Strathfieldsaye Uniting Church say there are less people wanting help with how to direct their preferences.

Doreen Sheers is handing out cards for Liberal candidate for Bendigo East Greg Bickley and said many people didn't want any flyers.

"I think most people have made up their minds before hey come through," she said.

Ms Sheers said there was no rivalry between volunteers from the different parties.

"We all get on well here."

Greens member and ex-candidate for Bendigo East John Bardsley has been handing out cards on Election Day for 15 years and said he'd noticed less people wanting help with their preferences.

Mr Bardsley said he wasn't sure if that was because people were bettered informed or simply because they didn't care.

Labor member Damien Hurrell said there were some people who hadn't decided who to vote for but most had.

He said there was a friendly atmosphere among the 'how to vote' volunteers because they were all united by a common cause.

"Everybody who stands here is here because they believe in a better Victoria," Mr Hurrell said.

"It's one of the wonderful things about our Australian society.

"We can all stand here with goodwill and honest competition."

FUNDRAISING: Elizabeth McQueen, Melva Hall and Heather Ryall sell goodies outside the Strathfieldsaye Community Church polling booth. Picture: ANDI YU

FUNDRAISING: Elizabeth McQueen, Melva Hall and Heather Ryall sell goodies outside the Strathfieldsaye Community Church polling booth. Picture: ANDI YU

UPDATE 10.55AM: Members of Strathfieldsaye Community Church are keeping to their Election Day tradition of selling sausages, cakes, plants and other items.

Church member Elizabeth McQueen said it was a good opportunity to raise funds for much needed improvements to church facilities.

"We have got everybody in the district (coming here)," she said.

"It's been very popular."

UPDATE 10.40AM: Mmmm... seems not everyone is getting into the election day voting spirit.

UPDATE 10.30AM: Fairfax Media is running an extensive live blog looking at what's happening in other regions of the state on this election day, including Ballarat and Warrnambool. To follow this blog click here

UPDATE 10.20AM: As this tweet from Castlemaine shows, election day signs aren't all about candidates!

UPDATE 10.15AM: Channel Nine has published a tweet showing their take on the preferred premier stakes for Victoria.

UPDATE 10am: Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan has just voted with her family at Strathfieldsaye Uniting Church.

Ms Allan said there had been a positive reaction from voters during pre-polling and today.

"A lot of people are very concerned about what another four years of Liberal cuts could do to TAFE and schools," she said.

Ms Allan said, in contrast, Labor had 'solid policies' about 'putting people first'.

She would not comment on her chances of success in the election but said, 'you take nothing for granted'.

"Bendigo East always has been marginal."

Ms Allan said she had worked in the last months and weeks.

"I really enjoy Election Day," she said.

Bendigo Labor members and faithful will gather at Trades Hall in Central Bendigo later today to watch results come in.

UPDATE 9.15PM: Still undecided on who you are going to vote for? Bendigo Advertiser journalist Adam Holmes has been covering the election and wrote this summary of the election as it played out on our doorstop... election cakes, goats and ancient Greek statues. To read click here

You can also look at candidate videos and stories through our full coverage by clicking here

EARLIER: Welcome to Victoria Votes 2014.

Will Labor win. Will the Coalition retain power?

We will have a clearer idea in the hours ahead.

Follow the Bendigo Advertiser's Victoria Votes 2014 blog through the day for all the pictures, stories and statistics from this big day...

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