I take this opportunity to congratulate members of this house on their election and in particular the ALP members and members in the other place who have areas within the western region. The members for Melton, Lara, South Barwon, Ripon, Ballarat West, Ballarat East, Geelong and Bellarine in the other place, Don Nardella, John Eren, Michael Crutchfield, Joe Helper, Karen Overington, Geoff Howard, Ian Trezise and Lisa Neville, all ran effective campaigns supported by committed campaign teams. I particularly wish to congratulate Lisa Neville on her appointment to the ministry; it is an elevation well deserved. Lisa has been a tireless worker for her constituents and the wider area of Geelong. I am very much looking forward to working with Lisa and all the other members in the western region. I also heartily congratulate Joe Helper on his elevation to the office of Minister for Agriculture.
I also take this opportunity to mention and give thanks to those very important people who stood as candidates in non-held ALP seats in the other place. It is extremely difficult to run and win in areas that traditionally have not been ALP. Lowan, South-West Coast and Polwarth are significant geographic areas. The amount of travel, the cost of that travel and the time spent away from family are substantial and more than in any other area.
The amount of energy that the candidates, their families and supporters put into these areas was unbelievable. Roy Reekie, Paul Battistia and Darren Cheeseman need to be commended for conducting very serious campaigns which raised not only the profile of the Labor Party but also created debate. All three candidates engaged with the community, and in Lowan the ALP outvoted the Liberal Party. The debate is evident by the letters to the editor in many local newspapers. The debates published in the Warrnambool Standard and the Hamilton Spectator — —