Green growths

Here’s a little something I wrote for today’s Crikey email but failed to get finished in time for the deadline …

The main lessons from Saturday’s ACT election and NSW by-elections can be heard loud and clear from the news headlines, and could indeed have been ascertained even before the figures came in. After suffering the two worst by-election swings in NSW history in Ryde and Cabramatta, there is no coming back for the fourth-term Labor government. The ACT election further emphasised that Labor’s state and territory governments are marching in lock-step towards the wrong end of the electoral cycle. While Jon Stanhope is likely to continue in government with the support of the Greens, Labor’s vote was down a numbing 9.3 per cent to 37.6 per cent. There were also intimations over the weekend that South Australia’s government is becoming conscious of its mortality, with talk of Treasurer Kevin Foley plotting a move against Premier Mike Rann.

The ACT election provided further support for the other recurring theme of recent state and territory elections: the growing strength of the Greens. The party is certain to hold the balance of power for the first time after its vote went up 6.6 per cent to 15.8 per cent, securing a definite three seats out of 17 and perhaps even a fourth. While the Greens’ more excitable partisans might interpret this as the tide of history leading the party on to fortune, past experience suggests a more mundane explanation. After a few terms in office, Labor governments often find themselves facing disaffection among voters of an idealistic persuasion, resulting in loss of support to minor parties and independents. The hard-edged economic reforms of the 1980s produced a bonanza for independents when Labor lost office in NSW in 1988, and compelled the Hawke government to make its famous pitch for Greens and Democrats preferences as its primary vote sank in 1990.

Now that there’s a monopoly trader in the market for disaffected left-wing votes, the Greens are presenting Labor with a perfect storm at the next round of state elections. They thus stand poised to fulfil long-cherished but never quite realised ambitions for lower house seats. Since the threat to Labor is in their traditional inner-city strongholds, the victims could include some very senior figures. In NSW, the Greens need to gain only 3.2 per cent on Labor to claim the scalp of Education Minister Verity Firth in Balmain, which Dawn Fraser won as an independent the last time Labor lost office. On current form, that would seem to be an absolute certainty. Marrickville could also go if the fall in Labor’s vote approaches double figures, which would put Deputy Premier Carmel Tebbutt out of a job. While things aren’t looking quite so grim for Labor south of the border, it’s clear the Victorian party’s vote in 2010 will not reach the landslide proportions of 2002 and 2006. That means big trouble for another Education Minister in Bronwyn Pike, who needed a feverish last-week campaigning effort in 2006 to retain a 2.0 per cent margin in her seat of Melbourne. Also at risk are Housing and Local Government Minister Richard Wynne in Richmond (margin 3.6 per cent), along with back-benchers Carlo Carli (Brunswick, 4.6 per cent) and Fiona Richardson (Northcote, 8.5 per cent).

Then there’s the risk that the phenomenon might go federal, as suggested by the recent Newspoll showing Greens support at 13 per cent. Such figures would be viewed nervously by Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner, who last November watched a Greens candidate take second place for the first time at a general election in his seat of Melbourne. This continued a trend of ominously mounting Greens support in Melbourne going back three elections: 6.1 per cent in 1998, 15.7 per cent in 2001, 19.0 per cent in 2004, 22.8 per cent in 2007. Tanner’s primary vote of 49.5 per cent kept him out of danger, but this was achieved at the peak of Labor’s electoral cycle. It’s not hard to conceive a scenario where the Rudd government pursues votes in the electorally decisive outer suburbs at the expense of the values held dear in the inner-city, which could place Tanner in serious jeopardy.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

184 comments on “Green growths”

  1. It will be interesting to see if any of these ministers try to move seats or retire before the next election. Could cause a whole round of preselection headaches if Tebbutt or Tanner demands a safer seat. Would the ALP hard heads demand they stand and fight, or would they sacrifice a few seats to accomodate their senior members elsewhere?

  2. “ALP founders in a sea of Greens” – By Christian Kerr

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24521423-5013871,00.html

    LABOR is struggling in a rising Green tide around the nation, with the minor party now laying claim to being a mainstream player after ousting the ALP from majority government in the ACT.

    Greens victories in three of the ACT’s 17 seats in Saturday’s election came amid strong showings in NSW weekend by-elections and will force Labor’s Jon Stanhope into a minority government.

    The strong showing follows the Greens reaching a record high of 13 per cent support in the latest federal Newspoll – a result mirrored in state-based polls. As Labor strategists began considering how to counter the attack of the Greens from the political Left, the Greens’ federal leader, Bob Brown, said the results showed Australians were becoming greener and thrusting his party into the mainstream.

    —-

    Another one of Kerr’s rants. The ACT are about to do what Tasmania did a decade ago, that is the Greens holding the lower house balance of power and being able to decide who forms government. Federal/remaining states and territories all use instant runoff voting in single member electorates. They are unlikely to win a lower house seat at a general election, and even if they did it would only be 1 or 2 or 3, with Tanner’s Melbourne the most obvious first division off the block, given that it was the only electorate in 2007 to have the Greens on the two-party figure.

    The only thing that Australia-wide growing Greens support will do is put more Greens in to upper houses, and whether (for arguments sake) an upper house has 49 ALP, 49 Lib and 2 Green, or, 44 ALP, 44 Lib, and 12 Green, it won’t make a difference in terms of outcomes, being that the Greens would hold the balance of power in both theoretical scenarios. It will make future federal Liberal governments very interesting however.

    Don’t get me wrong, I put Greens above Labor at the 2007 fed election, only because Labor seems to be closer to the Liberals on social issues than ever before. But Kerr is still seriously overdramatising.

  3. bob1234

    I actually disagree with your analysis. I think The Greens are likely to see Lower House seats, if not Federally then more assuredly in NSW at state level. William’s already pointed out Balmain and Marrickville, but Heffron is another chance – especially if you go by the recent local government elections. There’s also been some suggestion that The Greens might run the popular Byron Bay Mayor in Ballina and that might give them a chance there, but that’s a pretty safe Nat seat at the moment. People who like to write off the increasing Green vote as the regular protest protest that ebbs and flows often point to the Democrats, who at their hight achieved a stronger primary vote than The Greens. However The Greens have already trumped the Democrats in one regard by gaining a Lower House seat Federally.

    Something that I haven’t seen anyone else mention is the significant Green vote in Lakemba in the recent by-election. Much has been made of anti-Labor swings (16% in Lakemba) but that was split between The Greens (9%) and Liberal (10%). In fact, I’d argue that The Greens got the majority of the ex-Labor vote and the Liberals got the Unity vote, who didn’t run this time, making up the difference. The Greens polling 13% in Lakemba of all places is pretty incredible considering they got 3.7% last year.

  4. At Victorian level I can see Pike is in serious trouble in Melbourne, with the proposed East-West tunnel but not necessarly for I recall in 1999 that seat actually moved towards the Kennett Government and that was after the Burnley and Domain tunnels were built.

    There is a potential sleeper issue in inner Melbourne but I’m not sure it will benefit the Greens and that is the proposed extension of clearways, I don’t see a great deal of anger in Inner Melbourne toward Brumby compared to Rural Victoria.

    The Interesting thing with inner Melbourne is the large fall in the Liberal vote, in Melbourne its down by 10% or a third from where it was when Kennett was Premier.

    I don’t see the Greens winning either Brunswick or Northcote

    Richmond, is a tricky seat for Fitzroy and Collingwood are very strong for the Greens but Richmond itself is solid for the ALP.

    At Federal level I think Tanner is safe in Melbourne.

  5. Yes its compulsory but I’m not sure which councils are up and for a political junkie to say that saids alot about local Government.

  6. Only Problem is Victorian local councils don’t attract many identified Labor or Liberal Candidates. Only the Greens run under the banner of the party in Victoria. While Labor and Liberal run as independents.

    I think you would be mad to write off Northcote and Brunswick. Demographic shits are moving them to the Greens at a furious pace. The seat of Melbourne will get harder for the Greens as will Richmond as rental prices move people further away.

    You can always tell a seat under threat by the amount of media time a local MP will try and get as much media attention as possible. Fiona Richardson is an MP that is trying very very hard.

    Having said that, Adamfromcanberra is right. Labor will do as much as possible to defend these seats. If you live in the areas, expect those tactics where the smearing leaflets appear where you can’t identify the authoriser etc and a hell of a lot of letter from Peter Garrett (not that he has much credibility after his last efforts).

  7. HI All,

    Well I did say that the whole state thing was a cycle, so there you go.

    William could we have a local govt thing in Vic as a thread, the Mayorality of Melb is interesting and there are a few Greens running around the state.??

    Not that its of much relevance but there could be some ideas around inner seats, Rural votes and regional shifts. Just a thought.

  8. Demographic shits eh Damian?

    Good idea FTP! The Greens came second to Lord So last time and with him out of the picture things could get interesting.

    Also Damian, the fact that The Greens run under a party banner in Vic LGA elections is what’s relevant for this thread because we can tell if Victoria follows the trend and they get a swing towards them.

  9. Optional preferential voting might save the ALP in Balmain and Marrickville, although you’d expect the Libs to preference the Greens in those seats, at least in 2011.

    But it’s hard to see what could save Tanner and Plibersek, if the Greens got their primary in those seats ahead of the Libs (say ~25%) and the current members’ primaries fell below 45%… Family First and CDP preferences maybe…

  10. Comparing of the Senate & Reps votes suggests that Tanner has a strong personal vote in Melbourne (as another commentator noted on this blog). He has strong personal connections to an older component of the inner-city left milieu. With Labor not running an endorsed ticket as I understand the Greens would have a chance for Melbourne mayor? In 2004 the Greens ran a distant second to John So. Eventually the Greens will win seats and the Labor vote will probably fade fast in the inner-city. At some stage a tipping point will be reached, if you were young left-wing and lived in the inner city which party offers the best career prospects?

  11. If the Greens decide that negative is not always bad then a leaflet could be sent out about the statement Pike made just after the last state election about not liking (she may even have used the word “disappointed” I don`t remember) the fact that the Greens had targeted a place were progressive politics had been so strong for so long (not her exact words) (she made the statement in an interview on the ABC news).

    The subtext of that statement is that she wants a safe seat like the one she initially had where there is less risk of her being thrown out and she does not have to pay so much attention to the electorate.

    Imagine the fuss if a Labor MLA or MP had said that they were disappointed at the Libs for trying to win their seat.

  12. If we didn’t have preferences, I can imagine Labor acting a lot like the Democrats in the US towards Nader after 2000.

    Let us be glad that we have preferences and significant parts of the left vote aren’t split and therefore wasted.

  13. A decent gauge of growth for the Greens in NSW was the recent election of Greens candidates in rural LGAs such as Wagga Wagga, Yass, Orange etc. If Greens are getting elected out in the sticks, then they’re doing pretty well IMHO.

    Interesting fact: Did you know that the share of Greens support at the 10 odd Wagga Wagga booths within the Division of Riverina at the 2007 federal poll was over 10% (ALP is low 30s)? I reckon that’s pretty impressive. This is ute rootin’ roo shootin’ country after all.

  14. All parliamentary member should be disappointed that someone else want their seats, that is just natural.

    The not very liberal – Liberals had their problem with One Nation, and they moved back a little to the right to re-claim those constituency. They were far right nuts who thinks the liberals moved too far from the right.

    The Labor is having the same problem, they moved too far to the right, and so the Greenies and Leftist who are disillusioned with the ALP now votes for the Greens. And probably quite some people who are sick of an aging ALP government who has not provided the services (NSW/WA/VIC/QLD) but who cannot vote for the Libs are turning to the Greens, A few years in opposition will help them recover these votes.

  15. The biggest problem for both the Liberal and Labor parties is that once you vote Green for the first time, you make a habit of it thereafter. Trends from the last 3-4 state and federal elections prove this.

    Comparisons to the rise/fall of One Nation are one dimensional.

  16. If no one else want something then it is usually bad.

    She was publicly complaining about voters in her seat being given another choice that they were anywhere near choosing.

  17. Interesting thing about the Greens is in many cases they are picking up former Liberal and Democrat voters a good example is the seat of Melbourne.

    In the 1999 state election in the seat of Melbourne the Liberal party polled about 30% the following election they dropped about 10% it all went to the Greens.

    The thing about the Greens picking up support in the sticks and areas like Lakemba is it will broaden the Greens as a party which in turn will make them more electable.

    As I have long argued that the Greens while travelling well need to broaden out beyond environmental and social issues into economic and infrastucure for at present the Greens are seen as opposed to most if not all development and this has in the past narrowed their support base.

    In the past the Greens have defended this by claiming that thye support sustainable development but when pressed they can never justify what that is.

    Maybe in time they can show what that means just as they need to move away from being seen as a high taxing party, maybe and I know Senator Bob Brown has been around for a long time but maybe the Greens need to develop a future leadership team for once Brown departs who will become the public face of the Greens.

    This is all part of politically growing up.

  18. I think that you will find that the change in Melbourne and around the state to various extents (less in liberal held seats) in 2002 was mainly two different groups of voters. With one going Labor to Greens and the other going Liberal to Labor both because Labor had moved to the right.

    If the Greens abandon high taxing policies then

    a, How would they pay for all their much needed policies
    and
    b, who would those among us who support higher taxes vote for.

  19. Interesting point about Bob Brown, mexicanbeemer. My guess is that when Brown retires Christine Milne will become parliamentary leader. But your right, no one right now has the stature of Brown.

    Regarding sustainable development I don’t think The Greens actually have problems in formulating policies in those areas. ‘Sustainable development’ in a practical example means instead of spending tens of billions of new roads and tunnels we invest in more public transport – trains, buses and rail. Instead of building new coal power plants let’s invest in renewables. The development of the harbour foreshore in Sydney is a good recent example. The Greens accept that development is necessary, but it can happen in balanced ways. Maintaining an environmental and social balance. Something like that was proposed by the architects who won the prize to plan the new development but it was scrapped by the State government in an attempt to make more money by creating more floor place. Something that you can be guaranteed from The Greens that you can’t from Labor or Liberal is that they won’t sell themselves to developers.

    Anyway, so I don’t think policy formulation is an issue. I think the problem is selling those ideas to the public. Especially when an extremely crude, yet digestible, counter-argument is “The Greens will slow economic growth”.

  20. There’s always the Socialist Alliance, Tom.

    But yeah I don’t see The Greens in compromising their fairly leftist economic platform. Interesting to point out that The Greens in NZ have just done so. Their policy calls for a cut in income taxes but they suggest that could be made up by taxing pollution.

  21. Christine Milne is too hard-faced to be the Greens leader. I think they should look towards Rachel Siewert and really promoting her. Or else give Milne a lot of media training.

  22. I think the Greens have bit unlikely federally re: finding a replacement for Brown when he eventually retired. Richard Di Natale or Kerrie Tucker would have been sterling candidates, but both narrowly lost their Senate bids last year. Peg Putt would be an excellent replacement for Brown in the Senate, but her retirement from Tasmanian politics suggests she’s probably out of the picture. Giz Watson would be amazing in the Senate, but with two sitting WA Senators (including one utter dud), that’s pretty unlikely.

    I think that – unless we can get someone spectacular up in 2010 – we’ll probably be looking at Milne, or depending on how well she can do the Natasha Stott Despoja thing, Sarah Hanson-Young from South Australia.

  23. It’ll be interesting to see who the Greens pick as a federal leader after Bob Brown. In a few years time, the most senior Greens in the country could be a real mixture. There’ll be several senators from most states (my pick: Tas 2, WA 2, 1 each in Vic / NSW / ACT / SA), possible MHR’s in Melbourne / Grayndler / Sydney, cabinet ministers in Tas and ACT, state MLC’s, and several MLA’s in Vic (I’ll tip Melbourne and Brunswick), NSW (Balmain, Marrickville, maybe Heffron or Ballina), or possibly WA (Freo). Thing is, how do you pick one particular person out of that lot as a leader, assuming it all goes right for the Greens? One of the main things that makes the Greens different to One Nation is that they aren’t based around one person the way One Nation was around Pauline Hanson. It means the party won’t crash and burn with the loss of that one person, but it makes it hard to find a particular leader. Rachel Siewert? Christine Milne? Giz Watson? Adam Bandt? The party’s so decentralised it’d barely make sense to have a federal leader.

    A thought for the NSW’ers, by the way. The Greens came second in four seats in the 2007 election; second to the ALP in Balmain and Marrickville, but also second to the Libs in Vaucluse and North Shore. They could do similar with the Nats in a couple of North Coast seats… may end up bothering the Coalition as much as Labor. That’ll be a good thing for them… a three party system looks a lot more genuine when all parties are competing against each other. It might kill that ‘Greens are just another ALP faction’ rubbish once and for all.

    (And also, if the Greens come second or first in half a dozen seats, it’ll be another excuse for Antony Green to moan about the 2PP average being used in the media… 😛 )

  24. Oz: Yeah, I was really impressed with Nettle when I met her in person. She was pretty fiery in her support of us here on civil unions, and she was by the far most impressive representative when we had people from all the parties attending a uni forum on women in politics last year.

    Her problem was that her media management was terrible, and she allowed her detractors to paint her as a fire-eyed socialist when she was nothing of the sort. If she’d succeeded in managing the press better, I think she’d have made a damn fine leader.

  25. [ two sitting WA Senators (including one utter dud) ]

    Is this referring to Scott Ludlam and his dopey comment about American spy bases making Geraldton a target for terrorists?

  26. Yeah, no prizes for guessing Ludlam. His main achievement was proving that the Greens are also not immune from preselecting party hacks over useful people…

  27. Indeed Rebecca. Her support for refugee’s was pretty strong as well.

    I’m not particularly impressed with either of the new Senators, Ludlam or Hanson-Young. Maybe they’ll grow on me as they grow into there roles but we’ll see.

    Heh, Keneally’s on TV at the moment. I seriously think there’s a decent chance of a 10% swing against her here going to The Greens. Pleaaaaaaaase.

  28. I think Kevin has noted growth of the Greens and will deprive them of oxygen at the next Fed election: the ETS, Solar Schools, the removal of discrimination against same sex couples will have that as one part of the thought behind them.

  29. Hanson-Young is no Stott-Despoja. Ludlam is embarassing. Have to say I was impressed with Larissa Waters during the last campaign and she’s a more inspiring choice.

    Nettle was a bit of a joke but seems amazing compared to the preschoolers that are Ludlam and Hanson-Young.

  30. There’s a hell of a room on the left of the almost dead Australian political spectrum with the liberal and labor parties effectively the same on so many levels. How much is that vote worth if the Greens don’t move any further towards the middle??? 20% – 25% max????

    Maybe doing something a bit radical could open up and change Australia forever – my suggestion (as floated on RiotACT) with the chance there to form a a government here in the ACT – why not do something totally different?

    Pick 3 Labor and 3 Liberal and offer to form a government with the 3 of their own, A green as Chief Minister. Work on a consensus basis – they all get to put forward policies and anything that gets a majority vote goes to the house to get voted on.

    Would be messy until it got up and running but could be a way to start breaking down the 2 party system here in Australia forever. From memory there is a National Party Member in the South Australian cabinet so that is a small precedent.

    True democracy, well sorta 🙂

  31. It’s not going to happen and it’d be really contentious. The Labor/Liberal candidates were not elected to break away from their parties and form Government with the Greens.

    I also reject your notion that there is no difference between Labor and Liberal… but I suppose it’s pretty popular to make that claim!

  32. What extraordinary claims about Senators Hanson-Young and Ludlam! I’d be really interested to hear from those throwing out such broad-brush attacks why they have those feelings. They compare very favourably to such leading lights as Senators Minchin, Abetz, McGauran, Carr and many many more in the big old parties.

    And, by the way, you don’t need to fear about Bob Brown retiring in the near future! He’s got years in him still, and plenty of time for an orderly transition.

  33. Brown will be almost 70 at the end of his current term… at the end of which, Milne will be almost 60 – hardly a leadership image i think the Greens would want to project… too reminiscent of the Soviet gerontocracy of the early 1980s

  34. MHW’s not so subtle attempt to paint The Greens as some kind of off-shoot of the CPSU had no basis in fact earlier this evening, was hypocritical and is now wearing quite thin.

    I don’t really have a doubt that whoever The Greens elect as leader will be able enough to keep the party strong and as a minor party the leadership isn’t as significant as it would be Labor or Liberal.

    And while Bob Brown is easily the most recognised and respected Green around, I don’t think his retirement (Weird topic because it’s not really imminent) will lose voters.

  35. Hasn’t Bob Brown already said that this is his last term?

    Mounting an argument that Ludlam and Hanson-Young can be compared favourably to Minchin, Abetz, McGauran and Carr is hardly a good argument. It also depends on what grounds you make the claim they are ‘better’.

    Hanson-Young and Ludlam are political lightweights and their policy positions are completely indistinguishable from any other student activist. A large part of being a politician is being able to sell your ideas to the public. I don’t see them being able to manage this, or even attempting to manage it.

  36. I never did that “Oz” – i merely pointed out factually that the Greens tend to attract the far left such as Rhiannon as those have nowhere else to go – except for the Teensy Weensy Socialist Labour Working Peoples’ Front of Judea

  37. Itep, I was deliberately demonstrating how easy it is to make sweeping claims about a political figure without actually backing it up. Why do you say they are lightweights?

    Scott Ludlam has over many years won the respect of many anti-nuclear and indigenous rights workers across the country through his depth of knowledge. He’s made quite a splash already in several committees, including the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties – one of the most senior parliamentary committees. Sarah Hanson-Young has clearly demonstrated political nous and ability in her actions surrounding the Murray in only a few months.

    As far as their respective ability to “sell their message” goes, they’ve actually been hard at work trying to achieve outcomes!

  38. Itep:

    Not long ago, Scott Ludlum decided to help perpetuate the myth that “Japan was trying to surrender the whole few months before the U.S. dropped the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki”

    No, they weren’t.

    This is sort of an urban legend, perpetuated by people who want to believe in the Eeeevil U.S. It’s built on a grain of fact, which is that by the summer of 1945, some elements in the Japanese government were interested in a negotiated peace.

    For example, a peace faction within the Navy seems to have given a tacit go-ahead for Yoshiro Fujimura, the Japanese Naval Attache in Switzerland, to conduct “peace” neogtiations with the OSS. This was really an attempt to find a negotiated surrender, with Allen Dulles of OSS at one end and Admiral Toyoda of the Naval Ministry at the other. However, it didn’t work… not because of American intransigence, but because Toyoda found that he didn’t have any room to maneuver within the Japanese Cabinet.

    The sticking point was not the retention of the Emperor but surrender, of any sort at all, without a climactic “final battle”. The Army literally wouldn’t hear of it. Toyoda never even raised it within the Cabinet, or outside of one or two other members of the peace faction — he would literally have been risking his life to use the word “peace” in the presence of the Army.

    (Why did the Army want that “final battle”? Well, in theory for two reasons: one, in the hope that it would be so bloody that it would break Allied will and force a more favorable peace — or two, that it would at least “save the national honor”. I say “in theory” because these were the arguments that the Army advanced. In fact, there was a likelier explanation: much of the Army leadership realised that they were likely to swing from Allied ropes for various atrocities. Japan, unlike Germany, didn’t have a separate political leadership that could be tried for war crimes; the military was the political leadership. So they literally had nothing to lose by refusing to surrender.)

    So, the Toyoda – Fujimira initiative was strictly informal and unofficial… and it didn’t go anywhere.

    Note that this was in July ’45 — just a couple of weeks before Hiroshima.

    (Side note: at one point, Fujimura was startled to find out that the Americans seemed better informed about what was going in Tokyo than he was himself. By 1945 they had broken Japanese codes so thoroughly that they were intermittently reading the minutes of the Supreme War Council more or less in real time. This just reinforces the point that, if they’d been ready to surrender, the Americans would have known about it.)

    For a US perspective on this as of early July, see the Bissell Memo, which is available online at http://www.historians.org/archive/hiroshima/070745.html. In print, see Justin Libby’s “The Seach for a Negotiated Peace” and Bruce Lee’s Marching Orders, which describes US analysis of Japanese traffic in the final days.

    So it’s certainly true that some elements in the Japanese leadership were unofficially sending out tentative peace feelers starting in late June ’45. However, that’s a long, long, long way from claiming that “Japan was trying to surrender the whole few months before the Americans dropped the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” Sorry, but that’s just nonsense.

  39. Well they’ll need a lot of work! Have you heard Scott Ludlam give a speech before? A monotonous murmur. As I’ve said previously Hanson-Young has all the political nous of a student union activist.

    These people may be able to strike a chord with anti-nuclear groups, but will struggle to win the middle ground which is where they can get the most votes. Arguably the most effective minor party leaders have been those who can appeal to the common voters as well as their niche.

    The Greens desperately need to diversify their talent pool from the uninspiring group of environmental/anti-nuclear activists. For a party that is keen to try and let everyone know they are not just an environmental party their base doesn’t seem to suggest this.

    What I want from a left party is not just a focus on the environment, but equally a party that can strongly bring to the table advocacy on social justice, comprehensive economic policy, law reform etc.

    Ludlam and Hanson-Young are poor substitutes for Senators Murray, Bartlett and Stott Despoja.

  40. You don’t need to put quotations around my name, “Mary Hannah Wade”.

    Can o’ worms Itep.

    [What I want from a left party is not just a focus on the environment, but equally a party that can strongly bring to the table advocacy on social justice, comprehensive economic policy, law reform etc.]

    I would argue that the Greens have been strong in that area at both State and Federal level for a number of years. But I would agree that the Class of ’07 don’t seem particularly promising. Then again, they’ve been only been around since July.

  41. It’ll be interesting to see the new WA upper house next year… there’s two new Greens MLC’s (Alison Xamon and Lynn MacLaren), as well as two continuing / previous (Giz Watson and Robin Chapple). Xamon in particular looks cut from a different cloth than Scott Ludlam and such… she’ll be one to watch.

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