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. And is it right for the only county that has used Atomic weapons to demand other country not have them. Yes GP there is an endless supply of empty rhetorical questions.

  2. What a joke. People ranting about Ludlam and Hanson-Young have clearly never met them. Give them time to do their work, they’ve only been in the job for a few months. PS. Xamon was a student president, whereas before being an MP’s staff member Scott Ludlam was a long-time community campaigner. Alison’s not a hack either, but it just shows that people don’t know what they are talking about.

    I’m disappointed that our east-coast candidates all missed out because they are all impressive, but Scott and Sarah will grow well into the role, and once they get a bit of media attention and some traction on their portfolios they’ll be up there with the rest of them.

    I agree that the Greens will have difficulty when Bob retires replacing him, and I don’t share Tim’s optimism that he’ll go on endlessly. All parties have trouble when a long-serving leader retires, but I think people vastly over-estimate Bob’s importance. The Greens have a much larger base of state MPs, local councillors and grassroots members than any other Australian minor party has had, and all our gains have come from small, incremental increases over time. That tells me that it is no flash-in-the-pan. After all, everyone is now talking about the possiblities for the NSW Greens in 2011. NSW has always been the most independent of the national party and Bob in particular and is in a very strong position. I think we’ll do just fine when Bob goes.

    His successor will depend a lot on the next election. I don’t expect he’ll quit before the next election, after which I expect to see more Greens. Whether there is a double dissolution or a regular election, Greens are hitting the ceiling federally in the smaller states (except for one extra SA senator) but have huge room to grow on the east coast, in both Houses. Since only federal MPs get a vote for the leader, that will obviously impact on that decision. But I don’t expect it will turn into a contest between two people, and if Bob was to retire in, say, 2012, only Rachel and Christine would have the experience to take over. Scott and Sarah are too young (as would have been Kerry) and anyone elected in the next election will still be getting their bearings.

    I’m amazed anyone still trots out the line about “why aren’t the greens doing anything about social justice, blah blah blah”. While Shane Rattenbury has a background with Greenpeace, Meredith Hunter, also elected on Saturday, came from the ACT Youth Coalition and a career with local social justice NGOs. And if you look at the inner city Greens groups in Sydney and Melbourne who are most likely to elect local MPs, they are incredibly strong on non-environmental progressive issues. Indeed, some might wonder why they don’t spend more time talking about the environment. You can’t have it both ways.

  3. Why are we focusing on current senators as the only possible leaders? Richard DiNatale springs to mind, as does Andrew Wilkie. There are several other Victorians available, and with a senate seat waiting to be taken…
    Wilkie would be better, but that means getting rid of Milne or making him leader as soon as Bob goes.

    Its all talk anyway, as far as I know, Bob is staying another term.

  4. I have met both of them and it actually forms part, in fact most, of my opinion of them. The Greens still are less capable, indeed less willing, in comparison to the Democrats to push for reform in areas unrelated to climate change and the environment.

    You only have to look to recent Senate inquiries to see this. For instance, in its inquiry into the Varanus Island gas explosion, looking at the Hansard you will see the only interest the Greens had in the whole issue was in relation to renewable energy. Whilst this is interesting to look at as well, there was no interest in the broader issues around the inquiry.

    Interestingly, most of the policy that has been developed and pushed that is unrelated to the environment comes from one senator… Bob Brown. From Bob Brown you at least see proposals in relation to electoral reform and euthanasia, but also other issues such as junk food advertising.

    From other senators, such as Milne and Ludlam… radioactive waste and renewable energy seem to be their sole interests. Whenever there are debates on you can usually tell that if it does not involve the environment or climate change no Greens senator will bother to show up to the debate.

    I’m definitely of the belief that there needs to be a strong third voice in Australian politics but am increasingly dissatisfied with the alternative the Greens have been offering.

  5. I’m of similar opinion to LTEP about the outside-of-climate-change stuff.

    I spent Saturday out campaigning for Meredith Hunter, and was pretty impressed when I got to meet the woman in person. She’s precisely the sort of person the Greens need.

    But there is definitely a sizable segment of the current-day Greens that is far more interested in environmentalism at the expense of social welfare. I fully expect the ACT Greens here to push things like housing energy efficiency at the expense of any social welfare goals in their negotiations over the next couple of weeks (public transport excluded because it overlaps).

    I think this element of Green attitudes was best shown when the Canberra Times interviewed Caroline Le Courteur (the Green who stands to be elected if we get 4) and asked her what her main thing she wanted to push was. And you know what it was? Some forced massive-scale energy efficiency thing that, without (not mentioned) massive-scale government subsidy, would basically kill off the idea of home ownership permanently for the working and middle classes.

    It’s not just her, though. Rattenbury, as much as I like the guy, was instrumental in the campaign against the construction of Molonglo. Thanks to that little piece of idiocy, we now have a major construction of new housing in an economically deprived area, which will now not have the associated jobs and services that would have gone with it , because there’s a cluster of trees in a field somewhere. It’s things like that that make me worry that it when it comes down to it, the Greens will screw the poor if it clashes in the slightest with environmentalism.

  6. No 52

    fredn, the USA is not the only country to have used nuclear weapons. Every other country that has them has tested them, in some cases with disastrous consequences. The French testing being an obvious example.

  7. No 56

    You’ve elucidated the biggest problem with the Greens. But that in itself is not all that surprising. Their entire platform is essentially the environment and discursive discourse on other issues exposes their weaknesses quite clearly.

  8. Perhaps, if the Greens wish evolve into being the new complete left-wing party in Australia, they ought to change their name, along with their policies.

    Ultimately, being called the “Greens” is far too narrow a corridor to launch a whole bunch of wide ranging policies from. It makes them sound completely focused on only the environment, not anything else.

    Just a thought.

  9. I think ‘the Greens’ are just seeing circumstances shift their way – unlikely to be looking for a name change just as climate change and environmental damage are really beginning to bite (and get traction with the media and public)…

    After all, is it more important that the Greens are environmental party or a party of the left? While those left/green associations have always been made, perhaps from both an electablity and effectiveness point of view, the Greens environmental focus is the real winner – better publicity on environmental rather than ‘left issues’, and arguably more effective if they can look for sustainable solutions across any left/right divide, than a strict doctrinaire approach…

  10. In regard to the future of mankind, world governments over the past 15 years have only really had to be right about one really big thing. Everything else was at least an order of magnitude less important. The one really big thing was not over- population, proliferation of nukes, a wonky world fiscal system, or the global transubstantiation of human meaning into consumption and materialism. Nor was it the global mass extinction event, the globalisation of diseases, failing world fisheries or the world shortage of fresh water. Nor was it the 800 million people suffering from hunger or the 5 million children dying of starvation-related illnesses per year. Nor was it cappos gone feral, or the global overinvestment in the means of mass slaughter. Nor will it be the coming depression or the coming severe recession.

    All these minor issues are being subsumed by the one big thing. The Liberals comprehensively failed the one big thing test. Howard’s one line in history, as written in about 2200, will be: ‘PM Howard had an opportunity to help initiate and support appropriate global responses to climate change and failed to do so.’ Rudd’s one sentence in history is there for the writing. Is the Rudd response to date the appropriate response to the one big thing? Over 10% of the population are now voting, like, not happy about that one big thing, Kev.

    The Greens face all sorts of difficulties and have the most severe shortcomings in terms of being anything like a credible alternative government. Some of the Greens are frighteningly naive and this shows when they unexpectedly succeed in becoming representatives. Their thinking hats are often on soooo crooked. So why is their vote going up? As a certain Civil War cavalry general once said to explain his victories: ‘I get there the firstest with the mostest.’ The Greens have been the firstest and the mostest on the one big thing. I reckon that is why the Green vote is going up.

    BTW, on another topic in this thread, what we need is not a left party, or a right party, or a green party. We need a comprehensive triple bottom line party. Arguably, not one of the current parties fits that bill in a comprehensive fashion.

  11. The Greens vote is going up?? It rose by 1% between the past two Federal elections and by less than that over the last two Victorian State ones.

  12. I wouldn’t tip Wilkie as next leader.

    It’s hard to go past a Tassie leader because it is by far the safest Green state, but as mentioned, Milne isn’t exactly ‘generational change.’ We’ll at least have to wait and see what the next election throws up. Maybe a Di Natale or a John Kaye or a Larissa Waters doing the Natasha thing, though giving the Greens leadership to a Queenslander is playing with electoral fire.

  13. Boerwar

    For those countries that signed the Kyoto protocal, Pollution went up more than Australia …… yeah Howard should have sign something that was worthless, China signed it, look how well they are doing in relation to pollution LOL

  14. Rebecca, I have to take you to task on your statement that energy efficiency is somehow a socially regressive thing!

    Do you realise that the Greens’ policy on energy efficiency retrofits, which I assume is the policy you are referring to, has been picked up helter skelter by ACOSS and others as the best way to achieve socially progressive outcomes simultaneous with climate outcomes. It’s also been picked up overseas as one of the leading policy suggestions for doing so.

    I am really surprised that you see the equity benefits of public transport but don’t see the same (in fact far far greater) benefits from energy efficiency!

    On another matter, I wonder why people feel that Christine Milne, the Greens climate change spokesperson (and my employer), should be setting aside climate change and pushing policies unrelated to her portfolio? However, if you care to look at her record, you’ll find a hell of a lot of work on broader social issues, particularly for people on the land in Tasmania and elsewhere.

    Re leadership, Bob Brown is going nowhere before the next election, and Andrew Wilkie isn’t in the running. Beyond that, there’s not a lot more to be said at this stage.

  15. I think this shift is a plus for getting action on CC. In my line of work changing the AusLink investment rules to allow federal funding of public transport would be a good start.

  16. [The Greens vote is going up?? It rose by 1% between the past two Federal elections and by less than that over the last two Victorian State ones.]

    … and by 4.3 per cent at the WA election, 6.6 per cent at the ACT election, about 7 per cent at the NT election, and about 5 per cent in Newspoll.

  17. The rise in the Greens vote kicked in around the beginning of this year. That is when we saw a jump in the polls. I’m sure a lot has to do with the Rudd government, that there was a sizeable part of Labor’s voting base that was interested in the Greens but afraid of helping the Liberals (since most people don’t understand the electoral system). Now that the Liberals are a rabble those people have made the jump. We’ve since seen that carried out in WA, ACT, Mayo and the NSW council elections. I expect to see another jump at the Victorian council elections. The electoral system isn’t as good for the Greens in Victoria as it is in NSW, but it has improved since the last council elections and should see a few gains.

  18. As far as the policy focus of the Greens, of course the environment is our single biggest issue, and I can’t see that changing anytime soon. But ALL of our politicians have a solid track record of campaigning on social welfare, social justice and economic issues. They don’t get as much media attention, as the mainstream political media finds it easier to talk about the Greens on climate change or forests than on something else.

    People have always liked to try and divide Greens MPs into red/green camps. People like to have a go at people like Lee Rhiannon and Colleen Hartland and Kerry Nettle for being uninterested in the environment (ignoring the fact that Kerry and Lee both became political through the environment movement – I don’t know Colleen enough) while Bob and Christine pushed through policies outside of the environmental policy sphere when they led the Tasmanian Greens in the balance of power in 1989-92 and 1996-98 respectively.

    Anyone who has been in Marrickville or Melbourne during a state or federal election campaign would not seriously try and claim that the Greens only campaign on environmental issues.

  19. Indeed, Christine’s greatest pride about her time as Tas Greens leader is achieving gun law reform, gay law reform and an apology to the Stolen Generations.

  20. 70 Apologies, William – it was actually the beginning of a longer post, but I didn’t get to finish it (work got in the way).

    The Greens vote (in my experience) appears to be largely a protest vote. In ‘elections that don’t matter much’ – that is, where people are seriously annoyed with their present government but aren’t able to contemplate the other mob – the Green vote goes up. It’s a way of telling the incumbents to get their act together but it’s not meant to boot them out.

    In ‘vital elections’ the Green vote doesn’t grow. People are determined to kick out the current mob and so don’t ‘waste’ their vote with the Greens. This would be my reading of why the Green vote didn’t shift between the last two Federal elections.

    The nature of this vote (I’m not talking about ‘rusted on’ Greens here – which, by the way, gives us another Green colour to add to our spectrum!) means that these voters are not terribly interested in the Greens themselves – that is, what their policies are, who their candidates are, etc etc – because they’re not intending them to win the seat, let alone form Government.

    When, if, the Greens actually look like they might perhaps be coming close to being ‘real’ these things will become much more important.

  21. [ I’m sure a lot has to do with the Rudd government, that there was a sizeable part of Labor’s voting base that was interested in the Greens but afraid of helping the Liberals (since most people don’t understand the electoral system). ]

    There’s a new Greens policy right there. Education on the voting system (say ~1hr/wk) in year 12 / TAFE / whichever kind of schooling you’re at when you’re 17. About as important as sex ed, only in a different direction. It ain’t so difficult it should be misunderstood, it’s important enough that it shouldn’t be, and that ‘throw my vote away’ line is way too common. Get on it, Ben. 😉

    As for the Greens as protest vote thing, I’d suggest looking at SA. Nick Xenophon would’ve hoovered up all the protest vote against major parties, and they still elected a Greens senator last time round.

  22. GP (60): Actually, there is one nation that has nuclear weapons but hasn’t tested them (Israel). Also, it is unclear whether or not South Africa tested their bomb (there is some evidence that they did, but it is inconclusive) – though they of course have since disarmed.

  23. [This would be my reading of why the Green vote didn’t shift between the last two Federal elections.]

    You can say the ‘vote’ didn’t shift, that’s academic and pretty irrelevant. The outcome of that ‘not shifting’ was actually a net gain of one senator. By that logic you would also say that Xenophon’s vote didn’t shift between the last two elections since he achieved a net gain of one se

    [they’re not intending them to win the seat]

    Why do you think that? It’s already been stated in this thread The Greens have come close to winning lower house seats in a number of areas. Most recently in Mayo.

  24. Dawson 74.

    Of course the intellectuals who voted for Pauline Hanson and then Howard were up to speed with the policy details of the Libs. I wish that some of the people on this site would read their posts before they make fools of themselves. Some facts, the Green vote is the most aware vote, the most educated and the most active. Part of what you say is true, the vote does not go up as much in static elections (Where the ALP was in State office with the Fibs in Federally) The whole dynamic has now changed. I’ll say it again, the voters don’t like fed and state governments to be the same. They don’t trust pollies with to much control. So the perfect conditions for the Greens are now. Throw in the fact that most sane people accept that climate change is real and you have a very nasty storm for the olds. Finally how was the ACT result, both the majors lost ground.
    One last thing, total up the number of election in the last 15 years where the Green vote has gone up and compare that to the number where it has gone down and see if you can find a trend. Ummmmm

  25. Oh dear, I do need to make sure I spell things out!

    William pointed out a series of recent elections (NT, WA, ACT) which went against my previous post. I know that WA went to the Libs and that the Libs have since gained in support (the usual trend when a party unexpectedly gains government) and I’m not into ‘protest votes gone wrong’ but I also doubt that many people, going in to vote in WA, seriously expected that Labor would lose…but anyway, that was what I was talking about – why these elections saw a rise in the Green vote.

    In Mayo, there wasn’t an ALP person to vote for. In a normal election, there would have been. By elections are notoriously unreliable predictors of general election outcomes, partly because there usually IS a big protest vote involved.

    I am willing to eat humble pie (in fact, I’m willing to eat almost anything…) but there is a real pattern of over hypeing potential Green votes before elections. This over hypeing also happens in the published polls leading up to elections. This suggests that either — a reasonable percentage of people who say they’re going to vote Green don’t; or the polling is somehow skewed to favour the Greens.

    As for the last Federal election….that is my example of a ‘don’t waste your vote’ election, thus the Green vote didn’t grow substantially.

  26. Gaining a Senator – as FF can tell you – is not so much an indicator of voter support as much as the vagaries of the preference allocations.

    The contention we were discussing, however, was not whether the Greens had gained seats or whether they had gained votes. A gain of 1% over the last four years, regardless of whether or not seats were won or lost, does not fit into the narrative that the Greens are becoming any sort of threat to the major parties. Of course, given 30 or so Federal elections at that rate of growth (approximately 100 years), they may become a concern.

  27. Check out the BS the Tasmanian Premier is spewing:

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24527737-11949,00.html

    He calls a report by ANU showing that old-growth forests are excellent carbon sinks “bullshit” and retorts with this bit of wisdom “If you burn a tree, obviously the carbon is realised. If you turn it into a coffee table, that carbon is sequestered for life or for a very bloody long time.”

    I hope someone pulls him up for that rubbish. Clearly he missed a few important high school science lessons. Calling a coffee-table a “carbon sink” is hilarious. Yeah, it’s true burning trees releases CO2 and not burning them doesn’t but no one is calling for old-growth forests to be “burned”.

    The argument is that they should remain because as plants they undergo photosynthesis throughout their life that uses up CO2 and replaces it with oxygen. Coffee tables do not undergo photosynthesis.

  28. [Of course, given 30 or so Federal elections at that rate of growth (approximately 100 years), they may become a concern.]

    Another way to look at it is a tripling of the primary vote every 11 years… See? Statistics is fun!

  29. And there’s a major difference, too between turning old growth forests into coffee tables and turning them into 100,000s of copies of the Weekend OO.

  30. Hell, Oz, you mean to say that the Greens will receive 100% of all votes by 2040? Not so sure that sounds all that appealing . . . and I like them.

    And by 2051 they’ll make Hoxha-era Albanian polls look like cliffhangers!

  31. Oz…it’s actually a quadrupling (1.74 x 3 equalling only 5.22).

    More seriously, though, the Greens biggest vote jump in that time was nearly 3% (so, if this was replicated at every election, it would require at least 10 elections, or 30 years, to crack a 40% primary). They will need to grow their vote faster than this if they are to be true contenders.

    I doubt that they can do this. I would expect that, the more they look like contenders, the more they will come under scrutiny. There will also be inward pressure to become more like the majors (that is, prepared to make compromises to gain votes), as more people’s jobs depend on their electoral success. As with the majors, this will put them at risk of alienating their traditional support base in order to widen their appeal.

  32. Dawson, my goal was to point out that extrapolating political growth by looking at specific 3 year periods in one particular context is not a very good idea.

    [There will also be inward pressure to become more like the majors (that is, prepared to make compromises to gain votes), as more people’s jobs depend on their electoral success.]

    That assumption is based on the idea that the same kind of people join the major parties as join The Greens. I don’t see electoral success and keeping ones principles as mutually exclusive.

  33. Oz…this is simply pointing out a fact of human nature and the realities of political parties.

    Each MP elected employs staff, who (if they are half way decent) they care about. These staff want to stay employed. As parties grow, so do their offices. These are also staffed by people who want to stay employed.

    No matter how principled a person is, losing their job as a consequence of their MP losing an election is not pleasant to contemplate.

    Similarly, electoral success equals dollars. Each primary vote brings in money. In the Greens’ case, this is a major part of their funding full stop. I have already seen instances of Greens supporters quite shamelessly plugging this as a reason for people to vote for them. Unless the Greens seek other forms of funding (that is, contributions from business, unions etc), which in itself implies consequences, as they grow this money will become even more important.

    Electoral success depends on wider appeal, and particularly appeal to the less well educated, less active, less aware voters (being willing to take on board the contention above that Greens supporters outperform others in these regards).

    Remember: only the impotent are pure.

  34. Dawson:

    I agree – the Greens construct a philosophy of failure, which finds in defeat a form of justification and a proof of the purity of their principles

  35. Both your arguments are essentially criticising The Greens because they have not ‘broadened their appeal’ which is a euphemism for selling out a la Labor and Liberal. I understand it may be hard to comprehend that there are people in politics who are not addicted to power and seek the job of an MP for other reasons. And by no means are The Greens the only ones.

    The Greens are not trying to be Labor or Liberal and they are not Labor or Liberal. It is unlikely that they will ever become either Government or Opposition and it does not appear to be a goal. Your “electoral success means more people who’s jobs rely on electoral success” is essentially a circular argument. You acknowledge that they will receive electoral success without having a huge party machine and funds from corporations and unions. There is no reason that would all have to change.

  36. Dawson,

    I am reminded of a time when Senators Chamarette and Margetts (both Greens from WA) held the balance of power in the Senate. Gareth Evans (then the Senate leader for the ALP) approached them about passing the Budget unamended.

    He made the mistake of threatening a double dissolution if they did not pass it saying words to the effect of “Only one of you will get back in a DD”. At that point Margetts and Chamarette smiled, said okay and got up and left the meeting. History shows the budget was passed with appropriate Greens amendments and curiuously, no DD.

    It is actually not just about power for powers sake. You can all roll your eyes but the Greens are trying to do politics differently. If I (and other members of the Greens) just wanted to seek power for powers sake we would just join the ALP. We are trying to change the world (cue rolling eyes again:-))

  37. Rainbows and unicorns, yay.

    Luke has raised an interesting point. Most left-wing people in their formative years, let’s call them students, have to decide whether they want to go down the more ‘idealistic’ path of the real left parties or if they can deal with some slight blunting of their ideals and join Labor. The majority join Labor where their own voices become so dulled they may not have joined. But they do, for the power. And inevitably they no longer become ‘left-wing’.

    The disconnect between the radicals in the student and union movements and the ex-lefties in the Labor Party and the actual policies of Labor is pretty depressing. An interesting example is the new Waverly councillor, Rose Jackson. As a high-ranking member of the student union movement she spoke out against VSU but to effectively navigate pre-selection she had to renounce that view. Like I said, depressing.

  38. Has anyone seen Scott Bennett’s paper on the Greens for the Parliamentary Library. Given a choice between Labor, Coalition and ‘someone else’ as the party best equipped to handle health & education only 3% nominated ‘someone else’.

  39. I think most commentators are making too much of the success of the Greens. Labor and Liberal both went backwards by significant amounts. Message reads ‘you both suck’. Who else is there to vote for?

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