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 is completely unfair and illogical to make an assumption that a vote for the Greens is cast with no consideration of whether they want the Greens to win. For the entire ACT campaign it was clear that the Greens were in with a strong chance of winning in every electorate and that they were likely to hold the balance of power after the election. People voting Green were fully aware that their vote would likely elect a Greens candidate. If they just wanted to cast a “you both suck” vote they could have voted for Community Alliance or the Motorist Party or Pangallo or Richard Mulcahy or Mark Parton. None of them came close to winning.

    That suggests that the Greens vote was a positive vote in large part for the Greens.

    It is also equally absurd to dismiss the Greens as only going up a little bit at each election. Election results don’t follow a linear path. If the Greens gain 1% at an election it doesn’t mean we will keep gaining 1% for everymore. The WA and NT results showed that when the circumstances changed we were there to benefit. Our steady federal position over the last two elections, beyond re-electing Senators, put us in a strong position to benefit from left-wing disappointment in the Rudd government. That’s what you are seeing. I don’t think it’s that voters only vote Greens in elections that “matter” (what the hell does that even mean?!). Voters are more likely to vote Green when they are up against a sitting Labor government. When Labor is in opposition they can talk further to the left without having to back up their words. A Liberal government scares progressive voters into voting Labor. So the Greens don’t do as well against a Liberal government. It’s got nothing to do with whether an election matters.

  2. Dovif @ 67
    In 2200 people will be grappling with the consequences of climate change. They will not give a rat’s for who did or did not sign Kyoto. John Howard did nothing but drag the chain on climate change, so his sentence in 2200 history standard national curriculum history book will quite rightly be ‘PM Howard had an opportunity to initiate and support an appropriate global response to climate change but did nothing.’ A 2200 revisionist historian with a bit more energy might actually get around to digging a bit deeper and discover that, by dragging the chain and acting as a spoiler, Howard did worse than nothing. You quite rightly point out that other contemporary world leaders will have earned similar one line sentences in the 2200 history books.This does not exculpate Howard.
    For others on the string who are working on analysing the green vote, I agree that the Greens are going to attract some of whatever protest vote is going around. But I suggest that the polls showing the very large number of people who are concerned about climate change are indicators that the Green vote is more than just a protest vote. My point is that it is reasonable to suppose that there is a solid organic connection between what people are concerned about and the trends in green voting.

  3. MHW, it’s not the policy that bothers me so much but the fact that one could campaign for election on a particular platform, agitate on that platform and create a support base on that platform and then change their view as soon as party HQ says so.

  4. The Green vote has peaked as a protest vote now in by-elections, when the fate of the Government does not hang in the balance. When the next Federal and State elections come around voters will see the Greens as the single issue Party they are.
    They will still win some Senate seats, but not improve their overall number, and may even decline. Kevin Rudd will dominate the election and win by a big margin.
    The other likely winners are the Family First and the DLP. It will be interesting to see if FF survive Fieldings support for abortion. This support is likely to alienate his main support base. This leaves a resurgent DLP as the main threat to other minor parties. The DLP are reorganising, with a young and vibrant member base, in contrast to the ageing membership of former year. This group will appeal especially to the pro-life voters in Victoria, where there is an angry backlash against the Brumby Government, for passing a Bill allowing virtual abortion on demand in Victoria. This was a foolish move by Brumby, because it reeergised pro-life voters to support the DLP at a time when the DLP was at a make or break time. The flood of new young voters into the membership of the DLP does not auger well for the BrumbyALP. The main point of interest is, can the DLP get organised to run enough candidates. They should be able to do that in the 2 years before the next Federal and State elections in Victoria. They have already reformed branches in NSW and Queensland. Their younger membership will also be able to provide a better web site and internet access and use.
    So their vote will increase at the next election, and they will be around for the forseeable future,giving Labour voters the option of having another Labor Party to vote for, with traditional Labor values ad ideals.

  5. Ben Raue: Congratulations! Exactly what I’ve been thinking this past year or seven. Why do so many people suggest that the Green voter is a negative voter? Some of us vote Green because we love them. Olé, olé, olé.

  6. The Green vote grows because the Left of the Labor Party believes in nothing. They now have token females and males who are wimps.Gillard once an icon now toes the right wing line, Wong, Ellis, Pillbersek and Macklin are embarrassing- watching Wong on Four Corners was amazing, just to see her stumped for answers and unable to state a view it was just incredible.. and Ellis well hate to say it she comes across as a Bimbo… Of the men well perhaps only Tanner and Albanese seem credible. In the Victorian Parliament the Left has no males who stand up to the dominate right wing faction and thus they just sit back and follow or supply factrional stackees as votes for right wing members to get elected…
    The problem with the ALP is that they continuingly use the line that the Libs don’t care about the issues that matter or have policies in these areas so why should we. Or we will only have limited policies in such areas. Public transport policy is one example.
    The Labor Party now sees its enemy as the Greens and not the Libs, hence at meetings i have attended members of parliament continuingly carry on about the Greens and rarely the Libs.. The problem is is that many of Labors members have become elitist and many of them work in the public service or were once employed by the public service and thus they see life as easy….

  7. I’m with Boerwar (#103) who says that the Green vote is not just a protest vote. The ACT electorate is relatively highly educated. A whole lot of people here can see the real catastrophe of climate change coming down on us rapidly – the evidence shows far more rapidly than the most pessimistic IPCC scenarios of only 18 months ago. Neither mainstream party is taking this seriously enough.

  8. Goodness me Goanna, are you actually witnessing the current events?

    “The Green vote has peaked as a protest vote now in by-elections, when the fate of the Government does not hang in the balance. When the next Federal and State elections come around voters will see the Greens as the single issue Party they are.”

    What evidence is there that it has peaked? The Greens vote is actually rising. What evidence do you point to to make that claim? Mayo? Lakemba? No one seriously believes the Greens vote has peaked. Look at the NSW council elections, ACT elections, Mayo, even modest gains in the NSW byelections (including a 10% swing in Lakemba).

    “They will still win some Senate seats, but not improve their overall number, and may even decline. Kevin Rudd will dominate the election and win by a big margin.”

    Not so. Labor will probably win but the margin will be lower. If there is any crossover at all in NSW from the mess of the state government, Labor federally will be hurt. NSW is the key state for Labor. In the Senate things are different. Remember at the news Senate election there are only Two Greens seats to defend. . Rachel Siewert will be safe in WA, Christine Milne as well in Tassie. That leaves SA, VIC, NSW, QLD and ACT for possible gains. If the Greens in Victoria gain another 1% (up to 11%) it would be hard for any party to gain the last seat in Victoria, including Fielding. I think he’s odds on to lose and I doubt Labor would be able to preference him again. NSW is a harder case, but if anything like that Council election vote is repeated (which I doubt), another seat looms. In QLD, I would rate the hances at 50-50. In the ACT, another Kerrie Tucker run might just do it, but it depends on the Liberals vote dropping another 3-4% (probably unlikely). SA is also a chance but I would still rate it unlikely at this stage. NT chances – nil.

    “The other likely winners are the Family First and the DLP. It will be interesting to see if FF survive Fieldings support for abortion. This support is likely to alienate his main support base. This leaves a resurgent DLP as the main threat to other minor parties.”

    Feilding supports abortion??? Resurgent DLP? Where? Did I miss something? One member of parliament brought about by a Fildingesque preference drip does not a resurgence make.

    “The DLP are reorganising, with a young and vibrant member base, in contrast to the ageing membership of former year. This group will appeal especially to the pro-life voters in Victoria, where there is an angry backlash against the Brumby Government, for passing a Bill allowing virtual abortion on demand in Victoria. This was a foolish move by Brumby, because it reeergised [sic] pro-life voters to support the DLP at a time when the DLP was at a make or break time. The flood of new young voters into the membership of the DLP does not auger well for the BrumbyALP. The main point of interest is, can the DLP get organised to run enough candidates. They should be able to do that in the 2 years before the next Federal and State elections in Victoria. They have already reformed branches in NSW and Queensland. Their younger membership will also be able to provide a better web site and internet access and use.
    Hmmm, Delusions of Grandeur. Once it loses their only member of parliament in Australia, the DLP will be hard pressed to remain registered as a political party. For years they kept running the same two candidates at every by-election. Remember the McGauran’s supported the DLP’s legal bids to stop audits of their membership( for a reason). I severely doubt that the DLP could mount a comeback. There is simply no evidence to support this. Moreover, most of their vote tends to come from ideological Labor supporters who mistake the name from the real Labor Party.

    “So their vote will increase at the next election, and they will be around for the forseeable future,giving Labour voters the option of having another Labor Party to vote for, with traditional Labor values ad ideals.”

    Absolutely no evidence to support this. But each to their own.

  9. Damian –
    always happy to can the DLP but where do you get the following:

    ‘Not so. Labor will probably win but the margin will be lower.’

    There is absolutely not one skerrick of evidence to support this, and quite considerable evidence to support the view that Labor will make substantial gains at the next election.

    So far the only ‘tests’ of the Federal vote we’ve had have been by elections in seats the ALP never could have expected to win.

    There is no evidence at all that the State vote will influence the Federal one in any significant way. Dismal Liberal performances at the State level did not prevent Howard winning a couple of Fed elections on the trot, in some of which he increased his margin.

    Local council elections likewise are not a guide to either State or Federal elections. Candidates in local elections get up on their community profiles rather than on their political allegiances (I myself have benefitted from this, with Libs and Nats voting for me as a councillor but saying they would never vote for me at State or Federal level).

    I would predict Labor gains in the Senate at the next election, and particularly so if there is a sense that the Greens, minority parties and independents are hampering the Government from delivering initiatives favoured by the electorate at large (back to ‘not wasting’ votes).

    Someone earlier used the example of the WA Greens making stands on principle. They weren’t reelected because of this – they were seen by enough people to have blocked or distorted too much the Govt was trying to achieve (and which had broad support). As a result, they lost their voice. It might have been better to compromise around the edges and still be relevant than be too principled and lose their influence.

  10. [and particularly so if there is a sense that the Greens, minority parties and independents are hampering the Government from delivering initiatives favoured by the electorate at large]

    Unlikely. The general perception is that the minors, specifically The Greens, are working together with Labor (More co-operatively than Labor expected) to achieve even better outcomes than what was in Labor policy. ie. Indexing the new Medicare threshold to wage growth. A Greens-Xenophon initiative.

    The ‘obsctructionists’ are the Liberals. And the same people who swung to Labor last election will most likely vote Labor again in the Senate which will increase their presence at the expense of the Liberals, not The Greens. But depending on how Labor handles ETS and Workchoices (Not looking particularly promising) they risk losing more votes to The Greens.

    [Someone earlier used the example of the WA Greens making stands on principle. They weren’t reelected because of this]

    What do you mean? They doubled their presence in WA Parliament.

  11. [There is no evidence at all that the State vote will influence the Federal one in any significant way.]

    When taking each election in isolation you would be correct. However, the fact that The Greens achieved significant gains in every election since the last Federal election (And there’s been a lot) and the fact their primary vote has hit record levels in the polls creates a trend that you would expect to transfer to the Federal level.

  12. Oz – I agree Labor will increase its vote in the Senate; Damian suggested it would go backwards.

    At present, I also agree the Greens are playing a largely positive role. It was an ‘if’ scenario.

    Regardless, I don’t think the Green will get extra Senators at the expense of Labor (Damian’s suggestion) – but ‘ifs’ are always in play.

    Reference was to WA Greens in Senate.

  13. Not disputing that at present – ‘at the expense of Labor’ would be my salient point there. If things continue as at present, there will be a couple of Lib/Nat seats up for grabs.

    Will continue to argue, however, that Greens House of Reps members are unlikely.

  14. Well it depends on how you define “at the expense of”.

    The net loss will be the LNP and the gain will be of Labor and The Greens. But it would be like LNP -> Labor -> Green.

  15. Damien:

    QLD is the Greens’ worst performing state and in NSW the (politically) late Kerry Nettle only got 8.43% of the primary vote – a quota is 14.28% – that’s quite some shortfall!

  16. 118 Mary Hannah Wade. There is nothing sadder in Australian politics than a bitter Democrat! On current elected state and Federal Members of Parliament-Greens 24 (maybe with the luck of the Gods, 25!), Australian Democrats-1. Obviously, many people are enjoying voting for the Greens!

  17. Re DLP resurgence.
    I was not about to claim the DLP would gain a raft of seats accross the country.
    But wanted to make the point, they have gone from a party with a handful of aging members, and few working branches, to a party with an influx of young members accross at least 3 states, Vic. Qld, and NSW.
    They may not gain any senate seats next time, but they will now be a force to be reckoned with for many years to come.
    They have come from near extinction, to be a vibrant fighting force, in just over 2 years
    Peter Kavanagh has impressed many with his fight for life in the Victorian Upper House. This will transfer to votes at the next election. He has given pro-life voters a focus, and someone to vote for.

  18. Goanna
    if pro lifers are looking for someone to vote for, they have a raft of choices from amongst members of the major parties.
    It was a conscience vote, after all; it’s not as if Kavanagh was a lone voice there.

  19. yes Bernie Finn also put in a big contribution, speaking to the House for 5 1/4 hours, a magnificant effort, and also many others.
    Bur Labor and LNP voters are unable to always have a choice to vote pro-life, because many candidates in both their parties are pro-abortion.
    The DLP is the only party which has a pro-life policy, and prolife people know it and will direct their votes accordinly.
    The DLP has been around for a long while, and has seen off the Australia Party, The Democrats, and other minor parties.
    I predict that they will also see off Family First over the next few years. FF will not win any more seats in any Australian State.
    I am not predicting a similar demise for The Greens, they will be around for another few years before they decline, but decline they will. I will be very surprised if the Greens are anywhere near as strong as now in 10 years time. They will have a few isolated seats in some states, maybe 3/4, againsy 21 now.
    The DLP will be the strongest minor party in 10 years, and well before that to.
    What has always substained the DLP and always will, are its deeply held convictions.
    The Dems tried to all things to all people.
    I will admit the Greens are slightly more motivated by principle, but not much

  20. Heaven forfend that our politics should in some time in the future be reduced to whether the foetus has a soul and whether a woman should control over her own body.

    The abortion wars in Australia were won and lost lost years ago. The decision was basically that if people didn’t want an abortion then they should not have to have one. Or something like that.

    I don’t like the fact that religious organisations get money from the government for running schools and such thereby, inter alia, giving employment to their benighted dupes a lot of whom would not be able to get employment elsewhere and providing large numbers of sexual fodder for the predators among them. But I realise I lost that war and don’t feel bitter about it at all.

  21. The Greens now have 25 MPs (well technically 23 MPs and 3 MLCs-elect, with one of our 23 MPs serving out the rest of his term after failing to be re-elected). Much more than the Democrats and the DLP ever elected, even at their peaks (not including DLP members elected as ALP members).

    MHW, I would argue that SA is the Greens’ weakest state, it’s just that Queensland has less opportunity to win seats. But the Greens came incredibly close to winning in Queensland (along with Victoria and ACT). And Kerry polled much higher in 2007 than in 2001, and would’ve been elected if the vote breakdown was the same as 2004. The Labor vote increased and the Liberal vote collapsed. Nothing to do with her. Of course, it will be better for us to win those seats on full quotas, but we still have a good shot in all the eastern states next time.

    The DLP did not “see off” the Democrats. They managed to elect one member representing a microparty on a fluke preference flow. Maybe the Democrats will end up as a name on a piece of paper in the same way the DLP became (almost certainly, I’d say) but the DLP is no more a successful party than the Democrats. Family First is the closest the right wing has come to creating a centre-right alternative balancing out the Greens, as they have three MPs and came close in WA, but still it isn’t close. Maybe someday FF will consume the CDP and the DLP, until that happens there won’t be a significant minor party on the right like the Greens on the left.

  22. The next federal election will see a landslide to the Rudd Government, if it continues on its current course. This will make it difficult for all minor parties in that election.
    I guess the Greens will be some sort of a force whilever the environment is in danger.
    Yes the DLP did fluke a seat at the last vic upper house election, as have some other parties, such as FF. But they did also miss out on a seat where they got twice the vote that Kavanagh got, because of preferences.
    But they were lucky enough to get the best man possible into that seat. Kavanagh has been very impressive, and has inspired many new members of the DLP.
    So the DLP can now look to the future, not the past. The injection of a younger membership will give the DLP the vitality they have been missing in recent years.
    In Victoria, the DLP has sided with the ALP on over 80% of the time. The ALP heirarchy see the DLP now as more favourable to them than the Greens.
    The ALP in Vic has the best of both world at the moment. They have the greens to support them on extreme left wing Bills, like euthenasia, and abortion,. And the DLP to support them on all other mainstream measures. Why would the ALP want to change this situation.
    The DLP will continue to grow in strength over the next few years.
    The FF will not consume the CDP, who will continue much as they are.
    FF will not win another seat in Australian Parliaments.
    The Democrats are of course now history

  23. Oh, rubbish. The worst environment for a minor party is a close election. In those cases people rally to the side of one major party or another. A landslide with a Liberal Party in collapse will be the ideal environment for the Greens to perform.

    Family First remains much stronger than the DLP. Fielding was a fluke, but they have managed to elect two MPs in South Australia and come close in Western Australia. It is impossible to argue that the DLP is on the up-and-up and say that FF are a flash in the pan. It’s ridiculous.

  24. I’m not sure a landside best suits a minor party like the Greens. I think an old tire Government that has moved someway away from its core values is most likey to suit the minor parties but alot depends on the other major party.

    Have the Greens peaked? I suspect they will continue to poll between 10-20% depending on the political environment. I think its possible the Greens may drop some support at the next federal election.

    I say this for many people have moved to the Greens as a protest against the Howard Governments boarder protestion policies, non signing of Kyoto and several other environment and social justice issues.

    The Federal Government has addressed several of these issues and the next election will be based on Economic management and this remains a Green weakness unless the Rudd Government allows Unemployment to get out of control which may feed into Green support but only if the Greens come up with policies to solve peoples problems rather than providing handouts to aid agencies to run silly Job Network providers and other feel good programs.

    In many ways the Greens are at the cross roads just as the Liberal Party. The Greens have seen their support grow across ALP and Liberal Party seats over the past fifthteen years but can they maintain it or build on it.

    They have conquered the Democrats vote and a large section of the ALP left and the Liberal’s Left and while this was made possible by Howard’s treatment of the Liberal wing of the Liberal Party, can the Greens keep this section.

    And that is the question that will be answered over the life time of the Rudd Government for one thing I have noticed at State level is the ALP won large sections of the Liberal wing to begin with but within two terms it was safely back in the Liberal Party fold as seen by the big swings on the North Short ad Melbourne’s Eastern suburbs at the most recent State polls.

  25. FF promote family values, and state they are strongly opposed to abortion.
    Fielding recently said he was in in favour of abortion under some circumstances, and he supported a womans right to choose.
    Thereby shooting himself and the Party in the foot. They also had some candidates who embarrased them at the last election for various dubious activities.
    Many people with good family values will therefore turn away from the FF.
    FF have tried to counter this by rebadging themselves in WA.
    Not a good sign for a new party to have to rebadge itself.
    DLP have got a new and growing young membership which has yet to transfer into votes. But it will happen in the coming years.
    Bye the way, I believe I was the only one to predict that Peter Kavanagh would win the Upperhouse seat in Vic. Even Anthony Green said it was not possible, and he had to eat his words. Many more pundits will be doing likewise if they ignore the DLP

  26. You’re right that the Howard government helped provide the inspiration for the Greens, but why did this help the Greens, rather than go to the ALP? I would argue that the Greens benefited from the ALP’s pisspoor response to the Howard government, rather than Howard directly. In line with this, though, my direct experience is that a lot of people who agree with the Greens agenda did not vote Green because of a desperate desire to see Howard lose, and thus to support Rudd. If Rudd steamrollers Turnbull in 2010 a lot of those people will be freed up. That’s where my point is coming from.

    Greens benefit from both a weak conservative party and a tired old Labor government. We have both in NSW at the moment, but they can work separately.

  27. #127

    I think the reason FF came close in WA was because of the candidates (e.g. ex-Liberals Dan Sullivan and Anthony Fels).

    Still, I think you’re right, FF aren’t a flash in the pan, although I don’t think any merger’s on the cards anytime soon.

  28. On the subject of the Greens and landslides, in the 2002 Victorian state election the Greens went from being a microparty to being the party with the third largest vote (larger than the National Party`s vote) but without getting any seats (although they did get close in Melbourne).

  29. To be fair, though, there was no PR in Victoria at that point. And the Greens came close to winning seats, which is still progress. Coming close in 2002 and 2006 Victorian elections and 2003 and 2007 NSW elections are an essential step in achieving lower house wins in 2010/11.

  30. The Greens have been threatening to win single member seats for a while now! one suspects they need to start winning single member seats soon or that could weaken their position.

  31. Those suggesting that the next election will be a landslide for Rudd are obviously predicting that based on poll results, correct? So why limit yourself to looking at Labor’s vote. The same polls have The Greens are record highs. There’s no evidence that in the current climate (Woo, pun) Greens voters are running back to Labor. In fact, it’s in the contrary. LNP voters are increasing Labor’s vote and probably for the same reason, left-wing Labor voters are shifting to The Greens.

    I think a lot of people would disagree with me but I don’t see The Greens being squeezed out in the future, but the Liberals. The Labor party continues to take more ground away from them in terms of policy and votes. The Liberals are going to sandwiched between an increasingly ‘centrist’ (I would argue right-wing) Labor Party, and parties like FF, CDP and maybe the DLP. This leaves a gap on the left which will be filled by The Greens.

  32. Oz! I suspect since several state ALP governments have won their second election in landslides that they think the same will apply to the federal sphere.

    Looking at the political landscape Rudd may increase his marjory but I can’t see him gaining more than 10 seats which would be confortable.

    With how things are looking I’m starting to dealt the ALP will increase its margin.

    NSW looks tough with seats like Robertson looking gone, Bennenlong will be interesting and the outer suburban seats will be close.

    QLD is there anything in Qld that Rudd didn’t win last time that he could gain, both Dickson and Herbert will be Interesting but if the local didn’t win them last time I can’t see why he would win them next time.

    Victoria could deliver the ALP three to four seats but could also swing the otherway with two to three going towards the Liberals.

    WA is the only other state the ALP could make gains.

  33. Hey, I’m not actually suggesting that the next election will be a landslide for Labor. I’m pointing out that the polls that show that as a potential situation also show a significant increase in The Green vote, so it’s not Green voters that are feeding the Labor victory.

    I agree with the view that that a strongly polling Labor government is the best environment for The Greens to enter an election. Usual Labor voters who may be considering voting Green could do so without fearing the return of a Liberal government.

  34. Here’s some info on electoral successes of minor parties (ie. number of times they had MP’s elected to parliament and best votes). Includes by-elections:
    Democrats: 65 times (ie. Federal – 42, SA – 13, NSW – 5, WA – 2, Tas – 2, ACT – 1

    DLP: 15 times (ie. Federal – 9, Qld -4?, NSW – 1, Vic – 1)

    One Nation: 21 times (ie. Federal – 1, Qld – 16, WA – 3, NSW – 1)

    CDP (Fred Nile): 8 times (all NSW)

    Greens: 70 times (assumed 3 elected for ACT in ‘08, and includes WA MP’s-elect)
    (ie. Federal – 11, Tas – 26, WA – 15, ACT – 8, NSW – 6, Vic – 3, SA – 1)

    Of course Greens have advantage over older parties such as DLP, since most upper houses now have PR, and state Senate reps have increased from 10 to 12.

    Only 5 minor parties have managed to gain more than 4% of vote nationally in Fed elections (House or Senate) since 1945:
    DLP (1955-1972), Democrats (1977-2001), Nuclear Disarmament Party (1984), One Nation (1998-2001), The Greens (2001-2007).

    Best Results:
    Democrats: 1990 (Senate) – 12.6%
    DLP: 1970 (Senate) – 11.1% (Senate only election)
    One Nation: 1998 (Senate) – 9%
    Greens: 2007 (Senate) – 9%
    Nuclear Disarm.: 1984 (Senate) – 7.2%

    4 other parties managed to get between 2%-4%:

    Communist Party: 1955 (Senate) – 3.6%
    Protestant People’s Party: 1946 (Senate) – 3%
    Australia Party: 1970 (Senate) – 2.9%
    Family First Party: 2004 (House) – 2% (fell just short of 2% in 2007)

  35. Reading back up this thread: I don’t agree with Goanna that the DLP is on the verge of a major revival. Kavanagh’s election was a fluke, just like Fielding’s. He polled 2.6%, which is much the same as the DLP has polled in Victoria for the last 20 years. As Family First’s poor preformance in 2007 showed, getting someone elected doesn’t lead automatically to further gains. What is the social base for a revived DLP? The great bulk of Victorian Catholics have either gone back to Labor or crossed over to the Libs – they don’t need a Catholic fringe party any more. The only mobilising issue for the DLP is abortion, an issue that is no longer a top priority for most Catholic voters. Protestant anti-abortion voters prefer FF or the CDP, which are overtly Protestant parties.

    The Greens on the other hand have a large and expanding social base in the young educated secular urban elite, who find the centrist pragamtism of the current crop of Labor governments unappealing. They also have any number of mobilising issues – climate change, water, uranium, GM food etc. I think the Greens will go on polling around 10% of the vote in most elections for the indefinite future. They will find it hard to progress beyond that, because they have much less appeal to the core vote of either the ALP and the Liberals.

  36. FF are not a “protestant” party. At best they are from the pentecostalist zone and more specifically AoG. Most “protestants” would regard them as “cults”.

  37. Re: 142

    The vote of the Protestant People’s Party, was even more impressive in 1946, than statistics would indicate. The PPP was a NSW party, and gained 7.7% of Senate vote in NSW (which translated to 3% nationally). Unfortunately for them, block voting was still in place in 1946, and consequently they were denied a Senate seat. When PR-STV came into place for the 1949 elections, their vote fell from 7.7% to around 1%, so their electoral appeal was very short lived.

    Despite the PPP’s, obviously quite large appeal in the mid-’40’s in NSW, I can find next to no information on this party, which is rather bizarre considering. I set up a Wikipedia entry for the PPP, earlier in the year, but nothing has really been added.

    If anyone has any further info on this party (origins, leadership, platform etc), I would appreciate if they could post it.

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