Victorian upper house tickets: Libs put Greens last

The announcement today of the parties’ registered preference tickets for above-the-line upper house votes has, to say the least, proved more than usually interesting. With their cards now on the table, the Coalition has indeed come good on its talk of putting the Greens last. Twitter is also alive with talk that the policy of putting the Greens last extends to every seat in the lower house (UPDATE: Now confirmed in an AAP report). Suffice to say that this is momentous news.

As usual, I have made the effort to simplify the upper house tickets by ignoring where the parties have placed candidates who don’t matter, either because they are certain to be elected or certain not to be (note that I’m ignoring most independents here). No party has lodged a split ticket, and only the DLP could be found playing complicated games with their ordering. With very few exceptions, preferences have been allocated in such a way as to create neat left-right divides, in which each bloc will win either three or two seats and divide the spoils between them. The only flies in this ointment are Northern Metropolitan, where preferences to and from Stephen Mayne are all over the shop, and Northern Victoria, where the Country Alliance seem to have charmed all and sundry, including the Sex Party.


Democratic Labor Party: Family First; Liberal; Labor; Greens.
Labor: Greens; DLP; Family First; Liberal.
Family First:: DLP; Liberal; Labor; Greens.
Greens: Labor; DLP; Family First; Liberal.
Liberal: Family First; DLP; Labor; Greens.


Family First: DLP; Country Alliance; Liberal; Labor; Greens.
DLP: Country Alliance; Family First; Coalition; Labor; Greens.
Coalition: Country Alliance; Family First; DLP; Labor; Greens.
Labor: Country Alliance; Greens; DLP; Family First; Coalition.
Country Alliance: DLP; Family First; Coalition; Labor; Greens.
Greens: Labor; DLP; Family First; Coalition; Country Alliance.


Group A (Carers): Stephen Mayne; Greens; DLP; Sex Party; Family First; Christian Party; Country Alliance; Labor; Liberal.
Christian Party: DLP; Family First; Country Alliance; Liberal; Stephen Mayne; Carers; Labor; Greens; Sex Party.
Stephen Mayne: Carers; Sex Party; DLP; Greens; Family First; Christian Party; Liberal; Labor; Country Alliance.
Family First: Stephen Mayne; Christian Party; Carers; Country Alliance; DLP; Liberal; Labor; Sex Party; Greens.
Country Alliance: Sex Party; DLP; Labor; Liberal; Carers; Family First; Christian Party; Stephen Mayne; Greens.
Greens: Stephen Mayne; Carers; Sex Party; Labor; DLP; Family First; Christian Party; Liberal; Country Alliance.
Sex Party: Carers; Stephen Mayne; Greens; Country Alliance; Labor; Liberal; Family First; Christian Party.
DLP: Christian Party; Carers; Stephen Mayne; Country Alliance; Family First; Liberal; Labor; Sex Party; Greens.
Labor: Sex Party; Greens; Carers; Country Alliance; DLP; Stephen Mayne; Family First; Liberal; Christian Party.
Liberal: Sex Party; Family First; DLP; Country Alliance; Christian Party; Carers; Stephen Mayne; Labor; Greens.


Country Alliance: DLP; Family First; Coalition; CDP; Labor; Sex Party; Greens.
Christian Democratic Party: DLP; Family First; Coalition; Country Alliance; Labor; Greens; Sex Party.
Family First: CDP; DLP; Country Alliance; Coalition; Labor; Sex Party; Greens.
Greens: Labor; Sex Party; DLP; Family First; CDP; Coalition; Country Alliance;
Coalition: Country Alliance; Family First; DLP; CDP; Sex Party; Labor; Greens.
Labor: Country Alliance; Greens; Sex Party; DLP; Family First; Coalition; CDP.
Sex Party: Country Alliance; Greens; Labor; Coalition; CDP; Family First; DLP.
DLP: Country Alliance; CDP; Family First; Coalition; Labor; Sex Party; Greens.


Liberal: DLP; Family First; Christian Party; Labor; Greens.
Labor: Greens; DLP; Family First; Liberal; Christian Party.
DLP: Christian Party; Family First; Liberal; Labor; Greens.
Christian Party: DLP; Family First; Liberal; Labor; Greens.
Family First: Christian Party; DLP; Liberal; Labor; Greens.
Greens: Labor; DLP; Family First; Christian Party; Liberal.


Sex Party: Greens; Liberal; Labor; Family First; DLP; Christan Party.
DLP: Christian Party; Family First; Liberal; Labor; Sex Party; Greens.
Family First: Christian Party; DLP; Liberal; Labor; Sex Party; Greens.
Christian Party: DLP; Family First; Liberal; Labor; Greens; Sex Party.
Greens: Sex Party; Labor; DLP; Family First; Christian Party; Liberal.
Liberal: Family First; DLP; Christian Party; Sex Party; Labor; Greens.
Labor: Greens; Sex Party; DLP; Family First; Liberal; Christian Party.


Sex Party: Greens; Labor; Liberal; Family First; DLP.
Labor: Greens; Sex Party; DLP; Family First; Liberal.
Family First: DLP; Liberal; Labor; Sex Party; Greens.
DLP: Family First; Liberal; Labor; Sex Party; Greens.
Greens: Sex Party; Labor; DLP; Family First; Liberal.
Liberal: Family First; DLP; Sex Party; Labor; Greens.


Coalition: DLP; Family First; Country Alliance; Labor; Greens.
Family First: Country Alliance; DLP; Coalition; Labor; Greens.
Labor: Greens; Country Alliance; DLP; Family First; Coalition.
Greens: Labor; DLP; Family First; Coalition; Country Alliance.
Country Alliance: DLP; Family First; Coalition; Labor; Greens.

UPDATE: It might be helpful to reprint the calculations I did a few weeks ago of Labor-versus-Greens two-party results in the four electorates likely contested between the two, projecting the likely results for the Greens both with and without Liberal preferences. This was derived from results of both the 2006 and 2010 federal elections, and indications of Liberal voters’ fealty to how-to-vote cards based on a Victorian Electoral Commission ballot paper study. I was persuaded that this was likely to prove slightly unflattering to the Greens, as the rate of Liberal rebellion from the how-to-vote card might increase if the party changed its preference policy.

2006 STATE
Melbourne 45% 27% 22% 48% 40%
Richmond 46% 25% 20% 46% 39%
Brunswick 48% 30% 17% 45% 40%
Northcote 53% 27% 15% 42% 37%
Melbourne 36% 37% 22% 57% 49%
Richmond 39% 37% 20% 55% 48%
Brunswick 46% 31% 19% 48% 41%
Northcote 46% 33% 17% 49% 42%

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.

224 comments on “Victorian upper house tickets: Libs put Greens last”

Comments Page 4 of 5
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  1. Pollster
    Your quite wrong about the Age. Many huindreds of thousands read it..and it’s is one of the best small-l liberal newspapers in the world…otherwise we would have only Murdoch’s poison,Bolt ,et al…
    .Perhaps you best stick to Landeryou’s Vex sounds as if might be more at your level !

  2. Gus

    “isnt politics the art of the possible ?”

    no ,
    politcs is about Labor defeating Liberals (enemy) for majority Govt , that is main game

    Labor goes out to win seats from Libs/defend Labor seats from thems

    IF Greens think Liberals is no 2 enemy , then let Greens do what Labor does and try and win Liberal seats

    Fact that they do NOT do so , proves Greeens talk of Liberals being no 2 enemy is BS !

    In fact Greens go after Liberals enemy (Labor) wasting Labor’s time defending existing seats , WHILST at same time that Greens action has no bloody efect on taking Lib seats and that action has no efect on reducing chanses of a Liberal Govt

    look at tapistrys , not paintings

    what wuld is Greens taking on Lib seats and winning them with Labor prefs , in vic election I’ll name one they could gone for ..Lib held Hawthorn instead Labor fights now on 2 frontswhich any miltary comander says aint a way to win , and sooner or later will incr blow torch on Greens to stop that

  3. [GusfacePosted Monday, November 15, 2010 at 1:17 am | Permalinkps
    ONE seat
    geez louise here was i thinking the greens could grab a brace of fib seats- NOT

    You are too forgiving – after Adele Carles and Fremantle – I wouldn’t trust a Green with my life.

  4. [156 GusfacePosted Monday, November 15, 2010 at 1:22 am | Permalinkfrank
    I trust em to deliver in the senate
    Vic is but a sideplay in the grand design?

    They can have the senate – but the Lower House – NEVER !!!

  5. Gus

    I said ‘politcs is about Labor defeating Liberals (enemy) for majority Govt , that is main game’ , i said nort about Senate

    point is Greens actions in lower house in Fed and now in vic targetting existing Labor seats quote ‘has no bloody efect on taking Lib seats and that action has no efect on reducing chanses of a Liberal Govt” And you everyone here on PB knows it

    But if greens is not all BS , and actual think Liberals is reel enemy , then let them go for Lib seats to REDUCE chanses of a Lib Govt

    but seeing they dont , obvously Greens is not intersted in Lubs being a worry to form Govt (in fact Brown said he could work comfortable with a vic Liberal Govt !

  6. Ron

    I dont like bob

    I think shy is too much like christina ricci

    But if it comes down to bedfellows

    green uber fib

    Vic is the chance to play the game knowing the end result

    a little victory is better than a major defeat

  7. [The Greens are a passing fad. After today’s announcement I reckon the Greens vote will collapse as the hangers on realise they’ve been conned by the Greens Management team.]

    We can only hope so. They are the same group that formed the Nuclear Disarmament Party. They disappeared. The decision of the Liberal Part to put the Greens last will resonate well with the electorate and reflect poorly on Labor. The Liberals have only to gain from their decision. I wonder how much pressure was put on them by the DLP and Family First. I am sure this was part of the DLP thinking when they cut the deal to hand upper house seats to the Liberals leaving the ALP and the Greens out non a limb. If the lives can secure a 5% or more swing they will win government and also control of the upper house. Labor need to now coming on the checks and balances argument and ask voters to support them in the Upper-house. Hopefully the Greens will fall back below quota in Southern and Western Metro leaving them with a Grand total of one seat. Business and vpters can sigh a sign of relief. The choice is now clear. Brumby or Bailout. The negative ads have started but not sure if they are strong enough. Two weeks to go before the main poll

  8. Gus

    tho you miss tapistrys i been trying to scroll and gazes in Green paintings of friends tho of with backstep words , not I wuld call such insult of a Green ,how could you utter that key bord stroke

    but Senate is one thing , and vic upper houses similar but where enemy numero 1 is Lower Hose majority ALP Govt

    I repeat as long as Greens claim on one hand they reckon Liberals is there no 1 enemy , yet do not chase lib seats to ereducechance of a Lib Govt then they is talking sweaties to lull labors whilst behinfd back inching labor seats , and also Brown snipes publicly at labor for same purposes (ditto look at green bloggers tho some more nuansed than yourpepers see long ranges

  9. glad we row same tapistrys now , is many levels but key is what said above

    As for Senate Gus , they not enemy there , you is rite I think good govt comes from 2 BOP’s , and we got 2 now tho FF part of one group , and we get 2 BOPs even more clear defined from july 2111 , and tink Greens may be more negot with that power with CC , MMRT , preambles , MRB all key need to get passed

  10. Ron
    Is it possible that you might locate the items on your computer which would help correct your ludicrous spelling.?

    Also the effort to write a simple ,readable sentence might be a help…perhaps your English teacher might help you !!

    Otherwise what you write comes out like so much disordered gibberish !
    Look at item 165…I cannot even discern your meaning !!!

  11. Ron
    Is it possible that you might locate the items on your computer which would help correct your ludicrous spelling.?

    Also the effort to write a simple ,readable sentence might be a help…perhaps your English teacher might help you !!

    Otherwise what you write comes out like so much disordered gibberish !
    Look at item 165…I cannot even discern your meaning !!!

  12. Antony Green will have to modify his election calculator as it is now not keeping accurate time and instead is providing false and misleading information.

  13. [The Greens are a passing fad.]

    A fad since 1992.. that’s a fad longer than acid-wash denim! Will a 2% drop in vote mean an end for the Greens fad? How about a 5%?

    Or will a 2% increase in vote mean the Greens are in fact not a fad, but here to replace the bastards? How about a 5% increase?

  14. fredn,

    According to Quiggi’ns own web site he rejoices in the following description of himself.

    “A green activist with a totalitarian mindset”, editorial, The Australian.

    Makes me feel warm and fuzzy that I’m with the real reformists in the Labor Party.

  15. [Dr Strangelove
    Posted Monday, November 15, 2010 at 11:03 am | Permalink
    A vote for the Liberals is a vote for Labor]

    Yesss, how the world changes.

  16. GG

    I have to be careful or I will get ticked off by William again.

    Why not go all the way and use the IPA quote.

    “Wrong”, “incorrect”, “off the mark again” Institute for Public Affairs, Institute for Private Enterprise, Centre for Independent Studies etc.

  17. The Greens not going to drop bellow quota in Southern Metro. They will in fact have a surplus that is likely to be big enough to pick up preferences from Group A (even after Group E preferences) and possibly even pick up Group E preferences if they can stay in the count long enough for the DLP and FF to be eliminated. Neither group A or group E are preferencing the ALP before the Liberals so to stop the election of a 3rd Liberal in Southern Metro the best way is to vote Green.

    It is also fractionally better to vote 1 Neil Pilling (Green no.2 candidate) BTL because that increases the proportion of 1 Sue Pennicuik, 2 someone other than Neil Pilling votes that remain with her.

  18. Noting the reference to John Quiggin, his new book Zombie Economics (Princeton UP 2010) offers a very interesting account of the economic thinking leading up to the global financial crisis. Well worth reading.

  19. Well, I have to big up and confess, I was 100% wrong: I wouldnt have given you tuppence for the chances of the Libs actually doing this, even after Howard spoke up.

    From their perspective, its really quite daft. Now the ALP can attack them head on, with full resources, in the suburban marginals.

    Oh well, its your funeral Libs!

    *scratches head*

    Still, the Greens looking good to take BOP in the Vic upper house, so not really sure what they’ve ultimately achieved – aside from clariying that the real ideological contest is no longer ALP v LNP. Thats no bad thing for the Greens in the long run.

  20. Greens confident that they can win their 3 target seats even without Lib preferences:

    [(Brian) Walters said he had seen polling for Melbourne, Richmond and Brunswick that showed the party could win the districts without Liberal preferences, claiming the party’s primary vote was “in the forties”.]

    And this quote from Walters aptly shows why people are turning to the Greens …

    [A convergence between the major parties would not stop the Greens, (Walters) said.

    “The community has told us… That they are concerned about issues like climate change, issues like planning, issues like public transport, issues like human rights, social justice and same sex marriage,” he said.]

    He clearly shows incredible passion for the things he believes in …

    It won’t be until the average ALP MP also lets out the “real person” inside herself 🙂 or himself that the party has a hope of getting back the voters it has lost to the Greens.

  21. I agree with Walters – I doubt this will make a lot of difference: I still think Green will take 3 of the 4, as before (I never believed Northcote would fall), on Lib leakge.

    As always, Antony is right: there’s really not a lot of chance the Libs will actually hand any HTVs out.

    What it *does* do is rule out any surprise wins for the Greens in other seats. Thats off the table now.

    Curiously, the main impact is to virtually ensure Bailleau will lose. I support that outcome – but I am beggered if I can work out why the Libs themselves have!

    Upper house is of more concern to me: preferencing country alliance in 2 distrcits is a really stupid move by the VIC ALP (from the same clowns who briought you Fielding). This move has “BLOWBACK” tattoeed all over is dumb face.

    Gun -toting climate-denialist whackos! Nice one.

    Its probably a strategy to avoid Greens BOP: but my prediction is Greens will still take the balance in the Leg Council.

    Meanwhile the ALP will create a new monster called CA that will haunt them in years to come, when they back the LNP.

  22. vik,

    Walters quoting unsourced polling info reeks of bulldust.

    I’d back Bronwyn Pike’s life record of service to the community against a compromised legal hack like Walters any day of the week.

  23. GG it wouldnt surprise me if Labor’s vote drop to 30% or less in some of those seats like Melb and Rich.

    The Greens may still win them.

  24. Glen,

    Pike and Wynne are both sitting members and Senior Ministers. Both have extensive connections to the community they serve and have track records of delivering.

  25. Pike and Wynne have hardly been outstanding Ministers in an incompetent govt which is on the nose.

    At least one of the two is going to lose their job come the 27th 😀

  26. The Liberal/ALP coalition have handed the Greens a gift here.
    If the Greens win one lower house seat they will have won it on their own, if they win more its a boil over, if they loose its the major parties forming a coalition. If they win the balance in the upper house its gold, If the ALP faction of the ALP/Liberal coalition has to form a minority government , WOW, I’d like to be in the room when that happens.
    Maybe the Libs have polling that shows the hung parliament is on and they don’t want their fingerprints on preferences that elect a ALP Greens minority government and they would prefer to see the ALp having to bend at the knee to beg for an agreement from the Greens and independants.
    Ha Ha Ha, I wonder how all those ALP members are feeling as they news of the ALP/Shooters party deal in Eastern and Northen Vic rolls through the regions. Heard a report of a ALP member in tears to Greens candidate begging for preferences, I hear it didn’t go well.

  27. Is it known yet that the Libs are preferencing Phil Cleary before the ALP in Brunswick? Because if so, Phil stands a good chance of being elected.

    It is also interesting to note that in both Melbourne and Richmond the ALP top the ballot paper – so that gives them a few extra votes to start with.

    In Northcote, I think Fiona Richardson went to bed last night feeling a lot more secure.

  28. My inclination is that if the Greens can achieve a boil over it will be in Richmond rather than Melbourne – the Libs will have a profile in Richmond and may spill more votes around (despite what the htv says), and Stephen Jolly may be in a position to send a substantial number of preferences the Greens way.

  29. Its interesting to see how the Libs have put Family First ahead of the DLP and the ALP have put the DLP ahead of Family First. It reflects on which Christian denomination the two major parties each prefer.

  30. Barking … sorry unless the Greens get 50.1% of votes in an electorate, they will only win it by ALP/Liberal preferences

    They cannot win it on their own unless they get 50.1% of vote …. the odds of that happening …. about the same as Howard/Rudd becoming PM again

  31. Bails’ comments around stable government are quite remarkable.
    ‘Oh, I’d rather spend a few years sitting around the club with the ALP providing stable and good government rather than stick it to them. Its really too hard, they are good chaps, all my friend in the moneyed part of town seem to be doing Ok, so its probably best we just relax, Oh that feels better,. To early for a gin a tonic, Oh my word, I can feel all that nasty stress falling off. Ahhhhhh,” Snoring nosies now emerging from the fibs headquarters, ALP staffers running around doing high fives,. OMG what is happening to the fibs, who are the advisors for these people. Good news for the ALP and the greens bad news for the fibs.
    Oh and I love the ALP line about conservative voters being upset over preferences to the Greens. Yes and where are they going to vote,. ALP ha,. They richly deserve another 4 years in opposition. I wonder which of them looks the most like Barry O’Farrell. The Shadow treasurer, shadow has never been such an apt title.

  32. dovif
    Posted Monday, November 15, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Permalink
    Barking … sorry unless the Greens get 50.1% of votes in an electorate, they will only win it by ALP/Liberal preferences

    Sorry I meant with undirected preference if you like. Those Liberal voters who don’t behave like sheep. No true, I have even met some.

  33. The Greens hopes of winning Lower House seats a ‘lost cause’

    The ABC’s election analyst, Antony Green, says the Coalition’s decision to preference the Greens last in the Victorian election will virtually destroy the minor party’s chances of winning seats in the Lower House and seizing the balance of power.

    The Greens have accused the Coalition of “collapsing into the arms” of Labor.

    They are still talking up their chances of picking up the inner-Melbourne seats, but Mr Green says it is a lost cause.

    “The Liberal decision to preference against the Greens in all electorates is an in-principle decision which will deliver Labor the four inner-city seats where they are under challenge from the Greens,” he said.

    “Even if the Liberals don’t campaign strongly there will be little flow of preferences to the Greens and certainly not enough to defeat Labor in those inner-city seats.”

  34. An election provides yet another opportunity for the advocates of “reform” to fill a few column inches, as they did in both The Age and The Australian at the weekend. Of course, “reform” never arrives. It seems to be a process that goes on forever, chasing its own tail while it exhausts the rest of us.

    The serious point is that powerful think tanks get their way too often. Anyone who wants a bit more on this topic can see Newspoll: 57-43 to Labor in Victoria, where I give the IPA a bit of a going over (though we might all reflect on what happened to the 57 per cent support for Labor).

    Victoria’s public service has experienced the largest growth of any state bureaucracy, growing in headcount by 37 per cent between 2000 and 2008, according to the Institute of Public Affairs
    While some of this growth has no doubt been necessary to service Victoria’s growing population, much of the growth has not been in frontline roles such as police, nurses and teachers.

    (Wayne Kayler-Thomson, Knives need sharpening to shave off government fat, The Age, November 13, 2010)

    “The southern state is living large off the reform bounty arising out of Liberal premier Jeff Kennett’s seven-year assault on public finances, unions, state enterprises and a lazy way of working….

    Reform has stalled in Victoria because politicians and the public perceive the need for reform has passed,” says John Roskam, executive director of Melbourne’s Institute of Public Affairs. “Victoria has always compared itself to NSW. Because NSW is a basket-case, Victorians have tended to relax. After the Kennett years [1992 to 1999] Victorians needed time to recuperate from the radical changes and believed that all the hard work had been done.”
    The former senior adviser to the Howard and Kennett governments argues former Labor premier Steve Bracks (1999 to 2007) and Brumby have coasted on the revolutionary work of Kennett and his treasurer, Alan Stockdale.
    “To get reform in the key areas of health and education Bracks and Brumby would have had to confront the public sector unions, which they were reluctant to do,” Roskam says. “The Kennett era ended more than a decade ago, so it’s pathetic that not much has been done since he left.”
    It’s not that there isn’t more to do. “There has been some reform fatigue in the absence of any crisis in Victoria,” says Allan Fels, a prime mover over two decades in unleashing market forces across the nation, as a thinker, teacher, consumer activist and competition regulator. “At federal and state level the low-hanging fruit of reform has been picked. In every state there is still immense scope for microeconomic reform. The biggest issues are in education, health, the provision of public services, planning processes, infrastructure and some matters of the national reform agenda.”
    Now dean of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government, Melbourne-based Fels is disappointed by the lack of competing reform agendas from the main parties. He see enormous scope for greater efficiency by putting more emphasis on consumer choice and competition, without discarding services quality.
    Although it would be politically difficult, Fels names congestion charging as the best measure to improve efficiency. As well, there’s scope to reduce occupational restrictions in trades, to improve entry of new players in areas such as pharmacies and taxis, to reform water charging and to remove restrictive work practices in health and education. “Neither side appears to be very interested in substantial, fast microeconomic reform,” he says. “Yet in the medium term this would be the best single contribution to improving welfare in Victoria.”

    (Tom Dusevic, Southern leaders lose urge for reform, The Weekend Australian, November 13, 2010)

    My letters to the editor were, as is usual practice, not published:


    It is easy to scare people by quoting a 37 per cent increase in Victoria’s public servants between 2000 and 2008 from yet another Institute of Public Affairs scare campaign, as Wayne Kayler-Thompson does (“Knives need sharpening to shave off government fat”, 13/11).

    However, he omits the precise increase due to population growth (about 12 per cent of the total), the actual numbers of extra nurses (11,000), teachers and other school staff (10,000), doctors (3,000) and police officers (2,000) employed on the front line and, most tellingly of all, the very damaging cuts that occurred just before the chosen starting year of 2000 and that Labor was elected to reverse.

    There are in fact fewer public sector employees in Victoria now than there were 20 years ago; e.g., secondary schools are still around 1,800 teachers short of not only their 1992 Labor ratio but also their 1981 Liberal ratio. John Brumby signalled at the leader’s debate last week that he would be making an announcement to increase the number of secondary teachers. No doubt it will be greeted with outrage from the IPA and the business world.

    Yours sincerely,

    Chris Curtis

    Emailed to
    As All the figures, please?


    I have been fascinated by the misuse of the word “reform” since at least the 1980s (“Southern leaders lose urge for reform”, 13-14/11). I am equally fascinated by the fact that this blissful state of “reform” is never actually achieved, only ever chased after in one new field after the other, and by the absence of challenges to this dominant narrative.

    The remaining “reform” in education is apparently the need “to remove restrictive work practices”, which is allegedly blocked by the failure of the Victorian Labor government “to confront the public sector unions”.

    Those of us who endured the previous hyped-up cuts and denigration disguised as “reform” in this state know that “restrictive work practices” is code for decent staffing levels, fair teaching loads, manageable class sizes, professional decision-making in schools and professional standards in employment. We know this because, when last in power, the Liberals removed once legally enforceable conditions of employment and dumped 6,787 full-time equivalent teachers from our schools under the pretexts of “reform” and its mate, “flexibility”, despite promising before the election that they would do no such thing.

    Labor has restored all the missing primary teachers but only one third of the secondary ones. Thus, the reform we really need is the return of the 1,800 secondary teachers still missing from our schools, which would mean no more than staffing schools as well as Lindsay Thompson, the last Liberal leader to care about education, did in a much less wealthy state 30 years ago.

    Yours sincerely,

    Chris Curtis

    Emailed to
    As All reformed-out!

    The urge to “reform” is not as powerful today as it was in 1992. Let us hope that the IPA never regains the influence it had in those days, though there are supposedly “progressive” think tanks that promote the same line:

    Per Capita welcomes the removal of the “barriers” preventing tertiary-educated professionals from entering teaching (“Dear PM: risks are worth it”, The Australian, 18-19/9/2010). It is in fact referring to the old-fashioned requirement that teachers actually be qualified in education, a quaint idea abandoned initially in the case of the pretend teachers of Teach for Australia, who do only six weeks of training before being placed in sole charge of classes.

    The Grattan Institute is arguing against smaller classes, claiming that smaller classes make no difference to student learning but effective teachers do (“Teacher, not class size, key to results”, The Australian, 15/11/2010). It should connect the two factors. Able people are more likely to become and remain teachers if they have decent working conditions, and smaller classes are one aspect of decent working conditions. Able people understand that every extra student increases the stress level in the classroom and the correction time demanded of a teacher.

  35. Rod – I think we will definitely see polling on Melbourne and maybe those other inner city seats.

    Sad to hear about your friend dying after the fires. This sort of thing is I think a recognized phenomenon – after great traumas which people survive they still have a higher death rate from other causes in the year or so afterwards. I will try and find the references for you.

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