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Victorian election « Previous | |Next »
November 27, 2006

I'm continually suprised by The Greens. They talk up their prospects prior to the election, do less well than they expected in the election, and so they are seen as not doing well post election. What is the purpose of this boosting strategy? Showbiz? Naivety?

As in Tasmania, the Greens in Victoria said they were going to hold the balance of power in the Legislative Council as well as obtain some inner city House of Representative seats (eg. Melbourne). They even started talking about what they would do with the balance of power, as they did in Tasmania.

Well it hasn't happened. Sure the Liberals were devastated, are in disarray and remain a factionally divided state opposition until 2010 if not 2014. The geographically based National Party has surged, Family First keeps on making ground, the Greens won two seats in the Legislative Council, but Labor, unexpectedly according to the Greens, looks like keeping its majority in the Legislative Council. Brack's Labor rules supreme, even though it hasn't done all that much in government. That success was expected.

So it is more of the same kind of governance. Hopefully, the rejuvenated Bracks Government will continue to lead the national reform agenda on human capital reform, health and infrastructure. Bracks Labor, with its corrupt party machine will, in all probability, only be thrown out when it is on the nose from some sort of economic crisis.

And the Liberals? They have now lost 20 state elections in a row. That should be a cause of deep concern to them. The Liberal primary vote in Victoria had failed to improve, and that this is a serious problem for them. However, the embittered Victorian factions (the Kroger and Costello forces versus the Kennett forces) continue to tear themselves to pieces. Charles Richardson, writing in The Australian, says that there is something distinctively wrong with the Liberal Party, a failure to adapt to modern conditions that is partially masked by its federal success. It's a good judgement.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 5:57 PM | | Comments (8)


It was interesting that the swing away from the ALP was all to Family First - which most probably means a splitting of the Liberal vote.

Family First could well become the conservative equivalent of the Greens - a parking space for the votes of those who don't think the majors are pushing their personal agenda hard enough.

Yeah, you're right. The Carl Rove strategy is to polarize the electorate and then work on the conservative side as it the bare majority. Hence long term power for the Republicans. Howard follows this strategy at the national level.

Bracks stands in the middle leaning to left of centre on some issues and right of centre on others. His cautious centrism results in him losing the outer edges on both sides of the centre. So there is a polarizing going on whose political expression is Family First and The Greens. He bashes both, stays in the centre, and solidifies Victoria as the Labor state.

Paul Strangio, writing in The Age, has an interesting take on this. He says the Labor state is the expression of the social reform liberal tradition and adds that:

Meaningful Left forces within the Victoria ALP are so subdued these days and Trades Hall so weakened as to have limited influence. Instead, as this election result shows, the Left challenge to Labor in Victoria now principally originates from outside rather than within. Whereas once the Victorian ALP - more than any other Labor branch in Australia - was a repository of Left "conscience" politics, this has largely hived off into the Greens.

Strangio adds that though the Greens are an electoral nuisance to Labor, ultimately Bracks would no doubt prefer that dissent derives from them, rather than face the internal turmoil endured by Cain.

I am reasonably sure that the Family First party lost ground at the last election in Queensland...I am unsure as to how this was worked out given that they fielded 26 aprox candidates....All the tipsters thought they would of done much better....Sort of proves that people are looking for realistic alternatives and not just an alternative


I guess the significance is that they can cover all the lower house seats in a way the Democrats never could. They have a good and active membership base that is centred on the fundamentalist (pentecostal) churches.

They are to the Liberals what the Greens are to Labor

Yes from the voters point of view they all lack something FF all the candidates looked like they had new suits...the greens with checked shirts..and the democrates well their on the nose...but thats off topic a bit...

It will be interesting to see how Rudd or Beazley who are both deeply religious work with the Ff...

I think the Greens backed away from the Labor party at the last Qld state election??

there are tensions between the ALP and the Greens--they've recently surfaced around Peter Garrett's intervention in the Victorian election in the marginal seat of Melbourne. Brown says:

He (Garrett) hasn't affected the Labor Party one iota. But the Labor Party machine has taken him over and turned him into an anti-green campaigner...since entering parliament Mr Garrett had changed his stand on a number of issues including prior opposition to uranium mining and visits to Australia by nuclear armed ships.He has sold out on key environmental issues on which he was such a grand advocate.

He joined the Labor party....Are you surprised that he changed his stance on issues....

He has an agenda to become PM....Who knows it might even come true...he has loads of charismatic qualities and sex appeal and he IS smart (enough)....and Can dance!!

No I'm not. Political reality dictates that he would. But independent voices are ground down by the party machine--Bob Brown is right about that. But Garrett makes good speeches on indigenous issues.

Perhaps his celebrity status will enable him to override the union driven machine and provide the impetus to take federal Labor out of the wilderness.

I hope so for his sake. There are lots of bleached bones on the side of the road in the ALP.