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Melbourne: Go Greens « Previous | |Next »
July 21, 2012

Let's hope that the voters of Melbourne decide that the Greens deserve the Victorian seat of Melbourne in the by-election held today.

The by-election has been sucked into the vortex of national politics with the Canberra press gallery journalists indulging in their h overheated rhetoric with its federal implications.The shock waves will be felt in Canberra, Gillard will be further weakened, and the ALP will face an existential crisis.

The end of Gillard Labor is written into the basic structure of the world is the Gallery's basic narrative, and every event that happens is fitted into this frame as they act to fan the flames. So what happens if the ALP narrowly wins the Melbourne by-election?

RoweDQuilt.jpg David Rowe

The Canberra media gallery appears to have forgotten that the Greens came within 2.0% in both 2002 and 2006 before being shot down by Liberal preferences in 2010. So the suggestion that a Green win this time should in and of itself cause “shock waves” is pure media spin. Is this the hand of the NSW Right being played?

My gut feeling is that the Greens will out poll the ALP in primary votes but the ALP will recover the lost ground through preferences from the smaller parties. These mostly favor the ALP, due to it securing the political deals that will probably allow it to scramble over the line. If it wins then it went into the election with very limited policies and comes out as just a political machine to gain and retain power.

If Labor wins narrowly, what does that say about the Canberra Gallery's theory of a big shock wave in Canberra? No doubt the journalists will continue to fan the flames of leadership turmoil for this is the only game in town for them.

The real problem for the ALP is its toxic, corrupt culture ----eg., the HSU scandal and its support for poker machines--- and that is not going away. It is what Labor is. The Greens, in contrast, stand by their principled position on pokies and genuine support for transparency, good governance and fair campaigning.

It looks as if the Greens will have to rely on increasing their primary vote to win the inner city seats in capitol seats, since it looks as if the Labor and Liberal parties will close ranks against them and preference one another. An article in the AFR by Nick Economou says that:

the implication of the byelection result is clearly that the Greens vote has peaked in inner Melbourne. If the best the Greens can muster in inner Melbourne is 37 per cent of the vote, Bandt may not be able to retain his seat at the next election....The byelection tells the Greens that, while their vote may have peaked in inner Melbourne, it certainly is not falling and expectations of upper house success in Victoria and beyond should remain high.

The implication is drawn by an editorial in The Australian--- the by-election confirms Greens' status as a protest party on the fringes, with no serious hope of governing.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:43 PM | | Comments (10)


"My gut feeling is that the Greens will out poll the ALP in primary votes but the ALP will recover the lost ground through preferences from the smaller parties'

Looks like a good call.

It looks like Labor will win -narrowly - with the Greens getting more primary votes but less preferences from the other dozen or so candidates. It appears that the swing to the Greens overall will be in the vicinity of 5% to 6% which despite losing will be pleasing. Labor will be happy with the [probable] win.
The media will claim, contrary to common sense, that both lost.

Labor's primary vote in what used to be its heartland is 32 percent. That is not a cause of celebration.

Labor secured 13,988 votes after preferences against the Greens with 13,234. That's a margin of 754 votes, 656 of which came from the postals victory.

Yet Labor's primary vote slipped 2.45% from their primary vote in the 2010 state election. And the Liberals were not running. The ALP depends on its friends to gain power.

With friends like the sex party who needs enemies.

The media were convinced that the Greens challenge in the inner-city electorate of Melbourne was a threat to Gillard's leadership.

The link between the preoccupations of Melburnians in a state poll and Gillard’s own circumstances was tenuous, and the media did not spend much time establishing the link.

Presumably a Greens victory in Melbourne would have inflamed tensions in federal caucus about the way the Gillard government has managed its relationship with the Greens.

The Melbourne byelection has not been the catalyst for crisis in the ALP that some in the media had expected

says that Labor can contain Labor contain the Greens in inner-city seats in Sydney and Melbourne.

They should do this without trying to win over Green voters by lurching left on social and economic policy, jeopardising support in a far greater number of outer suburban and provincial seats in the process.

The way to do it is to put the Greens' economic policies and costings under scrutiny. These are pie-in the sky policies compared to pragmatic policies geared to providing prosperity and jobs.

The Australian keeps saying the same thing --the ALP should turn to the Right.The reason? The Australian electorate has turned right (become more conservative). It is the Leftist Greens who are out of touch with Australian values, so the ALP should dump its progressive base who are idealists and dreamers who largely fail to appreciate the harsh economic realities and lack an understanding of political pragmatism.

Australian values, it seems, have little to do with the environment, clean energy, climate change.

Marching to a different drum.

In 2010 the Political Compass mob used the election policies of the 4 main parties to position them on their double axis of left/right [economic policies] and hard/soft [social policies].

The ALP came out as right wing authoritarian with a score of [roughly] 4/4.
The Nationals were even more right wing authoritarian with 5/5.
The Libs were even further into hard right territory with 8/7.

The Greens were on the 'soft' [socially progressive] side and 'left' [economically] with a score of -2/-2, basically just away from the centre.

See here:

So, who is out of step with the Oz public?

Well, lets have a look at what Newspoll reckons , as analysed by Possum titled "What Australians believe"[see link at the end].

Most of the issues that are looked at by Newspoll are economic which is just one axis on the Compass but we'll get some idea who is marching on the wrong foot.

First up it seems most [nearly] Aussies, particularly COALition supporters, reckon our government is too large - 44% say that, 28% say not so, the rest dunno.
Yet, strangely, in the next set of responses a large majority of Aussies, even including the COALition supporters, reckon that government should do more with respect to a whole range of issues eg health, education, protect us from big banks and companies.
And that we should not have privatised Telstra or QANTAS and that medicare and compulsory super are good.
Even COALition supporters are agreeing with that.

So it seems that Aussies are likely to score pretty much on the left of the Political Compass axis, out in the Greens area, away from the ALP and even further away from those extemist parties the Nats and Libs.

Strange isn't it?
That the Greens are the party that best reflects the wishes of the majority of the Aussie public. Even stranger is that generally the supporters of the ALP are in close step, it appears the people out of step are not the supporters of the ALP but some, I wonder how many, of its leaders.
And strangest of all is that even COALition supporters are pretty close to the left despite the policies and rhetoric of their chosen parties.

Its strange, this paradox, these contradictions between public belief and what is publicly stated about the beliefs of the public.
I wonder if the media has some sort of role in that? [Rhetorical question].

Anyway I recommend you read Possum for more detailed, more astute analysis and greater fluency than I can muster.
Here's the link.