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26 August 2010

Greens leader Bob Brown (AAP: Stefan Postles)

The green tide


Aron Paul

Aron Paul

What is incumbency and a personal following worth? If you are Malcolm Turnbull it is a whopping 13 per cent. That was the difference between his primary vote in Wentworth of 60 per cent and the Senate vote for the Liberal Party in the same seat of a more modest 47 per cent.

Comparing Senate voting and House of Representatives voting patterns throws up some interesting results that point to the importance of incumbency in firewalling the established parties against newcomers. This is especially the case for the Labor Party and the challenge from the Greens - as incoming Victorian senator called his party, 'the new light on the hill'.

Adam Bandt won a famous victory in Melbourne on election night, as the once safe Labor stronghold fell to the Greens with a swing in excess of 10 per cent. It was the first time since the 1920s that a new party has broken into the House of Representatives in a general election.

For Labor however, the march of the Greens into its inner city heartlands could have been yet more dramatic. ABC elections analyst Antony Green argued before the election that the departure of popular Melbourne MP Lindsay Tanner would likely see Melbourne voting patterns revert to the party lines evident in the electorate's Senate voting.

In the Senate in 2007, the Greens polled 6 per cent higher in the Senate than in the House of Representatives in Melbourne. In 2010 The Greens ultimately more than translated their 2007 Senate vote into the House of Representatives vote on the back of an exceptionally well fought local campaign. A comparison of Senate and House of Representatives voting patterns in a number of other inner city seats shows how reliant Labor is on incumbency to defend itself against the Greens.

In Melbourne Ports, where Labor's Michael Danby is the sitting member, the House of Representatives vote for the main parties in 2010 stands at Greens 21 per cent, Labor 36 per cent and Liberal 38 per cent. Compare this to the Senate vote in Melbourne Ports of Greens 26 per cent, Labor 31 per cent and Liberal 34 per cent. With far more candidates, the vote for both major parties declines, but the Greens increase - however once we go through some other similar seats the trend becomes clearer.

In Batman, the Labor high profile MP Martin Ferguson enjoys a 53 per cent primary vote, the Greens 23.5 per cent and the Liberals 19 per cent. In the Senate vote in Batman however the Labor vote falls to 46 per cent, the Liberals to 17 per cent and the Greens rise to 25 per cent.

In the New South Wales seat of Grayndler Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese has struggled to fight off the Greens Sam Byrne in this election, forced to preferences on 46.7 per cent, to the Greens 25.5 per cent and the Liberals 24 per cent. Incumbency has certainly saved this seat for Labor.

When we look at the Senate vote in Grayndler, the figures are 41 per cent for Labor, 22 per cent for Liberals and 26.5 per cent for the Greens. The partisan vote for the Labor 'brand' in Grayndler is not much more than the primary vote achieved by Labor's unsuccessful candidate Cath Bowtel in Melbourne.

In Sydney the Labor's Tanya Plibersek has been saved by a stronger showing for the Liberals, but the difference between Labor's vote in the House of Representatives and the Senate is the same. Plibersek won 44.5 per cent to the Greens' 23.7 per cent and Liberals' 27 per cent. The Senate vote in Sydney however was a mere 36 per cent for Labor, 24 per cent for Liberals and 28 per cent for the Greens. This suggests, using the Melbourne example, that the only thing keeping Sydney from falling to the Greens at this election was Plibersek's incumbency.

These results suggest that the Greens are indeed making significant inroads into Labor's once immovable support base in the inner cities. But the Liberals cannot celebrate either. Besides the continuing collapse of the Liberals to third place in the inner cities, the Greens vote continues to rise in their blue ribbon urban seats and, should the Greens outpoll Labor and force the Liberals to preferences, similar transfers could occur in surprising places.

Returning to the seat of Wentworth, the difference between House of Representative votes for the local member is in stark contrast with the more partisan Senate vote. Turnbull won the Liberals an incredible 60 per cent primary vote. In the Senate however, the results in Wentworth stand at a far more modest 47 per cent for the Liberals, 22 per cent for the Greens and 24 per cent for Labor. It is likely that a personal following like that enjoyed by Turnbull also inflates to some degree his party's Senate vote in the area, particularly from green voters. On these figures it is not unreasonable to suggest that incumbency also firewalled Wentworth against the march of the Greens.

For the Greens, the next challenge is convincing those who support the party in the Senate in a raft of inner city seats to also vote for it in the lower house. In Melbourne in 2010, the retirement of the sitting Labor member hit the partisan 'reset' button and made that task easier. The Senate and House of Representatives vote for the Greens in Melbourne in 2010 was virtually identical, and the result was victory.

The Greens are rightfully celebrating a tremendous breakthrough, with their first House of Representatives seat and a senator in every state. Their strong adherence to progressive and green values nationally and effective local campaigning have carried them this far, but the march could only just be beginning.

Dr Aron Paul is a Melbourne-based writer and historian, and a postgraduate student in Environment and Planning at RMIT.

House Rules

Comments (179)

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  • Barry :

    28 Aug 2010 8:27:01pm

    Everyone loves a winner!

    And what a difference 9 months makes!

    I see here at "Unleashed" many once pre-poll hardcore Labor spruikers have now defected to the Greens.

    What's that about rats and a sinking ship?

  • BoBBicton :

    27 Aug 2010 10:18:50pm

    The Greens tide will no doubt turn and it looks like it will recede in a short time since one only has too look deeply into of their strategies. Mr Brown the green has backed his party into a corner on the issue of getting a say who governs by selling off cheaply his political leverage with the ALP and Liberal parties (when he could have hung out for more)by already letting the independents have the power and final say in determining who governs. This he has done by declaring he is siding with ALP too soon form a government. A smart leader would have kept his commitment till last to get the highest price.

      • DocMercury :

        28 Aug 2010 7:24:45am

        Low tide will never come in as far as the intellectual capacity of half the Australian population is concerned, and will forever remain somewhere around the IQ of thread worm.

  • Jake :

    27 Aug 2010 8:45:40pm

    Actually, Greens voters are just people who do not look at an old-growth beautiful forest in Tasmania or elsewhere, with that beautiful smell of the rainforest, and the wonder and sense of awe, and see dollar signs in their eyes, like the conservatives do.

    Do the major parties really want Australia in the future to be a polluted, dirty, smelly, over-developed/commercialized, hell-hole?

    The real enemy of this country and the world are the rich people who want to commercialize and sell everything, maybe preserve a few penguins here or a few trees there, enclose them in an area for tourists to pay to see, and then bulldoze and develop the rest.

    People talk so much about economic growth, but what does a rise in GDP mean if you only did it by destroying something that took thousands of years in nature to grow? Talk to an ordinary person and ask them if they would prefer a few more 0's in the bank account of a CEO, or the beautiful environment of this country.

  • DocMercury :

    27 Aug 2010 3:57:27pm

    Brown tide has just receded from Atlanta and Florida, and only barely missed crashing into Rockhampton and Broome.

    We've also had a blue-green toxic tide from Queensland to Adelaide down a river misnamed for the way we treat it.

    Give me green tide any time over either of those.
    The tide most desirable to recede it the brown grease from the backside of the pathologically obese.

    Points at least for the mismatching metaphor. ;)

  • Political Gravity :

    27 Aug 2010 2:14:44pm

    So aptly named, the Green tide has come in and will recede forthwith.

  • Wily :

    27 Aug 2010 12:25:43am

    Can't believe the sour grapes from you lot!

    Every political party was once a minority party, and they were accused of only getting protest votes as well .

    Lets celebrate the emergence of a type of person whose only focus is NOT JUST money.They also have a understanding that we are a sub set of the species that inhabit the planet , and if they are disappearing, then it won't be long before we do too, The contempt that some people show the natural world is UNBELIEVABLE, it must change.

    The age of greed and plunder we live in is slowly changing , empty materialism is being replaced with an understanding of what we tell our children:.......... DON'T TAKE IT ALL.

    Don't be angry that the world got it wrong, life's great WITHOUT all that CRAP the TV and newspapers tell us we must have........Just think by having less you have allowed something or somebody to live , given them a little bit of forest , or made a resource not as scarce , the natural world is at it's limit of giving.

    Our grandparents were happier the we currently are , and they had much less, and that is all we have to do : be like them, it's been done before.


  • Zoltar :

    27 Aug 2010 12:04:18am

    There are six main factors in play:
    1. The local candidate factor for the house of reps;
    2. Group voting ticket preference flows in the senate;
    3. Voters making the best fit of the candidates available;
    4. Does the voter wish to save the tax payer $2.31 by first preferencing a candidate who will get less than 4% of the vote;
    5. Does the voter wish to lodge a protest vote; and
    6. Does the voter want to keep the bastards honest by deliberately voting for a hostile senate.

    In the NSW electorate in which I was enrolled there were only 3 candidates for the house or reps (only 4% of voters had such limited choice); and there were 84 candidates and 32 groups to choose from in the senate. This gave voters in electorates such as mine, more than 10 times the choice for above the line senate voting compared to voting in the house of reps. Even in electorates which offered the widest field of candidates (11), NSW voters had 3 times the choice when it came to voting above the line in the senate. This panned out as 11.4% of my electorate voting for neither libnat/labor/green in the senate, and yet being compelled to preference one of these options first in the house of reps if they wished to lodge a formal vote. At a state level 13.5% of NSW voters supported none of libnat/labor/green above the line.

    Most voters who vote above the line in the senate don't know what preference flows they have signed up for. If they did, they probably wouldn't vote above the line. You run the risk of mistaking a rejection of a party's GVT by informed voters as a rejection of the party.

    Senate candidates can also have a bearing on how people vote. For some in NSW the inclusion of Faulkner for Labor and Heffernan for Liberals would be seen as a negative/positive.

    If the senate vote is higher for a party in an electorate than it is for the local candidate of that party, then the local candidate is a comparative dud. Trying to read much more into the difference between reps and senate voting in an electorate is speculative folly.

  • John from wollongong :

    26 Aug 2010 9:26:25pm

    The people who voted green as a protest will have condemned all of us to an unrelenting demand for more and more stupid legislation. 60% Mining Tax, 50% Personal Income Tax, 33% Company tax, Gay Marriage, 4% of GDP sent to developing countries, stop coal exports, stop uranium exports, close coal fired power stations. The rest don matter we would already be broke, starving and suicidal.

      • Brain Fade :

        26 Aug 2010 10:23:26pm

        Oh rubbish.

        As an independent said at the Press Club, we have expert reports that have laid down the direction the needs to be taken, Garnaut and Henry. All that needs to happen is the policy makers need to determine how to get there.

        The Greens are not at odds with the expert reports. Sorry, I tell a lie. The Greens are at odds with Howard instigated, trumped up, pre ordained, Nuclear power report. You know, the one where some of his backbenchers came out and said he could at least have tried to make it look like he did not know the outcomes before he commissioned the report.

        Anyway, if you think Hockey, a lawyer, or Swan, a Uni lecturer know more about it than Henry or Garnaut then good on you.

        So if the Greens are about being broke, starving and suicidal then so are Garnaut and Henry.

        Cant see it myself.

          • John from wollongong :

            27 Aug 2010 6:47:52pm

            I hope you never see it. I was quoting Bob Brown like every other voter I have not seen the Henry or Garnaut reports and they have NEVER been debated in the Parliament. Like most reports paid for by the Taxpayer the Gillard-Rudd governments have withheld them from scrutiny. We also haven't seen the Murray Darling report but Wong says they will accept every point.
            If the Independents are the Greens they should say so, otherwise they do not speak for the Greens or Bob Brown.

          • chipinga :

            27 Aug 2010 8:36:34pm

            Henry or Garnaut have been wrong in the past, look at the recent balls up of a 12 billion dollar mistake by Ken Henry...

            No problems though...just our money and economy at stake!

          • BoBBicton :

            27 Aug 2010 10:32:20pm

            Let me remind you that the so called expert Mr Henry stated that the mining tax would not effect prices !! - an extroadinary statement of maybe wishful thinking! If he cared to look he would have seen it did. Almost every mining company in Australia lost considerable value the day after it was released for that very reason, yet he failed to foresee or realise this. He also cannot deny (as any reasonable person could not)that the tax is a cost to any miner on whom it falls which by normal accounting has to be factored into the ultimate price of product sold. One wonders where his economic common sense is.

              • dubious the third :

                29 Aug 2010 10:43:39am

                one plus one equals three hey.
                Did the proposed mining tax increase the price of what was being mined?

                It may have affected the net return to shareholders, but that was not what Henry said would not be affected.

  • rghay :

    26 Aug 2010 8:37:27pm

    It does seem mildly ironic that the greatest concentrations of Green voters are in the central parts of our largest cities, pullulating timidly on the edge of alien shores.

    Still I suppose if the environment that people see and hear and smell as they go about their daily activities is almost entirely made up of human structures and artifacts, with a few patches where fauna and flora - almost all species recently introduced by humans - can be seen or heard or smelt, they might tend to pine for what is not, and advocate the preservation of some semi-wilderness areas, albeit ones they know only from TV documentaries and other second-hand accounts.

      • Aron :

        27 Aug 2010 8:23:06am

        Hi rghay, there may be any number of reasons for the disparity between the Greens vote in regional vs urban areas. However interestingly, the Greens vote increased by about the same amount across nearly every region in this election.

        The Greens support in a few regional areas is actually higher than in some suburban areas. An interesting seat is Mayo in South Australia, where the Greens vote in 2010 stands at over 16%, the highest in South Australia.

        Tasmania, which has high direct exposure to environmental issues, is a stronghold of Greens support, with the highest vote of over 20% in Franklin.

      • Ed :

        27 Aug 2010 11:06:03am

        Greens survive in small niche habitats, mostly in highly urbanised environments.

        Rich in cash, these idealogues pine for a life closer to that of their ancestors... And so they vote, not with their minds, but with their hearts.

        But this behaviour is unlitmately a charade... because what they want most is good coffee, cinema and music festivals.

        woe the policies they unleash upon the rest of us!

          • Groucho :

            27 Aug 2010 5:18:29pm

            Get a grip timber extricater and habitat decimater.
            The people have spoken and some are the Greens you love to hate.Just as many in and out of the city.
            Spin all you like,this phenomenon is here to stay- and grow.
            Not everyone sees dollar signs every time they look at something of nature.
            Voting with your heart blows your option, of voting with your wallet, out of the water.

            The timber industry uses the most emotive language available, to keep destructive jobs going,and yet if the Greens or others express THEIR feelings you cry foul.

            "If logging stops my family will starve.

            If logging stops I cannot be trained in another skill.

            If logging stops the forests will die.

            If logging stops the earth will burn.

            if logging stops the Tasmanian economy will collapse.

            If logging stops the world will end.


            You better believe it.

            Listen to yourself.

  • Confused :

    26 Aug 2010 8:09:36pm

    Why do the Greens poll so well in the artificial environment of the cities?

    Out here in the bush, surrounded by nature, the Greens poll terribly.

    If the greens are truly devoted to the environment, why don't people support them out here in our natural environment?

    What is the real reason people vote Green?

      • jim c :

        26 Aug 2010 11:28:31pm

        read the web site you might get an idea

      • John from wollongong :

        27 Aug 2010 7:17:06am

        You are very perceptive, it is a shame most of the people who used the Greens as a protest vote were not. The Greens are mainly lefty minor academics and overpaid public servants with a sprinkling city cyclists and ex-communists.
        Real Conservationalists are much more rational.

      • uptightoutasight :

        27 Aug 2010 8:41:06am

        City people may vote green because the necessity is more obvious than to those who live in the country.
        A lot of people vote green because they are more concerned about the future than the immediacy of the hip pocket.

      • besharp42 :

        27 Aug 2010 9:24:48am

        Because they are educated.

      • Carolus Linnaeus :

        27 Aug 2010 9:37:35am

        Actually, The Greens gained in popularity across the board. Rural and regional seats had an average swing to the Greens of 3% with an average vote of 10%. Generally folks decide to vote Green because of the Greens policy platform.

      • Franko :

        27 Aug 2010 4:31:41pm

        Do you have Landcare in your particular piece of the bush? Where I live most farmers are involved in Landcare and are pretty cluey about environmental issues. You only have to look at the huge increase of shelter-belt plantings, removal of willows and so on to see tangible signs of this.

        These farmers probably don't vote Green (it's a traditionally Catholic area, where gay marriage ain't popular), but they certainly don't dismiss environmentalism.

          • John from wollongong :

            27 Aug 2010 6:52:56pm

            The true environmentalists of whom you speak don't vote Green because their environmental policies are not green or practical. Neither Catholicism or gay marriage has anything to do with it.
            If you want to have access to a green Australia with fresh food support the farmers not the people who will put them out of business.

              • Franko :

                28 Aug 2010 8:41:48am

                I personally don't care if people vote Green or not, I do care if they vote for parties that take the environment seriously. In practise that means voting for the Greens. The Murray-Darling disaster (as one example) was ignored by both major parties and any remedial action that happens will be a direct result of environmental activism of the sort you apparently don't like. Ditto government responses to all the other huge environmental problems we face.

      • Groucho :

        27 Aug 2010 7:01:40pm

        Your take is wrong and based on ignorance and can easily be dismissed.Check out the election results and the actual votes per party per seat.
        Why would you be so arrogant to suggest people in cities do not have an informed opinion on sustainability issues and social justice?

        I think you are right about one thing.There are many more red necks than greens in the bush.But that is slowly changing as the red necks need triple bypasses etc, and move to the big smoke where their kids have become Y Gen yuppies and CUB's.
        Pretty soon the Greenies will be running the bush.I hope they get to have the same arsenals as the red necks have now,so they can do a cull if needed.
        ; )

          • Ikmal :

            27 Aug 2010 10:35:11pm


            Do you really mean "Greenies" or "the Greens"?
            Big difference.

              • Groucho :

                28 Aug 2010 10:01:38am

                Normal people may think so, Ikmal, but-
                In the eyes of the right wing planet haters, they are one and the same.

  • Mulga Mumblebrain :

    26 Aug 2010 7:03:40pm

    I suspect that this result will be the high-water mark for the Greens,for a while. To begin, the incessant campaign in the Rightwing mass media which has sought to paint environmentalists and environmentalism as evil and destructive of our care-free life of endless economic growth and ever-growing mindless consumption, is already being cranked up to full hysteria mode.
    Environmentalism,to be credible,must target market capitalism,inequality and economic growth.All are utterly antithetical to continued human existence as all lead to biosphere destruction. Naturally the beneficiaries of this suicidal system, the plutocrats,the parasites and the paid poetasters of their disinformation organs, will do whatever is necessary to protect their gelt. Greenies in this country are lucky not to live in Colombia, the Philippines, India, Brazil etc, where troublesome environmentalists who interfere with business prerogatives are murdered in the thousands.
    Here the assassination is of character,of reputation and of the truth. Murdoch's apparatus is already in full denunciation and subversion mode.The tactic will be not only to lie about ecological collapse, and vilify Greens as 'water-melons' or 'tomatoes' to tar them with the 'socialist' brush (if only it were true!)but to seek to sow internal discord. The Greens will have been infiltrated over recent years by entryists,opportunists and collaborationists with business, who will push the phony pabulum of 'sustainable capitalism'. Already major environmental organisations have been bought off or suborned by business money in many countries, and those that refused to sell out demonised ever more viciously. The history of the German Greens, who split along Right versus Left ideological lines,leaving the party a Rightwing,market fundamentalist rump, in bed with the German Right is a sorry but salutary example of what I expect to unfold.
    The peddlers of disinformation have an entire media propaganda system,sans ethics, sans morality sans any purpose but to serve the money power, at its disposal. I expect the disinformationists' latest favourite tool, the 'leaked' e-mail to play a major role, as I see it has already in the contrived brouhaha over Green education policy and the vile practice of public subsidising of elite education.

      • Watermelons Indeed :

        26 Aug 2010 8:48:36pm

        Oh Mulga

        Do you honestly believe the Green's are not a socialist organization?

        Have a look at the Green's Senate preferences.

        The first preference for every Green candidate goes to either the Socialist Alliance or the Communist Alliance.

        I think they've pretty much tarred themselves with the socialist brush, don't you think?

          • BLZBob :

            27 Aug 2010 8:49:50pm

            If you were trying to save the environment for the benefit of EVERYONE, it would make you a socialist.

              • greens org au :

                27 Aug 2010 10:59:11pm

                If you were trying to control everyone and benefit from owning the environment, it would make you a communist.

              • Abbott the WorkChoiceCommunist :

                28 Aug 2010 10:05:53am

                If you were installed by a gang of 3, it would make you a dictator,and the general population are therefore part of the 'regime'.
                If the gang of 3 did what the recent opinion polls told them to do, it would make them the 3 biggest hypocrites since Howard declared his regret at overseeing indigenous injustice.

              • BLZBob :

                28 Aug 2010 12:39:44pm

                Strange logic!

                If you were trying to benefit from OWNING the environment you would be a capitalist.

              • greens org au :

                28 Aug 2010 8:50:35pm

                Yes, I agree to some extent.

                Communism could be described as "state capitalism" where mostly everything is owned and controlled by the state.

  • rdc :

    26 Aug 2010 6:32:29pm

    The greens are a lobby group, and should not be confused beyond that.

      • Groucho :

        26 Aug 2010 9:43:13pm

        "The greens are a lobby group, and should not be confused beyond that."

        Which by the same rating system means that the coalition is a failed experiment, which has morphed into a carcinogenic plague.

  • rghay :

    26 Aug 2010 5:46:08pm

    I'm surprised, reading these election blogs, to find how many people who pontificate on the result of the recent election seem to think that, until the day before yesterday, there have been only two significant parties in Australia and the Australian states.
    While not being a learned student of Australian politics, I have taken an amateur's interest for many years, and read a little about events before those I've lived through, and I have the distinct impression that there have been few, if any, non-Labor governments at the national level which were not coalitions, and not many in most states and territories. And the Labor party, state and federal, has a long and colourful history of feuding internal factions, occasionally erupting into bitter splits.

  • Malcolm :

    26 Aug 2010 3:33:27pm

    Interesting if partisan assessment of the Greens. But you ignore that we have a historical precedent for the current Green ascendency and that is the Democrats.

    The Democrats had a broad set of policies and social attitudes similar to the Greens and they, like the Greens, attracted the "educated" leftish voters who like the idea of some socialism but don't like to get their hands dirty in the real world of the unions and worker politics.

    The Democrats imploded when, after achieving sufficient seats to upset the Senate balance, they found themselves actually having to take part in real politics rather than just being a dissenting voice in the background. Staying as a nagging voice in the background is very comfortable - all care and no responsibility. Having political power meant having leaders who wanted to lead them for that power.

    What I see happening is that once the titular head of the Greens Bob Brown retires from politics then the discipline and ideals he imposes will be gone. A parallel was the retirement of Chip and ensuing leadership squabbles that ultimately devastated the Democrats which is what the Greens will undergo when Brown goes. Milne won't be far behind, both are looking tired.

    Then the Green voters will flow back to the ALP until some other "safe" fringe idealist party is formed. The Democrat supporters flowed back to their natural home which was an even split of "wet" Liberals and "polite" i.e. non-union ALP.

    I give them about ten years as they see their vote erode while the ALP takes some of their policies and makes some workable. The Liberals will also take some too once they drop Abbott - his current behaviour over their election promise costs shows how untrustworthy and inept he is. The rest of the Green policies will be dropped and picked up by another "polite" non-union left party and the fun will start again.

    At the moment the Greens are on a crest of a wave and while some of their policies deserve adoption they still remain a little too undisciplined in the traditional successful political party sense.

      • Gregor :

        26 Aug 2010 5:58:43pm

        Good of you to give them another ten years, but comparisons with the aren't quite right. The dems imploded when they put more energy into knifing each other than being pollies, and when they supported the GST which their electors opposed.

        Hopefully the Greens can hold up their promise of integrity - it is much needed change from the grim situation of two parties that have no ethics and no thoughts beyond their own power.

        As the only party seeking effective action on climate change (i.e. carbon reduction), I'm not sure its fair to say their polcies are unrealistic or unworkable - they're the only party with a forward-looking, responsoble policy agenda.

        The big hope from this election is that voters will start expecting constructive governance not poll driven cheap politicking. If voters do, then real change could come and the Laboral party could die a deserved (if protracted) death.

        BTW - Bob Brown may look older than he did 10 years ago, but he certainly doesn't look tired.

          • Malcolm :

            27 Aug 2010 3:39:27pm

            "Hopefully the Greens can hold up their promise of integrity ..."

            Hopefully is the key, not certainty in your argument.

            I don't disagree that the Greens have some good policies but the social dynamic of political parties tend to be the same whatever the party or their policies. Power attracts people and the people who are attracted to it usually behave the same whatever their political stance.

            I may sound cynical but in all political analysis a healthy dose of cynicism is a good prevention for later disappointment. The real test will be if the Greens can withstand their transmission to major player status without the problems that beset the similarly idealistic Democrats. I am not holding my breath.

      • Groucho :

        26 Aug 2010 7:07:37pm

        Reasonably banal synopsis,with one big disclaimer.Meg Lees.
        She was the divisive menopausal megalomaniac who was smitten by the serpent known as Howard.We will never know what real incentive the gutless Eel Smeg was bribed with,because like Grech,nothing was written down,and unmarked bills are hard to trace.

        Greens and Demon-craps are apples and oranges Malcolm,different veges m'laddo.

          • Malcolm :

            26 Aug 2010 11:07:54pm

            "Greens and Demon-craps are apples and oranges Malcolm,different veges m'laddo."

            Listening to Brown on Lateline tonight he was mouthing the same platitudes that we used to hear from Kernot and her crew. I'm not saying the Greens don't have some good ideas, but we forget they are still very much a minority and we do not want that sort of minority government - when such a small group have power that is anti-democratic.

      • TJ :

        26 Aug 2010 7:59:24pm

        Good assessment.

        I don't give them as much as ten years. I think they'll last as an influence in the Senate for the current term only.

        I think this election has shown voters that, like it or not their vote is wasted, if they don't vote for one or other of the major parties. Or worse, they have to contend with minor parties and independents dictating to the major parties and the 85% of the population they represent.

      • Joe Blow :

        27 Aug 2010 12:58:54am

        I agree that the Greens will have to be careful about this issue. Without a doubt their current swing was a protest vote against the ALP (and to some extent against the Liberals). If either party had shown integrity and dedication to the climate change issue the Greens would not have done so well. This means that firstly the Greens must focus on a realistic, sensible yet principled stand on climate change. It also means that if they want to maintain their momentum they will need to articulate reasonable and fairly mainstream policies on other issues in the next 3 years. The electorate will need to be convinced that they are capable of being reasonable, and you are right that we need some worthy successors to Bob Brown and Christine Milne.

      • dubious the third :

        27 Aug 2010 2:50:40pm

        you've rewritten history to your pleasure.
        The Dems started out as a middle ground party, between the Libs and Labs.
        Because the Labs veered to the right, the Dems found themselves left of Labour, without moving at all.
        This left a vacuum on the left of politics, which the Greens are now filling.

      • razget ®:

        27 Aug 2010 6:23:40pm

        The thing that you forget though, is that right now, even though the Greens picked up a big swing and will as of Jul 2011 hold the balance in the Senate; they still just have 1 seat in the lower house.

        Comments of "..sooo much power will destroy them..." are quite ridiculous when you consider there is only 1 green in a lower house of 150 MPs.

        In reading the ABCs poliycal analysis one of the failures of the Democrats that was noted was their inability to break into the House of Reps. If anything the Greens success in making that first penetration will guarantee their long term success.

        I will finish by saying this: Katter, Oakshott and Windsor seem to be doing the lion's share of the work in forming government and pushing reform, not the Greens. So, if you want to comment on the real power in Canberra have a think of the Green's power vis-a-vis the power of the independants.

          • Malcolm :

            27 Aug 2010 8:11:07pm

            "So, if you want to comment on the real power in Canberra have a think of the Green's power vis-a-vis the power of the independants."

            I see your point and I concur. I was looking ahead to July 2011 when it will be the Greens with the power regardless of a Coalition or ALP Lower House.

            That the present problem will be resolved by three relatively unknown independents is of course a worry in democratic terms. However one point I see in their favour is that despite their National origins they do appear to have accepted that whatever decision they make will at the least be a result of calm deliberation rather than party dominated deliberation.

            I must admit to having no greater faith in their collective wisdom than in the collective wisdom of Greens. They are politicians with their own agendas after all. We must wait and see - but I still think that regardless of promises to run a full term we will have another election in the next 12 months.

            Of course if the Greens when their turn at dominance comes cause sufficient disruption of the Government's (whoever that may be) program then we may see a double dissolution and a swing back to dominance by either main party because the voters are tired of small party disruption.

  • andriana :

    26 Aug 2010 3:19:43pm

    I have a question.

    What is the defininition of "progressive values" in this instance?

    Progressive in what?

    You don't tell us what the values are in this article, so how do I know that you know what they are and that you just aren't repeating a slogan which will be perpetuated for a long time with it's meaning never clearly understood or articulated by anyone.

      • non-leftist greenie :

        26 Aug 2010 7:30:08pm

        andriana, I think you could safely say that "progressive" is being used here with the usual pollie-speak meaning where "progressive" really means "conservative" and "conservative" really means "progressive". You should find this link interesting:-


          • andriana :

            26 Aug 2010 8:15:37pm

            thank you, it was interesting!

              • besharp42 :

                27 Aug 2010 9:28:22am

                It was also rubbish.

              • non-leftist greenie :

                27 Aug 2010 12:15:54pm

                Wow, well thought out and supported critique there 42.

          • dubious the third :

            27 Aug 2010 6:31:38pm

            that is a nonsense article.
            Capitalism, or "free market" is a system of exploitation of "the other", pretending otherwise. For a couple of centuries now "capitalists" have stolen the resources and labour of non capitalists, under the pretence of modernising them backward folk.
            I'm not saying state capitalism under the banner of socialism is any better, it's just that there's this myth that one person getting really wealthy somehow enriches the folk they steal from.
            In the case of The Greens, 'progressive' refers to human rights, and planetary rights
            i.e. the anathema of unfettered capitalism.

              • non-leftist greenie :

                27 Aug 2010 11:39:41pm

                Thanks dubious - a much better effort than 42's at least.

                Yes I would agree that some of the relatively minor policy implications of the Greens could reasonably be called 'progressive', but even then they are really just catching up on things that should have become non-issues years ago if both of the majors weren't so backward. However, if you look at their overall policy platform and the ideology it is based on, then it is regressive rather than progressive. A big stick approach relying on legislation, regulation, and taxation, and lots of grandiose notions about how people and the corporate world should be forced to act, but no vision whatsoever as to how the economy is going to be kept buoyant enough to support all this in a globalised world. For sure capitalism is becoming very shaky at the knees and can't last much longer in its present form, but the Green's last-century socialism is already dead and buried. If you're going to rely on their nanny state to get us out of our present bothers, then you had better move to high ground now and take a lifetime supply of baked beans and fresh water with you.

              • dubious the third :

                28 Aug 2010 8:48:44am

                I think I agree with you. ustralia just get a slap down by the un about our teatment of aboriginal Australians, et al.
                At least the Greens have been highlighting asylum seeker rights, but that's about it really.

  • Sydney2K :

    26 Aug 2010 3:04:12pm

    You negelect to include the Senate seat of ACT, where the Greens hold a hope to unseat the sitting Liberal member, and have parachuted several high profile names into the number one place on the Greens tickets. Despite getting close, and in an electorate that is safely Labor, Senator Gary Humphreys still is the second Senate member for the ACT.

  • Ads :

    26 Aug 2010 2:39:27pm

    The Greens have made progress because of one factor - a total lack of scrutiny of their policies.

    - Death duties, new 50% taxes (on top of a carbon tax) the abolition of the coal and uranium industries, and eliminating 86% of our electricity supply (to be made up for solely through energy efficiency)

    If people knew what they actually want to do to this country their support would evaporate overnight.

    As a friend of mine said - I don't vote green, because I don't want to live penniless and in the dark

      • Carolus Linnaeus :

        26 Aug 2010 6:56:14pm

        As usual the reality is the opposite of your assertions. Young and well-educated Green voters are more interested in policy than most others. If you could reveal the source of your figures that would be appreciated.

          • chipinga :

            27 Aug 2010 8:41:56pm

            All there to see on the Greens website...!

            Go check it out!

  • viewpoint :

    26 Aug 2010 2:12:37pm

    Both houses of parliament are finally becoming accountable. More people may realise the value of their vote, in turn moving away from *automatic* support of either of the two older parties.

    Things are looking up for The Greens.

  • Bark :

    26 Aug 2010 1:56:44pm

    Katter got elected. A Green got elected.

    Thus; Nature balances itself.

      • Country Boy :

        26 Aug 2010 8:25:46pm

        As Katter is a long serving beef farmer out of the Queensland Joh Bjelke mould, do you think he eats his Greens, chews them a little and spits them out, or just ignores them and pushes them aside?

  • MightyM ®:

    26 Aug 2010 1:39:43pm

    "but the march could only just be beginning." -Indeed for now the time has come not just to speak, espouse and say I told you so. Now the time has come to do and act. The Greens will have to actually put there names to things and will not get away with "I told you so" - lets see how that effects their vote next time. Remember the Democrats who would never support GST???

  • Chris A :

    26 Aug 2010 1:19:21pm

    The incumbent advantage isn't just about voter sentiment.

    It's also with the massive access incumbents have to government funds, which is not available to other candidates. The incumbents don't have to lose their income stream to campaign, they don't have to dip into their personal finances, and they can leap around the electorate in government cars at will.

    I have received personally addressed letters and 'reports' from my local incumbent Alex Somalyay, that are barely disguised party-political and election material (they even carry the LNP logo), which are openly paid for with his electorate printing allowance. Alex Somalyay had a huge campaign office containing nothing but photos of himself, and plastered the area with posters.

    There is no way anyone can stand against an incumbent without fair access to these resources, which are paid for from our taxes.

    While we are all hot on reforms to the electoral system lets fix this one too.

  • Rob :

    26 Aug 2010 1:18:52pm

    I suspect the scaremongering surrounding the Greens has only just started, but I'm far more worried about the mining industry and its ability to shut down ligament economic debates in this country.

    The really scary thing is the mining industry had hardly even warmed up for its fight over the mining tax when the Labor government panicked and dumped its leader. I'm sure even the big miners were surprised how easily they squashed the government on this issue.

    I say more power to the Greens; hopefully they'll continue to push for a better mining tax that can be put away for Australia's future.

      • Chris A :

        26 Aug 2010 4:54:37pm

        You're spot on!

        My daughter told me that one of her friends warned her that the Greens are going to ban all recreational fishing! There's a major roumor mill out there somewhere!

          • melsetter :

            26 Aug 2010 6:01:34pm

            There's no rumour mill...just go directly to the Greens website and check out their policies...

            ...scare the pants off you it will..!

          • Country Boy :

            26 Aug 2010 9:18:09pm

            From the website:

            "ensure that the National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas program has legislated targets of a minimum of 30% ‘no take’ areas per bioregion by 2012."

            The only problem is, the 30% 'no take' regions are where the fish are. And pay particular attention to the word 'minimum'.

            " fund the next regional marine planning process with a requirement for its completion around Australia within 10 years."
            " require States to implement regional marine planning processes in State waters that complement national Regional Marine Plans."

            Ambiguous and threatening to the future of recreational fishing.

            Actually, a lot of their other policies are pretty good.
            And a lot are pretty poor.
            But don't take my word for it, have a look for yourselves.

              • Ecologist :

                27 Aug 2010 12:33:14pm

                The Greens policies are actually more helpful to the long term survival of recreational fishing than the practice itself. You only have to ask someone who has been fishing the same waters for 50 or more years about the decline in populations and they will give you a clear answer that you are far less likely to catch fish now than you were way back when. With an increasing population this problem will only get worse. "No take zones" target areas of marine population centres and breeding areas that will facilitate the regeneration and dispersal of fish populations into depleted waterways.

              • roger the cabin boy :

                27 Aug 2010 7:18:27pm

                One day in the recent past, you could ride your bike down to Ricketts Point, wade out, get the wind behind you, and berley up a few gars.

                Next day the same was a criminal act.

              • melsetter :

                27 Aug 2010 8:46:35pm

                Recreational fisherman are not the cause of fish stocks falling. This lies squarely at the feet of commercial fisherman.

                Look no further than the Northern Territory for a fine example of what excellent fisheries management can achieve.

      • Carolus Linnaeus :

        26 Aug 2010 6:57:52pm

        Correct the dirty smear campaign waged by the fearful major parties against the Greens is ramping up big time.

  • AlexVV :

    26 Aug 2010 1:16:21pm

    One thing not examined here is where votes went when they swung from Labor to Liberal or the Greens. To keep this simple, let's look at the 6 seats where there were only 3 candidates:

    Barton (ALP +14.9%, Sydney St George), 2007 3% to right-wing minors, this election thus 6% from Labor to Liberals, 2% from Labor to Greens.

    Braddon (ALP +2.3%, NW Tasmania), 2007 4% to right-wing minors, this election 4% to Greens, bucking the 5% Labor swing in this seat, that likely due to incumbency.

    Bradfield (LIB +13.9%, Sydney Nth Suburbs), 2007 3% to right-wing minors, this election thus 2% from Labor to Liberals, 5% from Labor to Greens.

    Canberra (ALP +11.8%), 2007 1% to right-wing minors, this election 1% from Labor to Liberal, 5% from Labor to Greens. No incumbency here, yet swing is not as great as in Fraser (yet that is likely due to fewer left-wing minors running there)

    Mackellar (Lib +12.4%, Sydney Northern Beaches), All to Greens from left-wing minors, Liberal swings from Labor & right-wing minors.

    Werriwa (ALP +15.1%, SW Sydney), All to Liberal from right-wing minors, all to Greens from Labor.

    In conclusion, a large amount of the major three parties swing is due to less minor party & independent candidates this election. Even with that, the remaining Greens swing can only be explained as coming from Labor voters, especially in NSW.

    It's worth noting that the higher the Non-English Speaking Background, the higher the swing to the Liberals vs the swing to the Greens. That ultimately stopped the Greens from taking Grayndler.

      • Ecologist :

        27 Aug 2010 12:38:51pm

        "It's worth noting that the higher the Non-English Speaking Background, the higher the swing to the Liberals vs the swing to the Greens."

        And this is a truly baffling effect considering the history of and current Liberal-National sentiment of anti-"boat people". Maybe people who do not understand english so well just vote for the funny looking fellow who gets around in his underpants.

          • Plumber :

            27 Aug 2010 7:22:23pm

            An alternative take is that (for 159 years) the recent arrivals just want to be allowed to get on with work to make some money.

            Also, Abbott looks no funnier than the caretaker or he that she usurped.

  • Pauline :

    26 Aug 2010 1:13:04pm

    Your analysis is a bit too simplistic. You forget that there is a big difference between a vote for the senate and a vote for the house of representatives. The govenment is formed in the house, and can only be influenced in the senate. Voters know they can use the two votes strategically.

    Even as a labor supporter, for years I voted labor in the house and greens in the senate because I wanted the labor party to form government but I wanted the greens to have some influence on legislation. If I voted green in the house for the first time this year it was because I wanted greens to have an even bigger influence in making legislation, but it was only on the proviso that they would support labor in forming a government. As far as I was concerned I was still voting for a labor government.

      • JAY JAY :

        26 Aug 2010 1:27:30pm


      • Mr Fs Aunt :

        26 Aug 2010 1:55:50pm

        Well Pauline I'm not so sure that in marginal low house seats you can get away that sort of logic.

      • Austin :

        26 Aug 2010 2:23:27pm

        This analysis is also simplistic. It assumes that most people know how the system works. There is a general level of confusion when people don't find the PM candidates names on the ballot paper.

          • besharp42 :

            27 Aug 2010 9:36:19am

            Which makes me think. At the next election I should form a party in the name of the opposition leader. Then ensure all my candidates have that surname. So at this election, all my candidates sould have been Abbotts. What do you reckon? Balance of power, anyone?

      • razget ®:

        26 Aug 2010 5:19:45pm

        You mightve been better voting greens in the lower house first, then putting labour 2nd.

        The reason for this is that you show the minor party you want them to keep trying, but you know they wont win and yer preference will get labour in.

        This is how I tend to form my strategies...

        The difficult thing is that in the federal election you are voting for yer local member and then voting for a state member in the senate. You know what you want yer state member (senator) to do, you want him to check the power of the lower house. However, what did you want from yer local member, was he any good, was he incumbant or not, was he party or independant, did that matter, did you know his personal views, did you know his personality?

        I voted against my local member firstly because I dont like him personally, then I voted him out because he was Liberal then I put him last on the preferences because any change would be a step in the right direction in my electorate. But its a safe seat, so it was all in vain.

  • Gruff :

    26 Aug 2010 1:08:12pm

    An interesting article. Thanks.
    One element that I found interesting was the extent that a protest vote in the HR migth be guaged by looking at the HR v. Senate vote.
    If the Senate vote is lower than the HR vote does the difference represent the protest vote against the incumbent? Eg if HR vote = 20% of primary vote and the Senate is 15% can it be said that 5% of HR votes are protests cast in the knowledge that 2PP revert to the voters "real" choice candidate?
    I suspect that the major parties have not been listening to this type of vote and have been stuck on the 2PP analysis (which is ultimately to their peril)

  • Mr Fs Aunt :

    26 Aug 2010 12:57:48pm

    The Greens preferenced the Climate Sceptics in Boothby, a marginal seat the ALP nearly won. What was that about? Further the Greens preferenced against Left faction Labor candidates in the SA seats of Sturt and Hindmarsh. I wonder if those casting a protest vote against Labor really thought they would end up with the possible return of an Abbott government. Reckon the Greens wont do so well next time after these shenanigans.

      • Mr Fs Aunt :

        26 Aug 2010 1:03:40pm

        To clarify - they preferenced the Climates Sceptic AHEAD of Labor.....

          • Groucho :

            26 Aug 2010 2:27:27pm

            That means they probably knew what they were doing and had done some research beforehand.Nothing more.If they thought the nutters were only likely to get limited impact and the deal helped the Greens then why not.

      • PassTheButter ®:

        26 Aug 2010 1:20:50pm

        If you have a "Green" how-to-vote card that has anything less than a number 9 next to the Climate Sceptic candidate then you're looking at a fake leaflet.

        The how to vote cards are still up on the Green website if you want to go check, and I can verify that it is the same as the one I was given on the day. It preferences the Climate Sceptic candidate DEAD LAST.

      • Sharon :

        26 Aug 2010 1:35:03pm

        Mr Fs Aunt: Absolute rubbish and lies above.

        The Moderator should actually remove the above comment as is it 100% untrue and deliberately misleading.

        Here are the FACTS re Greens HTVs:

        Boothby HTV had Climate Sceptics LAST!
        Labor were preferenced ahead of Libs.

        Sturt HTV had completely open ticket - did not recommend any preference at all - was therefore left entirely up to voters.

        Hindmarsh HTV had Climate Sceptics LAST and preferenced Labor ahead of Libs.

        These are the FACTS that can be verified via the Greens SA office.

          • Mr Fs Aunt :

            26 Aug 2010 5:47:56pm

            Actually I got my information from someone who is a long time Greens supported and handed out Green preference cards in Boothby, and who was very angry when confronted with these cards. Maybe you should check your facts.

              • Sharon :

                26 Aug 2010 7:34:20pm

                I was actually handing out HTVs at a Boothby booth and am an active Greens member in my local branch.

                Either your source is lyingOR they were duped by a Climate Sceptics person handing out FALSE HTVs. Similar to what the ALP did in SA State election with their misleading Family First deception.

                Any half intelligent and informed person would know that there is no way that what you suggest could be genuine.

                Please tell me specifically which booth that your source claims this occurred at. If it is true then The Greens will be very concerned as will the AEC.

              • Mr Fs Aunt :

                26 Aug 2010 9:11:47pm

                Sharon - I'm glad to read your strong defence of the Greens in the matter iof preferencing - you seem to be closer to the source than I am, so it may be that I, and others, were duped. What a pity if that is the case.

      • bangthejukebox :

        26 Aug 2010 3:38:49pm

        The Liberals preferenced Labor in Denison, go figure. I can't see the Green vote dropping dramatically whenever another election is held, if anything it could even rise again. The best thing to come out of this election for me would have to be the demise of the two major party political system that has for so long treated ordinary Australians with disdain.

          • Id :

            26 Aug 2010 5:45:09pm

            It strikes me as strange, that Bob Brown and his Greens haven't been mentioned in the last couple of days.
            It's been all about whether Labor or Liberal will be supported by the Independents.
            Those who want splinter parties running our governments need to look at history.
            Actually,looking at Italian political history gives a good idea of instability stemming from it.

      • Greens SACampaign Co-ordinator :

        26 Aug 2010 7:30:57pm

        As the Campaign Co-ordinator for the Greens in SA I can confirm that this post is a complete falsehood and 100% incorrect! The Greens did NOT preference the Climate Sceptics -apart from putting them in LAST PLACE! The same goes in Hindmarsh where the Sceptics were also preferenced LAST! (Labor were put 3rd after the Democrats. This comment is nothing more than a deliberate attempt to misinform people and create confusion. Such blatant lies are appalling and are a sign of how desperate the anti-Green forces are to try and smear the Greens. I think most people are smart enough to see through this though and recognise it for what it is - a deliberate, if ineffectual attack on the Greens. Greens SA Campaign Coordinator

  • Mike :

    26 Aug 2010 12:57:14pm

    There is a clear message to the pollsters and the media - dump "two party preferred". It is clear that a growing number ov voters do not prefer either party. In many electorates it is now a three horse race.

      • Ads :

        26 Aug 2010 2:44:07pm

        Only because major parties give the greens their preferences. Without preferences the Greens would not have a seat.

        Be realistic here - less than 12% of the vote is not a 'force' of any kind, especially when there was such a massive protest vote against both major parties

          • jim c :

            26 Aug 2010 11:58:44pm

            Ads you telling us that the ALP/LNP don't need preferences win seat ,,,mmm now that is news

      • Bill :

        27 Aug 2010 9:52:45pm

        If there were no "two party preferred votes" and constituted one vote one value, Firstly there would be no coalition party. Nationals would be nationals and liberals would be liberals. and history would state that liberals would could never win any further election in their own right.

  • Ravensclaw :

    26 Aug 2010 12:54:32pm

    How can the Green stance of constantly changing the goalposts, blocking important investment in regional Australia, and pushing up the cost of production on business for purely ideological reasons be "progressive".

    All this large green vote confirms is that those hardened and extreme socialists that Gillard tried to bring to Labor when she was in charge of the extreme Socialist Forum, now see the Greens as the socialist and activist power base in Australia.

    Hawke, Keating and Howard spent years undoing the economic damage that was done to this country in the 70's, by unelected and militant political forces. So why are people voting for a party that wants to bring this rot back?

    It is so very sad that people are voting for a party that:
    1. wants to drive investment away,
    2. wants to further restrict how managers/owners can run their business,
    3. want to make our industries more innefficent by driving up taxes, regulations and the cost of production,
    4. want to make non scarce resources scarce,
    5. want to drive up taxes (generally),
    6. want to restrict land ownership,
    7. want to halt certain trade e.g. live animal, timber, coal etc
    8. want to make members of the public more dependent on govt e.g. driving up cost of living costs, driving up cost of private education, driving up cost of private health etc
    9. want to introduce radical social initiatives e.g. NSW Greens want police to stop proscecuting drug users, and decriminalise hard drugs like Crack, Ice and Heroin.
    10. want to make energy scarcer, intermittant and far more costly.

    Socialism failed OK. The wall came down, we could see the rot and decay in the socialist states. China is making pro market reforms, and the remaining socialist holdouts are basketcase economies. Centralised decision making is not the answer.


      • GoodLaff :

        26 Aug 2010 1:48:47pm

        "How can the Green stance of constantly changing the goalposts, blocking important investment in regional Australia, and pushing up the cost of production on business for purely ideological reasons be "progressive"."
        Do you have any examples of this Ravensclaw?
        If at a federal level they have blocked important investment in regional Australia then they must have been aided by the Liberals (and Nationals) to do this in the Senate.

      • Odge :

        26 Aug 2010 2:20:20pm

        And what was the GFC? Capitalism failing and many industry experts are saying it isn't over yet. Watch the US housing market fall and hope you're not mortgaged to the hilt.

        Progressive policy it taking what we've learned from all parts of the political spectrum and behaving respectfully and responsibly for the long term, not just until the next election and on behalf of the big industries.

      • sparky :

        26 Aug 2010 2:24:04pm

        Wow someone's got a prickle in there ar... gument!

        If you think that's what the Greens stand for then i dont think you can be educated, and your too far right to be reasoned with.
        I will just correct your first point. "1. wants to drive investment away" from coal and into 'free' renewable energy projects...

        FYI. Im a mechanical Engineer and have not had power bill in 2 years since my house became 100% solar powered at a cost of $4500... bargain. What does your coal power bill look like?

      • jenbrad :

        26 Aug 2010 2:53:58pm

        Gosh, I don't remember these unelected militant forces, who were they and how come I never heard about them? Socialism failed about the year my son was born, 21 years ago - I don't get your point, neither do I understand your list of points - they're not Green policies, as far as my reading of both goes. Please explain.

      • dubious the third :

        26 Aug 2010 3:27:12pm

        I've read many of your posts to Unleashed. Do yuo really think like that, or are you pushing a barrow?
        The Greens have been pushing for investment on renewable energy production, not preventing investment. Well, maybe slow down the quarry mentality that could see Australia much like Nauru in a decade or so.

        The Free Market failed. No where is it being practised anymore. Adherants still try to scam some profits out of the low taxing, increasingly endebted basket case economy called the US, but most folk there know that deregulation has led them to insolvency.
        As to the illicit drug industry. The status-quo seems to be about as effective as prohibition in the US...oh sorry, that was alcolhol, and alcohol is harmless, hey Ravensclaw.
        It's those other drugs that must be banned, even if banning doesn't solve anything.

      • Hubert :

        26 Aug 2010 3:29:11pm

        Nice post Ravensclaw, but have you bothered to answer WHY the Greens would do these things?

        I assume you are aware that if the climate fails (and eventually it will if serious action isn't taken) it will have a much greater negative effect on business than any new tax.

        It seems to me that the idealists are the right-wing conservatives who wish to maintain our current way of life (read endlessly increasing profits, widening gap between rich and poor). Wake up and smell the coffee old son, if serious action isn't taken we shall all suffer, regardless of political ideologies.

        On point 9, it has been proven overseas that de-criminalising drug use has a downward effect on usage. Look it up.

          • Ravensclaw :

            27 Aug 2010 12:29:45am

            As to WHY, in most cases it would be because of alarmism, social/political mischief, and the new class warfare between the new breed of snobby inner city trendoids of the Latte Caste versus the hard working folk of regional Australia.


  • John O :

    26 Aug 2010 12:51:23pm

    If this country is ever silly enough to allow the Greens enough power to run the place the light on teh hill will be a candle. We won't be able to afford electricty or rely on actually having any generated reliably and with all the extra taxes we won't be able to afford anything to eat.

  • billie :

    26 Aug 2010 12:41:28pm

    Well Liberal and labor both have lost erlevance to large sections of the electorate.
    The Greens had a very strong showing in inner urban electroates
    Lathams disaffected outer suburban bogans voted informally at almost the same levels as Greens in other electorates.

    As Adam Bandt said on election night if we had a Parliament that represented how the elctorate voted the Grens would hold 17 seats. That rump called the Country Party get less votes than the Greens and has 21 seats.

    The Greens haven't just appeared and they do have polcies on a wide range of issues. The paryt has been standing candidates for Federal elections since at least 1983. That they have been invisible is due to the risible media coverage of this election campaign. The Greens are the natural enemies of Rupert Murdoch and Channel 9.

      • FRED from the deep north :

        26 Aug 2010 5:23:02pm

        Foolish Melb and Syd centric Australians! A bit of attention to Queensland please, given today's election pickle. Inner city swings to the Greens were significant, not only for climate change issues but also human rights issues - which no one seems to be considering important enough to analyse and write about.The Greens should demand onshore processing of asylum seekers and drastic reform of detention policy which costs $ millions and lifelong mental health care forthe innocent victims.

          • FRED from the deep north :

            27 Aug 2010 9:03:53am

            PS. With the seat of Brisbane Friday's national focus, time to recognise the impact of the vote for Green's candidate Andrew Bartlett on Bevis'chance and a major underlying reason.As the former Democrat leader and the outstanding MP who championed human rights, he drew support from so many voters who despised Labor'pathetic silence on the UN Refugees Convention but hated much more the Coalition's dishonest and cynical exploitation of fear in their "stop the boats" campaign. Journalists kept telling us the asylum seekers were a central issue in the election campaign but fail to explain its effect.

  • jenbrad :

    26 Aug 2010 12:39:50pm

    I understand you enthusiasm, but I think there are some fairly simply issues and thought processes going on here. People see the senate as the house of review and the one where influence on outcomes is likely to occur - and because of the multiple member electorates of the senate, the possible venue for getting such views into an influential, if not powerful, position. Many people thought the best way of getting decent action on climate change was to push Labor from the Green side, and besides many of them were cross with Labor for all sorts of reasons. I think more time is needed to see an ongoing effect of this.

      • Luke :

        26 Aug 2010 3:46:32pm

        While I agree some people vote differently in the senate and lower house, in Melbourne in 2007 there was a huge gap in the ALP vote in the lower and upper houses which basically vanished in 2010.

  • Budovski :

    26 Aug 2010 12:36:02pm

    As a former ALP voter turned Green, I must say the policies and values they hold far better represent those of us who have long wanted a real Social Democrat party.

    If you look at any polling done on social policy, the Greens are much closer for the 20-30% of people who support a more socially progressive state than the ALP.

    For those of you you dismissing this is some electoral "glitch" have a serious look at the publics attitudes to Healthcare, Refugees, The Environement and Transport infrastructure out there and explain to me which ALP or LNP policies have popular community support?

      • John O :

        26 Aug 2010 1:32:11pm

        Over 80% of the population voted for the ALP or LNP as a first choice. The greens voters represent 1 in 10 of us and I'm willing to bet a good many of them are unaware of how far to the left the Greens actually are. Many of the voters only voted due to their misunderstanding of what the Greens actually are.

      • Ads :

        26 Aug 2010 2:50:38pm

        "20-30% of people who support a more socially progressive state than the ALP."

        Care to back that up? Less than 12% of people voted for the Greens, and the ALP were pushing policies so right wing (boat people, climate)it was hard to tell if they were Liberal or not.

        That means 85%+ of people voted for a party that was espousing right wing policies.

  • Paradise :

    26 Aug 2010 12:24:44pm

    The green attitude and philosophy grows, so the Greens vote grows. People increasingly want greener ALP and Coalition policies. Australia is a dirty, delicate, desecrated land, far too much so. Climate change incorporates clean, neat, tidy, sensible, sustainable thinking and action. To save our Barrier Reef alone, we must set examples that will attract support from others on emissions, like China. When the Greens get up towards, say, 20% of votes in more swinging seats, with more House of Reps seats, the future will become clearer, even to primitives like Abbott. Katter, in particular, has a chance of focussing our attention on rural degradation , depopulation and Country/National Party indifference to a great degree. If and when the Greens make a serious effort to consult with old-time bushies like Katter, they may find a middle way forward, to Australia's great benefit.

      • GoodLaff :

        26 Aug 2010 1:56:08pm

        Well said Paradise.
        I will add that with Gillard and Abbott rushing to the conservative right it will take leadership change for both Labor and Liberals to regain 'green' credentials. The easy suggestion for the Liberals is Malcolm Turnbull and I think that Melissa Parke (Fremantle) may be the right choice for Labor in 2013.

  • Johnno :

    26 Aug 2010 12:22:15pm

    There seem to be three things the Greens stand for:
    A Smaller National Economic Pie.
    To gain a Larger Slice of the Smaller Economic Pie.
    Watching whales sail by.

      • Budovski :

        26 Aug 2010 1:19:10pm

        And what do the Libs and Labor stand for? Offering the electorate complete made up and un-costed policies, having big multinational companies write their policies and generally treating the electorate like fools?

        No wonder no one wants them.

          • Id :

            26 Aug 2010 6:02:29pm

            It is only the Liberals who have uncosted policies.
            Labor policies were checked by Treasury,something ther Liberals are dead scared to do,mainly because theirs don't add up.
            A bit like the $9 billion hole in Howard's policies a few years ago.

  • urszula :

    26 Aug 2010 12:20:14pm

    The Greens have balance of power here in Tasmania and I am sorry to say the Greens are pathetic. Before the election they promised the earth now that they are in Bartlet's pocket and you here nothing from the Greens. They are happy sharing the balance of power but they have forgotten the people who put them there. During the Federal election Bob Brown did not deserve to win one seat for the Greens, his speech he gave in Canberra last week was so pathetic he just mumbled and stumbled over his words and what where his policies? RUBBISH! I would rather not vote at all then give my vote to the Greens. They are pathetic performers in Parliament and out.

      • John O :

        26 Aug 2010 1:08:49pm

        The Greens thrive on voters misapprehension. Many Greens voters have no idea what horrendous policies they wish to push the see green and think "environment" but they don't realise the heavy cost to the Australian way of life that Green power will incur. I'd rather have a parliamenrt full of Kevin Rudd then Bob Brown and his cast of nutcases.

        My preferred outcome is for the ALP to have a minority Governement with the assistance of Bandt and the independents. The whole nasty mess will fall apart within a year as the Greens try to foist ther policies on us. The independents seats will all go to the Nationals and Melbourne will go back to the ALP where it belongs.

        It's time the MSM started to show the public what the Greens really want - death duties, no vcaol powered stations , no uranium mining , no nuke stations, high tax on super, no salary sacrifice etc etec etc

          • Odge :

            26 Aug 2010 2:27:45pm

            On the contrary. Judging from the results in inner city seats, most Greens supporters are professional, well educated, intelligent and fully fluent in Greens policies. They also understand how the upper and lower house works, hence the higher senate vote.

            You can take Howard's Battlers with you into oil and coal fired oblivion. They won't be happy about peak oil though.

            We'll take the rest. Thank you.

      • Ads :

        26 Aug 2010 2:52:34pm

        Yup, I think the Greens getting the balance of power federally will be the worst thing that could happen to them. So far all they had to do was be more green than the major parties and criticise them.

        Now Bob Brown has to come up with practical policies that will actually make the place better. A quick look on their policies on their website tells me this will be a big challenge...

          • Ecologist :

            27 Aug 2010 4:06:16pm

            Name one of their policies as listed on their website that is impractical and explain why...

      • razget ®:

        26 Aug 2010 4:57:10pm

        I daresay that if Tassy hadnt gone green in a big way, half yer rainforests wouldve been pulped, youd have another hydro facilility etc etc.

        And 100 years from now, Tasmanians would be saying "god damn our ancestors for trading what is truly valuable for some short term gain".

        It may seem that no progress is being made, but Oakshott has been talking about things I've never seen in my lifetime in Australia, I am 32...so in 2 decades of voting, these independants are making more sense and producing more interesting political discussion of Aussie parliamentary issues than I have ever seen.

        Some will say, it all depends on whether we get action to backup the rhetoric and thats obvious. But the slow, plodding progress of the Greens in Tassy has helped make this hung parliament happen...and for that I am grateful.

  • Nik Dow :

    26 Aug 2010 12:17:21pm

    Good article, but one correction. In Melbourne also, the Greens vote in the Senate was higher than in the House of Representatives. In fact the greens out-polled Labor on first preferences in the Senate, in the Melbourne electorate, whereas Adam was slightly behind Labor on first preferences in the House of Representatives.

  • Billy Bob Hall :

    26 Aug 2010 12:14:54pm

    .."but the march could only just be beginning."

    Lets hope not Aron. A bit of 'natural selection' and associated 'extinction' is oftentimes useful for life to continue to progress - (not regress).

      • hugh carnaby-sirius :

        26 Aug 2010 12:27:41pm

        Then you should get on the Green bandwagon and progress - it's the conservatives Luddite, backward looking approach that always holds the world back.

        Conservatives hate change.

          • Cap'n :

            26 Aug 2010 2:57:34pm

            Judging from some of the anti-Green vitriol being spat from the frothing mouths of some of the conservative supporting comments, they don't just hate change, they fear it to the depths of their soul beyond all rationality.

          • Country Boy :

            26 Aug 2010 4:27:41pm

            Peace and love brother.
            Which way to Woodstock man!!!

          • yys :

            26 Aug 2010 6:00:45pm

            I'm all for change - just got to make sure it's change for the better, not change for the sake of it,
            Nor change to the pie-in-the-sky greenpolicies(?) that sound good on paper but have no timelines for enactment.
            Greens will have to be more accountable now - more people will be looking closely to see what practical policies they really have.

  • Anon :

    26 Aug 2010 12:14:38pm

    At the rate things are going, the ALP will soon lose the ability to win government in their own right.

    As their party fractures and loses primary votes to the Greens, it seems the ALP may eventually have one of two fates.

    The first is that the ALP form a coalition with the Greens. Which will involve concessions which will upset a great deal of people, not least the 88% of the population who don't vote Green (many of whom will be Labor voters).

    The second possibility is that the ALP will completely snap. The hard-left will go to the Green party. And the centre-left will form a minor party more likely to fall in with the Center-right Coalition.

      • Budovski :

        26 Aug 2010 12:38:59pm

        Only 4% of the population voted for the Nationals who are part of a coalition, maybe the Liberals lack of concessions to regional constituents is why the LNP could not win possibly the easiest election in history. With so many ALP blunders it is amazing the LNP only scored a 1.8% swing.

      • Mike :

        26 Aug 2010 12:59:43pm

        At the rate things are going, neither of the two major parties will have the ability to govern in their own right. If the House of Reps was elected by proportional representation there would be 18 Green MPs holding the balance of power.

        You might also ask why the National Party had so much power in the previous coalition government when 96% of the population don't vote National.

          • Anon :

            26 Aug 2010 1:45:05pm

            I have a feeling that Labor will lose far more voters to the Greens in the next few years then the Liberals ever will.

            Why would center-right voters suddenly switch polarity to a hard-left leaning party? Your expectations are a bit much.

          • razget ®:

            26 Aug 2010 4:48:34pm

            The same rudimentary proportional calculation that gives the Greens 17 seats in the lower house would also give the LNP and National Party combined...20 seats.

            This same calculation would probably also result in the Family First getting 3 seats and Christian Democrats getting 1 seat. Independants 4, ALP 59 and Liberal Party 47.

            So under proportional voting, the Greens and Labour couldve formed a coalition government with 76 seats exactly.

            As it is, we have a hung parliament because of the querky way preferences go and instead of an ALP-G Coalition we have 5 crossbenches with the balance of power.

              • John o :

                27 Aug 2010 1:46:06pm

                You are delusional. The LNP has polled over 40% primary votes. Thats roughly 60 seats...

              • Razget :

                27 Aug 2010 3:22:55pm

                Nah, you need go to the ABC election 2010 site and look at party totals and you will see that there were Liberal Party, LNP and Nationals all in separate parties.

                Obviously, if you add all of them together you get 67 seats, probably minus 1 because a WA National wants to sit on the crossbenches and differentiate himself from the main Truss Nationals.

                The Liberal-National Coalition is not the same beast it used to be.

  • David :

    26 Aug 2010 12:14:15pm

    Myself, I'm wondering if the Greens are going to be able to hold on to the staggering swing they have had advantage of this general election.

    The Greens have a strong branding based on environmental issues. With both parties eschewing strong climate change policy in the run-up to the election, The Greens have probably picked up a noticeable amount of votes on that issue alone. It would be interesting to see what would happen to The Greens' primary vote if either Labor or the Coalition took a strong stance to prevent climate change.

      • hugh carnaby-sirius :

        26 Aug 2010 12:29:45pm

        "The Greens have a strong branding based on environmental issues."

        The Greens policies go well beyond environmental issues, although you would never know that from the commentary of their opponents and the media. You should read their website.

          • John O :

            26 Aug 2010 1:00:45pm

            I have and it's very scary. Reads like a very far left manifesto. A vote for the greens is a vote for regressive and oppressive policies.

              • Budovski :

                26 Aug 2010 2:27:27pm

                What you are scared of Denitcare? Seriously drop the nonsense. If you asked Australians if they wanted a dental safety net like medicare 80% would say yes. Trying to paint them as some kind of Maoist Guerilla force is absolute tripe.

              • Odge :

                26 Aug 2010 2:31:08pm

                Public transport, health, education, technology and infrastructure is backward? I believe other cultures call it civilisation.

                the 50s are over, move on.

              • bangthejukebox :

                26 Aug 2010 4:16:58pm

                ...but they are there for all to see, can you direct me to the ALP or LNP policies, whether online or anywhere?

      • Budovski :

        26 Aug 2010 12:40:26pm

        If they help deliver good policies as part of a coalition or block bad policies as part of an opposition they will be seen to be doing their job. If they can get good concessions for the Environment, Healthcare and Transport then they will hold their base. If they cannot they will lose voters.

  • Chris :

    26 Aug 2010 12:13:19pm

    Yes the greens are on the rise, but for how long? They now have the spotlight on them, so for their own sake they would be wise to keep a low profile, work hard and in always in the national interest, and only apply their distinct ideology where best suited. Otherwise they will go the way of the democrats. If they get even a little more mainstream they might not only hold onto Melbourne, but land a few more seats too.

      • jim c :

        26 Aug 2010 12:58:32pm

        Chris watch the trend ,,it a slow incremental change

  • the yank :

    26 Aug 2010 12:04:12pm

    The opportunity is there for the Greens.
    If some how one of the major parties is able to actually form government it will need to deal with the Greens to get their programs through.
    I can't see Labor and the Greens agreeing to Abbott's non-climate change program and yet I can't see Labor getting their carbon tax even through the House.
    Same goes for the Labor's mining tax and the Liberals stop the boats agenda.
    Now most times this would be a minor headache but we also look like we are going to have to deal with another financial downturn with very real risks for Australia.
    Interesting times indeed.

      • Budovski :

        26 Aug 2010 12:58:14pm

        72 ALP, 1 GRN, WILKIE, WINDSOR and OAKSHOTT....thats 76 they should be able to get a carbon tax through. They could possibly even get Katter to change his mind if they put some effort into his Ethanol proposals.

        That said, the issues requires a conscience vote.

          • the yank :

            26 Aug 2010 3:30:08pm

            And if one of the group that you mentioned is the speaker what happens then?

              • melsetter :

                26 Aug 2010 6:08:10pm

                On this occasion I agree with you 100%, they would be a 'minority'..

  • Ture Sjolander :

    26 Aug 2010 12:02:51pm


    We (14 million) voted for This or That and not for three feet in one bucket of concrete.

    New Election, Please!

      • Budovski :

        26 Aug 2010 12:41:40pm

        A new election wont change much and will waste tax payer money. Lets use this opportunity to reform the whole process and end the corruption of two-party politics.

      • SED :

        26 Aug 2010 1:00:41pm

        Katter for PM, I say

        if we go to the polls again, we may find more independants elected, or even greens

        lets work with what we got

          • Ture Sjolander :

            26 Aug 2010 7:04:10pm

            What "we got" we our self created and we can get more. We can get rid of "the corruption of two-party-system" and the obsolete Westminster system and that would make Katter to President not PM, or even Head of State.
            All Alliances and Coalitions are nothing mere than fraud.
            Full Democratic Socialism or Republicanism is just around the corner.

  • JohnM :

    26 Aug 2010 11:50:13am

    I can't decide whether people get the government they deserve or the government the media thinks the public deserves.

    Either way it does not bode well that the Greens and their ridiculous policies got a look in.

      • ateday :

        26 Aug 2010 12:06:26pm

        Regardless of your thoughts the Greens are the ONLY party with a vision of the future past their nose ends.
        They are the only party with a vision which will not completely destroy Australia the way the alternatives seem to want to with gross overpopulation, environmental destruction, pollution, resource depletion and finally, life extinction because the place will be uninhabitable.

          • DocMercury :

            26 Aug 2010 12:35:08pm

            Typical then, because I've never met a human who did not colour all their perception with tones of self interest.

          • el_viejo :

            26 Aug 2010 12:57:41pm

            ateday: I await with great interest the reaction of the electorate when told they should not own cars, air-condition homes in summer, travel by air, eat meat, have children, or offend Mother Nature in any other unsustainable way, or else the place will become uninhabitable sometime after their great-grandchildren have died of old age.

              • hugh carnaby-sirius :

                26 Aug 2010 1:24:13pm

                Well, they won't hear any of that from the Greens. They may hear it suggested that they should use more sustainable transport (porlonging diminishing oil supplies), save money by choosing homes that require less air conditioning, heating and power in general, eat less red meat (and therefore improve their health). And you might be surprised that some people are interested in the wellbeing of their great grandchildren - the Libs are always banging on about debt not being passed on to them.

              • Odge :

                26 Aug 2010 2:35:03pm

                or what about when they discover the ALP and LNP have sold their children's inheritance to China for a pittance?

              • ateday :

                26 Aug 2010 3:29:04pm

                You can do all those things but not to excess.
                Think sustainable.
                small families or none at all
                renewable energy and energy saving devices
                Better house design obviating the need for air con, even in the tropics
                fuel efficient smaller cars
                and more
                The most important being reduce population.....

      • Anon :

        26 Aug 2010 12:22:17pm

        If I had a magic lamp, my wish would be this:

        "I wish that tomorrow, the Greens had control of government".

        Imagine it. Greens in charge of the government departments. In charge of treasury. In charge of the red tape. In charge of making the laws. In charge of government policy.

        It would be a month of chaos. Then as the nation falls apart, a new election would need to be called.

        And after that, the Greens would never be voted for again. No matter how bitter (or stoned) a voter might be on election day.

          • the yank :

            26 Aug 2010 1:04:11pm

            And if they proved you wrong? what would you say then?
            I never thought Abbott could go five weeks without puting his foot in his mouth but he more or less managed to avoid major mishap. If that can happen anything is possible.

              • Anon :

                26 Aug 2010 1:55:15pm

                "And if they proved you wrong? what would you say then?"

                Then I would stand corrected.

                But the reality is that as the Greens stand now, they have about no experience and ability to manage a nation. They have even less then Tuckey, and that's being kind.

                Put them in charge of a government department and they will probably need to have a lie down.

                Or worse yet, they will actually try to put their ideas into practice. And then be confronted with the unpleasent practical results of their idealism.

          • razget ®:

            26 Aug 2010 4:38:20pm

            Unfortunately the executive arm of government comprises the public service which does most of the nitty gritty of government...for your argument to make sense...the greens would have to purge the public service and start from scratch.

            Bob Brown already announced that he will try to protect the public service in Canberra against job cuts by the major parties.

            So the reality is probably the exact opposite of what you predict...sorry.

      • Mark :

        26 Aug 2010 12:39:43pm

        An economy which regards the environment as an 'externality' is ridiculous. The Greens are the only rational party in Australian politics. Time will show this to be the case.

          • ateday :

            26 Aug 2010 3:30:12pm

            The outdated logic that people are your best asset should become a healthy environment is your best asset.

      • Budovski :

        26 Aug 2010 12:42:08pm

        Name one policy that is ridiculous?

          • el_viejo :

            26 Aug 2010 1:22:05pm

            Budovski: Will this one do? It is a stated policy position of the Greens to close down the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor. That reactor is Australia's only source of medical isotopes which are too short-lived to import, and for which there are no alternatives in medical diagnostics and cancer treatments. It is nice and easy to be green when you are young and free. But you too will be old and frail one day.

          • yys :

            26 Aug 2010 5:15:35pm

            I have just had a look at the Greenswebsite and to be frank, it was far worse than I expected.
            Most of the Greens policies appear to be principles, goals and measures, with scarcely a timeframe/date to be found.
            It is a mish mash of wishywashy, hippy, stuff - very idealistic but not terribly practical.

            I think you will find that Adam Bandt will be sprouting a lot of aspirational politics as he finds his way in the real world of the H o'R, There is precious little on the Greens website that speaks clearly about POLICY,much more about ideals.

            The Greens will have to work hard to keep their greenie following as I think some of their flock will be surprised at the lack of substance.
            They could get away with it when it didn't have to add up,with just a couple of worthy Senators -but now it will, and they will be exposed.

            I will have another look at the website and get back to you if i can find a POLICY anywhere there.

      • gc :

        26 Aug 2010 1:00:49pm

        The media have certainly not been friends of ours.

        However if more people were to read our policies, I expect more people would vote Green, or join as I did when I read them a few years ago.

      • jim c :

        26 Aug 2010 1:01:45pm

        JohnM give a reason as to why greens policy is ridiculous

          • Anon :

            26 Aug 2010 4:42:00pm

            Because in the words of Zappa: "people like to own stuff"

            The idealism of the Greens would result in reducing the standard of living and economic growth of the nation. And it is ridiculous to think the nation would go for that.

      • Gareth :

        26 Aug 2010 1:09:14pm

        Its interesting how many Coalition supporters think any policy championed by the Green party equals economic apocalypse and social ruin, as if a Liberal led government would be utterly immune to global economic trends that will by and large dictate our future.
        Cost of living certainly will be an issue when oil is back up to $130+ a barrel and the Chinese and Indians start putting tarrifs on our Coal exports (and we've done nothing to adjust).
        Pass a carbon tax!