Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Update on the Australian Greens

I forgot to do an update on the Victoria State election in Australia, which is remiss of me because it's rather interesting and I need to get out of the habit of talking about something and then never mentioning it again (Ali Dizeai's court case was adjourned to a later date, by the way).

This election is significant because it's the first major Australian election since the game changing General Election. With the Greens gaining their first MP in a seat that had been held by Labour since 1904 the other parties had been reassessing their attitude towards the party - which under AV is extremely significant.

Labor had been vacillating between down the line attack politics and loving up to us, and I'm not sure which is worse. In the end I think they settled on... I'm not quite sure what this is. Certainly they'd hoped for Green Party second preferences but negotiations between the parties got nowhere.

The Liberals (Tories) chose to preference the Greens last in all seats, behind Labor, which is a switch from their previous position where Labor had been seen as their main enemy, despite many of the right's absolute hatred of the Greens' deliciously left leaning policies.

While how to vote cards are not the be all and end all of the vote studies show that a significant proportion of the electorate do follow the parties' recommendations. For instance a study in 2006 showed that "49 per cent of Labor voters did so, 48 per cent of Nationals, 46 per cent of Liberals and 31 per cent of Greens." It may not be a majority of people, but it's enough to make or break a contest and shows just how brutally tactical AV elections really are.

Ultimately, of the parties that stood in all areas only Labor did not place the Greens last (after even the bonkers right) and almost all of the minor parties placed us last too (the Christian Democratic Party placed the Sex Party last then us, and the Sex Party had us in the middle somewhere) (pdfs: West, East, North). In fact not a single party second preferenced the Greens.

It seems the Green success in winning a Parliamentary seat and their record levels in the polls has meant it may well be harder to win seats under AV from now on. Indeed our first Ozzie MP was elected on the back of Liberal voters preferencing our candidate before that of Labor's - this may well happen less in future.

Despite all this, the Victoria Greens managed a record vote in the election - 11% of first preferences - but it wasn't enough to win a single seat across the state. Labor were significantly down as the State swung to the right - which made the vote gain for the Greens all the more remarkable.

Party % Swing Seats Change
38.2 +3.7 35 +12
36.2 –6.8 43 –12
Greens 11.0 +1.0 0 0
National 6.9 +1.7 10 +1
Other 7.7 +0.4 0 –1
Total 88
Liberal/National Coalition

45 +13

43 –12
Table adapted from Wikipedia.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have some wonderful wisdom.