The Greens can only be disappointed with their showing at the Federal election and must urgently consider their status as a professional protest movement stuck out on the far left of Australian politics.
The Greens fall short of the mark
All that talk of one million votes, retaining Cunningham and six new Senators has fallen flat for Bob Browns’ Greens although it is now, for the first time, the undisputed third party in Australian politics.
The Greens only made double digits on the primary vote in the Tasmanian Senate and in the following seats:
Melbourne Ports: 13.56%
ACT Senate: 16.4%
North Sydney: 12.26%
It is true that the Greens faced unprecedented attacks from the Liberals and the Murdoch press and also had Mark Latham trying to steal their vote in the final days of the campaign with his Tasmanian forestry policy.
However, for all the noise, the Greens will be even less relevant in the next Senate because they failed to deny the Conservatives a third spot in any Senate contest and even failed to stop Family First taking a fourth conservative spot in Victoria.
However, they will probably have as many Senators as the Democrats who will probably be wiped out for good at the next election.
If the Greens are going to develop beyond anything more than a hard-left protest party, they will also need to modify some of their kookiest policies and hope that Labor lurches back closer to the middle on issues like the Tasmanian forests, the Iraq war and refugees.
Green vote in decline
All the false triumphalism of the Greens ignores one fact. In the 2002 Victorian State Election the Greens polled 10.37% of the vote in the Upper House as you can see
Whilst postals and pre-poll are still to be counted, the Green vote in Victoria plunged from 314,697 in the 2002 Victorian state election to just 206,730.
However, if you assumed both polls had the same 3.034 million, the Green figure on Saturday in the Senate would have been 262,441, so they’ve actually lost 52,256 voters in two years which is a full house at Telstra Stadium in Melbourne’s Docklands precinct.
The Greens are nothing more then a sectional issue political party and their claims of success or progress should be treated with the contempt they deserve. They have only themselves to blame for their failure to win a Senate seat in Victoria and any buck-passing they may indulge in is completely irrelevant.
When you look around the country there are similar stories to tell.
In the 2003 NSW state election the Greens received a very healthy 320,010 votes of 8.6 per cent of the total in the Legislative Council as you can see
Whilst postals and pre-poll are still be counted, the Greens have so far scored 226,059 votes in the NSW Senate contest but that is only 7.12 per cent so if you had the same numbers voting as the NSW state election, Saturday’s vote would have been 264,938 figures and the Greens have lost 55,070 voters in NSW, which would more than fill Sydney’s second stadium, the SCG.
Reply to Gretel Green – The Greens fall short of the mark
The Greens are far from being disappointed with the Federal Election result. It is a bitter sweet victory for us but a victory none the less. Even after the onslaught of anti-Green propoganda by some of the major parties, at least 724,106 people still voted Green. Bob Brown stated at our launch that we were looking at 1 million votes, not 1 million people. He made it quite clear that the senate vote as well as the lower house vote would be summed to at least a million, but such is a media grab. As we are all aware, many people do not vote the same in the senate and the house of reps.
So, the number, with around 80% counted, is around 1.4 million votes. I am sorry that Gretel Green had her head in the clouds, but The Greens certainly don’t. We ALWAYS see quite a different make up in State V Federal elections – considering each state is run by a Labor government, by Gretel’s thinking, we should have a Federal Labor government.
Slow and steady wins the race and the Greens are growing slowly, but surely, at each election. Although The Greens are relatively new, I’ve never heard of an ex-Greens supporter. At each election, the drugs card has been pulled out and The Greens have stood firm. Each and every person that I have an opportunity to explain this policy (and many others), walks away thinking differently about the issue. All we ask is that people think it through for themselves, perhaps read between the lines of our newspapers and not believe as gospel (pardon the pun) most things they see/hear on the TV/radio. We are attempting to make a more informed and inclusive electorate.
So watch out Gretel, we’re snapping at your heels. Sounds to me like your disappointment should be aimed at your ancestors for giving you a surname like Green!
One last thing, the Senate preference “deals” that other major parties enjoy are not enjoyed by The Greens. Our preferences go in the order of parties that are more closely aligned to our policies, NOT to those with the you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours way of thinking. The Democrats and to a certain extent Labor have erred dangerously in this election by preferencing parties which are far removed from their own ethos. This alone has made it near impossible for The “progressive” Greens to take hold in the Senate. As long as we stay true to ourselves and our progressive policies and don’t fall foul of our “core promises”, you will see an improvement at the next election and the one after that… As more and more people realize that there are different/better ways of living.
By crikey, keep up the good work. Many hours of enjoyment has been had by your A-class journos.
Ex-Greens Candidate for Cook
“doubling our vote in Liberal heartland!”