An outraged Noel Crichton-Browne responds to Christian Kerr’s suggestion that he should be responsible for the Greens placing the Liberal Party below the Labor Party on their How to Vote Cards.


NCB’s new friends?

Subscriber email – 17 February

Political correspondent Christian Kerr writes:

If Noel Crichton-Browne wants to make a political comeback, perhaps he should try the Western Australian Greens. They used to have two Senators once, after all.

They’ve announced their preferences for the forthcoming election – and used Crikey’s wildest West correspondent in part to justify their decision. Is this a first for Crikey? Is this a first for NCB?

“The Greens will be issuing how to vote cards that recommend preferencing the ALP above the Liberals in a number of key marginal seats,” MLC Giz Watson says.

Why? Well, one of the reasons is “We note that Noel Crichton-Browne wrote in an article for crikey.com.au just last Wednesday that political donations from the mining sector are flooding into the Liberal Party’s coffers.”

The new management may have to change the site so it says “Propping up governments since 2005”.

Giz’s full words of wisdom are here.

Noel Crichton-Browne responds to Christian:

How can one be other than mortified to read Christian Kerr’s Crikey article that I should be responsible for the Greens placing the Liberal Party below the Labor Party on their How to Vote Cards.

Dare I say on the other hand that Greens MLC, Giz Watson has been a little disingenuous in her claim and its consequences. The Greens rarely if ever as a matter of practice and principle place the Liberal Party ahead of the Labor Party in spite of their public agonizing and hand wringing.

Giz’s press statement informs the public that “significantly we will not be recommending preferences to the ALP in all seats. This reflects strong dissatisfaction at a local level with a number of government members.” Curiously the only such seats are safe Labor seats in which the Greens preferences will be of no account and in two seats where Labor cannot win ahead of the sitting Independents.

The Greens are also directing their preferences to the National Party in seats the Nationals presently hold and which are in no danger of falling to the Labor Party. There is nothing novel in this decision. It is simply a repetition of previous State elections.

In spite of this preference deal with the National Party, it is worth observing that the Greens are unable to deliver the majority of their votes. At the last Western Australian State election where the Greens directed their preferences to the National Party in the seats of Moore (Lib), Vasse (Lib) and Wagin (NP) for example, the National Party received less than 30 percent of the Greens preferences. The Greens are overwhelmingly Labor voters whatever might be the hollow threats of their leaders.

Perhaps it is not too unkind to observe that at the last State election not one seat fell to any party on Green preferences. More telling is the influence that One Nation had on the fortunes of the Greens at the same election in which the stupidity of the Liberal Party played no small part.

Would be psephologist and Liberal Party campaign director Jeremy Buxton convinced Western Australian One Nation leader, John Fischer to place the Greens ahead of the Liberal Party in the two Upper House regions of ‘Mining and Pastoral’ and ‘Agriculture’.

The absurd logic was that the Greens could not possibly win the seats on One Nation preferences and such a preference order would add legitimacy to One Nation’s ticket by having all minor parties ahead of the major parties. The fact that the Liberal Party was placed immediately ahead of the Labor Party towards the bottom of the ticket was to disguise the intended final resting place of the preferences.

As is invariably the way of such adolescent folly, the machination backfired and the Greens won the two seats from the sitting Liberal members on One Nation preferences.

Dear Jeremy was responsible not only for the loss of two Upper House seats, he was consequentially responsible for the loss of control by the Coalition of the Legislative Council and in collecting the trifecta; his political judgment also resulted in the Coalition losing control of both Houses of the State parliament for the first time in 108 years.

Very few officials of any political party can lay personal claim to such tangible destruction of their own Party.

Buxton was rewarded for his perspicacity and political wit with a further four years as campaign chairman, a position he presently holds. He is presently employed as a psephologist to the parliamentary leader.

At the risk of further discolouring Jeremy’s contribution of long service to the Liberal Party, he does have form in confusing psephology with history. In August of 1994, Gordon Hill, the Labor member for the State seat of Helena resigned thereby creating a by election.

At a Liberal Party campaign meeting to consider what form our campaign should take, Jeremy Buxton informed the meeting that a seat had not been won from an Opposition by a Government in a by election in Western Australia for 50 years and in his considered and unwavering view our attempts to win this contest would be futile.

The consequence of this profound account of our doomed prospects was that it became accepted currency to the point that the Chairman of the Finance Committee refused to provide any funds for the campaign and urged that the Party effectively run dead. It was a position he maintained with grim determination for the duration of the contest.

The task of raising the very substantial funds was left to but a few, as happily was the conduct of the campaign. The Liberal Party won the seat and in so doing, shattered the Labor Party but apparently not Buxton’s belief in himself.

He is presently presiding over the current State election campaign which is the worst I have observed in thirty years.