Victorian Labor has slammed the Greens after the minor party distributed “open” how-to-vote cards in key Labor-held marginal seats this morning, in contravention of a national deal to preference Labor above the Tories.

On how-to-vote cards handed out at at least three pre-poll centres and obtained by Crikey, the Greens urged voters to place their candidate first and “then number the other boxes in order of your preference”.

La Trobe

how-to-vote Chisholm

Chisholm

how-to-vote Greens

Corangamite

Pre-poll opened today in Victoria, and the deal between the two parties was signed on Friday morning.  The error appears to have been rectified, and the correct how-to-vote cards including Labor preferences now appear on the Victorian Greens website, but not before the offending HTVs, authorised by campaign manager Kymberlie Dimozantos, were picked up by voters. See the amended HTV below:

The new Greens HTV in La Trobe

Crikey understands the Greens are blaming a “miscommunication” for the error. The order of candidates in Victoria’s seats was released on Thursday, but party sources say it is possible the material was printed before then, with the Victorian branch out of the loop.

Victorian ALP state secretary Noah Carroll told Crikey last night “the party can never trust the Greens ever again”, saying they deliberately reneged on the deal: “The Greens clearly cannot be trusted to keep their word. There was a clear national deal that the Greens Party would preference Labor ahead of the conservatives in Victoria’s marginal seats. Adam Bandt must rule out that the Greens ratting on the deal is not related to him chasing Liberal Party preferences or Clive Palmer’s endorsement for the seat of Melbourne.”

State Labor MPs in seats where the main competitor is the Greens, such as Brunswick’s Jane Garrett, were implacably opposed to the national deal, which requires Labor to go to the Greens first in the Senate in every state except Queensland. In Bandt’s seat, tensions are high as both sides scrape to corral preferences from minor parties to tip them over the line.

As Possum explained in detail in 2010, Greens preferences in federal lower house seats are worth about an extra 2.5% of Greens ballots transferred to Labor’s pile — usually around 100 votes and not enough to change the result. But in seats like La Trobe and Chisholm, where the contest is expected to go down to the wire, they could conceivably hold the difference between a progressive woman being elected and a conservative man.

In the state seat of Ferntree Gully in 2006, Labor member Anne Eckstein lost by just 27 votes to Liberal Nick Wakeling when the Greens issued an open ticket, a decision that arguably denied her victory. However, in general, Greens voters are loath to follow their party’s official diktats.

The Greens did not respond to a query lodged with their Victorian office. The party has previously said it would place Labor ahead of the Coalition, honouring the terms of the deal.

Get Crikey for $1 a week.

Lockdowns are over and BBQs are back! At last, we get to talk to people in real life. But conversation topics outside COVID are so thin on the ground.

Join Crikey and we’ll give you something to talk about. Get your first 12 weeks for $12 to get stories, analysis and BBQ stoppers you won’t see anywhere else.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
12 weeks for just $12.