Sep 13, 2013

Greens post-mortem: back to 2004, and questions to be answered

The Greens election result has taken them back to 2004 in terms of their national vote. They need to determine how it went wrong after Bob Brown left.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Bob Brown

The Greens have undone all the work of the last six years and achieved a vote level barely above their 2004 result last Saturday.

The Greens’ national first preference Senate result of 8.6% is lower than their 2007 result of just over 9% and less than 1 percentage point above their 2004 outcome of 7.7%.  Even if the Greens’ very good 2010 vote is now to be considered as an unusually strong result for the Greens and unlikely to be repeated, their failure to match their 2007 result suggests emerging problems.

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14 thoughts on “Greens post-mortem: back to 2004, and questions to be answered

  1. Bo Gainsbourg

    That’s a fair enough balanced article I reckon. I’d be interested though, to what extent a relentless focus on the Greens in the negative, by News Ltd in particular, but also shock jocks, contributed to the percentage swings. No coverage of positive stuff, only negative coverage, and an openly expressed editorial policy of ‘destroying’ them played. At least a percentage point I’d say, maybe more. Something most of the other minors (including Palmer to some degree, he only got focussed on by News more recently). Their longer term answer has to be to spread the Bandt efforts more broadly in key states…grassroots organising is hard work, but its really their main strength in future.

  2. Richard Scott

    Talking to more than a few friends, I think the Greens also suffered in Qld, at least, from people concerned that a vote for the Greens would be wasted, and wouldn’t help keep stop the Abbott juggernaut. Several said things like ‘I’d vote for the Greens, but they never win a seat, so what’s the point’, or ‘I don’t want to waste my vote’. I think a concerted effort to engage younger voters (especially unenrolled potential voters) could see a few more Bandt successes. The Greens are slowly building in a few interesting spots. For example, although Charles Worringham in ‘affluent leafy’ Ryan lost 4.5%, he still pulled a health 15% primary. It may not be long until Ryan becomes a Green vs LNP contest – although it’s hardly LNP marginal at the moment.

  3. mattsui

    I know Bernard is contractually obliged to shit-stir the Greens. But this article is really just hot air.
    It will be interesting if anyone from the Greens bothers to respond on the question of how much it cost to retain Melbourne. But I think the party faithful will believe it was worth it – with Bandt now having nothing to do for three years but pander to his electorate, Melbourne is now almost certainly ‘safe Green’.
    Beyond that, the increase in vote in ’10 was primarily in reaction to the electorate’s disapointment over the failed ETS legislation. With carbon pricing in place, that vote went back to Labor and the less rusted-on Labor vote went to Lib/Nats.
    Bernard doesn’t understand the Greens and he never will. This mathematical investigation ignores all the real world factors that make people “greenies”.

  4. klewso

    I reckon there’s a bit of “Female Leader Vs The Electorate”?

    Let’s face it with our voting system, of exhausting preferences, there is little chance a Greens candidate will win a seat in the Lower House – Bandt has twice, but how many others have come close, out of how many seats decided since they’ve been contesting?
    The Senate with it’s proportional representation, of the whole electorate (state), is much more likely to reflect the will of more of the electorate.

  5. Raaraa

    This makes me wonder how well did the Anti-CSG movement do in NSW overall? I don’t think the Nationals would have done as well? Any statistics on this?

  6. leon knight

    Christine Milne lost me big time by her refusal to concede any credit to Labor at all for anything, when in reality voter alignment between the Greens and Labor is remarkably close, as the ABC Vote Compass has clearly shown.

    Why not patch up the differences and form a coalition with Labor, that way they might actually be able to achieve something – rather than just bumping their gums..!!

  7. hippiesparx

    @leon – they’re Trots, it won’t happen.
    I usually vote Green followed by loony followed by Labor but this time I had to vote Labor, there was no way I was going to risk Swanny losing his seat, so what Richard says works for me.
    Greens got my Senate vote though. My take is that small parties need to do a bit of time in the Senate to prove themselves before they can successfully go for the Reps.
    Small parties are Australia’s wish list, the Reps is where Australia votes for management.
    Hope that makes sense.

  8. robj

    The Green’s lost me after their failure to reach a compromise on asylum seeker policy, same-sex civil unions, the emissions trading scheme etc. They have ended up achieving nothing.

  9. mattsui

    CPRS, green-bank, DENTICARE!
    Not hard to be lost when you clearly don’t know what’s been going on.

  10. Sean Doyle


    Bit hard to reach a compromise on things when you only make up 1/150 HoR members or 9-10/76 senators. Unlike several News Ltd journalists/typing monkeys, it seems, I can still perform the grade 2 level mathematics required to realise that Bob Brown wasn’t the de facto PM of Australia and that the Greens weren’t the party of government and so shouldn’t be held to that standard.

    The ETS was a dud and ended up being superseded by the better, if not perfect, CPRS. Civil unions are a pointless half step to marriage equality. And when the two major parties’ policies on asylum seekers are basically contests to see who can be the bigger pack of a***holes, why should the Greens “compromise”/cave in to that?

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