Greens Senate preferences

Former Greens leader Bob Brown writes: Re. “It’s Family First’s Day thanks to Greens preferences in Senate race” (yesterday). There would be four progressive senators elected in South Australia and two conservatives had Nick Xenophon agreed to swap preferences with the Greens’ Sarah Hanson-Young and then go to Labor. Instead he gambled on dropping his role as a true independent and getting his campaign manager and running mate Stirling Griff up. That is when he lost the lot. His big bundle of extra votes which should have elected the second Labor senator was left stranded with the hapless Mr Griff. Andrew Crook got mired in the final entrails instead of looking at who killed the progressive beast’s best chance in South Australia at the outset.  Nick Xenophon did. When Xenophon abruptly ended preference negotiations with me I feared this outcome and I told him so. He split his first preferences with the Coalition and Labor, instead of the Greens and Labor, and Family First and the second Liberal were on their way home.

Hanson-Young preferenced Xenophon but Xenophon didn’t preference her.  He put her behind Griff and the major parties. It was his biggest blunder. It came out of trying to double political leverage by getting two votes in the Senate while maintaining the facade of being independent. One is an independent. Two is a party. Ordinary punters will see the hole in Crook’s assessment by looking at the primary votes of Hanson-Young and Xenophon. She got 73,241. He got 258,222. A quota was 148,348. She had no overflow to pass on. He had a huge overflow which went down the Xenophon Party line with Mr Griff instead of going to Labor where it was so badly needed.

Crikey’s Andrew Crook responds: Bob Brown sets up a straw man to wriggle out of the fact he decided to preference Family First’s Bob Day ahead of Nick Xenophon’s second candidate Stirling Griff, which ended up electing Day with Sarah Hanson-Young’s own votes alongside those originally from Labor, as I reported yesterday. More seriously, he appears to misunderstand the Senate voting system by claiming that Hanson-Young “had no overflow to pass on” — just because you’re under quota on the first count doesn’t mean your preferences won’t flow. Flow they did, right into Day’s mitts. Greens voters and party members have a right to be concerned by the rogue strategy in South Australia that placed Griff below the Palmer United Party, Katter’s Australian Party, Country Alliance, the Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party, the Australian Motoring Enthusiasts, the Shooters and Fishers, the Australian Christians, the Nationals, Family First, Liberal Democrats, DLP and the No Carbon Tax Climate Sceptics.

Alex Thompson writes: While I’m extremely disappointed with the Green’s group ticket preferences in South Australia, I feel it is disingenuous of Crikey not to point out that Labor also preferenced Family First above Stirling Griff. In fact with the resultant vote, if Labor had preferenced Stirling Griff above Family First, Griff would have been elected, while a change to the Green’s ticket would not have made any difference.

Gillard and Summers in Melbourne

John Richardson writes: Re. “Another prime ministerial performance from Gillard” (yesterday). So, Cathy Alexander wonders if Julia Gillard will win her “fight” to secure her political legacy by constructing a version of events which paints her as a success. Given that appearance always wins over substance, it seems that she must, although, apart from Gillard and her besotted followers, who cares? Whilst Anne Summers is laughing all the way to the bank, Gillard will surely never be anything more than Labor writ small.

Brian Mitchell writes: Plenty of us saw the sublime qualities of Gillard, including the vast majority of caucus which only moved against her at two minutes to midnight when it became clear those qualities had failed to be conveyed to the public. The media herd just wasn’t listening and wasn’t seeing: its reaction to the misogyny speech a case in point. Sure, you can blame Gillard and blame her spin doctors for not spinning adroitly enough, or you can take a good long hard look at the press gallery and ask whether it properly did its job in informing Australians about the facts.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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