After the Nauru files, the failed census and the Olympics, it feels like the election was more than just six weeks ago, but the result in the Senate was only finalised last week. Political parties across the spectrum are totting up wins and licking wounds, as well as doing the numbers. That’s what we assume was the point of this blog by assistant secretary of the Victorian Labor Party Kosmos Samaras, who posted yesterday on the success of the Greens in traditionally Labor-held electorates, especially in the inner suburbs of Melbourne. His analysis of the Greens’ success and issues with reaching voters is pretty vanilla, but it opens with this throwback to the good old days before the pesky Greens got in the way of Labor’s factional games:

“Politically, Labor’s biggest challenge in the 1990s was managing the branch stacking wars that had plagued this area for a good decade or two.

“Back then if you were active in Labor politics and living in the area your main focus was only mastering internal factional politics. Running marginal seat campaigns was someone else’s problem. Those pesky outer suburban activist had the hard job of actually convincing voters to vote for Labor as opposed to the much easier task of simply buying off some ethnic party warlord for an internal ballot or two.

“I still vividly remember the huge amount of time people in Labor invested at winning internal ballots right across the Northcote and Thornbury corridor. An activist was rewarded if they were able to score a win against an internal opponent, or even better, secure a seat for their faction. If you were one of the lucky individuals to be actually preselected for one of these seats then you were guaranteed a seat for ‘life’.

“Fast forward to 2016 and this peculiar Labor culture looks decidedly archaic.”

Inspiring stuff.

Peter Fray

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