Nov 24, 2017

Rundle: Greens machine will roll on if Labor doesn’t pull its finger out

The Greens victory in Melbourne's inner north is in part due to a new fixie-riding, Netflix-watching middle class, and Labor's failure to appreciate shifting demographics.

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle


They let the sound-system rip early at the Greens Northcote victory party last Saturday night, and it went late.  

By 8pm, at cavernous pine-planky wine bar Vinorium, candidate Lidia Thorpe had spoken, state leader Samantha Ratnam had spoken, and then, from afar, the ABC’s Antony Green had spoken — and called it for his namesakes, on a 12% swing. It was all over.

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42 thoughts on “Rundle: Greens machine will roll on if Labor doesn’t pull its finger out

  1. Jack Robertson

    ‘(Not inappropriate: Clare Burns is Batman MP David Feeney’s god-daughter.)’

    *Jiggles bracket cage, reckons ‘yep still could easy’, bites down on bespoke leather bit instead, horrifying moment passes…*

    Acute as ever, though one tends to prefer the earlier, funnier work.

  2. Myki Smith

    Greens champion Guy Rundle writes another typical biased piece.
    Three main factors were actually at work:
    1. Demographic changes – young people moving in, older (ALP voters) exiting.
    2. Absence of a liberal candidate – hence lib voters felt free to damage the ALP.
    3. Some ALP voters decided to punish the party because of the party’s stance on refugees. This is easier to do in a by-election.

    The good news is that Lydia will have to defend the seat within 12 months. A state-wide election means the issues will be very different and we will be able to see how the Greens voting record in state parliament stands up to scrutiny. Watch this space. But don’t rely on Guy for any sensible analysis.

    1. CML

      So these ultra smart people who vote for the Greens in Northcote…just elected an indigenous (good move) candidate who left school at 14, and wouldn’t know what day it is if someone didn’t tell her!
      I heard her interviewed by Jon Faine during the campaign…she couldn’t string a sentence together, and had absolutely NOTHING to say about anything!!
      You get who you vote for…good luck with that!!!!!
      And Guy…give it a rest. You sound just as biased as any of those drongos at the Australian. Greens wonderful, L/NP good, Labor very bad…we’ve heard it all before from you (so called progressive) pretenders. A recipe for instability…but don’t take my word for it…just have a look at what is going on in Germany.
      Anybody with at least half a brain does NOT WANT THAT HAPPENING HERE!!

      1. Nudiefish

        There is no point yelling about it here – the voters put the Greens in.

        The essential thing is progressives are going to head in their direct because the ALP has forgotten it’s roots. Getting into bed with Adani is a case in point. Pick a side, and if it is big capital, then you pay the price.

      2. George

        “just have a look at what is going on in Germany.” You’ve got no idea what’s going on in Germany, cobber.

        1. CML

          Okay…then since you know everything, why don’t you enlighten us all on your version of ‘what’s going on in Germany’?
          I am no expert on Germany, but it sure looks like a mess of MINOR parties, all squabbling about forming a government, while Merkel from the MAJOR party has the job of herding cats!
          And you think this is a good way to run a country? Especially when the task of governing becomes impossible, and there is now talk of yet another election to attempt government formation?
          Good luck with that!!!!!

    2. Nudiefish

      If you think that you have nailed Grundle down to a recognizable political philosophy, good luck.

      I reckon that he is a Socio-pacifist-vegan-sino-capital-Monarchist-anarchist-far-right-outer-left-techno-free-love commune. Possibly somewhat Greenish, too?

      Who can tell?

      1. Will

        In particular about this knowledge/policy class, Nudiefish. Today they’re the new middle class (allies of the working class?). Other days, they’re the new ruling class (their overlords?). The ALP has been captured by them. But their natural home is the Greens. They’re numerically weak elite now, but decades hence they’ll be the masses. They’re unswervingly socially progressive, but utterly materially beholden to the establishment, hence the civil war of the Greens, and the unreflective presumption of belonging at the centre power that led directly to the Greens losing Ludlam and Waters. It’s head-spinning stuff. But never dull.

    3. Xoanon

      Christ, some people will resort to any flimsy argument to avoid admitting that people voting Greens are doing so because the Greens’ policies match their beliefs and ideals most closely. Getting very tired of being told that Greens voters are basically imaginary, and are really Labor voters who are having a cranky day.

    4. Guy Rundle

      1. I mentioned demographic factors. As I have for years. As I bleeding obvious to anyone anyway
      2. Liberal voters are as likely to shift to a right Labor candidate against the Greens as to go Green. They cancel each other out, on that basis
      3, What’s the evidence for that, and for it to be enough for a 12% swing. Straw clutching

  3. chrisnhere

    Thank you for expressing why I think the Greens best represent me:
    “that politics, policy and administration is the management of complex systems, applying rationality and best practice”

  4. Northy

    I was really surprised Labor lost as I reckon the Vic Labor govt is really quite good, as far as state governments go. Certainly they offer a number of decent progressive policies, and there’s no way I’d want to see the hard right Lib opposition rewarded, especially with rampaging Matthew Guy in charge. Melb would be all freeways and giant towers, more so than it already is. But I’m now less surprised at the result after learning through this piece that the Labor candidate was from the right faction etc. etc. Explains a lot.

    1. Sean Doyle

      Agree that the Andrews government has been good overall as far as the ALP goes. Possibly the best ALP gov in my voting life (i.e. since 2001). The way the ALP has divvied up Northcote (and Batman) as right faction seats is self defeating though. One of their main arguments against the Greens is that they can provide a voice on the inside to advocate for “left wing views”. I’m cynical about the effectiveness of this in practice at the best of times, but when the ALP offers the likes of Burns, Feeney and Martin Ferguson to be these left wing advocates, it becomes a bit of a sick joke.

  5. Coralien

    May I share this in full as I have many people requesting a read? Don’t wish to break copyrights.

    1. Wexford

      It hasn’t held me back on the odd occasion. A couple of friends even subscribed so they could access the back catalogue!

      1. Coralien

        Thanks, perhaps I should just do a snippet of the important piece & make sure Crikey gets credit.

    2. Xoanon

      Really you should be advising your friends to subscribe. It doesn’t cost much and it’s what keeps Crikey going.

      1. Coralien

        Agree, but also think if you offer a carrot they will crave for more. When I signed up for Crikey many blue moons ago, it was for that reason. Got a taste and wanted more.

      2. Coralien

        0n the subject of “It doesn’t cost much”, are you talking about aged pensioners who don’t have any other income?
        If so you are way of the mark.

        Single, aged pensioners get around $22,500 a year. Budgeting that amount of money is a force to be reckoned with. As a matter of fact “we” most often, can work out a budget for the year that would shame many finance ministers.

        To subscribe to Crikey, means most other online subscriptions are cut with a very fine toothcomb.

        Crikey does give discount for concession card holders, still expensive but worth every penny.

        As you were. 🙂

  6. Sean Doyle

    Seems pertinent that the ALP has announced/had leaked the plans for the North East link with a massive price tag ($16.5B, according to The Age). Pretty grim choice between the ALP or the Libs (who want to revive EW link plus have a NE link) when many, particularly likely Greens voters are demanding better public transport. The spending on these roads would kill off so many potential PT projects.

    Note: Yes, the ALP announced their plans for the airport line (which I think sound pretty good), but given the history from both sides of politics on that proposal, I don’t think there’s a single voter gullible enough to be swayed until they see actual construction work happening. Certainly the very fuzzy time line provided fails to inspire confidence.

    1. Xoanon

      Yep. How many studies of an airport rail link have been commissioned? It must be in the dozens now. All those millions pissed away, when they could be building the bloody thing.

    2. PaulM

      You miss the point. The NE link is about movement of freight and trucks, and getting them out of suburban streets. Moving the fruit and vegetable market from West Melbourne to Epping might have eased congestion in West Melbourne, but it didn’t do a lot for the area to be served by the NE link.
      Without wanting to sound like an apologist for the ALP Vic government, I’d also point out that the Mernda rail extension, and the Hurstbridge line duplication, are two current public transport projects in the north east of Melbourne. Doncaster and the Mannaingham Council area rely on buses for public transport, and making truck movements through this area easier will make public transport work better.
      Apologies to non-Melbourne readers.

      1. Sean Doyle

        Please, they use the freight excuse for every freeway project. A pertinent quote from The Age: “The Eastern Freeway widening will be done to accommodate the predicted 110,000 extra cars coming off the North East Link daily.” Unless all those cars are carrying boxes of fruit in the boot, I’m not buying the freight excuse.

        Even if the freight excuse was true, would it still be worth $16.5B? The government could grade separate every single level crossing in Melbourne and still have change for that money. It will suck money from any and every potential PT program (among others)

  7. AR

    Until Labor locks the door on all the infestation at the Black Lubyanka in SussexSt (and the Melbourne branch office) and dynamites the rotten edifice to hell, it will continue to race to the bottom of the right swamp, trying to outbastard tories, which is impossible.
    Go Green, you know it makes sense.

  8. Jack Fahey

    Guy lazy trash and totally lacking in any critical insight, fairly typical of your coverage of the greens, please retract Clare burns being the god daughter of David Feeney, that’s a lie and one quite easy to fact check. Her godfather is a man from Western Australia not named David Feeney. Look it up you lazy fucker. And your rose coloured characterisation of who greens voters are is hilarious. What a crock of shit, with no relationship to the reality. I usually enjoy your articles but this was pathetic and partisan.

    1. Kfix

      I am a knowledge worker living in an inner city apartment, and a Greens voter. Your argument (lol) is invalid.

      1. CML

        Must be hard for you being a ‘knowledge worker’…you don’t seem to have any, being a Greens voter. Knowledge, that is!!!

      2. Guy Rundle

        but I said knowledge workers in apartments are green voters.
        you appear to have confirmed that on an individual basis

        1. Guy Rundle

          oh apols kfix, you were reply to jack fahey.
          God, Jack, not a partisan article! the horror! if you’ve got a different account of where all those green votes came from, let’s hear it.

  9. IanG

    “So why do it? Because of Victoria’s Stability Pact, and territorial claims, and the usual: the Labor Right would rather lose government than lose a seat to the Socialist Left.” I’ve seen mention of this before – I would rather hear some background / analysis of this than a rather thin impression of who eats what and who might have voted for who.

    1. Guy Rundle

      the Stability Pact is all about who eats what. Or who.

  10. brian crooks

    the federal seat of paterson could be the next green victory, the labor federal member just spouts the party line while the coalition defends the RAAF base as the locals are being poisoned by the PFAS runoff from the base, apart from the state labor member kate washington and the greens who are fighting hard for a just and fair compensation package for them, nobody else seems to care, the people feel forgotten and abandoned, this leaves the seat open to one nation or the greens, hopefully the people are not desperate enough to embrace pauline hanson and understand she is not an alternative and is just a more extreme branch of the liberal party problem, and not the solution.

    1. CML

      And just what do you think a Greens MP will do for these people?
      If you are planning for the Greens to be in government anytime soon, you need your head examined.
      Your best bet is vote Labor, after influencing their attitude to things you find unacceptable…the L/NP is a lost cause!
      Also…why do you and others assume that the so-called ‘right’ wing of the Labor party will continue to have all the say? The ALP has a national conference every few years, where they beat each other over the head, and finally come to a compromise. For a very long time, the ‘right’ has been dominant, but that is about to change as it is said the left-wing will have the numbers at the next conference.
      But whatever happens, you should all remember one thing…politics is the art of the possible. Greens voters (in the main) don’t seem to understand that many of their ‘policies’ are totally impossible…they will NEVER see the light of day. And if by some miracle one gets through, the L/NP will remove it when they return to government. ETS from the Gillard government with heavy input from the Greens anyone!!!!!

      1. Will

        You make a fair point, CML. Politics is the art of the possible, and not much is possible if you’re perpetually an outsider in the game of power. But still, someone has to test the boundaries of what’s possible. The Greens do that, precisely because (unlike even the left of the ALP) they know they’ll never win. If the Greens don’t now challenge every never-Liberal seat, the ALP will never step out of its faux-workerist comfort zone.

        1. CML

          Understood Will…but if you also make the ALP a ‘perpetual outsider’, where does that get any of us on the progressive side of politics?
          Being a political tragic…I have just spent several hours watching the Qld election result…which is a non-result at this time! However, the question was asked several times during the show…why did the Greens pour all their resources into trying to defeat the deputy premier (ALP), when they could have moved to a neighbouring electorate and knocked off an LNP MP very easily? It looks likely they will NOT defeat the deputy premier anyway.
          It is this type of mindless nonsense that angers many ALP supporters.

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