Federal

Mar 20, 2018

The Greens will claim more inner-city seats eventually, but not yet

After a spanking at the Batman byelection, the Greens need to figure out how to stop losing viable inner-city seats before it's too late.

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle

Correspondent-at-large

Well, the final tallies are in in Batman, and it was not good for the Greens. As the preferences came in, Ged Kearney and Labor’s vote went up. Hardly for admirable reasons. With the Liberals out of the race, all the minor troglodytes poured their votes towards Labor: Australian Conservatives, Rise Up, Australian Peoples Party. The final two-party preferred (2PP) tally: around 39,300 to 34,800. Ouch.

Despite that, Batman is winnable for the Greens in 2019 -- as are several inner-city federal seats now being written off afresh. Not likely, by any means, as this correspondent noted before the poll. But absolutely possible and real. Yes, Kearney will almost certainly be a good local member. Yes, the pork will pour into the seat. Yes, she may well be in cabinet. But therein lies the rub. For, as a non-sitting candidate Kearney was able to portray herself as inside and outside Labor’s compromises. No more. She’s broken through; now she owns it.

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65 comments

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65 thoughts on “The Greens will claim more inner-city seats eventually, but not yet

  1. Tall Red Poppy

    The Greens fanboy stuff is really grating, detracting from the credibility of both Rundle and Crikey. It is astonishing that Guy does not mention or discuss the growing issues with De Natale’s leadership – primarily his driving a lurch to the center that is hollowing out the Greens historical base of left wing protestors.
    An alternate view of Saturday’s result and its implications is the inner city is this – knowledge economy progressives are not wedded to the Greens and will in fact happily change their vote to the ALP when presented with a genuine values based candidate. All the more so when the Greens are happy to ape the attacks of the LNP for base political gain.

    1. [email protected]

      That’s how I think. A pro-union member like Kearney inside the tent is better than a protest member on the sidelines.

    2. Guy Rundle

      Which fanboy stuff? This?:
      “From word on the ground in the socialist republic of Northcote, the Greens suffered a double-whammy in their heartland. Some younger voters found the bullying allegations against Bhathal persuasive (even though they had not been proven; the world is Salem, 1692, these days); some older voters found Richard Di Natale’s end-run to the right around Labor on the dividend frankingstein repellent….
      Well, yeah, it was a ham-fisted, late play by Di Natale….”

      By fanboy, do you mean having an oft-stated public allegiance and point of view, that varies from yrs, and advocating for it?

      1. Tall Red Poppy

        No Guy. “Fanboy” because your usual analysis and rigor is not consistently applied to the Greens, leaving some of your articles close to puff pieces. For this reader that is not good for Crikey and not good for you.

        1. Bob the builder

          Bullsh*t.
          Can’t you Labor trolls bugger off and do something else. Winning pointless arguments on comments threads isn’t going to change anything or impress anyone.

      2. rebel just for kicks

        Come off it.
        You’ve already started the Greens campaign for 2019 off with the “Kearney, as a Labor supporter, will be an Adani supporter, a Manus Island supporter” stuff.

        The ‘knowledge class’ of Greens voters is better described as ‘the would be entitled class that despite getting degrees don’t own investment properties yets’ so blame their lack of financial success on ‘the system being broken’ and want the State to give them stuff in the inner city instead, – green space, bike lanes, museums, and then to stop development so they don’t have to share with anyone.

    3. Nudiefish

      I’m not wedded to any political party, but it is refreshing just to get some straight analysis for a change. Anytime anyone says anything even remotely positive about the Greens in this publication they get sledged. Even when the analysis is backed up by numbers. Neither the Greens, nor Labor nor the LNP are the least bit interesting, but the way the numbers fall, in my opinion, is very compelling.

  2. Desmond Graham

    Always amazes me – Greens used to stand for environmental green forests – the land , animals etc – they all seem to congregate in cities only – concerts jungle, rats and mice as the local wild animals only. Some do not seem to know what countryside means.

    1. Nudiefish

      I guess they might be getting sick of being regarded as a useless protest party? If they were to keep wasting their time just in the bush they would keep getting eaten alive by the Nationals. Fringe dwellers have a hard time of it in Australian politics. Besides which, Labor seems to have deserted the progressives and that vote is laying on the ground just waiting to be picked up. Riveting stuff!

      1. AR

        Remind me, when was the last time you heard the Black W(r)iggler mention, even in passing, wildlife or nature?
        Since he slithered into the leadership it is as if he had, not Petra Kelly but Joachim Fischer as his role model.
        Determined to reduce the party to grey-greenish, minda-sorta irrelevance so long as he could strut his stuff with the tories who despise him
        Wotta waste of a medical degree.

        1. Nudiefish

          I dunno. Perhaps they prefer to broaden their political outlook.

          Remind me when was the last time that Labor advocated fighting the corporate destruction of the working class via strike action. That’s right, I forgot. Strikes are now “illegal”.

          1. AR

            Nil disagreement there.
            “Labor, once the cream of the working class has become the scum of the middle class” – Kim Beazley Snr.

  3. Desmond Graham

    Always amazes me – Greens used to stand for environmental green forests – the land , animals etc – they all seem to congregate in cities only – concerts jungle, rats and mice as the local wild animals only. Some do not seem to know what countryside means.

    1. Jussarian

      Well if you looked them up, you would find the Australian Greens shares “four pillars” with other Green parties: ecological sustainability; grassroots participatory democracy; social justice; and peace and non-violence. A lot of subjects are covered by those goals. The Greens’ failure to fit into your narrow preconceptions, based on skewed mainstream media reporting, is no reflection on them.

      As for Guy’s reporting about the Greens, I find it informative and even bracing at times. If I wanted faux objectivity, I would not subscribe to Crikey, but would stick to the ABC and Limited News. I pay Crikey for a higher quality of analysis and so far that seems little affected by the political philosophies of the writers. Bernard Keane’s biases are just as apparent as Guy’s, but I still get more from reading them than anything served up by the large broadcasters.

  4. Draco Houston

    Greens Right, ahaha, great joke *face drops as I realize it wasn’t a joke*

  5. Terry of Tuggeranong

    Come on Guy they pulled the Royal Commission stunt and that did not do much harm – Jackson can call as many witnesses as she likes but out here in the real world she has absolutely no credibility whatsoever

  6. Terry of Tuggeranong

    Guy you honestly think that a criminal court is going to stand by and let Jackson turn it into a defacto Royal Commission?

    1. Guy Rundle

      I have no idea Terry. But she’s up on many charges, and she has a right to run her best defence. So the courts will always err on the side of allowing a witness to be called?
      If, in defending herself, she makes visible a wide network of corruption within the Vic union movement – with greater inside knowledge than the doddering TURC commissioners had – what do you think?

  7. Kate Sommerville

    It’s naive to call Ged Kearney an Adani supporter or a supporter of Australian asylum seeker policies just because she is a member of the ALP. People can belong to political parties who have policies they disagree with integrity if they believe in the bigger or primary purpose of the party. The Greens tried to dismiss Kearney on the grounds you mention and it obviously failed.

    Things are not so simple. Having people like Ged Kearney and Penny Wong in the ALP gives me more confidence in the party. I respect them so much and know that they have integrity and will work towards the changes they want, bringing others with them.

    1. CML

      Absolutely correct, Kate. Very good comment.
      If Labor returns to government next year, Adani will NOT proceed, IMHO. But they are playing it safe…wanting to see what ‘secret’ deals have been done by this putrid current government first…entirely reasonable.
      The off-shore processing debacle is diabolical…almost NOT fixable by anyone. But I hope the ALP will at least improve what is going on at present, and get these people out of Manus and Nauru by whatever means available to them.

    2. Guy Rundle

      “People can belong to political parties who have policies they disagree with integrity if they believe in the bigger or primary purpose of the party”…
      Yes, they can. But once Ged is in parliament, possibly in Cabinet, she’ll be part of the party enforcing it. It might not change yr view of Labor. But it may change others. (Might not, too)

      1. Arky

        “Kearney, as a Labor supporter, will be an Adani supporter, a Manus Island supporter, a supporter of the remnant ABCC Gillard left in place, of the Fair Work Commission Labor bequeathed us, of the (non-US) Trans-Pacific Partnership,”

        I’ll give you Manus. The rest is about as dishonest as Liberal spin.

        Labor doesn’t have a policy of supporting Adani, the union (and Labor) campaign to revisit workplace laws is now on in earnest, and where exactly has Labor supported the new TPP?

    3. Nudiefish

      I don’t think that Ged’s personal integrity is Guy’s point – it is what her opponents can spin about her now that the chains of party solidarity have been wrapped around her person.

    4. Linda Connolly

      Wot like Anna Burke and Melissa Parke tried to? They’re both gone, gulags still Labor policy. You’re kidding yourself

  8. Kate Sommerville

    It’s naive to call Ged Kearney an Adani supporter or a supporter of Australian asylum seeker policies just because she is a member of the ALP. People can belong to political parties who have policies they disagree with integrity if they believe in the bigger or primary purpose of the party. The Greens tried to dismiss Kearney on the grounds you mention and it obviously failed.

    Things are not so simple. Having people like Ged Kearney and Penny Wong in the ALP gives me more confidence in the party. I respect them so much and know that they have integrity and will work towards the changes they want, bringing others with them.

    1. Draco Houston

      Penny Wong once had to vote to ban same sex marriage. She had to defend Gillard’s cowardly stance on SSM. She also voted for island death camps.

  9. Don

    Guy, your open spruiking of Alex Bhathal and breathless predictions of a Greens victory in Batman have cost you a lot of credibility in my eyes. I subscribed to Crikey to get a bit of intelligent commentary, not Greens how-to-vote cards.

    1. Guy Rundle

      Point to where I predicted a Greens victory in Batman, Don?
      Actually, I said that if the undermining of Bhathal might cost the Greens the seat for a long time, and stymie the Greens’ march in the inner city.

      See this. Note the headline:
      https://www.crikey.com.au/2018/03/12/mess-in-batman-shows-greens-need-serious-change/

      I’ve never made a secret of my preference for the Greens over Labor (which can change, if the Greens change for the worse) in 12 years of writing here.

    2. Nudiefish

      *shakes head*

      If the analysis does not reflect glowing support then the fix is in (apparently).

  10. Pedantic, Balwyn

    Guy has overlooked a couple of matters in his appraisal of the result. Former member David Feeney was a very poor fit for Batman, blame the party apparatchiks for gross incompetence in selecting one of their own and watching on as the Labor vote went down the toilet. In contrast Ged Kearney was a local, well respected and liked.
    Much the same could be said about Alex Bhathal. The difference was that the Greens have little influence on decision making at Federal level. In fact as their voting record proves they are more likely to side with the despised Coalition than Labor. Would Bhathal change that situation, not one iota is the majority opinion. However, Kearney is a long time insider and may push Labor into a position on Adani and Asylum seekers more in line with the inner city folk in Batman. It’s a tough gig, because plenty of potential Labor voters farther north respond positively to Hanson’s populist calls about jobs and illegals. But most think that Ged Kearney is at least going to give it a go and voted for her.

    1. Guy Rundle

      Because it wasn’t an appraisal of the result, pedantic of Balywn. It was an appraisal of the Greens performance. And it includes this line:
      ” Yes, Kearney will almost certainly be a good local member.”
      Which covers the lack of a Feeney factor, this time and next, in my opinion.

    2. MAC TEZ

      “In fact as their voting record proves they are more likely to side with the despised Coalition than Labor.”
      Is that a factual fact or a fake fact P,B ??? It didn’t sound true so I did a bit of research (I found figures dating from 2014-2016) and it seems you’ve got it all wrong,perhaps things are different since then but I doubt it. I’m happy to be corrected if you or anyone else can provide a link or guide me towards some evidence of your claim.

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