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Who prefers the Greens?

September 3rd, 2004

We’ve heard at length in the last few days how the Greens plan to ruin the economy, make vegetarianism compulsory, institute world government, and so on. Presumably, for those making such claims, the worst conceivable outcome from the forthcoming election would be a minority Labor government dependent on Green support (or maybe even forced to go into coalition with the Greens).

This is unlikely, but it could happen if the Greens win some inner-city seats, most held by Labor leftwingers. But the only way the Greens can win is on Liberal preferences. So I’d be interested to know who among those running the anti-Green scare campaign is advocating a policy of putting the Greens last, as Labor did in relation to One Nation[1]. I haven’t seen anything on the Liberals preferences yet, so this is a genuine question – if anyone has the answer, I’d be grateful.

fn1. Except, IIRC, in the 2001 Queensland State election, where, rather opportunistically, they exploited optional preferential voting by advocating a vote for Labor alone with no preferences.

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  1. Steve
    September 3rd, 2004 at 09:53 | #1

    Andrew Bolt wants them put last by both major parties. He also sneaks out the greens-nazis comparison right at the end of the article.
    Whoops Godwin’s Law, sorry!

  2. Paul Norton
    September 3rd, 2004 at 10:49 | #2

    The Melbourne Age (I think) reported that Peter Costello was queried on precisely this issue after Howard’s statements and Little Mac’s lurid article in the Herald-Sun. He squibbed it, stating that it’s unlikely that there will be a Greens government, quite likely that there could be a Labor government, the prospect of a Labor government was what he was really worried about and the Liberals would decide their preferencing strategy with that in mind.

  3. Peter Murphy
    September 3rd, 2004 at 11:18 | #3

    Can we all agree to put the Citizens Electoral Council last, at least? Loopy Lyndon LaRouche lookalikes lurching lastward looks a likely prospect.

  4. Steve Edwards
    September 3rd, 2004 at 11:18 | #4

    I think the Liberals should take a principled stance on this, by exposing the Greens’ policies, and instructing all Liberal voters to place the Greens last.

  5. Blair Trewin
    September 3rd, 2004 at 11:34 | #5

    For what it’s worth, in the booth (in eastern Melbourne) where I scrutineered in the last state election, something like 20-25% of Liberal voters put the Greens below Labor (despite Liberal how-to-votes having it the other way around).

    Also interesting was that in the seat in question, the Greens ran a split ticket in the lower house and gave Labor their preferences in the upper house, yet Labor actually got more Green preferences (76%) in the lower house than they did in the upper (72%). This tells you everything that needs to be said about how much notice Green voters are likely to take of any preference deals (or lack thereof) in the House of Reps. Of course, where the directing of Green preferences really matters is in the Senate with its above-the-line voting (the Senate is also one of the few places where Labor preferences will matters).

  6. CharlieB
    September 3rd, 2004 at 13:47 | #6

    Attacking the greens is not particularly relevant to the House of Reps, it is simply a matter of trying to influence the Senate outcome. The House of Reps battle will be fought on other grounds.

    There is a second goal, of the libs trying to please their existing support base by saying the things expected of them.

    Both of these ideas receive some support in a media release from the Business Council of Australia at;
    which contains;

    “The major outcome of the Senate election is likely to be the Australian Greens replacing the Australian Democrats as the largest of the minor parties.

    This shift will have a significant impact on the ability of the next Government to deliver its policy commitments. For business, there could be significant impacts on overall business conditions and the level and type of regulation and taxation that business faces.

    An objective analysis of the Greens’ publicly stated business and economic policies shows that they do not support the economic reform program of the past two decades, despite this program delivering Australia’s current economic prosperity.

    Instead, the Greens favour policies built on protectionism, barriers to foreign investment, Government intervention and high taxes.”

  7. Paul Norton
    September 3rd, 2004 at 15:31 | #7

    According to today’s AFR, one of the BCA’s gripes about the Greens is that they would “restore government control over interest rates”. A somewhat ironic criticism in present circumstances!

  8. Phil
    September 3rd, 2004 at 21:37 | #8


    I love the way you have put “Liberals” and “principled stance” in the one sentence. What’s the association?

  9. Jill Rush
    September 4th, 2004 at 00:04 | #9

    The Liberals may be afraid that Margo Kingston’s idea of giving a minor party the first vote knowing that the preference will go to a major party and thereby denying taxpayer funds to that party in the next parliament.

    If that caught on it would make the Greens a party with a a much stronger base. Imagine if the Greens had money as well as brains and decency?

  10. Luna Latham
    September 4th, 2004 at 01:30 | #10

    Anyone know the connection between the Greens and the Greenleft?
    Ya know the Watermelon simile. They both seem to want to occupy the same ground.

  11. Mark Bahnisch
    September 4th, 2004 at 02:31 | #11

    Greenleft = Democratic Socialist Party = formerly known as Socialist Workers Party. A boring offshoot of the Trotshyist 4th International, surprisingly successful on university campuses as “Resistance”. Destroyed the NDP (when Peter Garrett was around) using the tactic of “entryism”. The Greens, very sensibly, have banned their members from being members of any other political party and thus happily preserved themselves from infiltration by the trots.

  12. Mark Bahnisch
    September 4th, 2004 at 02:43 | #12

    Sorry, that should have read ‘Trotskyist’. The answer, in short, anyway, Luna, is that the Greens have (sensibly) nothing to do with Greenleft.

  13. September 4th, 2004 at 09:17 | #13

    The watermelon simile is still correct, Mark.
    Many of the Green party members were disaffected left-leaning members of the Labor party or members of the now defunct communist party. Socialist anxieties about capitalism translate very easily into Green anxieties about the same…

  14. Carlos
    September 4th, 2004 at 10:43 | #14

    Some people just don’t get it… Since your perspective is still from 20 yrs ago…

    Anyway, if the Greens keep on attracting this (low) quality of accusations and enemies, they keep on going up in my book.

    Did somebody mention.. PANIC!?!
    “First, they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.” – Gandhi

  15. September 5th, 2004 at 00:09 | #15

    Carlos, the only thing a quote proves is that you know a quote. Sometimes it goes: ‘First, they ignore you. Then, no-one knows who you are. Then, you’ve already lost.’

  16. Eric Vigo
    September 8th, 2004 at 11:30 | #16

    Apparently, to the Coalition, Nazi = Communist. Yes, maybe they believe that since the Greens are Nazi’s AND Communist’s, that they support the 2004 electorally devisive issue of the Non-Agressive Compact signed by the foreign ministers of the USSR & Germany on Sept 1 (sillily called Russia these days & believed to be run by a Putin, and not Stalin, silly boys) & the party that has run Germany since 1933 (a whopping 71 years, how good is that)

    Yes, people, the Greens support both, so since it is 1939 in the eyes of John Howard & John Anderson, then war in Europe could begin at any time.

    ….. I would like to direct peoples attention to http://www.newsonline.com.au/hitwise.htm
    Green sites are very very popular (though I dont really count GreenLeft as a Green site) & people are checking out their policies, so either:
    – the Johns are in a time warp where all they have to say is boo, and people jump, which is actually an insult to peoples intellegences
    – people do jump, but then think, hmmm what DO the Greens stand for. If they are going to deliver an ALP Govt & I will be voting Liberal coz JH is my God, then I better find out if they will give free drugs to my kiddies…..oh look, I dont see legalisation in there, what are they talking about
    – people are bringing this up, if they actually believe the Greens are Communists &/or Nazis, and someone who is Green-leaning, says, thats a load of bull – debate ensures – and the person checks out the website
    – the Greens are becoming more popular, and the polls are underestimating them.
    Remember, the nationwide result of 9% for the Greens, means 9% in Melbourne & 9% in Lightning Ridge. Unlikely, so either the vote in the seats of Inner Cities + Richmond is rising higher & higher, and the vote in places like Orange is going up & it is slightly rising in other parts.

    so from that – they say 18% in Wentworth, about 15% in Melb in 2001. Ok, add on 4% in either due to rise just from the last 2 months, and another 2-3% in the period between the big protests of Feb last year & now – and we MAY see the Greens pipping the Libs in a few seats (3 or 4 at most). Which means Lib preferences, as mentioned elsewhere, will play a key roll. If they put the Greens as 1st preference, which is more of a chance now than ever before, …… I dont know, it sounds good, but maybe I’m being optimistic.

    interested in someone elses skeptical views

    Bugger it, thats all I’ll write

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