November 20, 2006 | Graham

Vic Liberals make correct call on Green preferences

If the New South Wales Liberals had been on the ball, the Greens would have had their first lower house beach-head in mainland Australia in Port Jackson. If the Liberals had preferenced the Greens’ Jamie Parker ahead of Sandra Nori, Parker would have won the seat.
Our polling that election showed that a possible Greens boil-over was on – they were polling around 30%, more than usual in our polls. According to our poll on Victoria the Greens are polling 45% of our sample. While they won’t do that in the real world, it is an indication of how motivated, numerous and active they are, and it means they are in a position to win seats, but to be sure they need the Liberals to preference them.
A win in one lower house seat in Victoria, and maybe more, would be a great result for the Greens. There is a large group of passionate Australians who are disenfranchised by the mainstream parties. They have gravitated to the Greens and this would be accelerated by a Greens win. The Greens have lost momentum to the Democrats in the polls, but they could make this a mere statistical blip with the right result.
A win for the Greens would also be a win for the Liberals. Not only would it deny Labor one or two seats, important if there is a close result, but it potentially forces Labor to the left.
The political battles in Australia are won by occupying one side or the other of the socio-demographic divide and reaching into the conservative blue-collar vote. John Howard has achieved this federally. The failure of the state Liberals is almost entirely due to their inability to duplicate the trick because state Labor has firmly grasped this constituency. A Greens win, if it moves Labor to the left, will losen its grip and free these voters up so that the Liberals can have a chance of winning them over.
Full marks to the Victorian Liberal Party machine for cunning, and the Greens for coming of age.

Posted by Graham at 11:04 pm | Comments (2) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. Yes well, those that can afford, care about those who can’t.

    Comment by vivy — November 21, 2006 @ 9:40 am

  2. The other issue, as I’ve said elsewhere, is that a major party on the ropes is vulnerable not just to the predations of its major-party opponents but to smaller, but no less incapacitating, opponents in its home constituency.
    A losing major party thinks it has to choose between consolidating its base and reaching out to the uncommitted, and is buffetted by activists convincved that it’s either one or the other. That party becomes a winning party only once it realises that it’s a matter of both/and, bringing its opponents down by not only taking seats from them but doing smart deals with those who operate where the other major party can’t reach (e.g. Labor helping rural independents in Tamworth, Liberals helping the Greens in inner-city Melbourne).

    Comment by Andrew Elder — November 22, 2006 @ 3:20 pm

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