Monday, November 8, 2010

Inner city Greens (make me wanna holler)

Source: Poll Bludger

The Victorian election is living up to its billing as the latest battlefield in new paradigm politics, with the Liberals finding themselves shunted from the front pages by a stoush between Labor and the Greens. At issue are the professional activities of the Greens candidate for Melbourne, Brian Walters, SC, who has been targeted over his legal work for accused war criminal Konrad Kalejs and a company associated with coal mining. After a furious response from the legal fraternity and the liberal end of the Melbourne media (The Age playing a tellingly distinct role in the controversy from the Sunday Herald Sun), most have concluded Labor’s attack has badly misfired, with Andrew Crook of Crikey going so far as to argue it has doomed Melbourne MP Bronwyn Pike to certain defeat. The correctness of this view depends largely on the resolution of the campaign’s other Greens-centric controversy: the split in the Liberal Party over whether to continue placing the Greens ahead of Labor on how-to-vote cards.

The fact is The Greens can not direct preference in the lower-house  and as such they can not offer an exchange with the Liberal Party in order to gain Liberal party Preferences.  Without Liberal Party support the Greens are unlikely to win any Lower house seat.  They only won the Federal seat of Melbourne on the Back of Liberal Party whose candidate came in third place with only 19% of the vote

VEXNEWS reports on the growing dissent at the prospect of the Liberal Party electing Green Candidates in the lower house who could realistically hold the balance of power in a hung parliament. Something that many Liberal Votes do not support.  The first week of the State Campaign has been overshadowed by Green Preference deals. Liberal Party leader Ted Baillieu lost the ABC election debate on the basis of his attempt to avoid this pertant and pressing question. Will the Liberal Party do a deal to reference the Greens in Inner City seats?

The only deal the Greens can do is to exchange preferences in the upper-house where the Greens can direct preferences thanks to the "above-the-line" group voting ticket.  In 2006 The  Greens relied on Liberal surplus vote preferences in order to get elected. The tide has turned and the Greens are likely to have a surplus of their own.  Analysis of the 2010 Senate vote indicates that the Greens can determine who will win in two to four upper house seats.

So we are facing a situation where the Greens will try and trade preference deals upper-house for lower-house seats.  If the Greens preference the Liberal Party or submit a split ticket they are likely to suffer a backlash from the voters. Even those Green supports who vote below-the-line will still contribute to a Green surplus which will fuel the Green Ticket vote and flow on to the Liberatl/National Party. The only way it wont be transfered is if the Greens fall below the 16.67% quota.

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