Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Greens main electoral chance in inner city

With opinion polls showing support for the Greens as high as 16 per cent, the next question is how would this translate to seats in the House of Representatives.
Putting aside the history of the Greens spiking between elections but falling short on election day, even if general support stayed at 16 per cent, they would need this level of support or even higher in individual electorates to actually win a lower house seat.

The only electorates where this could possibly occur are the inner city Labor seats of Melbourne in Victoria (see the Greens campaign strategy for Melbourne on AVC's Watching page), along with Sydney and Grandlyer in NSW. In each case it would be sitting Labor party members who would lose - Lindsay Tanner, Tanya Plibersek and Anthony Albanese respectively.

The Oxford Companion to Australian Politics (Oxford Companions)Further, the Greens candidate would have to finish ahead of the Liberal candidate in these seats and for the Liberals to send their preferences to the Greens candidate, to have some chance of passing the Labor candidate.

Given the Liberals distance from the Greens, it would seem unlikely they would give their preferences to the Greens unless they were given Green preferences in other marginal seats - also very unlikely.

Another, even more remote, possibility is that if minor parties and independents in those electorates also experienced an upswing, as shown by the polls, and their preferences flowed heavily to the Greens, then Labor could be defeated. Given that Christian Democratic Party and Family First candidates will be in this mix, Christians who vote for them could have a role in how far the Greens get with their lower house dream.

As for the Senate, if the opinion poll results carried over uniformly to each state on a election day, then the Greens could increased numbers.

Gerard Henderson, executive director of The Sydney Institute, writes in the Sydney Morning Herald: 'For all the current media hype, this year's election looks like a not untypical close encounter between Labor and the Coalition - with both parties hoping to maximise preferences from the Greens, minor parties such as Family First and independents.

'Even if the Liberals make it possible for the Greens to win, say, three seats, the Greens would have no greater representation than enjoyed now by independents Bob Katter, Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott.
'The Greens might win House of Representative seats and just might have a role to play in a hung parliament. But it is unlikely Bob Brown and his colleagues will be anything other than influential senators.'

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