ALP wants progressives’ votes so it can ignore us

The ALP’s Clare O’Neill last week told Age readers that the Greens had “underachieved” for progressives and could “do without your vote”.

Her main argument as to the Greens’ lack of “achievement” was that, due to the single member electorate system that turns 1.6 million votes (almost 13%) into one single seat in the House of Representatives (less than 1%), a system her party and the Liberals of course greatly support because it undemocratically inflates the number of seats they receive and makes it almost impossible for genuine competition, the Greens had been unable to pass policy opposed to that on which Labor and the Liberals agree. Like treating refugees cruelly in order to “deter” them, as if we can (or should) “deter” refugees fleeing persecution and danger in both their original countries and the camps to our north.

So, in short: we and the Liberals have locked them out and tried hard to ignore them (and those of you who voted for them) – give up your futile rebellion and come back to us.

How wonderful that would be for those wedded to right-wing policy. With no serious opposition in the parliament, and the only “lefty” participation in politics being a couple of vaguely progressive ALP members like Cath Bowtell who’ll say the right things to progressive voters and then be forced to vote with the rest of the party on whatever policy the ALP Right has decided will be most likely to appeal to voters swinging between it and the Coalition, just exactly how could any humane policy on refugees get up? Any genuine commitment to public services funded by – gasp – the reversal of income tax cuts? Action on climate change that doesn’t involve giving extra taxpayer money to the country’s biggest polluters (like the original ALP/LNP ETS did).

Keep in mind, the ALP and the Liberals both trumpet “tax cuts” as a priority in their policies, as if we were already adequately funding public education, public health and public transport.

Ah, says Clare, but if you vote for the Greens and they defeat the vaguely left-wing ALP candidates, then those vaguely left-wing ALP candidates will never get in a position to influence policy within the ALP, the only big party that isn’t the Liberals!

True, but we’ve seen just how much the ALP listens to its lefties already. Not at all. Once the ALP thinks it’s safe on its left, then it goes back to what it’s been doing since Hawke and Keating – adopting right-wing policy to compete with the Liberals.

I want the progressive MP I vote for to actually vote for progressive policy on the floor of parliament. I don’t want them to be able to be silenced by “party unity” into shutting up and voting for whatever the ALP Right demands they accept.

That’s what lefties have to do in the ALP.

Whereas the Greens can make a stand for the progressive case in parliament on every vote, on every issue.

Sure, the big parties have deliberately made it quite undemocratically difficult for the 1.6 million Greens voters to have our voices heard in Parliament at all – but that’s no reason to reward them by giving up.

Your vote is your declaration of what policies and principles you want promoted in parliament. Vote for the party that consistently espouses those policies and principles and will vote for them every time.

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24 responses to “ALP wants progressives’ votes so it can ignore us

  1. Screw you Jeremy.

    I tried to show you a better electoral system but you persisted with your idiotic preference for multi-rep (‘mini-senate’) seats.

    That myopic view is basically designed to cement the Greens as a third party, but not encourage other independent voices to arise.

    The Greens screwed up with not supporting the Malaysia Solution and paved the way to Gillard’s downfall and Abbott’s rise. Both of which were foreseeable. So screw you and screw the Greens for your collective and blatantly self serving preaching and whinging.

  2. What “better electoral system”? How would proportional representation stop other parties arising and competing meaningfully for seats?

    And if not sending refugee children to Malaysia is “screwing up” then long may the Greens keep “screwing up” and insisting on Australia sticking to its human rights obligations.

    Some lefty you are if you think we should sell out on something so fundamental.

    The LNP’s rise has been due to the ALP basically rolling over to them on everything.

  3. I’m sure all the refugees soon to be placed under Abbott’s TPVs will thank you.

    This is the policy discussion I’m talking about. http://invig.livejournal.com/365946.html

  4. Funnily enough despite my frequent critiques of it on this blog over the years, multi member electorates are the current Future Party policy for the lowre house (as a kind of “least bad” option, is the way I view it). If you’re interested its
    section 7.3

    The Greens screwed up with not supporting the Malaysia Solution and paved the way to Gillard’s downfall and Abbott’s rise.

    Notably this is the same argument I made concerning the Greens over Rudd’s downfall, regarding the original original ETS – i.e. the one he first took to the Senate before negotiating with the Coalition, and that was very similar to the legislation that the Greens ultimately negotiated with Gillard to pass after the last election.

    Overall Ms. O’Neill’s argument seems pretty weak, although maybe not quite as weak as Jeremy makes out.

    …doing since Hawke and Keating – adopting right-wing policy…

    Yeah, seeing as how I don’t think this is just about mandatory detention, that’s exemplary of why people (whether self identified as progressives or not) shouldn’t vote for the Greens.

  5. Ugh, tags and italics and nonsense. There’s the other thing that hasn’t changed in the years since I first commented on this blog re the ETS – WordPresses crappy commenting system.

  6. I’m sure all the refugees soon to be placed under Abbott’s TPVs will thank you.

    They’ll thank the ALP for giving Abbott the cover to lunge ever further rightwards. Oh, and for completely failing to even advocate for their human rights, let alone vote for them.

    And I’m sure the refugee children who would’ve been locked up in Malaysia without any human rights protections whatsoever under the ALP’s shameful and unlawful Malaysia scheme would have thanked you very much for voting for it.

  7. Jordan, it’s just html. You’ve got to use a “/” in the closing tags.

    Yeah, seeing as how I don’t think this is just about mandatory detention, that’s exemplary of why people (whether self identified as progressives or not) shouldn’t vote for the Greens.

    What is? What? Why? What?

  8. Jordan I’ve made an argument against the tripartite electorates on the Future Party Facebook.

    I would argue however that there is a major difference between ETS #1 and the Malaysia Solution. The ETS is a dead end policy that, once it becomes embedded with traders making money and politicians in command of free-permit largesse, will be very difficult to remove/change/improve.

    The Malaysia Solution would have led to better outcomes on a number of fronts. Australian journalists examining conditions in Aus-funded camps. A system created to fly in asylum seekers that is both cheaper than paying Malaysia and reliable and secure. These can alleviate public fears. Finally political and financial leverage for Australia to improve governance in Malaysia – which is currently still very poor.

    The PNG solution has similar but lesser benefits because the country is less developed, while also being highly tribal used, and so less amenable to civilizing influences. PNG needs basic help – and asylum seekers will likely create tension rather than allow us to help with governance. Also, since PNG is an endpoint, there is no reason for the Australian public to consider increasing our intake.

  9. Poor old Greens! Supporting a Libertarian like Julian is always going to bite you on the arse. Still, I can’t fault Julian’s opinion of the Greens on asylum seekers.
    http://www.crikey.com.au/2013/08/19/wikileaks-partys-administrative-errors-incense-greens/

  10. narcoticmusing

    If Julian dislikes the Greens asylum seeker policy it is a reason to consider it a good thing, not bad. Assange is an ego maniac and his vapid endorsement of dangerous cheshire cat republicans like Rand Paul (who can explain every so elequantly how health systems should be managed by profit and competition rather than provided as a state service) shows him for who he is.

  11. A fair point but only up until actually one actually thinks about the policy objectively – considering what the Greens apparently don’t wish to – that a large proportion of Australians don’t want unhindered access and therefore a policy to implement it will never be considered by the major parties. Therefore they should have helped the least-bad (leading to a better) option rather than pandering to their base (represented ably by Jeremy).

  12. narcoticmusing

    I too fear that the Greens are advocating for a position that is not politically paletable (rightly or wrongly). I have (probably rightly) been accused on this forum of being too cyncial (perhaps I’ve seen that worm turn too many times). That being said, surely if that is taken as the ambit claim/position it makes the Greens well placed to try to drag the other two I-can-out-nasty-you-parties back to some form of even just meeting our international obligations?

  13. Or just makes them irrelevant since the public at large lose faith in their capacity to act as an honest broker since they act in the interests of themselves (by pandering to their own support base) rather than the interests of the Australian people.

    I think the latter.

  14. narcoticmusing

    I’d suggest anyone bringing the debate away from the extreme heartless position it is currently in is doing a tremendous service for the Australian people, even if the Greens position is ultimately unatainable in this current political environment.

  15. ALP supporters have a really weird idea of how representative democracy works. Apparently we progressives who recognise offshore processing, mandatory detention and other cruelties to the vulnerable supposed to “deter” them from seeking our help as the travesties they are should just shut up and vote for them anyway because other Australians apparently will.

    You demand that we voters should give up and vote for those who implement these vicious policies. The Greens should give up and vote for those vicious policies. Because somehow that will make them less vicious?

    I mean, seriously – in your interpretation of democracy, we’re supposed to abandon principle just because other people have?

    The Greens were right to vote against the Malaysia “solution” because it was worse than the status quo. They are also right to vote against the PNG “solution”, and anything proposed by Abbott, for precisely the same reason.

    They haven’t “dealt themselves out” of negotiations – they’re perfectly willing to vote for policies that are an improvement on the status quo. They don’t insist on the “perfect” – just movement in the right direction.

    The ALP and the Liberals have been competing to drag us in the wrong direction.

    Thank the God I suspect does not exist that the Greens are there to do whatever can be done to stop them. I’ll be voting for that. Voting hard.

  16. “act in the interests of themselves (by pandering to their own support base) rather than the interests of the Australian people.”

    What does that even MEAN? If by “Australian people” you mean those in our population who want us to be ever more cruel to refugees, then no, they don’t act on their behalf. Those people already have the ALP and Liberals to do that.

    The Greens are performing the vital function of providing a voice for the rest of us.

    I’m bemused that you’ve somehow tried to turn actually acting in a principled fashion in exactly the way you’ve told your voters and the electorate at large you will act into some kind of perverse, dishonest “pandering”.

    Pandering. FFS.

  17. If the Greens were truly principled, their vote would not be dropping.

    People don’t trust them.

    And I’m no Laborite.

  18. Splatterbottom

    “Once the ALP thinks it’s safe on its left, then it goes back to what it’s been doing since Hawke and Keating”

    The Hawke/Keating era was, for the most part, a great example of what Labor can do well. Of course the extreme left was always critical of Hawke and Keating. Since Gillard got into bed with the Green looney fringe, Labor’s stocks have gone down the tube. Labor should not be flirting with the fringe left extremists who are themselves losing votes now that people have had a glimpse of what they would be like in government.

    Even if Rudd does not pull this one out of the fire it will be good to see the Greens get a good kick up the arse from the electorate.

  19. What is? What? Why? What?

    Pretty much what Splatterbottom said, although with a bit less of his usual colour. That the Greens base including yourself considers Hawke and Keating right wing sell outs rather than heroes of Australian political reform is an indictment on the former, not the later.

  20. Losing votes! Yeah, the Greens losing some of the swing voters couldn’t possibly be due to a relentlessly dishonest media war on them, the fact the minority parliament has been shamelessly smeared as a shambles rather than a very effective legislative body, or that people don’t understand how preferences work and buy lines like those being sold by Clare O’Neil above.

    What percentage of voters do you guys each think are genuinely progressive, ie wanting more money spent on public services at the expense of tax cuts, and want us to treat refugees humanely? You really reckon it’s only 10%?

    And since the Greens do actually stand for these things, clearly the problem is selling the message in a relentlessly hostile media and political environment, in a country trained to think only the ALP and Liberals can ever govern.

    But selling out won’t help them appeal to progressive voters. If we wanted a sell-out party we’d just vote ALP.

  21. The ALP are pretty hopeless, but the position Gillard was put in by the Greens asylum seeker policy exacerbated the electoral pressure. Otherwise her government did pretty well. Probably would have been reelected if the boats had stopped.

    Principle irregardless of context or outcomes is a luxury only Hollywood actually believes in. The Greens were scared of becoming the Democrats post GST when what they forget is the environment will only become more important, while the Dems had no real raison d’etre aside from the brilliance and charisma of Don Chipp. They had a real opportunity to become a permanent ally of the ALP and offset the conservative unionists but they fucked it up.

    Sometimes you have to get dirty to win a just war. That’s reality. A reality the electorate don’t need preferences to understand. They see who the Greens are quite clearly.

  22. The ALP are pretty hopeless, but the position Gillard was put in by the Greens asylum seeker policy exacerbated the electoral pressure. Otherwise her government did pretty well. Probably would have been reelected if the boats had stopped.

    I think you’re living in fantasy land. Gillard’s popularity didn’t plunge because of boat arrivals. It plunged because she very quickly demonstrated that she’d say and do anything and didn’t mean any of it. Her persona as PM was simply unbelievable. There was no “real Julia” – she’d espouse her belief in “traditional” marriage despite being in a defacto relationship. She’d try to go ever more ruthless on refugees despite supposedly being a lefty.

    Everything about her, from the moment she took over, screamed FAKE.

    And the media, particularly the Murdoch press, seized on the sentiment and ran it hard.

    Principle irregardless of context or outcomes is a luxury only Hollywood actually believes in.

    If you’re willing to agree to making things worse, then why even be there?

    The Greens were scared of becoming the Democrats post GST when what they forget is the environment will only become more important, while the Dems had no real raison d’etre aside from the brilliance and charisma of Don Chipp.

    I’m not a Greens supporter for the environmental cause. I’m a Greens supporter for the progressive policy they espouse on public services, taxation, human rights. The minute they stop advocating for that, I leave.

    As long as they stick to their guns, we progressives will stick with them.

    They had a real opportunity to become a permanent ally of the ALP and offset the conservative unionists but they fucked it up.

    How? By neutering themselves and standing for nothing?

    The ALP had a real opportunity to be a progressive government in 2007 but they caved and fucked it up. And now the ground is “who can be most right-wing”.

    Sometimes you have to get dirty to win a just war. That’s reality. A reality the electorate don’t need preferences to understand. They see who the Greens are quite clearly.

    What “just war” do you think the ALP would “win” by adopting the LNP’s policies? And just how close do you think they are to “winning” it with their “getting dirty” tactics?

  23. She wasn’t fake, she just didn’t know how to project herself believably.

    I didn’t like her Gay marriage policy and thought it hypocritical and cynical, but she never had much room to be brave with poor polling from day 1 and right faction union support keeping her in power.

    Making things worse?? NOW is worse. The public think minority govt was a failure, and will avoid independents and, yes, Greens. That’s a tragedy and not likely to improve. Yet the right wing race we’re now seeing WOULD have been averted had the Greens been pragmatic on Malaysia.

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