I’m just going to make a suggestion as to why ex-Coalition voters may be moving to the Greens for something more than a mere “protest vote”, despite the Greens remaining progressive and not having sold out: it’s because some former Coalition voters are essentially libertarians – and, on many issues, libertarians and the Greens are a lot closer to each other than they are the big old parties.
Small l liberals believe in low government intervention in the private sphere (something which the Liberals used to pay lip service to but with the removal of the Fraser/Georgiou wets have now abandoned) and a market that works – ie, a market not corrupted by monopolies and corporations so large and powerful that no-one can effectively compete with them. They often believe in the rule of law, and that it’s something precious that should override the latest scare campaign. They also might believe in preserving our natural heritage – there’s a reason why the words “conservation” and “conservative” share a common etymology.
Both big old parties now represent religious bigotries in legislation – eg the ridiculous marriage discrimination laws against gay people. Both big old parties represent the biggest corporate interests at the expense of small and new businesses. Both big old parties represent institutionalised corruption and the abandonment of the rule of law if it’s useful for the populist bashing of some new target. Both major parties believe in taking public money and squandering it on self-interested advertising campaigns. And neither big old party gives a damn about the natural environment if it gets in the way of the economic interests of their most powerful lobbyists and donors.
Naturally, more of those people are now considering voting for the Greens. They might not agree with the Greens’ general approach on economic issues – better public services funded by progressive taxation – but they might feel either that any economic movement to the left that the Greens achieve will be gradual in the short term, so it’s fairly safe; or that they actually didn’t mind the slightly better level of public service provision before both old parties lurched to the right in the 1980s; or, indeed, that they can cope with the poor having decent healthcare and education services if they can finally have a principled representative in parliament who is not constantly imposing fundamentalist social rules on them and squandering our national assets.
It’s not the Greens selling out – it’s liberal Liberal voters realising that in many ways the Greens party is actually a lot closer to the best of their principles than the mob who used to pretend to represent them.