Not content with merely portraying voting Green as being “infected” by a “virus”, the Australian yesterday published a shamelessly fanciful bit of deliberately misleading guff from a former (and forgotten) ALP Senator named John Black suggesting, fatuously, that Greens voters are “wealthy” and “are siphoning the votes of angry Labor voters to the Liberals via preferences”.
Black presents no evidence whatsoever for that last assertion apart from the fatuous assumption that if Labor loses 8% of the vote and the Greens gain 8% of the vote then those votes must all have come from Labor, and therefore if any of them go back to the Liberals via preferences (which obviously some do, because people can direct their preferences how they like) then it means that effectively the Greens are taking votes from Labor and giving them to the Liberals. His maths depends on 100% of those Green votes coming from the ALP. Obviously Black can’t back that up at all: the fact that not all of those votes go back to Labor via preferences suggests that at least some of them are coming from Liberal voters sick of Tony Abbott, but who would never preference Labor. His analysis falls apart when you consider the much more likely scenario that the ALP is losing votes to both the Greens and the Coalition, and the Coalition is also losing votes (probably those of small l liberals like the Georgiou or Fraser types) to the Greens.
(In fact, if one wants to consider the best way to maximise the “progressive” vote, then voting Green actually helps to lock those ex-Coalition votes away from the Coalition.)
Black’s second clearly absurd line from this is that if Greens voters are wealthy, then they’ll start standing for the interests of the rich instead of the poor. Yes, the Greens are often attacked for being too left wing, too much in favour of taxing the rich and providing public services for the poor: now they’re being attacked for the reverse. There’s no evidence whatsoever the Greens have any interest in reducing tax for the rich like the ALP or Liberals, or cutting services for the poor, again like the ALP and Liberals. If the upper middle class is voting Green, it’s not doing it because it thinks they’re the party that’s going to be maximising their super at the expense of the poor.
It’s going to be interesting watching the anti-Green smear campaign as it ramps up – they’re going to be portrayed to right-wingers as communists; to left-wingers as conservatives in disguise; to Christians as satanist muslim-lovers; to Muslims immoral gay abortionists; to the poor they’ll be condemned as rich people looking to screw over the poor; to the rich they’ll be portrayed as revolutionaries looking to tear down their houses.
The question is – will the inconsistent smears build into a cacophony of noise so impenetrable voters are successfully scared off, or will their contradictions mean they cancel each other out?
ELSEWHERE: Ben Raue tears John Black’s cynical garbage apart