I’m having an argument with a gentleman on Twitter who seems convinced that voting for the Greens could somehow result in a Tony Abbott Coalition government. It’s a close election, he’s arguing, and Labor needs every vote otherwise ABBOTT MIGHT BECOME PRIME MINISTER!
To reach this bizarre conclusion, he’s made the following odd claims:
- If Labor loses a seat to the Greens, they could lose Government to the Liberals.
- The Greens might form a Coalition with the Liberals like the Lib Dems have formed a coalition with the Conservatives in the UK.
Both of these positions are, of course, utterly ludicrous.
If the ALP loses a seat to the Greens with which it could’ve formed Government, then it is simply going to have to negotiate with the Greens to form a coalition. How this could in any way be a bad outcome for progressives I don’t know. The ALP would have to agree to some progressive policies for their support. I guess it’s possible that the Greens MP could sell out to the ALP without extracting any concessions for lefty voters: but voting for an ALP candidate means having a representative you already know has sold out to Labor, when they joined. And it seems fairly self-evident that the Greens would require some progressive concessions from Labor in return for their support.
None of which would help Abbott.
As for the Greens forming a coalition with the Liberals – um, what? The Lib Dems are a centrist party in the UK and the first and most critical issue for them is reform of the electoral system – the UK doesn’t even have preference voting – so that they have a fair shot in future elections. They’d do a deal with the devil if it fixed the broken UK system so their voters were able to be represented in future. The Lib Dems are more like our old Democrats than the Australian Greens. The Greens are a clearly-defined left-wing progressive party who, far from joining up with the Liberals, have never in their entire history ever even preferenced them above Labor. They do sometimes vote against Labor, and sometimes the Liberals join them, but that doesn’t mean they in any way agree with the Liberals’ policies and would conceivably form a government with them!
You just as well might say, hey, you never know, maybe the ALP and Liberals might form a Coalition! It’s just as insane – slightly less so, in fact, because on most issues nowadays there’s not much separating the two big old parties. On most issues, the Greens are the only party really presenting policies opposed to the conservatives.
It always staggers me how many people do not understand our electoral system. There is absolutely no way that a 1 GRN 2 ALP vote could ever help the Coalition. I challenge anyone making that claim to devise a single scenario, no matter how ridiculously far-fetched, in which such a vote could put Tony Abbott in the Lodge. Let your imaginations run wild. Short of the Greens throwing off their masks and revealing that they’ve really been the National Party all this time in hippy wigs and comedy beards (which would be the most brilliant prank they’ve ever pulled, after Barnaby Joyce), it’s just not possible.