Nutty anti-Green claim #467: voting 1 GRN 2 ALP could somehow help Abbott

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.

19 responses to “Nutty anti-Green claim #467: voting 1 GRN 2 ALP could somehow help Abbott

  1. I have been in Australia now for a month, staying with my Girlfriend who lives here. In that time, you’ve had a random change of Prime Minister and the same tired rhetoric from all major Parties that we have in the UK. I hope to god Abbott gets nowhere come the election. Vote Green!

    I voted Lib Dem here in the UK, I was under the impression the Lib Dems were a progressive party, and yet I got a Tory Lib Dem coalition, that so far have been so ridiculously regressive it’s actually getting quite worrying. They sold out for a bit of power.

  2. Yes, it makes you wonder how many people are voting for the ALP instead of the Greens based on this sort of nonsense.

  3. usesomesanity

    A problem with t rise in t Greens vote is that it is pshimg ALP future to the right. ALP are going after after Lib. voters on the right as they know Green voter are unlikely to come back to them. How can we get ALP away from there right wing policies. As the two major parties are far right and future right. At this rate the Greens will get at least 25% of the vote, but right wing policies will be the result w no hope of passing t senate.

  4. “A problem with t rise in t Greens vote is that it is pshimg ALP future to the right.”

    That doesn’t make any sense. The ALP has been pushing further to the right for twenty five years – that’s what’s driven the rise in the Greens vote (disaffected progressive voters leaving the ALP for a party that actually represents them) not the other way round.

    The ALP just wants votes, and doesn’t really care what it has to do to get them. It wants them from its left, it wants them from its right. On the right, it’s worried about losing votes to the Liberals, so it moves right to capture them. On the left, it should be worried about losing them to the Greens, and it would then have to move left to capture those votes. But thus far it’s been able to scare people off voting Green (by misleading them such as with the lines above) without actually doing anything progressive. If we want the ALP to stop ignoring lefties, and pandering solely to soft Liberal voters, it needs to start losing seats to the Greens.

    The only way to make the ALP move back to the left is to vote Green. Voting straight ALP will only tell them they can continue to ignore you with impunity.

  5. Splatterbottom

    On the other hand the ALP has little to fear from a 1 Green, 2 ALP vote. In most cases they will be in no worse position. People switching to the Coalition is a much greater threat to the ALP’s electoral chances.

  6. “On the other hand the ALP has little to fear from a 1 Green, 2 ALP vote.”

    (a) it loses that funding to the Greens; and
    (b) the more Green votes, the greater the chance of it losing seats to the Greens. It’ll either have to start representing progressives, or negotiate with the Greens in parliament.

  7. Splatterbottom

    Let’s say you are would prefer to see the ALP become a little more left – if you ditch them for the Greens, rather than stay in the ALP and fight then the ALP will definitely move closer to the right.

  8. That’s kind of true… but even if lefties stayed in the ALP, it’s still a party that wants to chase right-wing votes from the Liberals, and will sell out the left to do it.

    The quick answer to those who think the ALP can be made more progressive from the inside? Peter Garrett.

    Lefties will never get bang for their voting buck by lumping their votes in with those from the ALP Right.

    Lefties voting for the Greens will force the ALP to the left against the Right’s will.

  9. Splatterbottom

    your plan will work only when the Greens start to win lower house seats.

    Poor Peter Garrett, kicked from pillar to post by the right, left and everyone in between. I wonder if he thinks his play for real power was worth it?

  10. “your plan will work only when the Greens start to win lower house seats.”

    It’ll work more and more as they win lower house seats, but even increasing the primary vote of the Greens should be enough to scare the ALP back to the left a bit.

    The more progressives prove that they’re out there by voting Green, the more the ALP will listen to progressive concerns.

  11. usesomesanity

    JS what are the Greens plan with the budget ie., run deficts, get back to balance or run surpluses? I think before any progressive votes Green they have a right to know this.

  12. I don’t know, ask them – it’s an odd question by itself, out of context. There are cases when deficit spending is by far the most prudent course – eg building economy-expanding infrastructure. Borrowing to expand prudently is entirely responsible.

    For an analogy, how many wealthy owners of investment properties do you know who didn’t go into debt to buy those properties? How many businesses didn’t borrow to expand?

    The idea that governments can be judged on whether they always run surpluses or not seems a bit silly to me.

    Anyway, if you want a specific answer to your question, ask the Greens. It seems a bit irrelevant to me, though.

  13. usesomesanity

    Thanks JS found the answer here at no. 8

    The Australian Greens believe that:
    1 human economies exist within, and are dependent upon, natural systems; resource management is, therefore, central to good economic management.
    2 equity of access to the essentials of life and promoting equality are central goals for a civilised society.
    3 the free-market economy, by externalising the environmental and social costs of greenhouse gas emissions is creating the greatest market-failure of all time, namely climate change.
    4 the cost of addressing climate change now is far less than the cost of failing to do so.
    5 timely and cost effective solutions to social, environmental and economic challenges can be achieved by a cohesive industry policy.
    6 the fulfilment of human potential and the enrichment of lives is best achieved when people work together for common goals.
    7 sustainable, equitable economic progress is best achieved by government ownership of natural monopolies, and new government investment in strategic assets..
    8 government finances must be sustainable over the long run; budget deficits and surpluses must balance each other over the business cycle.
    9 long term government borrowing is the preferred mechanism for funding long term infrastructure investments.
    10 governments have an important role to play in regulating markets and correcting market failures, but markets where they function well have an important role to play in the allocation of resources.
    11 social, political and economic institutions must allow individuals and communities to determine their own priorities.
    12 the GST is unfair, regressive and places an unfair burden on individuals and small business
    13 progressive taxes such as income taxes are preferable to regressive forms of taxation such as the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
    14 national governments must not allow the pressures from the globalisation of trade to override the democratic preferences of their citizens.
    15 international institutions such as the World trade Organisation (WTO) the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank must assist countries to achieve their democratically determined priorities within ecological constraints.
    The Australian Greens want:
    16 an economy that meets human needs without unnecessarily damaging the natural environment.
    17 full accountability of government and corporations to the broader community.
    18 an equitable taxation system that generates the revenue necessary to fund public services at the appropriate level of government.
    19 international trade regulations that ensure human rights and that protect the natural environment.
    Click here to jump to Index Page 83 of 94
    AUSTRALIAN GREENS POLICY: Economics (cont’d)
    20 industry policy and major infrastructure decisions to be consistent with national environmental and social goals.
    21 industry assistance, and the granting of tax concessions, that align industry development with national goals.
    The Australian Greens will:
    22 reduce inequities in the current personal income tax system by:
    • reducing tax breaks for high income earners;.
    • removing Fringe Benefits Tax concessions which promote increased use of motor vehicles;
    • removing the concessional arrangements for Capital Gains Tax;
    • only allowing losses from an investment to be offset against income from the same investment;.
    • abolishing the 30% Private Health Insurance Rebate in order to increase funding for public hospitals;
    • taxing family trusts in the same way as companies; and,
    • eliminating high rates of effective marginal taxation for those on welfare benefits.
    23 conduct an inquiry with a view to implementing changes to the tax system that address the negative impacts of the GST on:
    • income distribution
    • environmental sustainability
    • and business administration costs
    24 oppose any increase or extension to the GST.
    25 implement a gradual and long term shift in the tax system from work-based taxes to taxes on natural resources and pollution including:
    • a carbon tax levied on generators of mains-supplied electricity or gas;
    • a national carbon trading scheme; and.
    • other ecological taxes and charges at a level sufficient so that their prices reflect the full environmental cost of their production, use or disposal.
    26 introduce a system of minimum personal and corporate tax legislation to reduce the opportunities for individuals and companies to use loopholes to minimise their tax obligations.
    27 re-introduce an inheritance tax with full exemption for the family farm and exemption for the family home and other assets up to a total value of $2 million .
    28 conduct a full review of the superannuation system with the aim of reducing its complexity and establishing progressive rates of superannuation taxation.
    29 return the company tax rate to 33% and broaden the company tax base by reducing tax concessions.
    30 end subsidies and tax concessions to environmentally harmful industries.
    Page 2 of 3
    Click here to jump to Index Page 84 of 94
    AUSTRALIAN GREENS POLICY: Economics (cont’d)
    Economic governance and industry development
    31 implement triple bottom line accounting measures at all levels of government to incorporate social, environmental and financial impacts into policy development and assessment.
    32 introduce broad measures of genuine national progress to supplement the current measures of GDP, including the production of a comprehensive national balance sheet that reflects this.
    33 require all listed companies to report on standardised social and environmental indicators in their annual reports.
    34 provide the ACCC with enhanced powers to prevent the formation of monopolies through ‘creeping acquisitions’ and to divest monopolies and oligopolies of assets if they are abusing their market power.
    35 direct industry assistance towards the energy efficiency and renewable energy industries.
    36 require major proposals to be subject to climate change impact assessment with the aim of reducing greenhouse gases.
    Investment and overseas relations
    37 strengthen the regulatory framework for banks and financial institutions to ensure that consumers and investors are better protected.
    38 ensure that natural monopolies and other essential public services are under public ownership.
    39 reduce Australia’s foreign debt and foreign ownership through use of trade, financial and regulatory measures to ensure more productive use of foreign capital and strengthening of Australian manufacturing, recognising the need to support economies in developing countries.
    40 require the Foreign Investment Review Board to broaden its assessment of the national interest to explicitly include Australia’s long run energy security.
    41 revoke sections of the National Competition Policy that seek to impose market values in public, social and environmental areas of Australian life.

  14. jordanrastrick

    The only way voting Green 1 ALP 2 could help Abbott is if the Lower House delivers a hung parliament, and the almost inevitable Green/Labor coalition proves so unstable or unpopular that it collapses (or provokes Fraser-esque supply blocking Senate antics) leading to a second election at which the Libs proceed to romp home in a landslide.

    So, not very likely.

  15. Well, in that situation it would depend who sabotaged the coalition. I suspect, given previous form, it would be Labor.

    But should we reward them for that attitude by anointing them our lefty representatives forever no matter how often they abandon us?

    The only way to reform Labor is to give it no other choice.

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