Fears about voting Green

Alright, I’m going down to the AEC to make doubly certain I’m on the roll properly. In the meantime, I thought it might be a good idea to have a thread where those of you who are thinking of voting Green but have some questions or concerns, could raise them and we can see if we can answer them to your satisfaction.

I think we’ve already dealt with the couldn’t your Greens vote help Abbott somehow and won’t voting 1 ALP be a stronger left vote furphies, but I’m sure there are plenty more out there. The big parties will be working hard to exploit confusion to shepherd voters back to their cynical clutches.

Let’s sort these misconceptions out.

ELSEWHERE: Economist John Quiggin sets out why he’ll be voting Green.

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16 responses to “Fears about voting Green

  1. One I had yesterday from a long-term ALP voter but who is disillusioned with them was that the Greens had been obstructionist in the Senate. No amount of explaining what they did to get Steve Fielding elected or that the ALP refused to negotiate would budge her from the position that the Greens just blanket blocked things in the upper house.

    Any suggestions how to battle this?

  2. Here’s one my father brought up (an old school lefty, uncomfortable with the ALP but unwilling to jump).

    “The Green’s can’t function as part of a (lower case) coalition government as they’re not flexible enough to make workable deals. Look at Tasmania!”

  3. “One I had yesterday from a long-term ALP voter but who is disillusioned with them was that the Greens had been obstructionist in the Senate”

    It’s hard to tackle that without some specific examples. Whenever you ask someone saying that the Greens are “obstructionist” for examples, they either have none, or they are very easily debunked when you look at the Greens’ explanations for voting a particular way.

    eg the ETS, which was a step backwards, gave taxpayer money to the biggest polluters, and was an instance of the ALP refusing to even talk to the Greens – they were the absolutists.

    I can’t think of any real examples of the Greens being “obstructionist” – they’re pretty damn good at taking each policy on its merits.

    “The Green’s can’t function as part of a (lower case) coalition government as they’re not flexible enough to make workable deals. Look at Tasmania!”

    That’s another one where we need some details. So… the Greens formed a loose coalition with Labor there. What’s been wrong with that in particular?

    The thing is, the Greens *are* flexible, but they’re also consistent. They’re not so flexible that they’ll agree with something that’s worse for their voters than the status quo – which, as a lefty voter, I’m perfectly happy with – but they’re happy to negotiate better outcomes. And do.

    For the “they’re not flexible” line to work their record would have to show that they always vote “no”, which is clearly not the case.

  4. It may be possible to look through Hansard to work out how Greens votes correlate with (a) government or opposition votes and (b) whether bills are passed or not. That would give some indication of how “obstructionist” they are.

    For a bill to be blocked, the opposition [i]must[/i] vote against it. Recently, the balance of power has been split between Greens, other minors and independents.

  5. I’d like to see someone making the “obstructionist” attack actually back it up so we can then test the Greens meaningfully on it.

  6. @Jeremy They don’t need to back up their arguments, mud sticks. Look at how Abbott was one minute arguing that the public hadn’t voted for Gillard as PM and the next moment accusing her of indecently rushing to the polls.

    It doesn’t have to be accurate, or even not contradict previous statements. Just keep it up until some of it cuts through and sticks. Different things cut through to different segments of the market.

  7. Pingback: Shock, shock, horror, horror, shock, shock, horror… Sometimes, I need to be fair « Only The Sangfroid

  8. I know the leaflet the Greens are passing out now talks about how they helped pass the stimulus package, and the various things they’ve negotiated with the Government for. It’s fairly standard electoral material, but it does work as a good example of the Greens working with the government.

  9. There’s an article in today’s Courier Mail which sums up the situation for a lot of lefties- how Labor is no longer the party for the true believers. Nothing groundbreaking in there, however the journalist doesn’t (for some reason) come to the logical conclusion that a vote for the Greens is the way to go for progressive voters:

    http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/hard-times-for-true-believers-as-labor-takes-more-right-turns/story-e6frerg6-1225894108737

  10. jordanrastrick

    “eg the ETS, which was a step backwards, gave taxpayer money to the biggest polluters, and was an instance of the ALP refusing to even talk to the Greens – they were the absolutists.”

    Jeremy, I’ve consistently and repeatedly refuted the Green’s false claim that the ETS was a step backwards both in comments on your blog and my own. I’ve also clearly explained why it would have been a waste of time and energy for the ALP to negotiate with the Greens over the legislation.

    Neither you nor any other Greens-sympathetic commentator has made the case that Labor’s ETS would have been worse for the environment than no ETS; neither the science nor the economics supports such a case. The “buying off the polluters” argument is, to be frank, nonsense, as I’ve forcefully argued in light of yet another person repeating it at my blog, and again no one has put forward any sort of coherent defence for it.

    No one has sought to explain why, if Labor’s scheme was so terrible, respected environmental scientists like Tim Flannery were in favour of it as clearly superior to the alternative of no scheme.

    No one has sought to explain how a stronger ETS negotiated as a compromise between the Greens and Labor was ever going to pass the Senate.

    All I hear is the same Greens’ sound bites repeated ad-nauseam, without any justification.

    Maybe if you, or anyone, could respond genuinely to the substance of the criticisms over the Greens performance with regard to the ETS, they would be less vulnerable to such charges of obstructionism and inflexibility.

  11. “Jeremy, I’ve consistently and repeatedly refuted the Green’s false claim that the ETS was a step backwards both in comments on your blog and my own.”

    You’ve convinced no-one but yourself.

    “I’ve also clearly explained why it would have been a waste of time and energy for the ALP to negotiate with the Greens over the legislation. “

    The point is that they didn’t, and then whinged that the Greens didn’t pass the deal the ALP had negotiated with the Libs.

    I’ve got to go, but I’ll get to the rest of your comment later.

  12. Jeremy, Bob Brown was just on ABC Adelaide. When asked about the preference deal struck with the ALP, he indicated that he was not involved in the negotiations and the negotiations were undertaken by volunteers.

    Whay would the leader of a party not be involved in the negotiations regarding preferences?

    He kind of expressed surprised when they questioned him about it.

  13. The parliamentary “leader” of a party is not a CEO. They’re first amongst equals of the MPs. They’re the party’s representatives in parliament – the party doesn’t work for them, it’s the other way around.

    Most parties – including Labor and Liberal – run things like preference negotiations themselves.

    The answer to your question – “Why would the leader of a party not be involved in the negotiations regarding preferences?” – is: none of them are. For the reasons listed above.

  14. Yeh okay, thanks. That clarifies it for me. That and Dave’s explanation on Crikey.

  15. Splatterbottom

    Phill: “Whay would the leader of a party not be involved in the negotiations regarding preferences?

    In Gillard’s case she is now a puppet of the Labor Right faction. The surprising thing would be if she was involved in those or any other significant negotiations at all.

  16. jordanrastrick

    “I’ve got to go, but I’ll get to the rest of your comment later.”

    I’m eagerly anticipating a response more substantial than to call me unconvincing.

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