Of course the Liberals prefer the right-wing Labor party to the progressive Greens

Some good news for Labor, winning the endorsement of the conservative party:

Coalition to put greens last re lower house prefernces in all 88 seats

This very clever own-goal by the Libs means that the ALP doesn’t have to choose between preserving the seats of a few cabinet ministers from being replaced by Greens lower house MPs, and concentrating its resources on fighting the Liberals in Lib/ALP marginals – which it would’ve had to do if the Libs had preferenced against their old enemy. It would’ve had to decide between concentrating on fighting the Libs and risking losing some lower house seats to the Greens (which wouldn’t stop it governing, but which would lose it some ministers), or fighting on two fronts. Now it doesn’t. Now the risk of the ALP seriously damaging itself in order to hold back the Greens is greatly reduced.

Of course, getting the endorsement of the Liberals might cause some disquiet amongst traditional Labor supporters, who might wonder what their party has done to deserve this self-defeating love from their old enemy – but it’s a price the ALP will be happy to pay, I suspect.

Meanwhile, some have been mocking in anticipation an expected surge of outrage from Greens supporters, disappointed at being denied a realistic chance of being represented in the lower house, again. What hypocrites we would be, to rely on the conservatives’ preferences!

Except I’m not outraged at the Libs. They don’t work for me, and we definitely want different things out of the next parliament. I want them to lose, and they want me and other progressives to have no representation in the lower house whatsoever. I don’t really want their “help” anyway.

What I do want is an electoral system in which a party getting 16% of the vote gets about 16% of the lower house seats, not 0%. What I want is an actual representative democracy. The Greens are getting plenty of support in the electorate – the problem is a system that takes our votes and distributes them to the big parties instead.

That’s what outrages me about the outcome that the Libs’ decision makes very likely. That the Greens are left begging for a single seat where, based on recent polls, they should have at least a dozen. Once again, a significant proportion of the Victorian electorate will be completely disenfranchised.

The electoral system needs to be changed, and replaced with an actual democracy.

ELSEWHERE: The Hun has been trawling through candidates’ Facebook entries, this time ensnaring a young Liberal. It’s a lame beat-up that should never have been run, and the ALP’s shameless and hypocritical sneering on the subject is beneath contempt.

UPDATE: Antony Green thinks it won’t matter.

9 responses to “Of course the Liberals prefer the right-wing Labor party to the progressive Greens

  1. Good on you Jeremy. I’m disappointed if this means that we won’t have half-a-dozen Greens in the lower house but it does show Labor and the Libs for what they are – much more like each other than they will admit. And, like many others, I am sick of the headlines screaming about preference deals instead of remining people that it is their vote and their preference and they should make up their own minds.

  2. That should be “reminding people” not “remining” them. We don’t need any more mining.

  3. The proportional representation voting system you prefer would mean there would have been no independent candidates elected at the last election and that Family First and the Christian party would have picked 3 and 1 seats respectively. The Greens would have picked up around 17 seats, not bad for an activist group. Although, that seems a little too high a number to give to a party that hasn’t had their policies costed and critiqued at the same level as the major parties.

  4. Chistery, I’d be fine with that. It’s called democracy.

    As for costing policies – when we have a system where the greens are an election away from government, then I’ll take that attack seriously.

  5. when we have a system where the greens are an election away from government

    Or when the Greens are in what is known as “The Opposition”, chistery – I think you’ll find that the DLP and Family First don’t have their policies costed either.

  6. Your comment about policy costings is reasonable under the present situation. However, we were discussing the what-if scenario of proportional representation.

    The Greens are wielding a fair bit of power now (you only need one seat to do that). Under a proportional representation, the Greens would have 17 seats and the ALP around 56 seats. We wouldn’t have an alliance, we would have a coalition and I bet the Greens with around 30% of the seats would demand around 30% of the ministry positions. If the Greens hold any ministry positions then they are in government and their policies should be costed.

  7. It’s an easy way to attack smaller parties: they don’t have the resources of the big parties, and they certainly don’t have the same access to Treasury as the Government, so it’s much harder to provide specific costings.

    The point about the Greens is that they do actually advocate progressive taxation to fund the greater public spending they seek to implement. They’re not just making empty promises – they have a general approach to funding them.

  8. Chistery – the Greens don’t have to form a “coalition” with anyone, and if they were to do so with the ALP while it’s still advocating right-wing policies, I’d be much less inclined to vote for them.

    I’d rather they sat in parliament with numbers matching their support in the community, representing progressive voters on whatever legislation is put before the House – regardless of who it’s by.

    All this stuff about ministries and coalitions and hung parliaments is just a distraction by people who don’t understand what a representative parliament is supposed to be.

  9. I heard a really good quote that was spoken in the context of the last British election: “In Germany, a hung parliament is commonly known as a: ‘parliament’.”

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