So the ALP is throwing a tantrum about the Greens. Again. Joining with News Ltd in calling them “extremists” and expressing outrage that they dare consistently stand for the principled policy positions they have told their voters they’ll represent in parliament. (The ALP calls this doing-what-you-said-you’d-do practice “ideological purity”.)
They clearly hope it will help them win a few centre-right votes from people who do think the Greens’ insistence on policies consistent with expert opinion on issues like climate change (ie, actually tackling it) and asylum seekers (ie, processing them BEFORE they get on boats, like experts actually recommend) are “unrealistic”, and that they should just be the same as the big old parties. But it certainly won’t help them in their long-term competition with the Greens.
Because it underlines that the ALP doesn’t understand at all why lefties have left it, and continue to leave it, for the Greens. The answer is very simple – we know that if we vote for the ALP, it will use our votes to do right-wing things. That’s what it does, because it wants to be a “broad church” party and get votes from left and right simultaneously, and then abandon half its voters every time it makes a decision. And usually it’s the left that gets ignored, because the ALP thinks it can count on lefties always putting it above the COalition, it’s us or the Liberals SO WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO EH?
Well, what we’re gonna do is vote for a party that consistently advocates for progressive policies in parliament. They negotiate, but unlike the ALP their aim is to move the status quo in a progressive direction. They will vote for legislation that moves us forward, not legislation that moves us backwards. The ALP will wander inconsistently between policy positions depending on what it thinks certain marginal electorates want it to do.
Fortunately for the ALP, Australia has a single-member electorate system for the lower house. The upshot of that is that 1.5 million Australians can vote Green (which should be 17 of the 150 seats in the House of Representatives) and be lucky to get a single Greens representative elected, because unlike the Nationals, those 1.5 million votes are spread around the country. Our votes get distributed (usually to the ALP) before they can combine to the level required to win a seat. Yeah, “democracy”.
Still, in the Senate the Greens’ vote can’t be ignored, and their increasing vote is leading to increasing numbers of them being elected. And even in the single-member lower house seats there is a critical mass that can be reached where previously-ALP seats start tipping over to the Greens. Where the ALP candidate is knocked out first and then they will have to make a choice as to whether they want to be a right-wing party that preferences the Liberals or a progressive party that preferences the Greens. Obviously some in the Victorian ALP want the party to be known as a right-wing party, which is why they’re preferencing the far-right Fundies First party. But the more the ALP does that, the more its left-wing supporters will realise that it isn’t the force for progressive change they had hoped it still was, and will leave it for the Greens.
Declaring war on the Greens is the quickest way for the ALP to lose progressive voters. Does it really want to be a right-wing party stuck competing with the Liberals for conservative voters? Because that’s where this choice will ultimately take it.
If you want progressives to vote for you, ALP, you do need to actually implement and advocate progressive policies. You need to be to the left of centre, not the right. And if you don’t want to do that, then don’t whinge when we vote for a party that is.