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Greens’ election prospects subject of much debate

By Greg Cornwell - 19 January 2016 16

Greens website

The representation of the ACT Greens in our legislative assembly following the 2016 election is being widely argued and carefully even apprehensively judged.

Following their poor showing in 2012 when they lost three seats and were reduced to Shane Rattenbury they acquired a kingmaker role keeping Labor in government.

Many people from both mainstream parties believe this price was too high, with both Labor and Liberal seeking to govern in their own right this time around.

Correspondingly the Greens are anxious to reclaim what they see as their full percentage of Canberra’s progressive vote.

This quest will bring them into direct conflict with Labor, many of whose members are silently resentful of the concessions made for Rattenbury’s support. Like all coalition arrangements tensions arise no matter what is proposed in the interests of minority Party policy.

The ACT Greens success in 2008 surprised many people and, in spite of claims to the contrary, it is fair to say not much was known about what they really stood for.

I am aware this claim will be disputed but the ignorance coupled with lacklustre performances by the major parties saw a drift to an alternative representation, hence four were elected.

Clearly the ACT Greens role in the 2008-2012 Assembly did not meet their previous supporters’ expectations and only Shane Rattenbury survived with the committed vote largely from North Canberra.
Now they are back again with mixed chances in the new five by five member electorates.

Because they were successful in two five member electorates (Ginninderra and Brindabella) in 2008 prospects this year could seem promising. However while minor boundary changes to three electorates may not dramatically affect a result the breakup of Molonglo into two will, as with the major parties, seriously reduce personal support.

Another major factor is “the tram” which has caused fierce debate across Canberra and is seen very much as an expensive Greens initiative providing a service to a limited region of the ACT.
It is unlikely Labor would want to be locked into any other costly scheme as the price of political support in government in future, while the idea of negotiating with several Green MLAs to retain power is of nightmare proportions.

Labor will fight as hard to exclude Green MLAs from the next Assembly as they will against the Liberals and perhaps more so because the Greens threaten to take votes from Labor’s natural constituency.
We live in interesting times.

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16 Responses to
Greens’ election prospects subject of much debate
miz 9:56 am 23 Jan 16
miz 7:12 pm 22 Jan 16

Now for the most IMPORTANT question so far: has Mr Barr had ‘work’?? He was on ABC 7pm news tonight in a lengthy interview with Virginia H, and it appeared that, try as he might, he could only raise his eyebrows at the very edges!

bj_ACT 2:08 pm 21 Jan 16

The Greens members over the last few Elected assemblies have pushed agendas and policies to suit their own inner North Canberra backyards at the expense of what I think are valid and important Greens principles for the whole of Canberra.

Redressing the imbalance of wealth between rich and poor; reducing housing costs for poorer home owners and renters; as well as ensuring better public education for Canberrans are excellent principles for the Greens to strive for and something I support them in.

Shane Rattenbury (and in particular Meredith Hunter), threw these principles out the window for the outer parts of Canberra. Instead of fighting for these principles they fought for projects and funds that suited their Braddon and O’Connor backyards.

The Greens through their support for Labor have created wealth inequality in Tuggeranong by moving jobs out of the area and redirecting funding intended for the area. They have increased housing costs for poor homeowners and renters by pushing up rates. The have ruined public education for many by supporting the removal of public schools.

A key example was how they fought to save schools in their own electorates, yet wiped out Kambah public education by supporting the removal in the one suburb of: 3 pre schools, 3 primary schools and 1 high school. Replacing 7 schools with 1 superschool has been bad for education results, a disaster for nearby access to schools and these changes have pushed down housing values throughout the suburb.

For the Greens to once again hold seats across all electorates and keep the government in check, they will have to fight for residents across all of Canberra (not just where their candidates and representatives live through northern and inner Canberra)

bikhet 11:25 am 21 Jan 16

rubaiyat said :

The Light Rail which really gets in the craw of the anti-public transport crowd…

You exaggerate. Being against the current Lie Trail plan is not synonymous with being anti-public transport. I for one am in favour of public transport and use it when it suits. I’m also opposed to the plan for the Lie Trail. The money being wasted on it would be better spent on other things – including improving the ACTION bus network.

Acton 11:06 am 21 Jan 16

Henry BG – I agree. “We need a local council comprised of honest individuals capable of making sensible decisions with regards to providing land, water, and roads services.”
But honest sensible individuals with the confidence and fortitude to resist self-serving local developers and other lobby groups pushing agendas supposedly for the public good but primarily for their own benefit, while at the same time having their characer attacked daily in the media, are hard to find. There are good people in our community doing good work, but they prefer to stay at the grassroots level.
The Greens were elected to bring honesty, a conscience and a balance to the two party dominance in the local assembly. They then traded their support for Labor in exchange for a very expensive light rail.
Any local government that intends to impose ongoing rate rises of 10%pa deserves to be evicted.
Any local government that imposes rate rises of 10%pa to indirectly fund pet projects to stay in power must be evicted
Click on your suburb to see how much your rates have risen over the last four years:
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/act-budget-2015-rates-rises-biggest-in-canberras-inner-north-20150602-ghf4vm.html

rubaiyat 10:24 am 21 Jan 16

HenryBG said :

We need a local council comprised of honest individuals capable of making sensible decisions with regards to providing land, water, and roads services.

Ah the ones not full of real estate agents, used car dealers and people of mysterious income who close off streets for their extravagant weddings!

btw You should actually go to a Greens meeting to discover they aren’t all redfaced, horned with pointy teeth and hiding under your bed.

HenryBG 9:28 pm 20 Jan 16

“…Greens are anxious to reclaim …Canberra’s progressive vote”

rubaiyat said :

The Greens are really principled Labor,

See – there is where it’s gone wrong, and why the Greens’ vote hasn’t merely stalled, but is in reverse.
“Green” does not mean “progressive”. It means “conservative”.
We want conservation-minded decisions made with respect to the environment we live in: reining-in the corporations that are stealing our water to grow cotton, stealing our rich agricultural land to build suburbs, stealing our minerals and not paying taxes, stealing subsidies to generate private wealth selling coal, destroying organic farmers’ livelihoods by being allowed to release willy-nilly into the atmosphere GMO fall-out, and about to steal large bucketloads of taxpayers’ money running a farcical Royal Commission into the thoroughly disreputable and discredited nuclear industry with a view to rubber-stamping at the very least more uranium enrichment if not actual reactors.

The Greens obsession with (often nonsensical) “progressive” issues has killed off their credibility.
(That and their infiltration by appalling people like the ex-Stalin-apologist Lee Brown aka Rhiannon).

justin heywood said :

I hope that Labor will at least learn from past mistakes and play a bit harder in the negotiations with the Greens next time. It’s not as though the Greens have anyone else they can deal with.

And *I* would hope the *electorate* would learn from its past mistakes and stop voting for political parties.
We don’t need parties, ideologues, staffers and the expensive and wasteful claptrap that accompanies them.
We need a local council comprised of honest individuals capable of making sensible decisions with regards to providing land, water, and roads services.

miz 7:17 pm 20 Jan 16

‘. . . lacklustre performances by the major parties saw a drift to an alternative representation, hence four were elected. Clearly the ACT Greens role in the 2008-2012 Assembly did not meet their previous supporters’ expectations . . .
This. We all learned that the Greens do not actually want to be a third voice for the electorate but want to promulgate their own agenda.
My advice to any MLA who wants to stay in, is to eschew the committees (despite the extra money) and do stuff for the people who elected you.

Toby 6:10 pm 20 Jan 16

I have been deeply disappointed with Mr Shane. It seems he is only interested in his expensive projects i.e. the light rail so that his name can go down in history while the burden of paying for this white elephant will be passed on for many generations. He is not interested in what Canberrans want only in what he feels they should have………..like a self interested African dictator apparently we cannot be trusted to think for ourselves
I had the unfortunate experience of seeing him walk out of the chamber rather than vote on improving the safety for the staff at the Canberra Hospital. He was obviously trading favours with Labour, so the vote lost. I wonder what he was promised for not voting.
He should be known as Shame Rattenbury

henryans 3:34 pm 20 Jan 16

Greens lucked out with preferences last election, so hopefully Canberrans have awoken and kick these green social engineers out, with their crazy Light Rail plan.
When the worst performing emergency departments in all of Australia is fixed, when we have infrastructure to support the population then sure lets look at it, but not now
We are already smashed with expensive rego, license fees, rates, etc and we see not allot for it, but allot of grand plans and unfunded promises.

rubaiyat 2:30 pm 20 Jan 16

Come to think of it, having a Greens member in the Government is great for Labor.

Labor can let him take all the blame for government policies from the irrational right, and get away with being the ones who obviously really decide.

Rattenbury gets to be piggy in the middle.

Which is why it is better for the Greens not to be part of the government. Co-operate where it makes sense and speak up where it obviously doesn’t.

rubaiyat 2:24 pm 20 Jan 16

justin heywood said :

Rattenbury has appeared (to me) to virtually set the government’s agenda.

Really? Justify that. Seems except for a couple of points of agreement, Rattenbury has had to mostly shut up or espouse the Labor policies which go against his grain.

The Light Rail which really gets in the craw of the anti-public transport crowd was actually Labor party policy from way back and was just endlessly delayed.

Rattenbury is a case of “Keep your friends close, and your enemies even closer”.

I am not present at Cabinet meetings but I am sure his one voice gets voted down regularly. Certainly it is on the record that he got nowhere with sensible demands for better transport to Molonglo and even the go ahead for the unnecessary sprawl in the first place.

justin heywood 12:56 pm 20 Jan 16

….“[the Greens] lost three seats and were reduced to Shane Rattenbury…”.

Ha. Well put. But despite this, Rattenbury has appeared (to me) to virtually set the government’s agenda, which is also a reflection of the quality of Labor leadership these days.
(I doubt that Stanhope would have been content to be in Shane’s shadow.)

The price of dealing with the Greens has been too high. But it seems that before every election there is talk from Labor of ‘no more dealing with the Greens’, but post-election, the lure of power is too much.

I hope that Labor will at least learn from past mistakes and play a bit harder in the negotiations with the Greens next time. It’s not as though the Greens have anyone else they can deal with.

rubaiyat 11:30 am 20 Jan 16

The Greens are really principled Labor, which of course is where the tension lies. Labor has to deal with them but really sees them as having “stolen” their constituents, never that they have actually lost them through their own actions/inactions.

I don’t see the 5 x 5 electorate favoring the Greens. In fact I see it as an attempt to drive them out and make this strictly a Labor/Liberal duopoly. The Greens will have to get over 16.6% after preferences to get a seat in any of the electorates. Depending in which order they fall after initial redistributions they could find themselves with the usual substantial vote but no seat.

Which is a shame because neither Labor or Liberal in this town are either competent or IMHO honest. Both bow to the “needs” of the behind the scenes business or union interests. Having a reasonable number of Greens representatives in the Assembly fosters an alternative that keeps the others, if not totally honest, at least trying harder and not getting away with their usual cover-ups.

Frankly I’d like to see the Greens out of government and voting on legislation case by case and being unshackled in criticising whichever party is in power.

The fact that they obviously favor Labors policies over the Liberals is irrelevant as that is simply an accurate reflection of the ACT voters intentions, and we do live in a democracy as much as that may irk some on the right. If the Liberals want to get back into power they had better wake up to this fact and become a centre small l liberal party, more along the lines of the current NSW government.

The distaste for Abbott and Campbell Newman’s largely incompetent hard right “policies” and partisanship, have left the electorate not wanting more of the same. Australia may have its share of hard right nutters who wish we were run by a US style Tea Party but thankfully they are far and few on the ground.

We could actually vote for principled independents, but how will they get their message out? Most Canberrans are not paying that much attention and the Canberra Times as the major local media is near dead useless. Perhaps someone could have a word in Nick Xenophon’s ear, at least he can get the media attention for independents that they need.

Grimm 9:01 am 20 Jan 16

Canberras progressive vote? hahahah. I think not.
What the watermelons rely on is the protest vote, or votes from people who have no idea what they are really about. A party offering little but socialist nonsense, all of which is completely uncosted and unrealistic. Even the vast majority of their environmental policies are based on fiction, personal agenda, ignoring and in fact contrary to REAL scientific research, and actually have a negative impact.

Injecting “climate change” into everything they say is starting wear very thin and fool less and less people. I can only hope that their habit of hindering progress and using their balance of power to push through nonsensical legislation is their undoing, and people start sending their donkey votes elsewhere.

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