OK, so I’m going to assume that you know who the Australian Labor Party is, right? They’re that big party that likes red ties and is a bit scared of the Greens (as opposed to the other big party that likes red budgie smugglers and is a bit scared of the Greens. I know, it can be hard to tell them apart sometimes).
Alright, that probably wasn’t fair. But I’m guessing that doesn’t matter too much, because really, you are going to be getting chapter and verse on the ALP’s policies from the media anyway. If you’d like to know how all their policies are rubbish, you should probably read The Australian. If you would rather know how great they are, I’d stick to The Age. And if you like to read Andrew Bolt… then I am truly amazed that you are reading this blog. You must feel as though you have stepped onto an alien planet. I hope you aren’t too traumatised by the experience.
Now that I have insulted everybody and also reduced the entire media to its lowest common denominator, let’s get on and look at this sensibly, shall we?
Without going into detail on their policies, the ALP seems to be running on a platform of We’re Not The Liberal Party, which may be a winner all on its own. Their other key platform has been No East-West Link. I am actually a bit torn on this one – I really was delighted when they started with this platform, because I think elections are better for everyone when they are actually about a specific policy issue. And I’m not terribly thrilled about the East West Link, and this opinion seems to be shared by a lot of people, so it might even work. Only now the contracts have been signed, so it looks to me as though the ALP is a bit stuck – if they do get in, they’re either going to have to break their key campaign promise (and look like liars), or break the contract and pay the penalties (and look financially irresponsible). Both options are great news for the Liberals.
Judging by the Victorian Labor Party’s home page, their other key platforms are better public transport, more jobs, fixing the ambulance crisis, and a royal commission into domestic violence.
Anyway, enough of the policies. We’ve all seen plenty of ads, or if we haven’t, we will soon. Let’s look at their Group Voting Ticket.
We’ve been hearing a lot from the Greens about how Labor refused to do a preference deal with them and instead preferenced the Country Alliance, alleged to be climate change deniers (I did not spot this in their policies, but I also have not read all their press releases, and this certainly seems plausible given their other policies and extreme dislike of the Greens). And then there have been rumours that Labor was also preferencing right wing Christian parties ahead of the Greens – though this may just be extended cultural memory from the debacle back in 2004. Since I’m not looking at policies for the ALP, and their group voting tickets really are one of the ones that will probably have a big impact on the shape of Victoria’s Legislative Council, I am going to go through these a bit more individually than usual.
The first thing to note is the bottom of the ticket. In absolutely every case, the ALP has put the following five parties last: Shooters and Fishers, Family First, Liberal / National, and the Australian Christians, with Rise Up Australia at dead last. There’s no mucking around here, and no pretense that the Greens are worse than the Liberal Party. I suspect this, at least, will sit well with their members. And I suspect that putting Family First in the bottom five is a very definite shout-out to 2004.
Of the three regional electorates, the Country Alliance is preferenced first in two of them (Western and Northern), and second in one (Eastern), with the DLP placed first in that electorate. This is the only electorate in which a conservative Christian Party has been placed ahead of the Greens, and it’s the most old-fashioned, Catholic, party of all the Christian parties, and the one that has a history with Labor. I have never lived in country Victoria, so I’m talking completely out of my hat (or other places) here, but I find it plausible that these preferences may actually be a fair reflection of where regional Victorians who vote Labor would like their votes to go. In Western Victoria, People Power and the Cyclists are also preferenced ahead of the Greens, with the Sex Party fifth. In the East, it’s Local Jobs, Palmer United, Sex Party, People Power and then the Greens (I wonder whether Eastern Victoria is more conservative, or whether it’s actually that the Greens are more of a threat there?), and in the North, it’s Palmer United, then the Greens, then the Cyclists, then Animal Justice, which is a choice I find rather bizarre if one is trying to win regional votes.
According to the wisdom of Wikipedia, the Country Alliance, while not winning any seats at the last election, did manage to keep the Greens out in the West, and I’m guessing that’s what Labor is hoping they will do again. Palmer United will also be a problem for the Greens in the East, I would think.
In the cities, it’s a bit more of a mixed bag. The Sex Party is preferenced first in the Northern Metropolitan Regions, and second in all the others except the West, where they are preferenced third. People Power – who really seem to have something for everyone in this election, can’t wait to read their policies – are preferenced first in the South-East, second in the North, third in the South and fourth in the East. The are first in the East, fourth in the West and fifth in the South. The Voice for the West is preferenced first in the West, and third in the North, a wise move, I think, and just to mix things up, independent Lucio Grossi is preferenced first in the South. As for the Greens, they are second in the West, third in the East and North, fifth in the South East and sixth in the South.
In the metropolitan regions, I would say that the party most likely to keep the Greens out would be the Sex Party at this point. They are getting good preferences all the way around from Labor, and tend to be popular with both the Libertarian and the Left sides of politics. The interesting question will be whether they can get enough votes to survive the early elimination stages.
(It is worth noting that the Greens currently have sitting Legislative Council Members in the Northern, Western and Southern Metropolitan Regions. I don’t think Labor is fighting very hard to kick them out of the West, but they are clearly doing their best in the North and South.)
And yes, I realise that this post is very Green, but with so much conversation about whether Labor and Liberal should be preferencing each other ahead of the Greens, and so forth, this does seem like a valid thing to look at, entirely separate to my partisanship.
Note on Pascoe Vale
The ALP Party Candidate for Pascoe Vale is Lizzie Blandthorne, who is the god-daughter of Christine Campbell, the current incumbent. No nepotism here. She is expected to be a shoo-in for the electorate – Pascoe Vale is very, very safe Labor. Ms Blandthorne is a former staffer to Labor Sports Minister James Merlino, and currently working for the Catholic Education office. Like Christine Campbell, she is pro-life (and has been described as a ‘pro-life warrior’. She made herself unpopular with the Fair Food Forum, by agreeing to turn up, and then being a no-show. I’m not really warming to her so far! Ms Blandthorne was interviewed by the Leader, on public transport, and said that Labor will remove the rail crossings in Glenroy and Bell Street, and will also improve public transport. On her How To Vote Card, Ms Blandthorne preferences Independent Francesco Timpano (confirming my vague feeling that he was rather more ‘family values’ than the average Labor supporter) and the Socialist Alliance, with the Greens next, before Family First. The Liberal Party is placed last.