So, we’ve talked with the animals, found religion, had a nice walk amble through the country and then hopped on our bicycles to commute into the city. But it’s time to leave these lovely little by-ways and venture into more well-travelled territory with the Australian Greens.
I’ll confess, I always have mixed feelings when I get to my review of the Greens. On the one hand, I do like their policies. I like them so much that I generally wind up volunteering to scrutineer and hand out how to vote cards for them. But on the other hand, they really do have a lot of policies and when one is reading and analysing the policies of twenty-one parties, three sets of grouped independents and nine ungrouped independents, it has to be said that one begins to hanker for the simplicity of a single-issue party, no matter how unlikely it is to ever be elected…
The Victorian corner of the Greens website (which is where I will be focusing my attention) has three rotating banners – ‘Meet the candidates’, ‘Get involved’ banner, and ‘Our initiatives: smart ways we’ll tackle the big issues’. Across the top of the page, you have the option of Issues, Candidates, Events, Join, Volunteer and Donate. At the foot of the page, you have Events, Issues, Volunteer and Donate. There’s no doubt about it – the Greens are all about Audience Participation. Well, I imagine they call it grassroots community involvement, but there is a very definite pull to get people involved.
Let’s have a look at their Group Voting Tickets. Incidentally, as a scrutineer who has in the past been asked to see where preferences are flowing, I can tell you that Group Voting Tickets are probably less useful for the Greens than for just about any other party – we Green Voters do seem to love voting below the line, just as we follow our own merry paths down the Lower House ballot papers, regardless of what we are told to vote.
While there is a little variation in some seats, the Greens are generally preferencing the Animal Justice Party followed by the Cyclists, with the Voluntary Euthanasia, Sex Party and Voice for the West also appearing in the top five. Labor is generally found in the upper half of the ticket, and always well ahead of the Liberal Party. At the bottom of every ticket, we find Family First, the DLP, the Shooters and Fishers, the Country Alliance, the Australian Christians, and last of all, Rise Up Australia. The only times this changes is when one of those countries isn’t running a candidate, or when there is a particularly dislikeable Independent around.
It’s a fairly consistent left to right ticket, politically-speaking. Though I think the Sex Party may be further to the right than the Greens think they are.
And over to Initiatives, which is what we are calling policies today. (I can’t help noting that they started off calling the policies ‘Issues’, but I’m guessing they changed the name because they didn’t want smartypants voters like me commenting on the fact that the Greens have lots and lots of issues…) The Greens have 48 Victorian State Initiatives, and I feel tired already. I’m going to group sets of related policies, and only go into detail on the ones that seem particularly interesting.