Victorian State Election 2018: Preferences in Pascoe Vale!

So, with the Upper House all done, I thought I’d turn to my local district, Pascoe Vale, and see what’s on the menu.

Our options this year appear to be as follows:

This is a typical People’s Republic of Moreland ballot paper, with a wide selection of left-leaning choices, a handful of independents, and a token Liberal Party candidate who is not going to get very far, poor thing, but has to take one for the team regardless.

I’ll be reviewing our lovely independent candidates shortly, but first, let’s take a quick look at who is preferencing whom among the major parties.

Genevieve Hamilton – Liberal Party

The Liberals know they don’t have a snowflake’s hope in a globally-warmed hell, so they aren’t trying very hard.  But they always run a candidate so that their loyalists have someone to vote for, and they are probably hoping to wrest the two party preferred envelope back from the Greens.  They have preferenced the three independents, Yildiz, Kavanagh and Timpano first, followed by the Animal Justice Party.  Then Labor, the Greens, and last of all the Socialists.  Apparently, they would rather preference someone they consider a little bit nutty ahead of the Labor Party, so that’s fun. It’s been their policy to put the Greens after Labor for a while, because they don’t want the Greens winning seats from Labor on Liberal preferences, so no real surprise there.

Lizzie Blandthorn – Australian Labor Party

The ALP has put the Animal Justice Party second, which is making me wonder if they might do dangerously well.  Surely not well enough to overtake the Greens and the Liberal Party, though?  In third place are the Greens, with just enough separation to show that, no, no, no, there is no Labor/Green coalition!  Socialists are in fourth place, followed by Yildiz, Timpano and Kavanagh.  The Liberal party are at the bottom of the ticket.

Phil Jackson – Australian Greens

The Greens also know they aren’t going to win this one, but they want to come a convincing second and give Labor a run for their money.   They have preferenced  Kavanagh second, followed by the ALP, the Victorian Socialists and the Animal Justice Party.  Yildiz is 6th, Francesco is 7th, and the Liberal candidate is dead last.  This is a bit of a surprise – I really thought they would put the Socialists ahead of Labor, given that Labor is their main competition for this seat.  (My quick scan of their how to vote cards in other regions suggests that they are putting Liberal last most of the time, unless there is a party like the DLP or the Shooters and Fishers, or a really nutty independent that needs the spot.  They also seem to be consistently putting the ALP ahead of the Socialists, which is a surprise.)

Graeme Linsell – Animal Justice Party

The AJP is still bearing a grudge against the Greens, and has therefore put Labor second and the Greens third.  The Socialists are in fourth place, followed by Kavanagh, Yildiz and Timpano.   You know, nobody seems to like Timpano much – it’s not a good sign.  The Liberal Party is last, yet again.

Gerry Beaton – Victorian Socialists

The Socialists have put the Greens candidate second, followed by Labor.  The Animal Justice Party is in 4th, then we have Kavanagh, Yildiz and Timpano.  (Really, nobody likes Timpano – even the Liberal candidate put him third of the three independents.).  The Liberal Party is lucky last, and nobody is surprised by this.

Look, it’s highly likely that Pascoe Vale will become Labor / Green in the two-party preferred, but unless the Greens pull of something astonishing, it’s going to be a safe Labor win.  Nobody except the Socialists and one of the independents (spoiler!) is putting them ahead of Labor, and while we are pretty red in this part of the world, I don’t think we are red enough to elect a Green, so to speak…

As for the Liberal Party, even if they get to the two-party preferred, everyone except for the independents has put them last.  They are not going to get up.

Politics: The Australian Greens and Preferences

ou know, it’s always fun when two people whose integrity I’m inclined to trust say opposite things about a yes/no issue such as ‘Are the Greens preferencing the Liberal party in some seats’.

Hmm.

The answer, as far as I can see, is a resounding ‘well, sort of’. I’ve downloaded from the Greens website a document called ‘How to Vote Greens’, which shows all the How to Vote Cards for the Lower House seats.

There are (if I have counted correctly) 98 Lower House seats in Victoria. In 71 of them, the Greens have preferenced Labor ahead of Liberal. In 4, they are asking people to put Greens first, and to number the rest in any order they like.

And in 23 (mostly in country Victoria, but also, to my surprise, in the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne), they have issued a ‘split ticket’ – where one side favours Labor over Liberal, the other Liberal over Labor (actually, there is one other split ticket, in Footscray, where one side favours an independent ahead of Labor, and the other doesn’t, but both are preferenced ahead of Liberal, so this isn’t part of the issue). Which is, as [livejournal.com profile] cjander potentially damaging to Labor – depending on which side of the card faces up.

(I also note with interest that in Lyndhurst alone of all electorates, they’ve preferenced Family First ahead of the Liberal party – although since the Liberal candidate is Gary Anderton, this is perhaps not so surprising. The Greens have also done pretty well out of the donkey vote, being listed first on the voting card in at least 25 seats)

What does all this mean (aside from the fact that both people I mentioned above are technically correct)? Well, to me it means that yes, in some areas, around half of all people following Green How To Vote Cards will be preferencing Liberal ahead of Labor. And I’m not very happy about that. If the Greens truly don’t care which way the preferences go in those seats, they should do what they did in the 4 seats where they encourage voters to put Greens first and then vote whatever they like (although that does carry the risk of people voting informal, so perhaps this is an unfair expectation).

But for me, while I don’t like this particular piece of politics at all, it isn’t actually a deal-breaker. Why? Well, first, I’m handing out how to vote cards in an electorate where the Greens do, unequivocally, preference Labor. In fact, I note that in both Brunswick and Melbourne, the seats near me that were strongly contested by the Greens in 2002, they also unequivocally preference Labor (I admit, I really do not understand what logic underlies their choice of areas for split tickets – I would have thought Kew, of all places, would be a safe Liberal seat – why encourage them, then? Or are the Doctors’ Wives at work here? In which case, again – why encourage the Liberals??).

Primarily, though, I still like the Greens’ policies the best of all that I have read. Oddly enough, this isn’t about me being a great environmentalist (I’m a pretty poor one, actually). But their policies in the areas of health, disability, public transport, social justice, and many other things appeal to me very strongly. Do I think they are ready to form a government? By no means. And I can’t imagine that they will in the near future. But I’d really like to see what they can do in collaboration with a Labor Government. I am quite partial to the Bracks government, and I like their policies and promises as well. I want to see them get back in – but I’d really like to see the Greens have a voice in the Lower House as well as the Upper House. Politics needs a few idealists in it, and I think the Greens need to learn how to work and play well with the larger parties if they want to become a more major party themselves.

And this, incidentally, is why I’m not actually a member of the Greens. I’m a swing voter – I’ve been swinging pretty strongly towards the Greens for several years now, but I’ve voted in other directions in the past, and may well do so again. I don’t think I’m cut out to join any party, to be honest – I’m not single-minded enough, perhaps; my favourite moments in politics are the ones where people from different parties work together to achieve goals. And it seems unethical to join a party knowing that I might not be there for the long haul – I’d rather throw my energy behind whoever currently best represents my vision for Australia, on a case-by-case basis. And write lots of letters to politicians in between elections…

Hmm… this has gotten very unfocused, sorry. I meant simply to get to the bottom of all this business with preferences, but got sidetracked.