The deal between the Coalition and the Greens to effectively exclude minor parties from gaining Senate representation may have unfortunate unintended consequences for one of those parties, writes Peter Wicks.
SOME HYPOCRISY leaves me shaking my head, some makes my blood boil and, on the odd occasion, it leaves me in stitches with hysterical laughter.
Thankfully, this week has supplied the latter of these three.
In the last few days, discussions have been held between over 30 of the nation's minor political parties. These discussions have been to decide a course of action and response to the Coalition and the Greens move to lock them out of the Senate by altering the way the preference system and flows work when you vote for Senate members.
Anyone who believes that the Coalition or the Greens would ram a controversial change such as this through parliament with almost no debate in order to benefit other parties is either a fool or has no understanding of politics.
The Greens are in panic mode after seeing the Sex Party pick up an Upper House seat in Victoria and the Animal Justice Party pick up an Upper House seat in NSW. These are both seats that they, in their arrogance, believe should have been theirs.
They do not desire to see this replicated at the Federal level.
Greens supporters have also been deluging elected representatives with warnings against doing a deal with the... https://t.co/TKXpPCOIzV— ODDemocracy AU (@OddemocracyA) March 1, 2016
The Greens would like us all to believe that their decision to rid Australia of the voting system that saw them enter parliament is about increasing democracy.
No it isn't.
There is not one thing about this dodgy backroom deal that makes voting for the Senate more democratic — not one. Despite the completely false statements claiming that voters will now be able to choose where their preferences go, the fact is voters have always had that choice.
Forcing voters to number more boxes above the line is, however, likely to see the number of donkey and informal votes skyrocket.
There are winners and losers in every political change. In this change, the losers are all of the minor political parties that the Greens feel threatened by and the Coalition are having problems negotiating with. They are the big losers.
So now the minor parties, who the Greens have sought to ensure will not get the benefit of preferences, have decided to direct their preferences away from the Greens or the Coalition.
And my, how they are squealing…
All of a sudden, all over social media, all those Green members and supporters who were complaining about the evils of preference flows and how undemocratic they were have had a sudden change of heart and desperately want them back. Not all of them, of course, only the ones who need preference flows.
I attempted to debate democratic process with the staffer of one Victorian Green MP yesterday on Twitter — ironically, a Greens MP only in parliament due to Labor preference flows. When I asked him to give me one way the new Senate voting was more democratic I was blocked. I guess that question went in the “Way Too Hard” basket. He was complaining about the notion of the Sex Party and Animal Justice Party not preferencing the Greens.
In doing this deal with the Coalition to ensure these parties never make it Senate, the Greens have shown themselves to be a political enemy of the minor parties, it’s that simple. Changing the electoral system to intentionally wipe out another party is not the act of an ally, it is the act of an enemy. Enemies tend to be put in last place on how To vote cards and in Senate preferences.
In NSW, the Animal Justice Party had an early taste of Greens attitude when the Parliamentary Inquiry Into Companion Animal Breeding Practices was announced. The Greens reportedly sought to ensure that Mark Pearson of the Animal Justice Party was not a part of it, despite his major role in it being announced. However, they ultimately failed and Pearson found himself on the committee. Despite Pearson being the only member to have been to a puppy factory or a battery hen shed – none of the Greens having had that level of experience – they nevertheless they sought to do him out of his earned position. Something, I’m sure, Pearson and the AJP will not remember too fondly when it comes to directing preference flows.
Seems pretty crazy 4 Animal Justice Party 2 preference Labor ahead of Greens.Obviously not based on policy.Revenge? https://t.co/4IUvSY0fNZ— Sally Corbett (@thatsjazz2) March 8, 2016
In Federal Parliament this term, the Greens have, in my view, three main achievements:
- screwing over thousands of pensioners;
- helping huge corporations hide their tax evasion from the public;
- destroying the Federal futures of minor parties.
The fact the dodgy Senate deal with the Coalition is blowing up in the Greens faces already is a sure sign that acts of political bastardry do have repercussions.
Sometimes those repercussions can even prove fatal.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License