Bursting the Greens’ bubble
The green bubble has burst.
For the past few weeks, every prediction by the Greens – that they would claim 18 per cent of the vote, win four lower House seats and control the balance of power in Victoria – was breathlessly reported by the media.
The Greens are an anathema to Coalition supporters, who were dismayed that Adam Bandt was elected to the House of Representatives with their preferences.
When the Greens then formed an alliance with Labor, and acted as if they had gained the seat of Melbourne in their own right, many Liberals determined that it should never happen again.
The federal Labor-Green alliance killed the idea that it was better to have a Green than a Labor MP. If the Greens were never to support the Coalition, but use their new position to create a beachhead to push their radical agenda, why should the Coalition ever preference them?
Besotted by the Greens, much of the media missed this development. When I delivered a paper detailing the Greens radical agenda three weeks ago, the mainstream media largely ignored it. But it went viral on the web where more and more political discussion occurs.
It was similar to developments in the UK, where the Liberal Democrats lost seats despite widespread media expectations that they would improve their Parliamentary numbers.
The announcement that the Liberals would not preference the Greens was a turning point event in the campaign. It consolidated the conservative base, whose members and supporters were opposed to the Greens and concerned that the Liberal Party had not clarified its position. It preserved the coalition between the Liberals and Nationals. More significantly, it demonstrated a decisiveness that had been missing from the campaign. It showed that the Liberals stood for something, and were not simply testing the breeze on every issue.
It also put the spotlight onto Labor, which until then had been demanding that the Liberals declare their position on the extreme left party. This left Labor floundering, as it couldn’t adequately explain why it was doing a deal with the Greens over which it had attacked the Liberals.
This leaves Labor divided between those Parliamentarians pandering to the Greens because they are worried about being cannibalised in their inner city electorates, and the majority of MPs concerned that middle Australia will abandon the party if they support a radical economic, social and cultural agenda.
It demonstrates that exposing the Greens agenda and refusing any truck with it will win the support of the majority of Australians.
It exposes the deceptiveness of the Greens. The Greens courted Liberal second preferences, but sided with Labor. Bob Brown then complained petulantly that had the Liberals directed preferences to the Greens, they would have won three or four seats.
It is a lesson for the future. By standing firm, the Coalition was rewarded with electoral support.
Kevin Andrews is the federal Shadow Minister for Families, Housing and Human Services and is the Deputy Chair of the Coalition Policy Development Committee. Kevin was elected to the Australian Commonwealth Parliament as the member for the Victorian seat of Menzies at a by-election in 1991. He was re-elected in 1993, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2004, 2007 and 2010.