Friday, December 10, 2010

20 Labor seats courtesy of Victorian Greens

LABOR relied on Greens preferences to win 20 of its 43 seats in the new Legislative Assembly raising real doubts about whether it could afford to follow the Coalition in putting the Greens last.

Final election results suggest rather that Labor and the Greens may be doomed to live in a love-hate relationship competing fiercely for a widening circle of inner-suburban seats, yet teaming up against the Coalition elsewhere.

While the Coalition rode the protest vote to power, the battle between Labor and the Greens widened to a second arc of seats from Williamstown to Ivanhoe, and south to Albert Park. Despite that, Greens voters came to Labor's rescue in seat after seat. Across the state, 75 per cent of Greens preferences went to Labor, just 25 per cent to the Coalition. And in 11 of the state's 88 seats, they swung the result Labor's way.

Before Greens preferences, the Coalition was leading in 56 seats, and Labor in just 32. But Greens preferences changed that to a 45-43 result, lifting Labor above the Coalition to snatch narrow victories in seat after seat two seats in Ballarat, two in Geelong, in Macedon, and in six city seats, from Essendon to Monbulk.

Former education minister Bronwyn Pike this week called for Labor to consider putting the Greens last. But while the Greens were her enemy in Melbourne, half her colleagues in the caucus room owe their seats at least partly to Greens voters and might not want a fight.

The final results show that:

While Coalition preferences gave Labor all four seats in the inner north Brunswick, Melbourne, Northcote and Richmond the voters rebelled, delivering a landslide swing against Labor to the Greens and Liberals.

On average, at the three-party stage, the swing against Labor in the four seats was a massive 8.5 per cent, with 5 per cent going to the Greens, and 3.5 per cent to the Liberals. In Brunswick, Greens candidate Cyndi Dawes held an 18-vote lead over Labor until Liberal preferences swung the seat back.

Liberal voters staged a different kind of rebellion. One in three Liberal voters in the four seats defied their party's how-to-vote cards, and directed their preferences to the Greens ahead of Labor.

The Greens also made big gains from Labor in the next ring of seats further out. At the three-party stage, the Greens polled 25 per cent in Albert Park, 21 per cent in Williamstown, 27 per cent in Footscray and 20 per cent in Essendon, Preston and Ivanhoe.

This suggests the next Labor v Greens battle will be over a much wider field.

In the outer suburbs and regional Victoria, by contrast, the Greens went backwards from their high-water mark at the federal election, when they won 12.6 per cent of the vote in Victoria. This time they won just 11.2 per cent of votes, up from 10 per cent in 2006, but well short of their hopes.

Greens how-to-vote cards appeared to have no influence on the way their voters voted. In city seats where they directed preferences to Labor, 75 per cent of Greens voters did so. Yet in three seats where they issued an open ticket, 76 per cent of their voters gave preferences to Labor.

But in two seats, many Greens voters also rebelled against directives to give preferences to the Liberals. In Cranbourne, 41 per cent gave their second vote to former Hawthorn star Geoff Ablett. And in Essendon, 35 per cent preferred the Liberals to former planning minister Justin Madden.


Coalition (45) Labor (43)

Absolute majority 31 13

On preferences

after leading 14 19

after trailing - 11

Greens preferences reversed the outcome in:

Albert Park, Ballarat East, Ballarat West, Bellarine, Eltham, Essendon, Geelong, Ivanhoe, Macedon, Monbulk, Oakleigh.

Greens preferences helped Labor over the line in: Bendigo East, Bendigo West, Bundoora, Cranbourne, Footscray, Narre Warren North, Ripon, Williamstown, Yan Yean.

Victorian Electoral Commission