Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Major party politics are compromising our values

Midnight Oil is one of my favourite bands. I particularly like the poignant song "River runs red" with the lyrics:

"So you cut all the tall trees down,
You poisoned the sky and the sea,
You've taken what's good from the ground,
But you left precious little for me".

I feel Peter Garrett has now greatly compromised his environmental credentials by campaigning in the Victorian State election against the Greens, and putting his name to a deceitful letter sent to Melbourne and Northcote electorates suggesting that the Greens were directing preferences to the Liberals. Labor told these lies to smear the Greens and pull back their primary vote, a tactic that was successful.

The truth is that:
  • The Greens directed preferences to Labor in 60 of the 88 lower house seats, including all Labor marginal seats.
  • In the remaining 28 seats, the Greens left the choice on preferences to voters by offering split or open tickets, as they have done in the past.
  • Labor retained many seats due to Greens preferences, and lost none due to split or open tickets.
  • The Greens did not preference the Liberals in any seats.
The Liberals used a different tactic - they widely distributed a green leaflet titled "A vote for the Greens" which contained several incorrect assertions about Greens policies on taxation, drugs and animal welfare. Many of these assertions were sourced from newspaper articles. The author of the leaflet was printed in tiny barely legible print - Julian Sheezel (Liberal Party). This scare campaign was also designed to pull back the Greens primary vote, and was also successful.

Here is one side of the Liberal anti-Green leaflet.

So both major parties now use well orchestrated political tactics to attack the Greens rather than engaging in a fair and reasonable debate about policies. Both major parties ruled out any preference negotiations on issues. For them the political game is penultimate, not climate change, forests, water, public education or industrial relations.

I don't believe that the means justifies the end, and I think that major party politics is compromising our values, our environment and our society.

Be careful who you vote for, what you see is not always what you get.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter,

I ran as an independent in Northcote, and I believe the ALP campaign was misleading to the extent that it might well have affected the outcome. I was standing outside Northcote Town Hall all day on polling day and watched as Labor repeated its claims and the Greens campaigners denied them, referring people to its statewide how-to-vote card. Unforyunately, for everyone who asked the Greens for reassurance, there were doubtless others who simply believed the ALP's lies and voted for them. I am hoping that the Greens will challenge the result in the Court of Disputed returns. Various posts on the Northcote campaign and this issue can be read at my campaign blog:


Darren Lewin-Hill