Saturday, May 16, 2009

Greens win Fremantle polling over 44% for a new paradigm

Today, Adele Carles, the Greens candidate for the Fremantle byelection, won the seat. This is an event that represents a turning point in Australian politics.

It is the first time a Greens candidate has polled over 44% of the primary vote. The previous record was 38.96% in the 2005 Marrickville by-election.

It is only the second time that that the Greens have come first on primary votes, the first being when the Greens outpolled Labor's primary vote in the NSW state district of Vaucluse in the 2007 election.

Adele Carles defeated the Labor candidate, who polled around 38% of the primary vote. The Liberals did not field a candidate.

This represents a paradigm shift in Australia's political landscape. With both major parties found wanting on critical issues such as climate change and water policy, the Greens platform of reshaping Australia to a sustainable and climate friendly economy has been endorsed by a clear majority of Fremantle voters.

If this is replicated across several other House of Representatives seats in the upcoming 2010 federal election as appears likely, the Greens could well hold the balance of power and enter into a coalition government with one of the major parties.

This would mean pathetic policy such as Labor's 5% emission reduction commitment would be "greened up" to within the 25% to 40% range scientists say we need.

And the 3+ billion gifted to the polluting coal industry by Kevin Rudd would instead be redirected to zero emissions clean energy alternatives.

There is now considerable hope Australia can seriously address the climate emergency that we are confronted with, and contribute to an effective global agreement on reducing emissions and tackling climate change.

Exernal links

Post script
This is the second time the greens have won a single-member lower house seat in Australia - the first time being when Michael Organ won the federal House of Representatives seat of Cunningham in a 2002 by-election, when the Liberals also did not field a candidate. On that occasion, Organ received 23% of the primary vote and was elected by the preferences of other candidates (as was Adele).


Danny Yee said...

This is a great result, but it's a lot easier for the Greens in the smaller State electorates than in the Federal ones, so I'd be most hesitant to extrapolate to the next Federal election.

If the Greens can pick up even one or two seats there, that would be a fantastic result.

Anonymous said...

Just as a small matter of pedantry, the Greens outpolled Labor's primary vote in the NSW state district of Vaucluse in the 2007 election.

But Adele's performance is a new milestone for sure...

Peter Campbell said...

Anon: Thanks. I will update the post accordingly.

Danny: Yes, state electorates are different and so are by-elections. But nonetheless, getting more primary votes than Labor without a Liberal candidate standing is very significant. One wonders if the Liberals may not stand candidates in some of the Green Labor marginals? In any case, over 44% of the vote is very close to a clear majority.