Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Sleeping with the Enemy

Firstly, God love Kaz Cooke.

SX column for the week.

The Australian Greens and Family First preferencing one another at election time – has the whole world gone insane?

Family First, the party that, ably assisted by the Herald Sun and other Murdoch rags, managed to conjure up false scare-mongering about the Greens’ “extreme” policies on drug harm minimisation, “compulsory” bike-riding and – worst of all, apparently – Medicare funding for people seeking transgender operations, is now set to get a leg up with the Greens’ help at the upcoming South Australian election, with a preference deal brokered that will see the Greens preference Family First in a safe, blue-ribbon Liberal seat, in exchange for their preferences for Kris Hanna, the former ALP member who won his seat for Labor in 2002 but then defected mid-way and is now the sole Green representative in SA parliament.

In purely strategic terms, this is not surprising. Hanna’s seat of Mitchell is marginal, and going into the election as the underdog, the way many mid-term independent converts do, he needs all the help he can get.

Also, the significance of this preference deal should be kept in perspective. Unlike the federal Senate, where the ALP’s deal with Family First actually resulted in the latter’s Steve Fielding’s election to parliament with less than 2% of the vote, a Family First representative is very unlikely to defeat the Liberals in the very safe state seat of Kavell. Preference deals in the lower houses only ever determine How-to-Vote cards, and voters still have the choice of directing their preference votes any way they like. However, such a choice was not available for voters who put 1 Labor on their Senate ticket, no doubt many little realising they were helping to bring to life a political monster in Fielding.

None of this, however, detracts from the shocking decision of the SA Greens to even consider dealing with an extreme-right, anti-rights party so diametrically opposed to them, and its members know this. Greens member Travis Gilbert has decided to stand against Hanna in Mitchell as an independent, or, according to his website, “True Green”. Appalled by this deal, he claims he has “been proud to be a member of a party that has put principles above politics, but evidently, (he has) been misled” and seeks to provide voters with a more genuine, “pure” green alternative.

Sadly, the practical realities of our state and federal voting systems have always forced minor parties having to deal with one another, no matter how contradictory they may be, if they have any chance of election.

But a line must be drawn. Assisting Family First in any way, even at a small, ultimately inconsequential level, is a means that no end can ever justify.

Extra QP thoughts: It's certainly an interesting issue, speculating to what extent minor parties should dance with the devil for their own advantage. It seems to me the Greens have more to gain out of this deal than FF do, and my point still remains that at a practical level it doesn't mean a huge amount anyway. Most Green and FF voters are, if nothing else, passionate about politics and passionate about their mutual contempt for the opposing parties.

I can't see all that many Green voters going: "Well, I wasn't going to preference an anti-queer, anti-woman bunch of dangerous, hypocritical God-bothering freaks as their entire existence is contrary to my philosophy and perspective on life - but this How-to-Vote card tells me I must, so I guess I'd better!" Ditto twofold the Family Fisters.

And I don't care for Labor apologists now going "ha, ha. Greens can't criticise us for doing a preference deal that got Fielding into office because they're doing the same thing now." Actually, they're not.

I am so confident FF won't win the seat of Kavell - with or without Green preferences - that I will join the party myself if I'm wrong.

Yes, you heard it here first - I will sign up to Family Fist if this preference deal gets them over the line in SA.

This isn't excusing the Greens for a pretty unforgivable move, even if it may be strategically advantageous to them. It's just a matter of keeping perspective.

Oh - if anybody's interested, Travis Gilbert's website is


At 18/1/06 11:32 am, Anonymous Bazza said...

This issue we are told has caused disruption in the SA Greens camp.

Kris Hanna last year carried the banner for same sex equality in SA, which begs the question
"Who the hell can you trust"

At 18/1/06 12:08 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What makes this proposed deal so evil is that the Ideological pious Greens pretend to be so very different from the other parties. Political party machines are all the same, but at least the others are honest about it. What on gods green earth does Bob Brown think about the party that would have him and his partner burned at the stake getting into bed with Family First. The hypocracy is beyond belief. Just what do the Greens stand for? Maybe they will think twice before they pick up other parties defective rubbish MPs.
Good on you Travis and good luck.

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At 18/1/06 2:49 pm, Blogger Ron said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 18/1/06 2:54 pm, Blogger Ron said...

Does anybody know anymore about this comment about the Greens left at my blog?

At 18/1/06 3:17 pm, Blogger Sam said...

Ron: Aren't you the one who left it?

At 18/1/06 3:46 pm, Blogger Ron said...

I mean the one above my comment, Sam, the one posted by Brownie.

At 18/1/06 6:34 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Greens preferencing Family First?

What next?

Harold Bishop becoming a murderous psychopath?


The world truly has gone mad.

Although I suppose it will be interesting if the Greens get over the line and win the seat. Once the Greens member starts making waves in Parliament about same-sex relationships, choice etc there will be some pretty pissed off Christians out there - now that would be camp! CW

At 19/1/06 6:28 pm, Anonymous Bazza said...

Well make a diversion from "Desparate Housewifes", for the MORONS!

At 20/1/06 12:17 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The report that the South Australian Greens have preferenced Family First for the forthcoming state election is entirely without foundation

The South Australian Greens have issued a statement in which they “confirm that there has not and will not be a preference deal with the Family First party because the Family First party views are inconsistent with The Greens policies such as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual and Intersex rights, support for access to abortion and voluntary student unionism”.

Let’s put this malicious story where it belongs, in the garbage bin. The Greens put principal above electoral expediency and would never preference parties so opposed to our principle of support for LGBTI rights.

Ray Goodlass
Greens NSW LGBTI Spokesperson

Ray Goodlass
Greens NSW LGBTI Spokesperson

At 31/1/06 11:44 pm, Anonymous Interested party said...

However ... as unlikely as it seems that Family First can win a lower house seat ..... what they have done in Kavel is back a chap who ran as an independent at the last election and who surprised everyone with his good result. He happened to be the grandson of a famous former Liberal Premier (Tom Playford)... and is a pastor to boot. FF fancy themselves a chance with their "star" given how poorly the Libs are polling.


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