We can claim safely and comfortably that the Victorian election came with unexpected results that have significant importance. The Victorian election, while saw the Labor lose heavily and unexpectedly, could benefit progressive forces and voters if results analysed carefully and courageous steps taken promptly to avoid future similar results.
The immediate impact of possible repeat of Victorian results in other elections, if serious steps not taken, could see similar scenarios happened in NSW March next year.
In this election there were some big winners and some big losers.
In our opinion, the biggest winner of the election was the Liberal party, as:
1- The Liberals won unwinnable election according to all opinion polls and strategists’ predictions.
2- The Liberals did not only win the votes, but won morally too. It is the first time since the rise of the Greens that Liberals took principled stance to put the Greens last on its preference voting. The Liberals gambled with its chances of winning the election by preferencing Labor ahead of the Greens, instead of trying to maximise Labor seats’ loss. The Liberals logic was simple and straightforward: if we do not agree with the Greens on many issues especially moral values in the heart of Liberal claimed agendas (like gay marriage, euthanasia, decriminalisation of illicit drug abuse,..), we should not preference them even for pure pragmatic reasons of costing Labor more seats. That is in opposition of the Greens logic of Machiavellian principles of “the End justifies the means”. While the most important thing for the Greens is to win more seats, even if this comes on Liberals or even One Nation preference votes. The Liberals proved that they are more principled than the Greens, hence they won more vote. This explains the core issue missing in Australian politics these days: the need for progressive political force that stays principled to achieve deep socio-economic changes, and not Machiavellian force to use the need of change to accumulate power by any means.
For the above mentioned reason and for other reasons, we believe that the biggest loser in the election was the Greens, as:
1- The Greens voting scrambled from 14.6% just 3 months ago (in Federal election) to 10.6%. Usually the small parties do better in state elections than in Federal ones (unlike major parties). The Greens were expected to get at least 16% of the votes. We believe that the Greens disappointing performance of achieving virtually nothing and acting on no major important issue for the last 3 months within the undeclared coalition government with Labor played major role in this.
2- The Greens deafening uproar that they will win at least 4-5 lower house seats and at least 4-5 Upper House seats, resulted in no Lower house seats won and the same Upper House seats won in the last election (3 seats) (or even may be less than 3).
3- The Greens lost moral basis as they were prostituting the Liberals to give them preferences ahead of Labor, despite their claim of having totally contradictious agendas and ideologies. Not only this. The Greens machine and leadership could not depart its addiction on vending lies and deceptions by claiming that the next time they will adopt open preference cards (leaving the voters to decide how to send their preferences). This suggestion from Bob Brown aimed to enforce the Liberals to consider sealing preference deal with the Greens next time. So far, the Liberals were the ones (in all states) who are refusing to even negotiate with the Greens any preference deals. In contradiction of our expectation that the Greens would be the side that will refuse to consider any deals with the Liberals, who were described by the Greens consistently as regressive, fascist and party from dark ages.
4- The Greens failed to keep its voting level similar to voting they got during last Federal election, despite the media hysterical campaign to groom Greens and advocate voters to vote for them. The media published repeated articles and interviews in the last days of the campaign, portraying the Greens to be the future of Australian politics. I was shocked to read articles like “Inside green zero” (http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/state-election-2010/inside-green-zero-20101122-18469.html) and see cartoonist, Ron Tandberg (http://www.theage.com.au/national/letters/no-excuse-for-this-abuse-of-trust-20101123-185kb.html) gave some fantasies that the Greens could get more votes than Labor or Liberals and the future is for “Greens ideology”. Then we read many articles conducting hysterical campaign against Labor (on no real ground). After all this free and extensive propaganda by mainstream media (who are claimed by the Greens to be regressive), the Greens in fact lost grounds and its voting decreased.
The other loser in this election is, of course, the Labor party. The reasons for this are typical among all Labor parties in other states and on Federal level. The reason of the loss could be because:
1- Labor consistent creep towards the centre and right-centre, thinking that the voters will always want to have incompetent Labor government than conservative anti-public services and racist Liberal government.
2- The deterioration of Victorian life-style and the Labor governments inability to find solution for important crises (Housing, employment, health, public transport, energy …)
3- The long incumbency (least important among reasons)
4- The negative impact of other Labor parties (Federal Labor and Labor in other states)
5- The voters’ constant tendency not to keep powers in all states and Federal level in the hands of one party. The clearest example here is the voters’ tendency that gave Labor party power in all states during the Howard Federal Liberal government.
We believe that the Victorian election results should encourage Labor to rethink on its priorities in other states and on Federal level. If they wish to keep power in NSW, Queensland and then on Federal level, they should start to take courageous decisions. And we mean here not courageous decisions on issues that do not concern more than few Australians (same sex marriage or euthanasia), but decisions about finding solutions to crises in: housing, health, multiculturalism, energy supplies and conservative economic vandalism.
Not only this. The other left groups (apart from the Greens who we consider not to be on the left of politics) should start to discuss forming united front to fight for better life style, where resources should be more fairly used to benefit all classes of society. It is alarming that left groups are only talking about the necessity of same-sex marriage and euthanasia, while the society is deeply socio-economically unfair. More efforts and resources should be put into fighting against racism, for human rights, for better public services and for better Australian foreign policy independent from Western super power (currently USA).
We believe that if these results will be repeated on the same scale in NSW, the picture could be:
1- Heavy loss for Labor (we need to remember that all opinion polls in Victoria predicted narrow win for Brumby Labor government, while all opinion polls in NSW predicts big loss of Keneally Labor government).
2- The Greens will get less than 9%, which means that they will not win any lower house seats (Marrickville or Balmain) and no more than 2 Legislative Council seats (in the best scenario with good preference from other minor parties of Socialists, Communists and pro-drugs parties).
3- The Liberals will win comfortably.
Of course in politics time is very precious and things could change dramatically and quickly. The Labor party and other political forces still have time to change direction and take credible steps to restore confidence in politics among voters. But we doubt. Apart from expelling bad names in the Labor, the Labor is not ready to take courageous steps to address the deteriorating life style of NSW residents. We also believe that the Greens is not in better position to change its Machiavellian opportunist approach into more principled stance on issues matter to the majority of NSW residents.