Monday 26 March 2012

Voters abandoned Greens in droves across Cairns

While the crushing defeat of Labor is the big news in the State election, there’s another story with the local collapse of The Greens vote, writes Bryan Law.

38% of voters who chose Greens in Mulgrave in 2009, abandoned the Party on Saturday. 34% abandoned them in Cairns, 27% in Barron River and 19% in Cook. The State average decline was 9.5%.

The State election was historic, but the change in support for The Greens in FNQ hasn't gone unnoticed.

In the key seats for which the FNQ Greens branch is responsible the Party suffered losses 3-4 times as great as the state average. Proportionally the FNQ Greens performed worse than Labor. Why?

Here's the local factors...

The FNQ branch of
The Greens has been virulently anti-democratic for a decade.

Meetings are conducted unconstitutionally. Members are excluded. Office-holders are prevented (literally by an old boys network) from actually running the branch, and the Party has no campaign presence between one election and the next.

So in 2012, the election we all waited months to be called,
The Greens were scrambling to find candidates. In the week before nominations closed with the Electoral Commission, FNQ Greens were talking about using “paper” candidates - people who live outside the area, don’t campaign locally, and just fill a space on the ballot paper.

Fortunately a few locals put their hands up, but these were people with jobs and family commitments that left them unable to campaign effectively. FNQ Greens have no campaign strategy, no personnel, not even voluntary campaign managers, no plan, and very few points of connection with voter interests.

Here's the State factors...

At the media launch of
The Greens campaign, Senator Larissa Waters was the key speaker, and took the lion’s share of time. When the question of preferences came up, Senator Waters said that was the business of the Greens’ State Council, which had decided “as a matter of principle not to recommend preferences, although that may vary in particular seats."

Senator Waters then prevented Barron River candidate Elaine Harding from answering questions about preferences.

Sure enough, the apparatchiks in Brisbane did try to allocate preferences to Kate Jones in Ashgrove. An act of stupidity and bastardry that was quickly known around the State.

The rationale this time was that Labor would, in return for preferences at Ashgrove, allocate preferences to the Greens in Mt Coot-tha, where the star Greens candidate, Adam Stone, was running. In 2009 a similar preference deal was done to support Ronan Lee in Indooroopilly. The strategy failed in 2012, just as it had in 2009 – and this time it damaged the Greens vote state-wide.

In fact the Greens lost 12.8% of its former voters in Mt Coot-tha, was unable to put its nose in front of either major party, and preferences for them were never counted. Just like Indooroopilly in 2009.

Once upon a time, the Greens were a big hope for political innovation around the world (which last time I looked includes Queensland). They promised to be open, transparent, accountable, activist, inclusive, and follow the precepts of nonviolence.

The FNQ branch of
The Greens have abandoned every single one of those objectives, and now voters are abandoning them. Jon Metcalf, take a bow.


Geoff Holland said...

Since my involvement last year, meetings have been conducted constitutionally and democratically. We now have an online forum where not only members can engage and help develop policy, but non-member supporters too (but no voting rights for non-members obviously).

It is true there has not been much campaign presence between elections, but this is because we are a small party. We are now aiming to having candidates in place 24/7/365 with an annual review. Wish us luck! Interest has been growing despite the election results. I am certainly not an old-boy in the network, and I have not been constrained in leading or in my policies or media presentation. Not even so much as mention of please cut your hair, pull off your “guru” Facebook site, retract your Presumption of Equal Parenting in Family Law policy, and please don’t mention the military! Hahaha. I already warned the FNQ-Greens I might be a liability and may cost votes. Actually, I think the votes I lost were mostly due to trending rather than away from me personally (but maybe also some personally).

Here's the results for GRNs
2009 2012
Barron River 12.56 9.10 -27.5%
Cairns 10.93 7.18 -34.3%
Cook 6.28 5.09 -18.9%
Dalrymple 2.78 4.59 +65.1%
Mulgrave 5.51 3.25 -41.0%

Bryan Law said...

Today I had the sheer effrontery to look at the performance of the Greens on Saturday. The two quotes below epitomise Greens denial.

Quoted from Jah Fe @ 3pm

“You have sour grapes Bryan because you were ejected from FNQ-Greens, and frankly, having experienced your behaviour in Occupy Cairns, I would not support readmitting you to FNQ-Greens should for some unknown reason you decided to re-apply. You are (were?) a committed progressive political activist. God knows how you ended up in the Liberal National Party camp! Please tell us! What concessions can you possibly win from Gavin? And regarding Wild Rivers and World Heritage listing in the Cape, the world according to you and people like Noel Pearson is just one story. Go to the Cape and you will hear many people saying "Noel does not speak for us!"

• I’ve never been a member of the Greens, when I applied to join in 2006, Jon Metcalf and Denis Walls rorted the constitution to keep me out.

• As far as “Occupy Cairns” goes, a small group of “anonymous” and ALP supporters went all hysterical and just kept throwing dirt. Geoff has proved unable to keep a clear head once the dirt starts flying.

• The same kind of dirt gets thrown at Noel Pearson (whom I suspect Geoff has never met or talked with). Yes Geoff, there are lots of folk in the Cape who disagree with Noel. There may even be two dozen (out of 12,000) who like Wild Rivers. I’ll bet you’ve never visited the communities to talk with any of them. Why do you think they turfed Jason O’Brien in favour of someone who’d re-open the issue?

• I’m tired (really, really over, people who form an emotional attachment to a tribe, and then filter everything through the emotions to come up with the same old answer that doesn’t work. Geoff’s phobia around the LNP is a pinnacle of ignorance and disinformation – and I suspect it is shared by every surviving Green.

• It means you will never be able to have an honest conversation with any local member of Parliament, because you’ll have nothing to offer but grief and distraction. Why would anyone listen to a group that has less than 8% popular support and shows only antagonism and disrespect?

• As for applying for re-admission, why would I? I can exercise more influence individually than you can collectively, and I won’t have to deal with the juvenile, petty prejudices of windbag whitefellas while I do.

Quoted from jah Fe @ 5pm

“When I say "since my involvement last year" I am not saying I have made necessary changes, but rather, since I was not involved prior, I cannot really comment on how well meetings went constitutionally or democratically back then.”

That’s right Geoff. You don’t know the history, and you’ve refused every opportunity to find out. The Greens fully deserve every fall and failure on the horizon.

KitchenSlut said...

I reckon it was really Clive Palmer and the CIA that were responsible for the Greens vote!

Geoff, percentage changes in percentages can be almost meaningless?

Michael Weitzmann said...

Bryan, I personally think that people are seeing the malevolent influence the Greens are having on Federal Labor policy. The Greens seem even more unconcerned about the effect of the likes of the Carbon Tax are going to have on the lives of ordinary people than Labor is. They are seen as fellow travellors and I believe the result we have jest seen will be even more pronounced come the Federal election. What you have mentioned is also relevant though perhaps not so widely Senator Lee Rhiannon's communist past & the anti-semitic nature of the NSW branch, which is openly conflicted with Bob Brown (apparently). They seem as internally riven with disagreement as the Bolshevicks and Menshavicks of old.

Geoff Holland said...

Just like to clarify my post above: When I say "since my involvement last year" I am not saying I have made necessary changes, but rather, since I was not involved prior, I cannot really comment on how well meetings went constitutionally or democratically back then. Now, what other party would talk as much about internal matters as much as I have!? The LNP in particular I have found to be very cagey. At least Steve Wettenhall attends all the forums including the COUCH forum on the hospital and the Cairns Chamber of Commerce forum which were both de facto LNP organised, while Gavin King picks and chooses giving lame excuses as to why he did not attend. Gavin and Michael Trout did attend the gay forum to their credit. And it doesn't matter if the COUCH hospital forum and Cairns Chamber of Commerce are de facto LNP forums, as long as rules of fairness and respect are applied. Unfortunately, as we know, Cairns Chamber of Commerce were seriously remiss on this. I have also been told that procedure during the CCC forum was also questionable, but since I was not there I cannot really say. How many LNP local candidates will attend the Cairns City Forum on Sunday 01 April in City Place?

Community Reformation Action Group (CRAG) said...

John F Kennedy ...
First, were we truly men of courage--with the courage to stand up to one's enemies--and the courage to stand up, when necessary, to one's associates--the courage to resist public pressure, as well as private greed?

Secondly, were we truly men of judgment--with perceptive judgment of the future as well as the past--of our own mistakes as well as the mistakes of others--with enough wisdom to know that we did not know, and enough candor to admit it?

Third, were we truly men of integrity--men who never ran out on either the principles in which they believed or the people who believed in them--men who believed in us--men whom neither financial gain nor political ambition could ever divert from the fulfillment of our sacred trust?

Finally, were we truly men of dedication--with an honor mortgaged to no single individual or group, and compromised by no private obligation or aim, but devoted solely to serving the public good and the national interest

Syd Walker said...

Somewhat off-topic, but I wrote a critical appraisal of Bryan's 2005 excursion to Pine Gap and its consequences in my blog for anyone who's interested: see Pine Gap and a dubious Cairns peace activist

Community Reformation Action Group (CRAG) said...

Syd the article on your site is a good example of discernment ... we should always watch what people do, not what they say ... but lets be aware when there is Peace within ourselves there is-will be Peace within the world ... for we are all one ... anyone who wants the truth about Pine Gap