Victorian Greens choose candidate in Richmond

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The Victorian Greens on Friday announced their first candidate for a winnable seat for the November 2010 state election. The Greens will be running Kathleen Maltzahn for the inner Melbourne seat of Richmond at the state election.

Maltzahn is a former City of Yarra councillor from 2004 to 2008 and is currently the Executive Director of a local women’s health service.

In regards to the preselection, Maltzahn said that “people get climate change. They want the government to make real change. I’m running to help make that happen. We’re also seeing more and more Greens elected, including, with Adele Carle’s win in Fremantle, in lower house seats. Winning Richmond is a real possibility.”

Richmond is the second most marginal Labor/Greens seat in Victoria, behind the state seat of Melbourne. The seat mostly covers Maltzahn’s City of Yarra, with the exception of small parts at the northern end of Yarra LGA.

Richmond is held by ALP Minister for Housing, Local Government and Aboriginal Affairs Richard Wynne, who has held the seat since 1999. Richmond has been a safe Labor seat since 1908, with the exception of the 1955 election when the sitting Labor MP was re-elected for the DLP for one term.

The Greens first came close to winning in Richmond in 2002, when Gemma Pinnell polled 28.6% of the primary vote and produced a two-candidate-preferred result of 53.1% for the ALP over the Greens. In 2006, the Greens went backwards slightly on the two-candidate-preferred vote, with the ALP winning 53.6%. There were swings against both Greens and Labor on primary votes towards smaller parties, in particular local Socialist councillor Stephen Jolly, who polled 5.6%, which largely contributed to a 3.9% swing against the Greens, who ran then-Yarra councillor Gurm Sekhon, and 1.1% against Wynne.

Maltzahn’s preselection is another in the long line of preselections for potentially winnable seats that the Greens will be conducting over the next few months. Lee Rhiannon and Richard di Natale have already been preselected for the Senate next year, with similar preselections in Queensland, South Australia and the ACT expected soon. In addition, there will be preselections for one winnable seat in the South Australian Legislative Council and four winnable seats in the NSW Legislative Council. The Victorian Greens are currently preselecting lead candidates for all eight Legislative Council regions, all of which are winnable. And, of course, we’re still waiting on preselections for the state seats of Balmain, Marrickville, Melbourne, Brunswick and Northcote.

Update: Greg Barber and Colleen Hartland have both been preselected to run for second terms in North Metro and Western Metro respectively. Yarra Ranges Councillor Samantha Dunn is running for Eastern Victoria region. The other five regions are yet to be concluded.

Update 2: Colleen Hartland hasn’t actually been preselected yet, but she is the only candidate in Western Metro.

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15 COMMENTS

  1. I would think that the Greens would usually vote with the ALP on confidence issue and almost never on votes where it would put the Liberals in.

    I would think that Sue Pennicuik would get the first spot on the ticket in Southern Metropolitan again.

  2. On a minor technicality: Colleen Hartland hasn’t been preselected for Western Metro yet. Even though she’s the only nominee, it will still go to a ballot.

    If you subscribe to our weekly e-bulletin (it’s a public list), you’ll see all the announcements of these preselections.

    In other news: the ballots for Melbourne (federal) are being distributed; nominations for Melbourne (state) have just opened.

  3. An interesting but not unexpected result given the internal alignments in the Vic Greens. Personally I’m not a fan of Maltzahn given that her approach to sex workers has verged (in my opinion) on middle-class paternalism or even liberal feminism, and I take a more radical approach. However, she is supported by Greg Barber which will give her solid campaign advice and a good chance. I’m also not convinced that Richmond is that winnable on the demographics, but I’m sure Stephen Luntz can enlighten us further. Oh, and Wynne was on 53.1% in 2002, not 53.6% (the Greens slipped by only 0.5% in the 2PP in 2006).

  4. Looking forward to the preselection for the South Australian Legislative Council. Nominations open this Friday and will be decided by member ballot in September. Great opportunity for the number 1 candidiate to be elected plus a realistic chance for a second. NO Xenophon this time around. Lots of votes to be gained! Mark Parnell has done an OUTSTANDING job as the first Green MP. GO for it South Australian Greens!!!!!

  5. I think our chances in Richmond are pretty much on a par with Brunswick and Melbourne. Our senate vote is higher in the booths that make up Richmond than the other two, although there are fewer Liberal preferences than in Melbourne. The only reason our vote there wasn’t as high as Brunswick was Steve Jolly getting some votes that would usually come to us. Of course some people will say we won’t win any of them, but they were generally the people who said we couldn’t win Fremantle.

    In regard to Kathleen, a lot of people who haven’t met her see her simply in terms of her Project Respect work, and aspects of that are controversial. While I hear both the criticism made of her position on sex work, and her response, I tend to think that straight men are the worst people to be making decisions on such matters, and consequently usually keep out of the debate.

    On the other hand, I served on the Victorian Federal Election Campaign Committee with Kathleen, and could hardly have been more impressed. Her input was insightful, passionate, frequently original and highly effective. In 20 years of campaigning that was clearly the best committee I have ever been on, and Kathleen was a big part of it. It wasn’t enough to get Richard elected, but Kathleen’s contributions certainly helped get him as close as he got. I expect her to run a really good campaign, and if elected be an excellent MP.

  6. Thanks Stephen – I was wondering about Richmond. But there is a difference between couldn’t win and wouldn’t win when it comes to elections. Fremantle was winnable, but really until the last 10 days of the byelection unlikely. It fell into the winnable category for a range of reasons, not the least of which was the shifting demographics of the area. With Richmond I was wonering about the makeup of the seat and the shifts within it – are they voters disposed towards voting Green or has it shifted in another direction – and is the ALP travelling well (which would mean Greens finding it hard), or poorly like in Fremantle, making it that much easier.

    As to Kathleen Maltzahn and Project Respect, my knowledge comes from speaking and working with people in the sex work field, as a youth worker (although that experience is getting stale!), here in NSW with local Councils responding to workers in their areas, and as a friend. As the Project Respect work is what Maltzahn is perhaps best known for, this needs to be aired, if only in terms of party responses to potential comments in the media. Straight or otherwise, I don’t entirely agree with her position.

  7. Re shifting demographics in Richmond, I don’t think it is overall getting Greener, the way Brunswick is, but I disagree with the people who think its going backwards. It’s certainly getting wealthier, and uni students are being pushed out, which is bad for us, but against that the people moving in are mostly tertiary educated and looking to live somewhere with excellent public transport (by Australian standards) and a vibrant culture, so we still do well amongst them. Labor only held it the last two times because of the vote from the public housing highrise, where they get 70-85% primaries. This vote isn’t going away and we’re still struggling to make an impact there, but as urban infill increases the population of the seat as a whole, that portion becomes a diminishing proportion.

    Despite what some Labor people said on another site, I am far from counting my chickens, all I think one can say at this point is that its a very realistic prospect.

  8. “Labor only held it the last two times because of the vote from the public housing highrise, where they get 70-85% primaries.”

    Actually – last time, that booth (Atherton Gardens, I presume you’re referring to) got ALP 44.6%, Socialists 18.8%, Greens 16.8%. Liberals even got beaten by the informal vote. Not sure what it means but it’s certainly interesting.

  9. Atherton Gardens is not the only area of Housing Commission towers in Richmond. There is one in Northern Richmond too (Mel Ref 2G K2 & 2H A2). The booths near them are not only housing commission resident voters. The 70-85% would be an estimate (which I would guess to be accurate) of the vote only from housing commission residents. I am guessing that Stephen Jolly lives near Atherton Gardens and represented that bit of Yarra on its Council.

    If only all booths were like the North Fitzroy both of Brunswick where the Greens came first on primaries in 2006.

  10. The closest thing to a “pure” Housing Commission booth in Richmond is Richmond North, where Labor got 69% primaries last time. A handful of the voters would have been from surrounding areas, pulling their vote down slightly.

    Residents of the Collingwood high rise make up about half of the voters at the booth of Collingwood, which is why it has a higher Labor vote than most of the other booths.

    I’m not sure of the proportion at Atherton Gardens, since that was a new booth, but the circumstances were exceptional there. As Tom notes, Steve Jolly had done considerable work there (much more than in Collingwood which is also in his ward) and pulled the ALP vote back a lot from its normal level.

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