Labor and the Punch lie about Greens and Hanson

Plenty of people have already taken News Ltd hack David Penberthy to task for his lie that the Greens preferenced Pauline Hanson in the Legislative Council over the Labor Party. It’s a pretty easily disproved claim, considering the Greens did not give any preference to any other party in the Legislative Council, and it was made clear on all the party’s how-to-votes.

Penberthy is a habitual, professional liar, as seen further down in the same piece where he repeats his vicious slur that Marrickville council’s policy was a modern version of “Kristalnacht”. He also lied about what the policy means, claiming that it would mean all Israeli goods would be banned from the Marrickville council area. The council’s decision was clearly only directed at goods and services purchased by the council itself, not by the community.

Anyway, let’s get back to Pauline Hanson. Since last Saturday Labor MP Luke Foley has repeatedly attacked the Greens and claimed that the party had helped Pauline Hanson by not preferencing the Labor Party.

In reality, the Greens didn’t “resurrect” Pauline Hanson’s political career, the 2% of NSW voters who voted for her did. So far not a single Greens preference has played a role in deciding whether Hanson is elected, and it appears that will continue to be the case. The same can’t be said for Labor preferences.

All through this period the Greens made their position clear: the Labor Party’s record had made it impossible to support, and it was believed that preferencing Labor would actually reduce the Greens vote such as it would elect more right-wing candidates.

Foley’s entire position is based on the claim during the campaign and since that the Labor Party preferenced the Greens in the upper house while the Greens did not reciprocate. But is that true?

It doesn’t appear to be so. On all Labor how-to-votes seen before election day, the ALP did preference the Greens in the upper house, even if the language was confusing and the words ‘The Greens’ were illegible.

After substantial research, it has been found that, in at least 35 electorates, the election-day how-to-vote changed its advice, dropping a second preference for the Greens. Here’s one I found online. In only twelve seats has there been confirmation that the ALP did do what they said they would do. I don’t know what they did in the other 46, but the trend suggests that the ALP went back on their public statements in about three quarters of seats.

Did the ALP really care about stopping Pauline Hanson from getting into the Legislative Council? Or was it just a convenient tactic to attack the Greens for not propping up the hated government?

As it stands now, the Labor Party’s preferences may matter, whereas the Greens preferences will not. The Greens are running just ahead of Pauline Hanson on the above-the-line count, and Hanson’s very strong below-the-line performance suggests she will outpoll the Greens by less than 4000 votes on the final primary vote.

The Labor Party’s sixth candidate, Andrew Ferguson, is expected to fall behind the Fishing Party, Family First, John Hatton and No Parking Meters. His preferences could decide this race. The question now is whether Labor preferences will flow strongly enough to the Greens to stop Pauline Hanson getting in.

All along the Greens argued that preferences could only have an impact in a narrow circumstance, and that a decision to preference Labor would drive Greens voters to the Coalition. Labor’s argument was that it was “unprincipled” to not preference the other party in order to stop Pauline Hanson. Not only did Labor not preference the Greens, but they lied about it and tried to hide it, while continuing to bash the Greens.

I believe that enough Labor preferences will flow to the Greens to stop Pauline Hanson, but you have to ask what “principles” are left with Labor and Luke Foley when they cry so much about the dangers of Pauline Hanson then hand out how-to-votes that say “Just Vote 1”.

According to the logic of Luke Foley, the Labor Party, after crying foul for weeks about the Greens not preferencing them, put up their hands and said “we don’t care who wins”, and then they lied about it. So who is “rotten and unprincipled”?

Also: when I was scrutineering yesterday, the ALP scrutineers were focusing on knocking out Greens votes, even as it became clear that the ALP couldn’t win. The only effect of this is to make it easier for Hanson to win. So principled!

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About Ben Raue

Ben Raue is the founder and author of the Tally Room.

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