NSW Greens choose Lee Rhiannon for Senate


In breaking news, the NSW Greens conducted their preselection ballot count yesterday, with Lee Rhiannon winning comfortably to be chosen for the first position on the ticket. The second position went to Executive Director of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW, Cate Faehrmann, with Lane Cove councillor Keith McIlroy taking the third position on the ticket.

This appears to be a strong ticket for the Greens, with a candidate with extensive experience in state Parliament and a record of going after the state Labor government bringing valuable experience to the Senate team from a large state currently unrepresented by Greens. In the case of a double dissolution, there would also be an outside chance of electing a second candidate, and Faehrmann would make a strong Senator, as a younger candidate with strong environmental credentials.

Meanwhile, the picture of the Greens lead Senate candidates around the country is becoming clearer. Richard di Natale, the 2007 lead candidate and candidate for Melbourne at the 2002 and 2006 state elections, has been selected to run in Victoria. It appears likely that Larissa Waters will run again in Queensland after performing well in 2007. I assume that Senators Rachel Siewert and Christine Milne will easily be re-endorsed by their respective states to run for second terms. I have no information on any potential candidates in South Australia.

In the ACT, it appears that the leading candidate could be a prominent left-wing intellectual with no previous history with the Greens. Hopefully I can say more in the future after checking some sources in the ACT.

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  1. As for Coogee, it has the potential to flip in any number of directions. It has a large transient and renter population which lowers overall turnout and makes the outcome less predictable. Labor did terrible numbers at the last local elections in this area and can’t possibly maintain their last result. The trend in Coogee is the same as the state trend, declining Labor support over successive years since the Greens came onto the scene and flatlined or slightly decreased Liberal support over the same period. The Greens are heading towards percentages in the high 20’s which could be pushed to mid 30’s depending on currency of voter registration in the area, the quality of the campaign and the candidate.

    Another factor is the ever-present potential of the sitting Labor member being rolled for a new candidate. I don’t know if that will happen or exactly how that might affect things.

    Coogee actually has a small possibility of going Green in 2011, but it is very small. The long view to 2015 is of course a more realistic and boring target, wouldn’t a surprise win in 2011 be much more fun?

  2. @Phil

    That’s just what the math says, if you get one vote over 1/7 of the total, you win a seat.

    “despite getting 2.95 quotas, they still claimed the 1st, 3rd and 6th seat, whereas the Libs who gained the 2nd, 4th & 5th seats with 2.75 quotas – meaning that the Libs garnered 0.25 quotas before the ALP manages 0.05”

    Both the number 3 senators for Labor and LNP were elected at the last count after the CDP was excluded. If the Greens votes had been distributed the final ratio of left/right support would be different again. The rank of “5th” for the last LNP senator doesn’t take into account preferences that stayed in the Green column.

    Quotas after the last count were:

    LNP: 3.12
    ALP: 3.11
    GRN: 0.77

    Here’s a simplistic hypothetical:

    Depending on preferences, a medium swing to labor directly from the LNP (about 3%) would see them go to 3 full quotas without preferences and the LNP go under 3 including preferences.

    Notwithstanding any other changes, at about the same stage you would see:

    LNP: 2.91
    ALP: 3.32
    GRN: 0.77

    The surplus 0.32 gets redistributed. The Greens in this scenario would most likely take the last seat in what is basically a 4-3 split to Labor/Green. You don’t need a 4-2 split, you just need the right numbers on the day. In fact, a 4-2 split might be too much to get a Green in, as until the Greens are polling a full quota in primaries, they will always compete against Labor’s last remaining candidate as long as Green/Labor preferences flow as they have in the past.

  3. When the Senate was increased in 1984, it should have been increased to 14 per state. This would mean that the Greens would probably got 6 Senators elected in 2007 and 4 in 2004 and would be looking to get 6 again in 2010 (unless there is a DD where they would be looking at 7-13 Senators). The Democrats would also have been winner out of this because they would have got a Senator from each mainland state at most elections 1990-2001. Had this increase been in one go in 1984 then Peter Garret would have been elected for the NDP at that election (and possibly other elections).

  4. 53# It would also have meant that One Nation and Fred Nile parties would have been elected over the years.

  5. One Nation was elected in 1998 in Queensland anyway. What elections would have produced a CDP(FNG) (or to use its old name CTA(FNG)) Senator since the enlargement?

  6. If there had been 7 senators elected from WA in 2007 then Liberal surplus would have been over 5% more and they would have taken the preferences from the CDP and taken the extra seat. The differences between the 6 senator outcomes and the 7 senator outcomes, for 1996, 1998 and 2001, may have not destroyed the Democrats.

  7. Have to agree with Phil here – we should expand the Senate because it increases representation across the community, not just because it might favour one party or another. The same goes for looking at how the Senate elects peoples (ie PR, OPV etc). The reason often given for increasing the number of MP’s to an odd number, though, in respect of increasing the chance of electing a non-major party MP, is a good one as it starts to inject some diversity into the Parliament (this is true also of 5 seat electorates as in Victoria, ACT & Tasmania).

    As for changing the system, it does occur, just slowly…

  8. I’ve previously said I think we should add 2 extra Senators for each state, bringing the number of Senators elected per state per election to 7 and also adding over 20 seats to the House of Representatives. I don’t think that is primarily about helping out the Greens. We would probably be able to elect more MPs, but then again so would all other parties.

  9. 60

    If there had been a 14-Senator a state system for the 1996 and 1998 elections then the numbers in the Senate would have been different. This difference may have meant a majority for the coalition in the Senate after 1996 and this may have meant that the GST and other votes were passed only on Coalition votes and caused them to loose in 1998 due to an even bigger loss of unpopularity that there was. There would have been more Democrats in the Senate and this may have changed the balance within the Democrats on the GST. There would have have been a fifth Democrat elected in 2001 so that the Democrats would have had parliamentary party status until 2008 (but this last one is unlikely to have saved them.

  10. I KNEW this preselection would be a complete disaster and NOW I really know it! The Conservatives will have a field day! How could NSW Greens Members be SO STUPID!!!!!!! By the way , your Senate candidate is NOT popular in other states!

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