At the start of the Queensland election the Greens as usual announced that Labor should not take their preferences for granted. This is their normal tactic used in order to get the major parties to start a bidding war for their preferences, so that each will compete for the number of projects to be shut down, mineral deposits to be locked into national parks, mines blocked, and so on. Once this is done they announce that Labor will get their preferences as usual.
This election has put them between the devil and the deep blue sea, in this regard, as for some time they have been campaigning against the building of Traveston Crossing Dam, which the premier, Anna Bligh is determined to go ahead with, “Even if its unfeasible.” The problem for the Greens is that some time ago a Labor MP, Ronan Lee quit his party and defected to the Greens, and has the problem of trying to get re-elected in his Labor seat. For this he will have to get Labor preferences, assuming he can come in second ahead of Labor.
Queensland is one of he few backwaters that still has a ban on Uranium mining, a Labor hangover from the 70s, and despite the fact it offers the only really viable alternative to fossil fuelled power stations, they and the Greens still feel the need to ban it as some sort of residual hippy, luddite, feel good position.
When the opposition leader Lawrence Springborg announced that if elected he would reverse this position, he let the Greens partially off the hook. It is still partial as the Traveston issue remains, and they cannot be seen to be supporting that, although Lee was able to claim that he was so ‘outraged’ by the decision that he would preference Labor.
In order to get Labor elected and to give the appearance of not supporting the dam, they hit on the idea of preference swaps with Labor in the lower South East, where their preferences are going to be needed against a resurgent opposition, then have a “Just vote one” campaign, in the areas where the people are really pissed off at the dam, then swap with Labor in the north.
Interestingly, since the original outburst from Ronan Lee someone in the Greens has decided to change the reason for trying to get Labor re-elected, from the Uranium issue to the possibility that the LNP will build dams elsewhere. As reported in the press “Greens candidates on the Sunshine Coast are also rightly nervous that their party’s preference swap with Labor will be seen as a cynical exercise which may help Labor over the line,” funny about that.
The Sunshine Coast Daily reports:
While the Save the Mary Coordinating Group is at pains to point out the support it has received from the environmental party, others affected by the dam decision have been less diplomatic.
Greens Indooroopilly candidate Ronan Lee, who split with the Labor Party last year over his opposition to the dam, was handed a watermelon on the weekend to symbolise his green skin and red Labor heart.
Save the Mary president Glenda Pickersgill said the action was taken independently of the group which was urging voters to put Labor last on the ballot paper. ….
“If you intend to vote for the Greens in the election on March 21, please don’t preference a Labor candidate,’’ Ms Pickersgill said.
The Greens, both federal and state have strongly opposed the proposed Traveston Crossing dam since it was first announced in April 2006 by Peter Beattie and have been actively involved in bringing its unreliability and disastrous consequences to the attention of people all round Australia. ….
Lindsay Holt, the Greens candidate in Kawana, said voters needed to understand that the Greens were not preferencing Labor in this region because of its total opposition to the dam.
“But voters should also understand that we are not preferencing the LNP in this region either because they are proposing to build a large number of dams elsewhere in the state,’’ Mr Holt said.
It is an argument with a fragile logic. The Greens will support Labor, which is committed to building the Traveston dam, with preference swaps in other parts of the state, but won’t preference the LNP here, which is anti-Traveston dam, because it may build dams elsewhere.