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  • dave_r_riley
    Jun 3, 2004
      --- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, "michael berrell"
      <dennyben@b...> wrote:

      >If either or both the Socialist Alliance and the
      > Socialist Equality Party are resigned to getting something like
      > 0.03% of the vote in this years Federal Election then neither
      > organisation is fulfilling its potential and that is primarily why
      > have written these posts. Both organisations if they are serious
      > should be seriously looking to at least replicate the performance
      > the Progressive Labour Party at the last election.

      Well, Michael -- I've appreciated all your posts about electoral
      statistics and the meaning of various trends. But the reality is that
      thus far the socialist vote has not been a significant aspect of
      elections for more than fifty odd years. In 1947 (I think)when the
      CPA had a majority at the ACTU congress AND some 23,000 members I
      don't think you'll find much electoral clout either side of those

      Similarly if you check out the history of the Qld red north, the CP
      had a major grass roots relationship going with that area before it
      began to return CP councillors and later a member of state parliament.

      What we are experiencing with the historical rise of the Green vote
      is a very new phenonmenon which charts a major break in Australian
      electoral politics.

      Personally I have a lot of difficulty reading electoral trends as
      they impinge on votes for the SA. I thought the 5% in Tassie recently
      against 14% for the Greens was a very impressive return. However, you
      need to factor in the Green vote when discussing what could be
      achieved under your scenario of more than 0.03%. The Greens do occupy
      a reasionable amount of progressive electoral space.

      I see the PLP result in the Newcastle region as a significant
      isolated process which has special historical roots going back as I
      suggested. That they weren't replicated elsewhere despite attempts to
      establish PLP branches is an indication of the uniqueness of the
      PLP's voter impact to the Hunter Valley. Similarly, the Greens in Qld
      have not broken out any where near the level they have in NSW. And
      there are particular reasons for that too I feel.

      But I also suggest you get involved in the SA campaign so that you
      can relate to the problems any minor party formation faces. This is
      politics that doesn't translate to ready formulas. For me a major
      marker is the SA vote relative to the Green vote. And the Green vote
      had to start somewhere too and it began its climb in very small
      returns but that was in a situation where they already could claim
      parliamentary representation as there was a fusion between the
      Tasmanian forests campaigns and the NDP success. Basically that gave
      the Greens as an electoral exercise a free kick. But Graham
      Richardson was able to stall very effectively the Green momentum
      through a whole series of ALP manoevres.

      The SA vote basically has to start from scratch. There are some
      earlier campaigns by various formations we can employ as markers --
      but generally it's very much a DIY election for the Alliance.

      In the case of the PLP I think it does get a reasonable amount of
      votes on the basis of its name alone -- "Labor" + "Progressive"-- as
      do the Greens for patenting a colour -- regardless of anything else
      they do or don't do. In terms of a logo we've got a "socialist" tag --
      pure and simple. Even the SEP doesn't have that as their name seems
      obscure to me and could just as easily refer to a "social credit"
      or "welfare rights" party.

      But the name of game is not just one of generating a radical symbol
      on a ballot paper -- important as that is --but one of merging the
      voter support for the SA with a broader, outside elections process of
      day to day campaigning. The SA's manifesto -- Another Australia Is
      Possible -- puts that perspective very well I feel.

      Also, as the hopes of the Labor faithful rise they begin to close
      ranks and generally start the business of shepherding a return to the
      ALP as the only course possible. So with a major divide in the
      electoral sphere -- beween the Libs and the ALP -- folk will put
      their energy and votes where they think the emphasis should lie. Many
      of these people do not recognise how the preferential system of
      voting works so they partake of a Vote I ALP approach (or a VOTE !I
      Greens ) despite their enthusiasm for the SA in terms of platform and
      policies or activity.

      Factors like these complicate voting patterns. All parties also know
      that the more work you do in the seats electioneering, and the more
      seats you stand in, the more votes your Senate candidates will get.
      This is a cornerstone of Greens and Democrats strategies. Any cursory
      analysis of voter trends will confirm that even to the level of booth
      returns which vary relative to whether or not your party staffed that

      But as I point out, this will be our first federal campaign as a
      registered party so whatever impact we make is hard to judge before

      Dave Riley
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