6731Re: SOCIALIST SENATE CAMPAIGNS FULL OF INTEREST
- Jun 3, 2004--- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, "michael berrell"
>If either or both the Socialist Alliance and theI
> 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 seriousof
> 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
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
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