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The climate is changing - but Green vote dries up

By Stewart Prins - posted Tuesday, 2 January 2007

As the ink dries on the final results for 2006 Victorian State election, commentators are focusing their analysis on the failure of the Liberals to mount an effective challenge, the enduring strength of “Brand Bracks”, and the extraordinary return from exile of the DLP.

The Greens, however, have been largely forgotten - cast aside as disappointing non-performers.

But were the Greens election “losers” or not?


For the first time in Victorian history, the Greens will have a place in the State Parliament.

Indeed, the last-minute recount of votes in the Western Metropolitan region delivered the Greens a third seat of the Legislative Council.

The colour scheme of the Victorian Parliament will be indelibly changed with the Greens adding a different hue to the rich red tones of the Upper House.

Three seats for a party which previously had none must be considered a momentous leap forward - especially given the media frenzy around the election of a single DLP candidate.

Despite this achievement, there is solid ground for arguing that the Greens were the disappointing underachievers of the campaign. The lead-up to the election was dominated by a single issue - the weather.

Continuing drought, record high temperatures and dwindling water supplies thrust environmental issues to very front row of political debate.


At the same time, popular culture, through the success of Tim Flannery's book The Weather Makers and Al Gore's highly successful film An Inconvenient Truth, gave people an explanation for the extreme weather conditions they were experiencing around them.

And changes to the electoral system, with the introduction of proportional representation in the Upper House, meant that smaller parties would find it easier to win a place in Parliament.

It seemed that the planets had aligned, and the time had finally come for the Greens.

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About the Author

Stewart Prins is a transport consultant and former Ministerial Adviser to the Victorian Government.

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Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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