The votes have been counted and the headline results are as predicted months ago. The only talking point of interest, at this stage, has been reflections on the Greens vote. Various commentators have called the Greens result a disappointment, given that they went into the election as favourites in Balmain and strong chances in Marrickville, and on current vote appear Labor appear to have held Marrickville and likely to hold Balmain (though it’s very close).
But was the Greens result really so disappointing? What were the positives for the progressive Left?
As a member of the Greens, I have to admit that I’m not disappoint with the result. Sure it would be great to win Balmain, but coming within 100 votes of winning against a popular sitting member, and senior Minister, is far from a disastrous. And similarly, the Labor Deputy Premier Carmel Tebbutt in Marrickville has an enduring popularity in spite of the rottenness in the rest of the party.
Add to this the dirty campaign run by Labor in these two electorates (my twitter followers would be familiar with some of these. For example, seeding conspiracies based on xmas cards!). Personally, the willingness of Firth and Tebbutt to be part of these campaigns had eroded the high esteem in which I held both of them. To distance themselves from the rest of their dirty, corrupt Government, then head campaigns based on outright lies and crude innuendo is not so endearing.
But this is to focus on only two Lower House seats, in a State election. Overall, the Greens received a small improvement in both houses of Parliament; they also appear to have picked up and extra Upper House seat. With a total of five Upper House members after this election, this is the most that the NSW Greens have ever achieved. Add to this the Senate spot regained in the last Federal election, and you get a picture of the slow but steady momentum behind the party.
The election of two Upper House representatives from regional NSW also adds depth to the Parliamentary team.
The Greens are growing slowly, steadily and from a small base. Whilst leaps of improvement are exciting, the Party is building and transforming into a party that the mainstream electorate feel comfortable with. As the party builds, so does the experience within the party and its parliamentary members.
For all the Luke Foley’s bluster, I don’t think that Labor will come out of this election feeling terribly comfortable about the challenge from the progressive Left.