Mar 8, 2016

Transcript of doorstop – Sydney

Subject: Liberal-Greens preference deal; Grayndler

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Thanks for joining us. I’m here today to call out the secret preference deal that has been negotiated between the Liberals and the Greens political parties.

That deal will see Liberals give preferences to the Greens ahead of Labor in Grayndler, Sydney, Melbourne, Batman, and Wills. And we’ll see open tickets or no preferences given from the Greens towards the Liberals in the seat of Richmond in NSW, and in the Victorian seats of Corangamite, Bruce, Chisholm, McEwen, Deakin and La Trobe.

The issue of the seat of Fremantle is one which has broken down in negotiations because both the Liberals and the Greens think that they are the best chance of taking the seat from Labor.

This is the ultimate example of cynical politics and putting tactics before principle. And the reason why we know about these discussions that have taken place in Melbourne is because of the anger that is there from some at senior levels of the Liberal Party that they would preference Greens candidates, particularly in seats where the Liberal Party has no chance of winning them at the next election.

But also anger from many Greens Party members including parliamentarians who object to their Party providing assistance to get the Turnbull Government re-elected and for all of what that means.

What that means for future action on climate change. What that means for a plebiscite rather than real action on marriage equality. What that means for workplace relations including another attempt to get through their WorkChoices on Water legislation, to attack penalty rates of Australians.

What it means for public transport and the fact that Malcolm Turnbull hasn’t really changed any of the policies that the Abbott Government have put forward.

A progressive party exchanging preferences with a conservative party, with Malcolm Turnbull as the spokesperson but all of Tony Abbott’s policies is quite extraordinary.

And the deal for Liberals too, unlike what they’ve said in the past, where Tony Abbott advocated putting the Greens last after Labor, is quite extraordinary as well. So I think people will react very cynically to this.

That’s why both the Greens spokespeople and the Liberal Party spokespeople while not being prepared to deny this, of course, because people will see it on polling day, are also not out there proudly proclaiming this preference negotiation. And of course, it’s intimately connected with the changes that are being made to the Senate.

Because historically what’s occurred in terms of Australian elections is that the Greens have relied upon Labor preferences to get Senators elected and Labor has received the support of the Greens in terms of marginal seats.

By making the changes that they have in the Senate, by essentially introducing optional preferential voting, the Greens believe that preferences in the Senate aren’t as important so they’re focussed on doing a deal with the Liberals in House of Representatives seats.

Of course, this will make no difference in terms of whether Liberals can control the House of Representatives or not. What it will make a difference to though, is to give the Liberals a greater chance, through the Greens actions, in having split ticket votes rather than giving preferences to progressive candidates. And that’s why I think Australians will rightly see this as cynical.

The Greens political party, who put themselves up as being above old politics, as somehow being concerned with principle, what we see here is a secret manipulation of the political system and Richard Di Natale needs to come out there and justify what has happened and justify the discussions he’s had with members of the Liberal Party and how they’ve come to these conclusions.

REPORTER: So Labor expects to get some votes out of this, do they?

ALBANESE: I think that what will occur, in my electorate for example, when people who are weighing up whether they’re going to vote for the Greens political party or the Labor Party will have a look at what the Liberal Party is doing and think to themselves, think twice. Think about what the implications are for that.

Should the Greens be rewarded for this kind of cynical politics? And I think they’ll think twice. They’ll also examine the stance that the candidate against me has. And Liberal Party members will be somewhat shocked at the idea that someone who has spent a considerable part of his political activism as a member of a revolutionary Marxist party suddenly attracts preferences from the Liberal Party.

A simple search of the Twitter account or other accounts of the candidate against me will show what his views are. His views are expressed very colourfully about Malcolm Turnbull, about the Liberals, about the nature of capitalism and the production process, about the role of unions. It’s out there for all to see. How the Liberals can defend giving preferences to him will be up to them as well.