2019 NSW State Election
The Bega Electorate Greens Campaign Committee and Manager delivered a smooth, well-run campaign, but one that on the inside was often chaotic, contrary and difficult.
We held up in the seat extremely well, halving the statewide swing away from the Greens (for a variety of reasons). Our success is measured in small ways: 3 Greens seats in the Legislative Assembly held with increased vote; 2 Upper House candidates elected comfortably; the Labor policy platform redrawn significantly to represent progressive views on Carbon, renewables, koalas, land planning, TAFE, health, hospitals and a lot more. These are big gains against the power of incumbency, the huge Lib/Lab budgets, the splitting of the progressive vote and the conservative baby boomer demographic.
Immediately before the pre-poll period our candidate Will Douglas was the target of an ugly piece of political interference when he was stood down from his teaching job at Moruya High pending a departmental investigation into his presence at a lunchtime student organised meeting about the international Student Climate Strike of March 15th.
It is shameful that publicly speaking out on an issue of such importance as climate change in 2019 should result in total loss of income. An online petition calling for Will’s re-instatement quickly collected in excess of 1000 signatures. A crowd funding site attracted donations to help with Will’s living expenses in the meantime.
The late entry of the Shooters Famers and Fishers Party candidate and the Australian Conservatives candidate made for a total of 6 candidates in the seat of Bega. Regrettably 6.4% voted for the Shooters despite there being no campaigning on their part and only weeks after the Christchurch massacre. Animal Justice polled 2.7%.
Sadly the sitting Liberal member was re-elected despite there being a terrific factionally-unaligned Labor candidate whom the Greens had no problems preferencing.
The Greens polled a very respectable average of 9.75% of the primary vote. This means that 4,945 local voters chose our policies over all of the major and minor parties.
Sample results are from Moruya where the Greens polled 11.6% of the formal vote, Central Tilba 33.4%, Broulee 13.6%, Batemans Bay Community Centre 5.8% (In Tanja in Bega Shire The Greens polled 44%!)
Scrutineers across the electorate reported high numbers minor party voters incl. the Greens only numbering one square thereby exhausting their vote. If only Greens voters can be educated to go on and express their preferences we will play our part in dislodging sitting conservatives by pushing progressive Labor candidates over the line.
This is an on-going problem in optional preferential voting systems and one we need to do more work to address.
Of course how to increase our primary vote remains the perpetual challenge of Greens everywhere battling both overwhelming discrepancies in advertising budgets with the major parties, and ingrained unexamined anti–Green prejudices existing in the community and promoted by the conservative forces who view our policies as leading to the end of the civilised world.
Nevertheless, the 2019 state campaign laid further groundwork for the continuing Greening of the electorate into the 2020s.