In a series of articles in the Bass Coast Post Catherine Watson gave detailed biogs of the eight candidates and their policies in the seat of Monash. As readers of this blog will be aware, I have been a strong supporter of climate independents and Voices candidates. In this electorate, which covers west Gippsland and a substantial part of south Gippsland, this means support for the Voices for Monash candidate Deb Leonard. (see here and here)
In Monash Deb Leonard and the Greens Mat Morgan are the only candidates treating climate change as the most important election issue. Both also consider a Federal Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) as an important issue. But on the matter of preferences these candidates differ with the party decisions, swaps and deals being made from head office. In this there is no accounting for local issues, strategies or the importance of an issue, in this case the need to get as many climate activists elected to the next Federal Parliament as possible. For the Greens a win in Monash is impossible, whereas the Independent has a slight chance – now made much more difficult with the preference deal.
Whilst Deb Leonard (and most of the Climate Independents) has adopted the policy of not issuing preferences the Greens have given their second preference to the ALP ahead of the Voices Independent. This ‘head office’ deal between the two parties elevates the party above the issue. The ALP in this instance is not the best second preference for climate voters in Monash whereas in Gippsland climate voters have little choice.
Likewise the Lib-Nats have done a preference deal with the billionaire’s coal party, or in some cases One Nation. The preference deals of the major parties, including the Greens, are anathema to making any progress on the climate crisis in Australia. The Greens have made a number of mistakes over the last 20 years including the failure to support the Rudd Emissions trading scheme, and the failure in Kooyong in 2019, when they put their best candidate, Julian Burnside, up against the best climate independent in Victoria. This is another.
The preference deals have made it so much harder for Deb Leonard in Monash. Not only does she have to be in the top two in primary votes, she has to be ahead of a combined Greens/ALP primaries total, or close to it, to have any chance of winning.
The Greens ALP preference deal in Monash has persuaded me not to give them my primary vote in the Senate, although eventually they will get my preference. In Monash I would urge any Greens voter for whom the climate emergency is the most important issue to consider giving Deb Leonard your first vote and, failing that, to preference her before the ALP.