Green team looks better than ever

BY THE tenor of your emails last fortnight, I gather some of you are sceptical about my suggestion that disgruntled voters are turning Green.

The very day that this column boasted the readiness of Greens candidates to govern, Byron Shire mayor Jan Barham was preselected to the NSW Upper House ticket for the State elections in 2011.

The same day, the front-page news was that Tony Abbott had become the Federal Leader of the Opposition. When I penned it, Malcolm Turnbull was still Opposition Leader; when you read it, he was not.

The language used by some of you to stridently express your belief that the Greens are not fit to govern sounds a lot like Byron United before the 2008 council elections.

The pre-election negotiations between Nationals’ poster boy Ross Tucker and Country Labor’s Bob Tardiff over a series of dinners in the week before the elections came to naught when Tardiff failed to raise 5 per cent of the vote.

With the State ALP on the nose to the extent that it is, it is not too hard to believe there will be other electorates that will turn away from Labor to a similar extent. Given that the Nationals snaffled just one-in-four votes in that same election, anything is possible.

This is not the first time that the mail bag has bristled with suggestions that I may have lost the odd tombola.

During the Federal election campaign in 2007, many of you wrote to me along those lines when I suggested that we would see a Howard defeat, followed by the spectacle of the conservatives tearing themselves apart, strengthening the Federal Labor Government position as Australia’s mainstream party and positioning the Greens as Australia’s natural opposition and party of principle.

The only person in Australia then who was prepared to say anything like that in public was Tasmanian author/activist Steve Biddulph. He has become a regular visitor to the Northern Rivers, so it is possible the state of politics here has given him the sense of what might happen elsewhere.

Given the absolute disarray the Opposition is in federally, its always parlous state in NSW, and the tired, sorry state of the NSW Government, it is hard to see who else anyone would vote for.

Still, a week is a long time in politics and there are 67 weeks to go to the election.

Watch this space.

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