Gippsland saw the Greens increase their vote by just over 1% to 6.06%. Though in the end, National Party senator, Peter McGauran (“Chops”) romped back in with hardly a chink in his support base (the Liberals never stand in Gippsland’s Federal elections). In Victoria the Greens should be close to or just above 10% in the Senate and nationally the swing to the Greens will see a vote of about 9%. Their Senate vote will end up close to 1.2 million votes compared with 917,000 in the 2004 election
Nationally, the Greens outpolled the Nationals in the Lower House. The Greens have also pushed the Nats out as Australia’s third largest political party – by a country mile. The Nats only scored about 681,000 votes compared to the Greens 959,000 (with 1 or 2% of the vote still to count at the time of writing this). That’s 5.5% compared to 7.8% for the Greens.
Depending on the final count, the Greens will go into the next Senate with between five and six seats – most likely five. In 1998 they had one seat, 2001 – two seats, and in 2004, four seats. They’ll share the balance of power with five Senators.
New Federal Minsters of interest are Penny Wong for Climate Change and Water, Peter Garrett with Environment and Pulpmill Approvals. Tony Burke has Forestry, Fisheries and Agriculture. Between these three politicians, they should be able to save our greatest green carbon stores and start to move this country quick-smart into enviro-restoration mode. If Rudd has allowed the logging and fossil fuel industries to attend and again stymie the Bali round of climate negotiations (as Howard has in the past), then we know where we’ll stand with “Kevin 07”.
The biggest worry though is Martin Ferguson. He’s been appointed the new Minister for Resources, Energy and Tourism. He is the politician who hates “greenies” with a passion. It’s his whole motivation for being. He wants to burn 5 million tonnes of native forest a year and call it “renewable energy.” If he does, he’ll have a massive battle on his hands!