Greens to put Snowdon ahead of MacFarlane


p2329-Rob-Hoad-1By ERWIN CHLANDA
The Territory Greens will put Labor’s Warren Snowdon ahead of the CLP’s Tina MacFarlane on their how to vote card for Lingiari, according Greens candidate Rob Hoad (at right), who also stood in this seat in 2001.
He says the other positions on the card will be decided by the Greens party in the Territory in a consensus process. There will be a meeting in Alice Springs tonight.
p2327-Braedon-EarleySo far, 1Territory president Braedon Earley (at left) has announced he will be running as an independent in Lingiari.
Nominations for candidates (including the Senate) will close at 12 noon tomorrow.
Mr Snowdon holds Lingiari by a margin of less than one percent.
Peter Cain, a former staffer for Senator Nigel Scullion, says the Senate race will be “interesting”.
The NT’s second Territory seat is held by Nova Peris, named as the “captain’s pick” by Prime Minister Juila Gillard over incumbent Labor senator Trish Crossin.
This resulted in an unprecedented drop of the Labor Senate vote, says Mr Cain.
p2118-Nova-PerisAfter just one term Senator Peris (at left) has now announced she would not stand again.
p2333-Maland.-McCarthy-130Mr Cain, who now runs a youth support service in Tennant Creek, says after an uninspiring performance by Senator Peris, national Labor is making the same mistake by selecting Malarndirri McCarthy (at right) without adequately consulting with ALP members in the NT.
He says the ex-ABC journalist managed to lose the “unlosable” NT seat of Arnhem.
p2329-Michael-Connard-1On the other hand, Greens Senate candidate, Dr Michael Connard (at left), has a strong profile throughout the NT having worked in several of its hospitals over many years.
Mr Cain, who is close to Senate candidate Maurie Japarta Ryan, says the former Central Land Council chairman will be preferencing Dr Connard.
Mr Ryan has Aboriginal support in Central Australia and is likely to profit from the Four Corners disclosures about failings of Senator Scullion’s Indigenous Affairs portfolio.
Mr Cain says the Greens have a good party machine in the NT. Barbara Shaw, practically unknown outside The Centre, scored 13%, although in the last election Warren H Williams reduced that to 8%.
With some leakage from CLP and Labor, and support from Independents, a Green as the Territory’s second Senator is a possibility, says Mr Cain: “The political world is a different place these days.”
PETER CAIN provided the following comment:
The combined CLP-ALP vote in the Territory for the Senate has been in decline for several elections.
In 2013, the combined vote was 73%, of which CLP pulled 41% and the ALP 32% – the first time it had failed to reach a quota. There was the Palmer United factor but the combined Greens-PUP vote was 16%, only slightly more than the 13% Barbara Shaw pulled for the Greens in 2010.
In 2007 and 2004, the CLP-ALP combined vote was around 87%.
That was up from 84% in 2001 but there were three relatively well known “others” in that election, the Democrats, Greens and One Nation, which still had solid support in parts of the Territory (anywhere that playing a banjo is compulsory, anyway).
The ALP actually pulled 47% in 2007 – it’s a long way down to 32%. Yes, the captain’s pick was not popular in the NT but it had long been viewed that the ALP had a “rusted on” vote of 35% here – so some of the true believers didn’t vote for Nova.
Will Malarndirri change that? She was not well regarded as a Minister, lost an unlosable seat to the CLP, doesn’t live in the Territory and wasn’t a party member when preselected. Again.
For a number of factors, it is unlikely Nigel will attract the 40% he got in 2007 and 2010. The apparent toxic nature of the CLP brand at the moment and rumours of fewer troops than normal at pre- and mobile polling may see him only get around 35% but he should still safely get a quota.
It’s hard to see Labor improving on its 2013 result but easy to see them going backwards again, perhaps even to below 30%.
That puts the combined vote at around 65% – meaning there is more than a quota that will go to “others”.
The Greens candidate is a well-known, long time Territorian. He is a doctor – people like doctors (far more than fishermen and journalists, anyway). He has worked right across the Territory. There has never been an “other” candidate in the Territory who has his credentials.
Neither Labor nor the Tories want to talk about the environment but I think content in the Alice Springs News Online indicates people are sick of sweating their bums off in winter and the Barrier Reef dying, to say nothing of fracking.
Japarta Ryan will attract a strong Indigenous vote, perhaps as high as 5%. He is also well known across the Territory.
The Greens campaign well. If they start rolling the party machine in up here, it’s possible their primary vote may go as high as 25%. That plus Maurie’s is 30%.
If Lock The Gate gets behind a candidate in the Territory, Malarndirri is in for a sleepless month.
History says it will be one of each again. But smarter people than me say Pauline Hanson and Jacqui Lambie  are going to win Senate slots so it’s no ordinary election.
Everything is going to depend on how cranky Labor voters are about the Nova – Malarndirri circus.
By the way, a quota is 33.34% of the votes.
And if the Greens go even close in the Senate, they will throw everything at the Territory election.
We live in interesting times.

– Peter Cain



  1. Peter Cain is incorrect on one point, that Labor’s failure to gain a quota in 2013 was the first time.
    No it wasn’t – the first time was in the original NT Senate election of 1975 when Labor’s Ted Robertson just failed to achieve the quota on the first count. It was preferences distributed from CLP Senator-elect Bernie Kilgariff’s excess votes which got Robertson over the line.
    That was the Federal election campaign following the Dismissal of the Whitlam Government.
    The second occasion a major party senate candidate failed to gain a quota was in 1987, and this time the boot was on the other foot.
    Preferences were distributed from all other senate candidates (there were nine, if I recall correctly) before the CLP’s Grant Tambling got over the line. The CLP (of which I was then an active party member) was very much on the nose with the voting public during the late 1980s.
    It was during this time that Green activists first made their appearance in NT politics.
    In the Wanguri by-election of August 1989 (the seat formerly held by CLP Minister Don Dale) the Green candidate Debra Beattie-Burnett achieved 16% of the primary vote which was exactly the size of the swing against the CLP.
    Preference distributions enabled Labor’s John Bailey to take the seat, and the ALP has never since lost it.
    The strength of public support for Green politics in the northern suburbs of Darwin at that time forced a rethink of some of the CLP’s policies, most notably the ditching of the party’s support for a nuclear fuel industry based in the NT (the current inquiry and proposals in South Australia exactly mirrors what was formal CLP policy in the late 1980s).
    Green politics in the NT during 1990 ultimately, and very ironically, led to the CLP retaining power in the NT election campaign of October 1990 (in which I was a CLP candidate) and consequently an additional decade in power. It’s an episode of NT political history that has never been adequately explored.

  2. Lock the Gate is an apolitical grass roots association, it’s a bit steep to suggest that they will “get behind” any candidate.
    The mission of the Lock the Gate Alliance is to protect Australia’s natural, cultural and agricultural resources from inappropriate mining and to educate and empower all Australians to demand sustainable solutions to food and energy production.
    Candidates walk their own path when it comes to the policies that they support.

  3. @ Alex: I bow to your superior knowledge although, in fairness, Labor was hardly a force in Territory politics in those early days and the CLP of the late ’80s arguably made the current mob look functional.
    Sadly, I don’t see the potential rise in the Greens vote this time around as a rise in environmental awareness, although God knows that needs to happen.
    I see it purely as an “anybody but” situation against both major parties and an absence of an attractive “keep the bastards honest” alternative.
    Yes Marli, Lock The Gate is a grass roots association.
    So is the Tea Party.

  4. The last sentence of Peter Cain’s Comment is gratuitous, but what it represents and Fred the Philistine take note, is increasing political dysfunction.

  5. Labor must be desperate to wheel out Snowdon given he’s reached his political use by date and I’m told is hardly ever around. I remember Snowdon from living in Alice as a kid and that was ancient times.
    And Greens to preference Labor – yawwwn!
    Although maybe the plan is, if Snowdon does get up, the Greens will rule in his place while he kicks up his heels at old timers. What great times lie ahead for the NT.


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