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Who Will The Greens Give Preferences To In The 2022 Australian Federal Election?

Updated: Jul 17, 2022

The Greens announced in late April 2022 that they would preference Labor over the Liberals or Nationals in the upcoming election. While The Greens' How-To-Vote Cards instruct voters to place Labor in a higher position than Liberals towards "kicking out the Libs," Leader of The Greens, Adam Bandt, has also stated: “The Greens have put the Coalition, Palmer’s United Australia Party, One Nation and other extreme right wing parties last across Australia.”

The Greens have also recommended preferences for climate-focused and progressive independents in specific Liberal held seats. For example, The Greens' How-To-Vote Cards for the seat of Curtin will encourage voters to place the Climate 200 independent, Kate Chaney, ahead of Labor. This is intended to improve her chances against the Liberal incumbent candidate, Celia Hammond, and also "send a clear message to the major parties that climate action is a priority for voters in Curtin and across WA.”

Greens Leader Adam Bandt Tells Voters to Allocate Own Preferences

Mr. Bandt responded to the question of Greens preferences in the upcoming federal election stating "parties don't actually allocate preferences, people do."

In a recent interview with Leigh Sales on the ABC's 7:30 Report, Ms. Sales, while noting that the Greens have not yet arranged their preference deals, asked Mr. Bandt if potential Green voters need to have a sense of where their vote will be allocated. Mr. Bandt responded that although there will be how-to-vote cards provided on election day, voters should decide their own preferences:

SALES:...given the Greens will not win enough seats in the election to govern in their own right, I know you haven't sorted out preferences yet, but don't people who intend to vote Green need to have a sense where their vote is ultimately going to be going?
BANDT: People will have a how-to-vote card that we will be handing out on polling day and they can choose to follow that or not and I think one of the things that is worth reminding people about is that parties don't actually allocate preferences, people do and we always go to great lengths to remind people that you can decide how to allocate your own preferences.

This comes after Mr. Bandt stated this past week that The Greens party was "on the march in Queensland," with the seats of Griffith, Ryan and Brisbane having a "real chance of winning".

The Greens Target Labor Seats as Part of Hung Parliament Election Strategy

Despite claims that such an outcome is unwelcome to voters, Mr. Bandt is seeking a hung parliament in a bid to gain the balance of power in the upcoming federal election. This strategy assumes swings against both the Liberals and Nationals but is still based on the calculation that the outcome of a hung parliament is "far more likely than an outright Labor victory on polling," resulting in the Greens targeting both Liberal and Labor seats.

Mr. Bandt also had a message to Labor voters, suggesting to them that if they wanted to see the Liberal Party removed from government to instead vote for the Greens:

"We are committed to turfing out the Liberal government so you will get more bang for your buck if you vote Green. The message to Labor voters is that if you want to kick the Liberals out and make the next government go further and faster on climate change, and make billionaires and big corporations pay their fair share, vote Green.”

This is despite Mr. Bandt having also stated that Labor Leader Anthony Albanese would "make a better prime minister than Scott Morrison."

In March 2021, Mr. Bandt was expected to name nine target seats towards gaining the balance of power, with 5 of these being held by Labor (Griffith in Queensland, Richmond in NSW, Canberra in the ACT and Macnamara and Wills in Victoria), and only 4 by the Liberals (Brisbane and Ryan in Queensland and Kooyong and Higgins in Victoria). The Greens' Max Chandler-Mather, who saw a 6.7% swing in the 2019 Federal Election for the seat of Griffith, claimed that the seat is the second-most winnable for the Greens, only requiring a "3.5 per cent swing off Labor."

The seat of Griffith is currently held by Labor's Terri Butler, with a margin of 2.9%, with the seats of Ryan and Brisbane held by the Liberal National Party's Julian Simmonds and Trevor Evans retrospectively. The Greens have also claimed that Macnamara in Melbourne is likely to be their most winnable seat. Macnamara is also held by Labor's Josh Burns with a margin of 6.2%.

Impacts of Preferential Voting

Political parties are of aware of the impacts of preferential voting and tailor their election strategies to account for its effects. In an interview with ABC radio, a fortnight before the 2019 Federal Election, Clive. Palmer claimed that his United Australia Party (UAP) concluded from their research that they would achieve an 11% share of the national vote and win four Senate seats. However, this same research also showed a Labor victory overall, leading Mr. Palmer to direct the UAP's remaining advertising budget into attempting to take away votes from Labor :

“ also showed Bill Shorten would be elected prime minister. We thought that would be a disaster for Australia so we decided to polarise the electorate and we thought we’d put what advertising we had left ... into explaining to the people what Shorten’s economic plans were for the country and how they needed to be worried about them.”

While Mr. Palmer had already arranged a preference deal with the Liberal National Coalition earlier in the campaign, he claimed that the change in advertising focus improved the government's position and that the preference votes were the cause of the Liberal National Party's winning their second term. Furthermore, he attested that doing so was more effective at making the country a better place than providing someone with a charitable meal service:

“Ninety per cent of those preferences flowed to the Liberal party and they’ve won by about 2% so our vote has got them across the line...It’s just something that we can do to make the country a better place. That’s how I look at it, that’s more effective than giving someone meals on wheels.”


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