The Green tide ebbs in NSW

Photoshopped image credit: Lushington Brady.

Opinion on whether state elections in Australia are relevant to Federal politics often seems to depend on whether or not the side you prefer won, and who?s in power federally. If your preferred party won a state election while their opposite is in power in Canberra, it?s a ?stunning repudiation? and ?wake-up call?. If your side is in federal government and an opposition wins a state, it?s ?just local issues?.

This weekend?s NSW state election, where Gladys Berejiklian won a historic victory for the centre-right Coalition, is full of lessons for federal politics and the Australian political landscape generally. I?ll write a full analysis in the next few days, but for now, one of the most interesting aspects is that the Green tide in Australian politics has ebbed even further. Quote:

Any illusions that a good heart on the environment, renewable energy and climate change would be enough to secure electoral victory were shattered by the NSW result.

The echo-chamber that thought dead fish and solar subsidies would carry Labor across the line has been exposed as talking largely to itself. End of quote.

When multi-millionaire rainbow doctor Kerryn Phelps won the former blue-ribbon seat of Wentworth late last year, the left-media fair jerked itself into a stupor. Phelps campaigned almost exclusively on refugees and climate change, and the commentariat swooned. But while coal and fakefugees might obsess the wealthy elite of the green-left ? Wentworth is the richest electorate in the country ? the rest of the nation has very different priorities. Voters are abandoning the two-party ?Laborals? and turning to minor parties ? mostly on the right. Quote:

If the Murray-Darling drought crisis had an impact it was to push rural voters further to the right and into the hands of the more politically incorrect Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party. End of quote.

Guns and recreational fishing might be ?bogan? pursuits sneered at by rich, inner-city elites clutching their Greens how-to-vote cards and eagerly hanging on GetUp?s every email, but they are iconic issues in the country. Elites likewise recoil in horror at talk of restricting immigration, yet voters returned Mark Latham to politics for Pauline Hanson?s One Nation party. Quote:

The wisdom was the Coalition would be punished for its environmental misdeeds. By the end of the night the opposite appeared true.

Voting in the key areas was too close to call with the ALP likely to limp across the line in Coogee, fail in Tweed Heads and with a question mark over Lismore.

When the Murray-Darling did feature voters broke to the right not left, more concerned about ?social costs and water allocations?Barnaby Joyce again highlighted how voter decisions, particularly in the bush, can be far removed from the daily commentary on environmental issues.

His message is of particular concern for Queensland where there is a to-the-death struggle over the Adani coalmine. End of quote.


The Morrison government needs to stop being spooked by well-funded campaigns run by city-based activists. Labor are quickly finding that they can?t straddle a barbed-wire fence forever: its stance on Adani might play well in Fitzroy and Balmain, but blue-collar unionists in Queensland are arking up.

The Greens have to face up to the fact that their vote is fast-disappearing. The Greens hit their high-water mark in 2010. Ever since, a blue tide has been inexorably eroding their vote faster than rising sea-levels. The Greens are left squatting on a few precarious sandcastles in innermost Melbourne and Sydney.