A PREFERENCE stoush between Labor and the Greens has flowed on to Australia’s most marginal electorate with old allegiances frayed.
Corangamite MP Darren Cheeseman has openly flagged the idea of putting the Greens last on Labor how-to-vote cards, despite the minor party pushing his vote across the line on a two-party preferred basis at the last election.
Mr Cheeseman told The Standard he was frustrated with the intransigence of the Greens and urged supporters to carefully consider their vote.
He said the Labor Party at a local and administrative level would examine the pros and cons of each candidate when drawing up its how-to-vote card.
“Obviously, if One Nation were standing a candidate we’d place them last,” Mr Cheeseman said.
“When it comes to a decision between the Liberal Party and the Greens as to who is preferenced lower, that’s a discussion we’ll have closer to the election. (The assumption) that the Greens will get preferential treatment is no longer the case though and that’s largely due to their stubbornness and inability to compromise.”
Mr Cheeseman said the asylum seeker debate had highlighted the Greens’ stubborn refusal to negotiate, blocking a deal to stop the flow of boats off north-western Australia. The issue flared this week with senior Labor figures keen to differentiate their brand from the minor party.
Delegates at the NSW Labor Party convention will vote this weekend to “no longer provide the Greens party automatic preferential treatment in any future preference negotiations’’.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said Labor had been hypocritical in its stance towards the Greens as it still accepted its support to maintain minority government.
“You can’t have it both ways and that’s what the Labor Party is trying to do right now, it is trying to have it both ways,” Mr Abbott told reporters.
Former Greens candidate Mike Lawrence was unavailable when contacted by The Standard yesterday.