Despite being far more interested than politics than most people, I have often struggled to get overly interested in state elections. In an ideal world, I think Australia would be better off without the states – or with many more, smaller state/regional governments, alongside a local government (one that is genuinely local) which is recognised in our Constitution.
One of the less-noticed aspects of the agreement reached between the Greens and the Gillard government was a commitment to hold a referendum to formally recognise local government in our Constitution. I hope that does come to pass (although one should always wait to see the final wording before formally committing to supporting a particular referendum question.
But going back to the states – there is an election in Victoria this coming weekend, and the result does have the potential to be more significant than just who ends up in government. It has long been recognised that the Greens have a strong chance of breaking through into winning Lower House seats, just as they did in the House of Reps seat of Melbourne at this year’s federal election.
However, the Liberal’s decision to assist the Labor Party by putting the Greens last on all their how to vote cards makes those chances of a Lower House (Legislative Assembly) breakthrough much harder for the Greens. Should the Greens still manage to win a seat – particularly if it combines with getting balance of power in the Upper House – this election could play a wider role in facilitating a longer term realignment in Australian politics.
I wrote a piece about this for New Matilda last week, which can be read at this link. (And a reminder, if you support independent media and journalism, New Matilda are still seeking donations to help them determine whether or not they can return to being a viable, ongoing operation – you can donate by clicking here).