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rather than direct preferences in the Lower House
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rather than direct preferences in the Lower House - this post is worth 39.05 Points

The Australian Greens have thumbed their noses at the Labor Party by deciding to run with an open ticket in the next Federal election rather than direct preferences in the Lower House.

The decision, made at the Greens national conference in Fremantle yesterday, is payback for Labor directing preferences to the Liberals ahead of the Greens in key seats in the Victorian election.

Greens leader Bob Brown said voters could make up their own minds about where their preferences went. He said the major parties had "taken the Greens for granted" for too long and the party was striking back.

"It wasn't us that started this - it was the Labor Party," Senator Brown said.

He said things had broken down between the parties and Labor could no longer count on Greens preferences.

The Greens had gone beyond being a party of the Senate and would target key seats in the Lower House in the next Federal election, with Fremantle high on the list.

Local groups will be allowed to allocate preferences in single-member electorates but there will not be a central directive to go to one party or the other, with the default position being an open ticket.

All parties will have to negotiate with local Greens groups if they want to make any preference deals, in a move Senator Brown said would probably cause the Liberal and Labor parties "a degree of discomfort". It applies only to preferences in the House of Representatives because all parties are required to allocate preferences in the Senate.

"The big parties are going to have to negotiate with people at the local level," Senator Brown said. "Things are going to get a lot more complicated.

"With Adam Brandt winning Melbourne (for the Greens) and others coming close, the Greens are now going to concentrate on winning Lower House seats. In all the capitals and some non-capitals there are seats that are all winnable for the Greens."

Political analyst David Black said the implications of the decision would vary from seat to seat and on the order of candidates on the ballot paper but in general Greens preferences tended to flow to Labor.

He said the decision could be seen as an attempt by the Greens to distance themselves publicly from Labor.

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11-07-2011 06:41 PM
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