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Greens remind Victorian voters that the East-West Link was approved by Labor

See also: Issues that should be decided at the 29 November Victorian State elections (14/10/14).

On 18 November, the Melbourne Age reported in Greens campaigning hard on East West Link in Melbourne inner-city seats:


Ellen Sandell, Greens
Melbourne candidate

"The Victorian Greens have pledged to continue to campaign against the East West Link in marginal seats despite Labor promising to scrap the project if elected.

As the Greens aim to win a balance of power in the upcoming state election, Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber said the party was campaigning fiercely about the East West Link in a number of inner-city marginal seats.

...

"In the hotly contested seat of Melbourne, Greens candidate Ellen Sandell criticised the opposition's stance on the East West Link.

"'Labor has only softened their position, they haven't actually changed it,' Ms Sandell said.

...

"'[Labor] have broken so many public transport promises before and they've changed their position on the East West toll road many times,' Ms Sandell said.

Ms. Sandell reminded voters that the East-West Link was Labor's position in the first place and criticised Labor for effectively 'outsourcing' the decision to the courts rather than committing itself to scrap East-West Link

The Greens are contesting all 128 seats of both houses of the Victorian Parliament.1

A shortcoming of this campaign and, indeed, the campaigns by many community groups opposed to road transport is that it fails to question why so many Victorians need to commute such long distances in the first place.2

Greens' failure to address population growth imposed by both major parties

A more serious shortcoming is the complete failure to even address, let alone oppose, the Victorian government's program to increase Victoria's population by by several million by encouraging large numbers of overseas workers to move to Victoria. This is exemplified by its infamous Live in Victoria web-site. This will surely cause social and ecological catastrophe in Victoria if not stopped. Those who stand to gain by destroying Victoria's livability, are a small minority of Victorians – property speculators, land developers and sweat-shop factory owners.

Why the Greens, a reputedly pro-environment party, has nothing to say about this would mystify many.

Voters, not party officials, should allocate preferences

The report concludes:

"Mr Barber was tight lipped about preference deals and said the Greens would 'cross that bridge when we come to it'."

This may mean that the Victorian upper house ballot still uses the anti-democratic system used in federal Senate elections. With this system, if a voter chooses not to allocate preferences in the way officials have decided he/she is obliged to number every square. As only a minority of voters put themselves through this amount of trouble, the preferential component of the upper house vote, which decides how a substantial proportion of members are elected, is in the hands of party officials and not voters.

Possibly Mr Barber was just referring to "how-to vote" cards for the lower house. Whilst this is not as bad as the system has been for the upper house, it is a fallacy accepted by many voters that if they want to vote for a particular part, then they are obliged to follow all the preferences on that party's "How to vote card".

It would be of concern if either of the above less-than-democratic aspects of Victoria's voting system were acceptable to Mr Barber.

Footnote[s]

1. ↑ The Legislative Assembly (lower house) has 88 seats and the Legislative Council (upper house) consists of 5 voting regions, each with 5 members. To be elected in the upper house, a candidate needs to win a quota or 16.67% of the vote.

The 16.67% figure for the upper house quota is calculated from the
formula:

quota = 100% / (seats + 1) = 100% / (5 + 1) = 16.67%

The equivalent 50% 'quota' for a lower house seat can also be calculated from a trivial use of the above formula:

quota = 100% / (seats + 1) = 100% / (1 + 1) = 50%

Accordingly, it is more likely small party candidates or independents will win seats in the upper house and hold the balance of power there. However, given the bipartisan support for wealthy corporate interests by both of the two parties, the bloc of small party and minor candidates in the upper house will, in effect, be a small minority.

2. ↑ Surely, it must have been possible for town planners, to put places of work much closer to where people lived. It should surely be possible in a well-planned town, for most people be able to cycle to work in 15 minutes or less and only for a small minority to have to travel long distances either by public transport or by road?

The long hours that many work, including after hours and weekend overtime, through obligation or economic compulsion also adds to traffic congestion. More than three decades after the Australian Trade Union movement launched its campaign for a 35 hour week in the late 1970s, why are so many Australians still working 38 hours per week or much longer?

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