GREEN PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES
For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
US Greens congratulate Australian Greens on election victories in Parliament
• Australia's 'greenslide' is a result of Proportional Representation -- a reform promoted by Greens for fair elections in the US
• "Hung Parliament" will give Australian Greens unprecedented power
• Green Party Speakers Bureau: Greens available to speak on international issues, electoral reform, related topics
WASHINGTON, DC -- The Green Party of the United States congratulates Australian Greens on their 'greenslide' in Australia's parliamentary elections on Saturday, August 21. Preliminary results show the Greens will take ten seats in the Australian House of Representatives and Senate.
"The Australian Greens' impressive totals follow on the election of Caroline Lucas, the first Green to Parliament in the UK, in May," said Julia Willebrand, candidate for New York State Comptroller . and member of the Green Party's International Committee ."It's only a matter of time before the first Green is elected to the US Congress. We need a shock to the two-party status quo in America, the kind of shock we're seeing now in Australia."
"When we get some Greens in Congress in the US, we'll see an enormous change in the direction of America -- a change for the better, since Democrats and Republicans will no longer take their exclusive control over US politics and government for granted. Like Australia and the UK, Americans will have legislators from a party dedicated to human needs, human rights, and the health of our planet," Ms. Willebrand added.
US Greens noted that the Green wins in Australia were a result of Proportional Representation (PR), a democratic reform "whose major goal is to ensure that parties and political groups are allocated seats in legislative bodies in proportion to their share of the vote. For example, a party receiving 30% of the national vote should receive approximately 30% of the seats in the national legislature."
Green Parties in the US, Australia, and other countries support PR and contrast such reforms with the winner-take-all/plurality voting system prevalent in the US, in which a party with a plurality or a 51% majority can sweep an election with a disproportionate number of wins and shut out other parties and the voters who vote for them.
Greens in the US have argued that America is too diverse to be represented by only two parties -- especially two parties with many similar positions and a mutual addiction to corporate contributions and influence. Green leaders also noted that Australians take elections so seriously that voting is compulsory for state and federal elections.
Margaret Blakers, director of The Green Institute in Australia ,provided a preliminary analysis of the election:
"Here's what it looks like at the moment. Overall vote: in the House of Reps 11.4% and in the Senate 12.96%. These will go up a bit as the postal and absentee votes come in where we generally do better which means we're on 12--13% overall. This is the best result ever for a minor party in Australia.
House of Representatives (lower house): the Greens have won their first ever seat in the House of Reps in a general election. Adam Bandt in the seat of Melbourne got 36% of the primary vote; the Liberals (conservatives) got 20% and Labor 39%. With preferences, Adam wins the seat by 56% to 44%.
Senate (upper house): we will definitely have 8 Senators and probably nine. That will be two each in Tasmania, Western Australia and South Australia and one in Victoria, Queensland, and probably NSW [New South Wales]. There are still a couple of outside chances for additional seats but we won't know for up to two weeks. During that time postal and absentee votes come in and we won't get the final result until they are all counted."
Ms. Blakers, who is also member of the Global Greens Coordination (the body that connects Green Parties on the global level:, said that the election will result in a "hung" Parliament "where neither of the major parties has a majority meaning that they will have to negotiate with independents and the Greens to determine who will form the government... It's going to be fascinating to see how it plays out and whether the old parties can bring themselves to share power."
"What's clear is this is a huge win for the Greens. Climate change was a key issue but it was much more than that," added Ms. Blakers.