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Tasmanian pulp mill decision may help Greens secure Senate balance of power in 2007 election, says leader Bob Brown

Posted by gmarkets on 9 October, 2007

Australian Greens’ leader Bob Brown was hoping the controversial Tasmanian pulp mill decision could help his party secure the prized balance of power in the Senate at the 2007 election, wrote John Kerin in The Australian Financial Review (8/10/2007, p.4).

Likely poll surge for Greens in Tasmania and Victoria: Such a result was not beyond the Greens, who would be looking for an additional two Senate seats to boost their numbers from four to six. The Greens believed the coalition’s decision to give the Gunns Tamar Valley pulp mill the green light and Labor’s decision to support it would give the party a poll surge in Tasmania as well as on the main­land, particularly in Victoria. With Greens Senate support run­ning as high as 11 per cent to 12 per cent in some polls, the coalition still facing a wipe-out and the Australian Democrats in decline, the Greens were hoping to snatch the balance of power role in their own right or in partner­ship with the conservative Family First. “I’m feeling very good about the Greens’ prospects at this election,” Brown said. The Greens held out hope that they could pick up enough votes with preferences to ensure former local MLA Kerrie Tucker was successful in the Australian Capital Territory. Meanwhile, the pulp mill decision had raised hopes former intelligence officer and Iraq whistleblower And­rew Wilkie could get up in Tasmania. In Victoria, it would be harder for aid worker Richard di Natale, who would probably have to displace Australian Democrat leader Lyn Allison. The Green vote was expected to hold up in Tasmania for Senator Brown to be returned, but Senator Kerry Nettle faced a tougher task to hang on to her seat in New South Wales.

Labor and Greens yet to do a deal: Forty of the 76 Senate seats were up for grabs at this election. Currently the coalition dominated in its own right with 39. The Australian Labor Party had 28, Australian Democrats and Greens four each, and Family First one. Labor and the Greens were yet to do a reciprocal deal on preferences, which would be crucial to the ALP’s chances in a number of marginal lower house seats as well as boosting the Greens’ chances of grabbing the balance of power in the upper house.

The Australian Financial Review, 8/10/2007, p. 4

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