ALP to blame for rightward swing in NSW local elections
The results September 8 NSW local government elections have not been finalised yet, but results showed a 7% swing to the Liberals across the state. Many more Liberal councillors will take office than were elected in 2008.
The ALP suffered a statewide 6% swing against it and the Greens vote dropped 1%.
The Liberals picked up the most positions in former ALP strongholds in Sydney's west.
The Greens suffered its biggest fall in votes (down 5.2%) in the inner and eastern Sydney councils, where they had previously beaten, or were close to beating, the ALP in primary votes. Its vote also dropped in the Greens strongholds in Byron Bay and the Blue Mountains.
In the City of Sydney, popular independent Mayor Clover Moore and her supporters had a big win, taking more than half of the primary vote and bucking the broader swing to the Liberals.
The corporate media, and ALP and Liberal politicians, rushed to celebrate the "end" of the Greens. But in their inner-city strongholds, the Greens still won a third or more of the primary vote, while losing a few councillors.
The most disgusting display came from ALP federal immigration minister Chris Bowen, who boasted the Greens’ principled opposition to mandatory detention and the offshore detention of asylum seekers had cost them votes.
Many working-class people, perhaps in anger or desperation, voted to punish the ALP, which was defeated in a landslide in the last NSW state election.
In the past year, even bigger sections of the working class have been encouraged by the federal ALP and Coalition to blame refugees for the economic pain and social insecurity their neoliberal policies deliver.
This is part of a broader pattern around the country. Angry, demoralised and confused sections of the working class have voted in Liberal/National governments in Western Australia, Victoria, NSW, Queensland and the Northern Territory.
These governments have begun a new offensive of ruthless public sector job and service cuts. More big cuts are certain if Tony Abbott becomes PM after the next federal election, as all the polls predict.
The ALP has delivered this political disaster through loyally serving the narrow interests of the corporate rich.
The Greens still represent the biggest electoral break to the left of the major parties seen in Australia. The corporate rich are putting huge pressure on the Greens to move to the right on a range of policies.
They have encouraged the right wing of the Greens to wage an internal war against the left. It remains to be seen, following these latest election results, how the left-right battle within the Greens develops.
The left outside the Greens remains too weak and divided to make a significant electoral impact at this stage. However, the addition of a fourth socialist councillor in Australia — Communist Party of Australia member Tony Oldfield in Auburn Council — is a modest but significant advance.