Greens confident in Brisbane elections

Issue 

By Michael Bell

BRISBANE — Green Alliance lord mayoral candidate Drew Hutton believes Greens can expect to win one seat and as many as three in the March 23 Brisbane City Council elections.

With the Liberal-dominated council of Sallyanne Atkinson increasingly unpopular, there is a chance that Green Alliance candidates could hold the balance of power in the new council.

The miserable performance of state and federal Labor governments on Green issues is making it difficult for Labor candidate Jim Soorley to make up ground.

Green campaign coordinator Maurice Sibelle says 20% of voters are indicating a preference for alternatives to the Liberal and Labor parties.

The Green Alliance is one of the broadest coalitions ever to contest an election in Australia. As well as independents, it includes candidates from the Democrats, Rainbow Alliance, the Democratic Socialist Party and the Socialist Party of Australia.

Among the independents is Doug Yuille, a spokesperson for the Wilderness Society. The Alliance was formed at a conference of some 50 groups in November 1990. Alliance candidates are contesting 12 of the 27 Brisbane wards and one ward in each of the neighbouring areas of Logan City, Redcliffe and Caboolture.

The Alliance has good prospects in four wards. Deagon ward candidate Stephanie Viterale is quietly confident of winning enough votes to make it a "three horse race". Viterale is well known as an active opponent of a proposal to build a shopping complex on local bushland.

In Kalinga ward, Democrat-Green Alliance candidate Ian Rowland appears to have strong support. "People in the electorate like what we have to say. They are sick of the lack of representation — of being fobbed of by bureaucrats and confused by consultants", he says. "They like our slogan: Giving council back to the people."

Bob George, a long-time activist in the ward of Kianawah, is regarded as the Alliance's best chance. At the last election he ran a close third. A few more votes would have given him second position and a strong chance of winning on preferences. George has also polled well in state and federal elections.

Fairfield is perhaps one of the most unpredictable electorates. The area has recorded swings of up to 30% in state elections and may well provide an opportunity for the Democratic Socialist Party-Green Alliance Candidate, Dr Coral Wynter.n

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