Unions urge Greens to change preference policy

The secretaries of eight NSW unions have signed a letter to the NSW Greens urging them to “commit to an upper house preference swap with Labor” at the upcoming NSW state election.

The unions represented include the Communications Electrical Plumbing (Telecommunications and Services Branch), the Construction Forestry Mining Energy union (Energy and Construction divisions), the Maritime Union of Australia national office, the Fire Brigade Employees Union, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, the Australian Services Union and the Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers’ Union.

The unions are all members of the NSW “Left Unions Group”.

The NSW Greens have decided to not allocate preferences to any party in the upper house in the NSW election.

The letter says: "Left unions have stood up over numerous election campaigns and argued for Labor-Greens preference deals.

"Our efforts played a significant role in ensuring that, at the 2007 NSW and federal elections, and at the 2010 federal election, the ALP preferenced the Greens above all other parties and groups in the respective Legislative Council and Senate contests.

“Indeed, Lee Rhiannon was elected as a Senator for New South Wales on Labor preferences."


There is plenty of evidence to show that Greens preferences in the upper house race will not make any difference to the outcome. Because hardly any voters actually use optional preferencing, in the last two NSW elections, the placing of parties after primary votes were counted remained exactly the same after distribution of preferences. It would be a fluke of mathematics for preferences to matter, and an even bigger fluke for them to favour the ALP, and only then on a single seat. Polling suggests The Green vote is on the rise so its a bit rich for the ALP to lay the blame on anyone but themselves for a decrease in so-called progressive upper house members, and the likely right wing gain of the balance of power. These Unions may have good intentions, but they need to look at these facts, for now the ALP damage is done their argument is irrelevant. Scrub