SENIOR Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren is almost certain to lose her Upper House seat as a result of last weekend’s state election.
The Fremantle-based MP acknowledges she only has a slim chance of picking up enough preferences to survive, her hopes resting with below-the-line ballots which have reportedly not been tallied yet.
Traditionally Greens voters have been more likely to number all the boxes, but to counter that, the postal votes trickling in are likely to favour the conservatives.
“If there’s a surge to the ALP, they will flow to me,” Ms MacLaren says without much enthusiasm.
Ironically, her loss would be partly due to her own success; the Greens goaded Labor into committing to scrapping Roe 8, so when Mark McGowan promised to tear up contracts, it became a vote-grabber.
“It was a huge Labor vote – historic. Coming on board with Roe 8 when they did rightly lifted their vote and did across the whole state, not just the southern suburbs,” Ms MacLaren said.
The Colorado-born ex-journo criticised the party’s campaign strategy, saying the focus should probably have been on securing and extending their presence in the upper house, which had worked successfully in previous years.
She says voters weren’t well informed about the upper house’s role in reviewing legislation, and many would have simply cast their vote to Labor because they thought it was how they’d get rid of former premier Colin Barnett.
Ms MacLaren says the party probably erred in a decision to shun print media advertising so it could concentrate on social media.
She fears that the algorithms embedded in social media sites could mean the party and traditional supporters were simply cheering each other on rather than getting through to potential voters.
“We haven’t done the analysis yet, but the federal double dissolution was nine months before the election, and the Greens decided to concentrate on the federal campaign and not to start the state campaign until later, but Mark McGowan hit the ground running,” she says.
“In my experience of election campaigns, we were too late.”
Ms MacLaren will also be lamenting a quirk in the ballot paper which appears to have confused some conservative voters.
The South Metro ballot paper was the only one to have the Liberal Democrats listed above the Liberal party and the minnow enjoyed its best result by a long shot as many voters apparently confused the two.
Because of the intricacies of the Upper House system, that’s going to cost Ms MacLaren vital preference votes and probably her seat.
But despite her gloom, and the knife-edge that her mining and pastoral colleague Robin Chapple finds himself on, Ms MacLaren says the party performed well overall, picking up 18 per cent of the primary vote in the seat of Fremantle, 14 per cent in Victoria Park, 11 per cent in South Perth and even a tidy 7 per cent in Mc McGowan’s seat of Rockingham.
“The Greens are still a party that’s growing,” she says.
by STEVE GRANT