Simple Solution To Preferences Stink: Abolish Them

THE TRIENNIAL PANTOMIME of “outrage” over “undemocratic” preference tickets from major parties that are a “sellout” are easy to resolve; the complaint — that preference recommendations are undemocratic — is accurate, for there is nothing democratic about distortions of voter intent. Abolishing preferential voting would terminate an oft-abused obscenity, and harm minor parties and Independents less than conventional wisdom suggests.

I know that by this stage in the election cycle — five weeks into an eight-week official campaign which, by virtue of the timetable for engineering it, is more like 10 or 11 in practice — a lot of people are fed up with the pusillanimous circus that Australian election campaigns invariably see play out; the latest act in this intellectually insulting pantomime is the revelation by each major party which other entities they will favour with recommended preference allocations, and as usual, the self-interested outrage and faux indignity from the likes of the Communist Party Greens and others dependent on a rigged electoral system to even exist has been deafening.

Those who complain that all of this is utterly undemocratic are dead right.

And, frankly, preferences should be made optional — or, even better, abolished altogether.

Readers will recall that last month — taking the delicious opportunity to both ridicule the Greens, and to advocate for their enlistment in a useful enterprise for once in their miserable existence — I published an article suggesting that Victorian Liberal Party chief Michael Kroger was right; that Labor is as bad these days as the Greens are; and that on account of this (and given the nature of preferential voting) the Liberal Party should allocate preference recommendations strategically in its own interests just as the parties of the Left have always done, despite whatever lofty rhetoric about principle they direct at others that nonetheless never seems to apply to themselves.

The “broccoli-munching gnomes” might have picked up a seat or two but overall, this would have done nothing at all to advantage the Left as a whole: on the contrary, it would have lobbed a hand grenade into relations between Labor and the Greens. But Kroger was pilloried and shouted down by shortsighted “strategists” within the Liberal Party nationally and, as a result, the ALP will receive the party’s preferences in every seat in the country — making a Labor government, and one secured with an outright majority, that little bit more likely.

That’s “principle” for you: apply it sanctimoniously in the name of preserving it, and you risk dealing yourself out of the game altogether.

Instead, Australians are being treated to a barrage of bullshit this week (and you can access some coverage here, here, here and here) suggesting the Liberal and Labor Parties are trying to lock Nick Xenophon out of the House of Representatives, or that Labor has “sold its soul” by preferencing the Liberal Party ahead of the Greens in some seats; my comment should not be misconstrued in any way as criticism of the journalists publishing those articles, or course, who are simply doing their jobs in reporting this crap.

There is a reason — when Australia’s electoral system was first devised, along with those that originally applied in the states — why voting was conducted on a first-past-the-post (FPTP) basis: the candidate with the most support would be elected; it is the simplest, purest, and least distorted model on which to conduct democratic elections.

It is the model that applies in all of the countries to which Australia is culturally closest — the UK, the US, and Canada — and even in New Zealand, where a Labour government once implemented a horrific hybrid system of single-member electorates and proportionally elected list MPs, the single-member electorates are nonetheless elected on a FPTP system.

And as I have often argued in this column in the past, there is nothing democratic whatsoever in forcing people to express a “preference” — any preference — for candidates and parties upon which they would not voluntarily choose to even spit, let alone vote for; speaking personally, I find it an affront to even place either of the Greens or Labor ahead of the other.

There are those who choose to vote for minor party candidates whose choice is just that: to vote for minor party candidates. These people don’t say, “well, I’ll vote Greens to be nice to pinko lunatics, but what I really want is a Labor MP” because if they thought that way, they would simply vote for the ALP in the first place.

In the Victorian state seat of Prahran, a Liberal candidate polling 46% of the primary vote was beaten in 2014 by the third-placed Green, who scraped together just 24% of the votes himself; contrary to the jubilant triumphalism about a “breakthrough” and the march of so-called progressive voters to the Greens that party saw fit to delude itself with, this result was in fact an anti-democratic outrage that made a complete mockery of the idea that elections should produce MPs who enjoy a clear quotient of public support.

And in Queensland, just recently, the Labor government of Annastacia Palaszczuk — heavily dependent on flows of Greens preferences — legislated to abolish optional preferential voting (OPV) in a smash-and-grab exercise conducted with no consultation and no warning, in an attempt to permanently advantage the ALP at future state elections.

This was the same Labor Party which, in 1991 and acting on recommendations arising out of the Fitzgerald reform process to clean up the rotten state of governance in Queensland, introduced OPV: it was ostensibly part of the implementation of Fitzgerald reforms “lock, stock and barrel,” but was underpinned by the ulterior motivation of making merry with the Liberal and National Parties, which to that point regularly engaged in three-cornered contests for both marginal seats and safe conservative turf they tried to poach from each other.

And in Queensland — as in NSW, where the Wran government similarly introduced OPV, in part at least to throw the same hand grenade into the state Coalition — the number of voters declining to do anything other than “Just Vote ‘1’” has steadily increased to the point where at last year’s state election, 60% of voters allocated nothing more than a first preference; far be it for me to argue the merits of abolishing compulsory preferential voting: the stampede of voters themselves, when given the discretion to allocate preferences or not, provides conclusive proof of the point I am making without me needing to incur the accusation of conservative bias.

Besides, politics changes, and so do the priorities of all parties; preferential voting itself was originally a rort to insulate the then-Nationalist Party — a forerunner to today’s Liberals — from the emergence of the Country Party a century ago, which threatened to split the non-Labor vote and gift elections to the ALP under the FPTP system then in place.

This is no less reprehensible than any other fix or rort enacted on Australia’s electoral laws, irrespective of what those distortions were or by whom they were appropriated.

(And don’t get me started about proportional voting, the least democratic system ever devised for “democratic” elections: readers can reacquaint themselves with my thoughts on what should happen to the Senate — and any other upper house employing this ghastly system — here).

Preferences allow factional thugs like David Feeney and faceless factional operatives like Peter Khalil to feel secure in lower house seats like Batman and Wills, despite no relevance to mainstream majority politics; had the Liberals followed through on the threat to preference the Greens in Batman, Feeney would rightly be contemplating defeat. Yet his putative replacement from the Greens would have been as compromised as Feeney will be now, dependent on enemy votes merely to survive.

The same can be said of Khalil in Wills, where a Labor Party serious about putting the best candidates (and, when they are also female, women) into safe seats would have preselected Jamila Rizvi, who ironically would have likely attracted enough genuine support to make the spat over preferences irrelevant altogether.

Preferences allow actual Communist idiots like Lee Rhiannon and pinko lunatics like Sarah Hanson-Young build careers in the proportionally elected Senate when they deserve none, and to do so with minimal actual direct support; this is not democracy, but a sham. Yet the Greens’ is the latest voice arguing its party has been robbed in what has become a depressingly monotonous ritual.

Those who argue for compulsory preferential voting conjure up scenarios like eight candidates in a seat splitting the vote more or less equally, with one elected on less than 13% of the vote: such scenarios are pretty ridiculous at first glance. Or they should be.

But preferences allowed a candidate in Prahran to get up with less than a quarter of the vote — and in so doing, make a mockery of the alleged superiority of preferential voting these types protest.

They express outrage that a party with just under 39% of the vote (as the Conservative Party in Britain achieved at last year’s election) could win a narrow parliamentary majority under a FPTP electoral system.

But this ignores the fact that under their beloved preferential system, Labor under Julia Gillard fell just three seats short of doing just that with 37.2% of the vote in 2010. Bob Hawke won an eight-seat majority in 1990 with 39.2%. Indeed, under OPV in Queensland last year, Labor fell one seat short with 37.5%. What’s the difference? It can be summed up in one word.

Expediency.

And the fact is that by abolishing preferential voting altogether, or by implementing OPV across the country and banning the publication of preference recommendations, minor parties like the Greens would be at less of a disadvantage than they are now: Adam Bandt, with his 42% of the primary vote in the federal seat of Melbourne, would still have won that seat in 2013; yes, outpolled by Labor by 1.9% three years earlier, he would have failed to win the seat, but only because someone else had more support — which is how it should be.

But minor parties and Independents, generally — campaigning on local issues and generating support within their own communities — would in fact face a lower bar to entering Parliament than exists now; all they would need to do is to top the poll for the primary vote.

And be it minor parties or major parties, getting rid of preferences (or adopting the middle option of OPV) would force candidates to get out and earn their support — something Labor is arguably better at doing than the Coalition, even if its methods leave everything to be desired, as recent state elections in Victoria and Queensland showed.

And finally, where the additional red herring objection of the potential for inducements for votes is raised by some, I would suggest any system devised by people, for people, and where the power of government is at stake, contains the inherent temptation for undesirables to engage in corrupt practices; when and if this occurs, such behaviour should be punished with the full weight of the law. But in any case, such considerations are not mutually exclusive to making the electoral system itself more accountable to the expressed (and desired) intentions of voters.

When this election is done and dusted, those with a genuine interest in the probity of governance and truly representative democracy — be they from the Left, the Right, or the Centre — would do worse than to jointly champion the abolition of compulsory preferences altogether, and the outlawing of published recommendations for preference allocations to end this insidious farce once and for all.

After all, some obscure Green, or fringe idiot with a few hundred votes, elected after perhaps dozens of counts because of an arcane preference deal cannot and does not represent a democratic outcome.

There will be those who bleat about “inclusion” and diversity — and frankly, these justifications for distorting electoral outcomes so vastly should simply be dismissed with the contempt they deserve.

If you win the most votes in whatever jurisdiction you contest, you should be elected: and whilst implementing this philosophy in the Senate might be more difficult than in the House of Representatives — short of a model per the article I linked to earlier — it should be made the most immediate priority for electoral reform by whoever wins office next month, and the charade of preference recommendations dispensed with forever.

In the final analysis, preferences are an abuse of democracy, not an enhancement of it. The sooner they are done away with, the better.

 

Greens Preferences: Making Broccoli-Munching Gnomes Useful

ACRIMONY has greeted moves by Victorian Liberal president Michael Kroger to seek preference deals with the Greens; it is not credible to oppose the idea by saying Labor is the lesser evil: it is an economic vandal, addicted to fuelling recurrent spending with high debt and taxes, and obsessed with chasing the hard Left vote. Easily as bad as each other, anything Kroger can do to play the Greens off against Labor to advantage the Coalition is laudable.

For long-term readers of this column, I offer the assurance that I haven’t taken leave of my senses, and nor am I softening in my trenchant distaste for the party I routinely characterise either as Communists — which is what they are — or as socialist filth, in a reflection of my contempt for them.

And for the benefit of those who are newer to this forum, in the runup to the 2013 federal election this column exhorted voters to preference the Greens out of existence in the national interest; this closely followed a piece recommending that people should vote Liberal or Labor per their preference, but to avoid the Greens at all costs; more recently, the possibilities of tactical preferencing have grown more appealing, and with Victorian Liberal Party president Michael Kroger copping undeserved flak over his plan to recommend preferencing the Greens above Labor in some of their target seats in return for open tickets in a selection of Liberal targets, I wanted to publish on this subject once again.

The trigger for my remarks today has been an article appearing in the Weekend Australian, which details the apparent move by Liberal Party advisers to circumvent the members’ elected president in Victoria and overturn his preference plan, to which I can only stress that Kroger is the servant of the members — and that the advisers are largely unaccountable employees with no right to do anything of the kind.

But before we progress further, let’s spend some time assessing exactly how the ALP and the Greens are constituted these days.

The stereotype of average Greens voters — broccoli-munching vegan gnomes singing kum-ba-ya, cycling barefoot through their compost-powered homes and proudly boasting their hearts bleed for asylum seekers arriving by boat who are trying to illegitimately jump the queue — sits at odds with the platform of the party itself, which (and this is an old story) is anti-family, anti-industry, anti-agriculture, anti-mining, anti-business, anti-enterprise, anti-car, high tax, open border, anti-democracy, anti-Australia, anti-America, anti-Israel, pro-CND, militarily pacifist, illiberal, statist, doctrinally socialist, and resolutely committed to the de-industrialisation of Western society and to the destruction of the values that built and sustained it in the first place.

In other words, the Greens have developed into the public menace they represent through the exploitation of compassion-babbling Chardonnay drunks who are stupid enough to believe they are working to build some kind of socialist utopia on Earth through their support: and in my view, a useful idiot is a more valuable commodity than one who is simply an idiot and no more, and this underpins the change in my assessment of the Greens’ fitness for purpose — but not of the party, or the insidious agenda it represents.

These bleeding-hearted, compassion-babbling bullshit artists and so-called SJWs — now steeled by what they think is a ticket to Nirvana on a vessel with more in common with the USSR than the land of Oz — used to be called something else: the left wing of the Labor Party.

Over the past quarter of a century (and especially in the past 15 years), Labor has haemorrhaged more and more of what was once the support on its left flank to the point it is no longer capable of winning elections on its own without torrential flows of Greens preferences or even — as has now happened once federally and twice in Tasmania — formal power-sharing and Coalition agreements with the so-called environmentalist party of the certifiably lunatic hard Left.

Yet in response, the ALP has — like a spurned adolescent youth chasing haplessly and hopelessly after the first girl he ever went to bed with — given chase after the former constituency spirited away by the Greens by repositioning itself further and further to the Left, as if by eschewing its mainstream base and masquerading as hardened pinkos, the lunatic Left might re-embrace its sometime flame and live together happily ever after once more.

Carbon taxes: not one now, but two, as if such a ridiculous act of economy-killing overreach might impress the socialist maiden who spurned it.

Unreasoning and unreasonable renewable energy targets of 50% — certain to cripple Australia’s economy — that put even the nutty aspirations of the Greens themselves into the shade.

An aspiration to abolish the private health insurance rebate: long hidden from view, of course, but an early initiative of the present ALP “leadership” designed to tip the balance away from the private sector and toward the state.

Everyone knows the ALP doesn’t really believe in the Coalition’s tough border policies — irrespective of Labor’s “commitment” to them — and everyone knows that that “commitment” is bitterly opposed by more than a handful of Labor MPs, and by perhaps an overwhelming majority of the ALP rank and file.

The outbreak of defiance and dissent over the issue that hit Labor’s campaign this week is proof of it.

On asylum seekers and border protection, the Labor head knows that an untrammelled influx of asylum seekers, replete with hundreds of deaths at sea, is electoral cyanide; the Labor heart, however, beats very closely with that of the Greens, which is ruled by the conviction that Australian taxpayers should fund whatever expense is incurred by throwing open the country’s borders.

These are but a few of the crossovers between the Greens and the ALP; there are plenty of others.

But as time has passed in recent years, the Labor copybook has grown increasingly blotted with other stains that mark the party out as equally unfit to ever hold office as the Greens.

These stains also round out the process of qualifying the ALP to jointly share equal billing in terms of just who the Coalition’s ultimate political adversary is: it’s no longer an automatic case of just putting Labor last.

It was Labor which was responsible for the moral and social abomination that is the so-called Safe Schools program, which those inside the tent freely admit has nothing to do with stopping bullying but everything to do with destroying traditional social values, with its emphasis on indoctrinating primary school children about alternative forms of sexual contact, “gender fluidity,” and the merits of leading deviant sexual lifestyles.

It was Labor that made a naked and unapologetic attempt at media regulation and censorship in its last period in office, seeking to legislate to enable the neutering of those organs of the press that opposed it: a measure cheered by the usual suspects at Fairfax and the ABC, but advocating only for the contraction of the diversity it champions whenever convenient to it, and happy to wipe out a large component of the traditional position of scrutiny the press sector performs.

It was Labor — in slashing military spending to divert money to foreign aid and other social schemes so beloved of the politically correct Left — which allowed Australia’s defences to run down to the point this country would be virtually defenceless in any medium-level conflict it found itself engaged in, the prospect of US assistance notwithstanding.

It was Labor which, in the last term of the Keating government, left $100bn in debt behind as it shovelled out largesse to the arts community, to ATSIC, to a plethora of social minorities to purchase and seal their allegiance, and to any other rent seeker offering votes in return; it followed this up with a record of economic vandalism that would make Jim Cairns blush, leaving behind $300bn in debt and the legislated but unfunded recurrent expenditure of hundreds of billions more; and it now seeks office with a slate of big-spending social programs, backed by a regime of tax rises totalling a purported $102bn, which leading economists have already indicated will fall far short of its expected yield.

And it was Labor — in cahoots with the Greens and the odious Clive Palmer — which spent three years marshalling the numbers in the Senate to attempt to destroy an elected government by making the Parliament unworkable to the Coalition.

Fellow conservatives, in all seriousness — can you really say Labor is the lesser of the two evils? The ALP and the Greens are now every bit as bad as each other.

When Kroger first outlined his plan last year to deal with the Greens on preferences — exchanging preference recommendations on Liberal how-to-vote cards in selected seats in return for the Greens issuing open tickets in others — I was ambivalent; the Greens really are evil, with their hardened socialism masquerading sickeningly as tree-hugging harmlessness. But possessed of a strategic bent and having considered the notion at length, I think it’s high time the Liberals started playing the preference game just as its opponents have always done.

The ABC’s election analyst Antony Green — publishing on his blog yesterday on this subject — makes the point that allocating preferences to the Greens on a seat-by-seat basis requires the Liberal Party to make preference recommendations based on strategy rather than ideology: something he points out (and which I acknowledge) some in the party are extremely resistant to doing.

Yet the ALP has always preferenced based on self-interest: one of the reasons for the lengthy analysis of the Greens and the ALP in this article is to illustrate that even on ideological grounds, Labor today is no better — and should be regarded as such in Liberal eyes — than the Greens.

Labor has spent years fuelling friction at three-cornered contests for vacant Coalition seats by generally allocating preferences to whichever of the Liberal and National Parties is not incumbent: hardly the basis for kind treatment of the ALP in return, as the growing siege it faces in some of its seats from the Greens gathers pace.

It was complicit in Tony Windsor’s election to the seat of New England in 2001, complicit in keeping him there for 12 years, and is now readying to help him reclaim it at the expense of deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce with a solid bloc of preference votes.

It was not only complicit in the election of Clive Palmer — at tremendous cost to both his own community and to the national interest — to the safe Liberal seat of Fairfax, but delivered the decisive bloc of preferences to take the seat from the Coalition.

There are other examples I could cite, of course, but the point is that in all of these cases the only principle involved was to weaken the Coalition as far as possible: and in drawing preference strategies at this election, the equivalent Coalition principle must be to weaken the Left commensurately.

If we take five electorates — Melbourne, Batman, Wills, Grayndler and Sydney — at present, all five are held by the Left in a 4-1 split in Labor’s favour.

If the Liberal Party recommends the Greens be preferenced ahead of the ALP in all five, it would guarantee the re-election of Adam Bandt in Melbourne, but potentially transfer at least some of those Labor seats across to the Greens.

Has the Left been strengthened in this process? Absolutely not.

Can the Greens be satisfied with such an outcome? Absolutely.

And were the Greens to issue open tickets in five marginal seats either currently held by the Liberals or targeted by them — we’ll call them Corangamite, Deakin, Chisholm, Melbourne Ports and Bruce — the likely reduction in preference flows to Labor from their usual 80-20 split to a level in the order of 60-40 could well make the difference in the Liberals holding Corangamite and Deakin, and picking up some or all of the other three.

Has the Liberal Party gained something? Absolutely.

And where this plays out is when down the track — perhaps even on 2 July — the ALP and the Greens collectively win 76 of the 150 seats in the House of Representatives.

From a strategic perspective, what would be better for the Coalition — a 75-1 split in Labor’s favour, giving it the whip hand, or something in the order of 72-4 and shackling it to the insanity and ambit demands of lunar fringe socialists?

Remember, ideologically, Labor is no better than the Greens nowadays: it wasn’t always so, of course, but today it’s a fact.

And as Kroger himself noted recently at a meeting I attended with him, anything that might trigger a fight among the Liberal Party’s enemies is no bad thing.

The Liberal advisers — who continue to do things the way they have always done them, and who as a group have consequently engineered the relative decline of the party across Australia from its Howard-era heyday — would do well to heed the insight and strategic bent of the Victorian chief.

Those in the party’s branches who genuinely continue to believe the ALP is the lesser of two evils should reacquaint themselves with the modern Left and take note of its contemporary methods and “principles:” and this means accepting that Labor is no better now than the Greens ever were.

Those members who say they can’t support preference deals with the Greens on “principle” must reflect that if the principle that moderate conservative governance is infinitely better than anything dished up by the hard Left is valid, then there’s no conflict of principle for them to even reconcile themselves to.

If the Liberal Party is to progress as a truly professional and effective political outfit, the evolution of it personnel, its methods and its strategic bent (such as it is these days) must evolve to recognise that when it comes to the raw politics of elections, the party has been comprehensively outclassed now, on balance, for many years.

And this brings me back to the broccoli-munching gnomes who probably mean well, but who are mostly the unwitting instruments of the slow march of the Left into illiberalism, hard socialism, and the eventual dismantling of the liberal democratic institutions we are so lucky to enjoy in free Australia: freedom that can easily be undone in even short bursts of governance by the Left, as the Gillard government neatly proved.

A seat-by-seat appraisal of all 150 lower house seats by the Liberal Party — identifying which of the Greens and Labor is likelier to unsettle the cohesion of the Left if victorious, and directing Liberal preferences to that party — is now a no-brainer, when even a few years ago it would and should have been avoided like the plague.

If there are to be idiots voting for the Greens at all, they may as well be useful idiots: and if the recommendation that broccoli munchers and Chardonnay drunks put the Coalition ahead of Labor weakens the balance of the Left and/or gains the Liberal Party even a single seat, the exercise will have been well worth it.

All power to your arm, Mr Kroger.

 

Tactical Preferences: Sacrificing Labor MPs To The Greens

NEW RESEARCH by the Parliamentary Library showing a swathe of “safe” Labor seats at risk from the Communist Party Greens should be leapt upon by Coalition strategists with gusto; said to potentially be dependent on Liberal preferences for survival, prominent ALP identities like Tanya Plibersek and factional thug David Feeney should be thrown to the socialist wolf. This column despises the Greens. But so as Labor sows, so too should it reap.

There are some who might find my advocacy of a vindictive preference strategy to be thoroughly out of kilter with the sentiments expressed in this column yesterday, in a lengthy piece centred on the appalling state of politics in Australia today.

Yet one of the biggest criticisms I have made of my own party for some considerable time now is its amateurism where political strategy is concerned, and this — coupled with the occasional but recurrent observation made here (and elsewhere) that Labor is better at raw politics than we are — makes what I suggest today not only entirely proper, but takes into account the fact that when elections are there to be won or lost it is precisely this kind of strategy that should be pursued.

If it settles the odd score or redresses the odd slight in the process, then so be it.

I have been reading this morning an article from The Australian that cites research recently completed by the Parliamentary Library in Canberra; I haven’t seen the research, but it’s not difficult to reconcile its findings with what we already know — that Labor support in its inner city seats, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, is being eaten away by the Greens — and whilst what I suggest today isn’t exactly rocket science, a ruthless approach to sacrificing Labor MPs should be pursued by the “strategists” of the Liberal Party.

I encourage readers to read the piece from Phillip Hudson, and then rejoin me here.

Readers know that I detest the Greens, and with good reason; masquerading as a party of the environment and purporting to offer a harmless, feelgood alternative to voters disillusioned with the major parties, this insidious outfit is an illiberal and undemocratic bastion of the hard Left, and a proponent of the worst excesses of state socialism; even after the retirement of pious, sanctimonious former leader Christine Milne, it boasts among its ranks such luminaries as an actual Communist and traitor to democracy in Lee Rhiannon, and a nasty, hatred-fuelled, trouble making socialist with neither a brain nor a heart in Sarah Hanson-Young; and keeps hidden, for good reason, a suite of official policies that are more suited to a re-enactment of Stalinist Russia than to any place in modern, contemporary Australia.

And I have, in times past, advocated for them to be “preferenced out of existence” and savaged them as lunatics of the Left — which, by reasonable standards, they are.

In an ideal world, there would be no Senate quotas to provide cheaply obtained upper house seats for these bums; in an ideal world, preferential voting would be made optional or abolished altogether, forcing them to either gather the most votes in lower houses around the country or suffer defeat.

But even idiots can be useful; and as Hudson’s article shows, a slew of Labor figures — from deputy leader Tanya Plibersek down, no less — now face the serious risk of being beaten in their electorates by Greens candidates, based on overlapping and mapping state election results onto federal boundaries (and, although unscientific, I would add that some degree of increase in the Greens’ vote at Labor’s expense should be assumed as a given in any case).

There are those in the political observation community who subscribe to a flat Earth view of Australian politics that “everything” is a conspiracy between the ALP and the Liberal Party to entrench themselves; the rise of minor parties in Australian Parliaments at all (like the Greens) and rising numbers of Independent MPs easily disprove such a notion.

I raise it today, however, because there will be those in the ALP who appeal to the Liberal Party to “save” some or all of the MPs at risk from the advancing Green menace, and in that regard there are a few observations that should be made.

One, that Labor has spent years slandering and defaming Tony Abbott — without foundation or substance — for the purely expedient purpose of trying to turn him into a monster in the eyes of voters when he is (as anyone who knows or has met him understands) nothing of the kind.

Two, that Labor in its present incarnation (and this is becoming an old story) is a lying, deceptive outfit obsessed with power at any price, wantonly excusing and dismissive of criminal actions by its thuggy masters at the union movement, is “led” by a sleazy, lying oaf whose idea of sensible policy is to tell voters that money can be thrown around in endless buckets and that anyone who says it’s unsustainable is “cruel,” “unfair,” or some other formulation aimed at power at any cost.

And three, Labor has never seen fit to preference the Liberal Party over the Greens when it is Liberal seats at risk: the debacle in the state seat of Prahran in Melbourne last year, when a Liberal polling 45% of the primary vote was beaten by a Green running third and polling less than a quarter of the vote — mostly as a result of Labor preferences that flowed overwhelmingly to the Greens — neatly proves the point.

The Liberal Party is under no obligation to “save” the endangered Labor MPs; in fact, with one of its own blue-ribbon electorates in Higgins (partially composed from areas covered by the Prahran state seat) said to be under threat from a Greens challenge, it is almost certain that Labor how-to-vote cards will direct preferences away from the sitting Liberal, Kelly O’Dwyer.

And when it is considered just who these at-risk Labor MPs are — and weighing them against treatment dished out to the Liberals — allocating preferences to Greens in those seats for the express purpose of getting rid of them is a perfectly acceptable course of action.

Plibersek was one of the prime bag-swingers in former Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s so-called “handbag hit squad;” not merely content to smear Abbott and accuse him of all manner of sins against women, Plibersek has more recently outed herself as a hypocrite with her staunch refusal to concede a syllable of credit to Foreign minister Julie Bishop for the excellent job she has done in that portfolio, or even on account of being a successful woman in politics — presumably because Bishop is a Liberal.

David Feeney, in Martin Ferguson’s old Batman seat, is a union crony and factional warrior aligned with the Gillard-Rudd leadership wars of the past, is yesterday’s man, and offers no substantive claim to Liberal preferences.

Kelvin Thomson, in Wills, is an entrenched backbencher thanks to his poor judgement writing a character reference for Melbourne gangland identity Tony Mokbel, and offers nothing to the country on account of his continued presence in Parliament anyway.

Anthony Albanese in Grayndler might be a different proposition, but again, the Liberal Party isn’t obliged to win elections for its opponents — and not least when it might find itself in a spot of bother getting re-elected to government itself.

I’d suggest Bill Shorten, in Maribyrnong, should be preferenced against too; as Labor’s “leader,” it is inconceivable he would fail to outpoll a Greens candidate by a sufficient margin to ensure victory. But his seat of Maribyrnong, like so many once-safe ALP bastions in Melbourne, has experienced rapid gentrification, an influx of educated professionals, and a significant spike in prosperity over the past decade, and it can only be a matter of time before the Greens are on the march there too.

And further around Australia, there are plenty of other seats that foot the bill. Fremantle, in Perth. Griffith, in Brisbane, held until recently by Kevin Rudd. Some of the mining seats north and south of Sydney. All, at some point, to come under serious assault from the Greens. And in every case, the Liberals should issue preference tickets against sitting MPs in Labor-held seats.

It’s not as if the Greens can hurt the Liberal Party, when 80% of their primary votes, if distributed during counting, flow to the ALP anyway; that 20% is probably just the percentage of their supporters who make their own minds up about who to preference rather than simply following the ticket.

And Labor can scarcely retaliate, for in the seats where the Greens are not a threat to it, the Labor vote is almost never distributed at the preference table: and even when it is, its preference flows to the Greens ahead of a Coalition candidate are invariably very, very tight indeed.

If Labor somehow thinks the Liberals should now save its bacon now a slew of its trendy inner-city seats could be lost to the Greens, I’d be telling the ALP to tell its story walking.

I’d be reminding it of all the mischief, and nonsense, and false allegations and defamatory slurs, that Liberal MPs — including Abbott — have been subjected to by Labor, its thuggy brethren in the unions, and a gaggle of its unelected henchmen in ALP secretariats around Australia.

I’d be making a judgement call that most of the affected Labor MPs don’t even have all that much to offer in a national context — unless you’re a socialist, that is, or a unionist — and that there’s no point trying to prop them up.

And I’d be reminding anyone stupid enough to try to negotiate over the issue that Labor simply can’t be trusted, and that any deal in an election context was pointless.

Some might see this position as simple vindictiveness, and that two wrongs don’t make a right. I don’t agree.

In the end, what goes around comes around; and if the proverbial karma bus that slams into the ALP in the inner cities just happens to be driven by a Green lunatic, then so be it.

In any case, elections — from a strategic view — are about getting the best outcome from which to advance other objectives, and having Greens sitting in nominally ALP seats in the lower house (that Liberals would almost certainly never win) is hardly going to compromise the Liberal Party’s best interests.

And on a final, highly appealing note, Hudson’s article notes that SA Independent Senator Nick Xenophon’s new NXT party stands a good chance of wiping the Greens out of the Senate: and should that come to pass, the presence of a few less-securely seated Greens in the lower house would amount to a backwards step for that party, and leave open the possibility of the Liberals preferencing Labor against them at a subsequent election — and wiping them out of the Parliament altogether.

You see, I’m not in favour of backing the Greens at all. Not in the long run. But in the short term, they can be useful, and hurting the ALP badly in its disintegrating heartland through preferences seems almost poetic.