How the political landscape has changed.
The Labor Party is just waking up to the new demographics. Greens in the inner city are more like the profile of some former Liberal (conservative) voters 30 years ago. Greens in the outer suburbs are more the sustainability hippies.
One ALP source said the ALP had identified a big split in the profile of Greens in the inner city and those on the urban fringes, with the outer-suburban Greens more like the earthy, environmental activist-style Greens of the Bob Brown generation rather than the wealthy careerists of the inner city.
Inner city Greens are wealthy, educated types:
In Victoria, the ALP has pushed back the preselection of its candidate in the federal seat of Melbourne, now in the hands of the Greens’ Adam Bandt, to ensure it adopts the right candidate and the right campaign strategy. “There is a lot of institutionalised prejudice about how we have to be more Green than the Greens. In reality a lot of these Greens come from Liberal voting backgrounds,’’ the source said. “The Greens vote in Hawthorn was north of 20 per cent — that’s a blue-ribbon Liberal seat. These Green voters are earning more than $80,000 per annum, are tertiary educated and almost two-thirds are working in the private sector, the ALP believes.
The Labor source is halfway there, but thinks Green voters have social consciences:
“They all think we are terrible on refugees and terrible on climate change but the biggest single issue in terms of their vote is job security. They are like wet Libs, but they have social consciences,” the source said.
Evidence shows many Greens have social consciences only in the weakest, most superficial way. The inner city Greens say they care about the planet and the poor, but it’s a moral-vanity-badge type of care. They don’t change plans, admit failure, or apologize when their policies cause death and suffering or harm animals. Where are the protests? They might say they “care” about asylum seekers, but they don’t complain when soft policies mean a thousand drown at sea, and they don’t offer to settle them in their suburbs. They don’t care when the most desperate asylum seekers get left in UN camps because the asylum seekers with money have paid smugglers and “jumped the queue”.
The Greens social conscience is limited to being conscious of their social standing. If I wear this fashionable idea will it impress my friends at dinner parties? It’s not a social conscious, it’s more a conscious social.