The dust is still whirling around the Australian political landscape. As I write, not only are the coalition talks barely beginning, but with five seats still in doubt it’s not yet clear where the balance of power lies.
Still, there are some conclusions we can draw at this stage that are interesting for Greens in Australia, the UK and potentially elsewhere.
1. Greens are making electoral progress around the world
Like in the UK earlier this year, this was the best-ever election result for the Australian Greens. They won a seat in the House of Representatives for the first time in a competitive election, and increased their vote share to its highest national level. Not only will they potentially hold the balance of power in the House of Representatives (two recounts are currently underway that could potentially give them further seats), they’ll also increase their group in the Senate, further adding to their influence. Above all else, the result is hugely encouraging for Green Parties, and a further demonstration that they have the opportunity to become mainstream across the world.
2. Non-proportional systems hurt Greens
With the inching progress in the UK towards a referendum for an AV electoral system, the results of the Australian Greens are instructive. Sure, AV allows people to vote for their favoured party, when they wouldn’t necessarily take that voting risk for under FPTP. But in Australia that’s still not enough to avoid squeezing out smaller parties. The comparison between vote share and seats won in the House of Representative is reminiscent of the images used by the UK Take Back Parliament campaign earlier this year: