When reading blogs & articles about the Greens you’ll often see comments trying to characterise the Greens voters as inner city latte drinkers with arts degrees or something similar. In this post I want to put the Greens vote in perspective.
Firstly, while inner city seats such as Melbourne, Sydney and Grayndler (Sydney’s inner west) are certainly Green strongholds and offer the best hopes for the Greens winning seats in the House of Representatives, there are plenty of Greens votes elsewhere. In the 2007 election the number of Greens votes in these three electorates were 19,967, 15,854 and 15,675 respectively – a total of 51496, just over fifty thousand votes. Are these electorates where all the Greens are? The total Greens vote in the House of Representatives in 2007 was 967,789. That is almost one million votes. In fact in the Senate the Greens got 1,144,751 votes nationally, more than one million votes. These people do not all live in the inner city. Going back to the HoR, the AEC does a breakdown of votes as metropolitan and non-metropolitan – almost 350,000 of the Greens votes were in non-metropolitan areas (roughly 35% of the total Green vote … and remember that metropolitan is not just inner-city either). By way of comparison this was more than half the vote of the Nationals in non-metropolitan areas.
By state, NSW accounts for just over 30% of the Greens vote, and Victoria accounts for just over 25%, so there is still a very large proportion of Greens votes in other states. As a proportion of the total votes the Greens did better in WA and Tasmania than either NSW or Victoria.
Now I want to concentrate on my home state of SA. There were 68,640 lower house votes for the greens in 2007. About 8.5 thousand were in the seat of Adelaide which easily covers what would be called “inner city”. In fact there were more Green votes in Mayo and Boothby than in Adelaide. Even in the worst seat in the state for the Greens, they still got more than 4% of the vote.
Those who think that all Greens sit in cafes in inner city Sydney or Melbourne should perhaps consider visiting Whyalla. In the state election earlier this year there were 8 polling places in Whyalla with a total of almost 1500 people voting for the Greens , accounting for between 12-16% of the total vote at each.