The preference deal announced on Monday between Labor and the Liberals in Victoria highlights the similarities between the two big business parties. It is clear that they are willing to do whatever it takes to maintain the two party system in the lead up to the election on November 27.
Under the deal the Liberals have stated that they will direct preferences to Labor ahead of the Greens in all 88 lower house seats. This will make it harder for the Greens to win the inner city seats that they were hoping for.
While the Greens have been busy trying to play divide and rule between the two major parties, the Liberals and Labor have responded by ganging up on the Greens to deliver a major blow to their prospects.
The preference decision came after a period of lobbying by sections of big business including the Murdoch press. While the Greens present no threat to capitalism, big business prefers to rely on the two party system as it provides them with a more stable environment for making profits.
Equally as important to big business is that a break from the two party system can open up space for, not just the Greens, but other parties to develop. At the moment it suits big business to have two parties that represent their interests in the parliament. When one becomes unpopular with voters they can just switch their support behind the other without having to worry about major policy shifts.
The Liberal/Labor preference deal shows how mistaken the Greens are when they say that they would be prepared to prop up either party in the event of a hung parliament. Given that the Liberals and Labor are fundamentally the same, a much more principled position would be to force them together into a grand coalition.
This would help open up space for a real third force to develop in Australian politics. A force that was not just a pale imitation of the major capitalist parties, but one that stood up to big business and unashamedly put the interests of ordinary people and the environment first.
In the lead up to this election, only Socialist Party candidate Stephen Jolly, standing in the seat of Richmond, has pledged not to support either of the major parties in the event of a hung parliament.
While the Liberal/Labor preference deal does make it harder for the Greens, we predict that several of the inner city seats will still be very close races. With the Greens still polling well and the Socialist Party getting a very good response in Richmond, it is clear that the preferences of the minor parties will be crucial in determining who wins.
On the ground there is a lot of anger towards Labor and no enthusiasm for the Liberals. The Greens preparedness to prop up the big business parties shows that they are not a genuine progressive alternative to Labor. If you want to punish the major parties for their collusion we urge you to vote Socialist on November 27.
On the basis of our principled stand, our progressive policies and our proud record we are expecting to increase our support base in the seat of Richmond. If we get a good result, or even better win the seat, this could act as a stepping stone towards the formation of a new workers party.
The establishment of a mass campaigning party of the working class would be the only way to break the duopoly of the two party system in Australia.