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Greens Is the Biggest Winner of Australia's General Election
Source: peopledaily.com.cn
Source Date: Friday, August 27, 2010
Focus: Knowledge Management in Government, Institution and HR Management
Country: Australia
Created: Aug 30, 2010

Australia election outcome is uncertain whether Labor or the Coalition to win the minority government of the first hung Parliament in 70 years, but one thing is clear that Greens have won a golden result in the 2010 general election.

Up to Friday, 83.16 percent of votes have been counted by Australian Electorate Commission, and the Greens party will control the balance of power in the Senate from July 1 next year, after six more Greens senators were elected, taking their total representation to nine.

Greens' member of Parliament Adam Bandt also swept to a historic victory in the seat of Melbourne, becoming the first Greens candidate elected to the House of Representatives at a general election.

Greens Leader Bob Brown said the poll, which saw a predicted 3. 7 percent swing towards them in the primary vote, proved the party was a genuine third force in Australian politics.

"It looks like we'll have nine senators in the new Parliament, a party room of 10," Senator Brown told Australian Associated Press on Saturday's election night. "From where I sit, that's a greenslide."

Swinburne University professor of political science, Brian Costar, said the Greens' success did not come out of the blue.
"It wasn't a flash-in-the-pan result - it was building on earlier strengths," Prof Costar told ABC News on Friday.

"The Greens have done well in elections in recent years. They' ve been racking up some quite respectable vote tallies, and of course they've been doing well in the Senate.

"We shouldn't have been surprised. If you pick a winner out of the election, it was definitely the Greens."

Elected member of Parliament Bandt has nominated pushing for a price on carbon, the abolition of mandatory detention of asylum seekers and changing the law to recognize same-sex marriages as his top priorities in Parliament.

Bandt has also indicated he will side with a Labor government in the hung parliament, despite his leader's desire to be more circumspect.

Professor Costar said Bandt's victory is "particularly significant" to hold the balance of power in Parliament.

"It's something that the Greens' predecessors - the Democrats and in the dark past the Democratic Labor Party - could never do," he said.

However, some speculated the Greens will struggle with their increased power. Liberal backbencher Malcolm Turnbull is one such doubter.

"I think the Greens will struggle to maintain their political purity when they actually have the responsibility of real political power, because the truth is there are none so pure as the impotent," Turbull said on Q&A television program on ABC TV.

But Professor Costar thinks the Greens' Senate experience will be successful.

"While they haven't held the balance of power in their own right, they have had situations where they have shared that and they've got a mixture of experienced people in the Senate and new people. I don't think there will be any problems there.

"Neither do I think there will be any problems in the Lower House, where the Greens are not terribly central to the formation of the Government."

The Greens earlier have signaled they plan to introduce private member's bills on same-sex marriage. Other issues likely to see the light of day in the Lower House include treatment of asylum seekers, introduction of a carbon tax, and an end to the federal intervention in the aboriginal regions of Northern Territory.

More populist issues taken by the Greens to the election include a ban on junk food advertisement, a national recycling program and free university.

While negotiation has begun between the two parties and three independents, as well as Bandt, who are likely to decide which of the two major parties forms a minority Australian government, it remains to be seen whether other Greens policies start to look more enticing to the major parties in the coming days and weeks.
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