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So close, and yet so far?: The Tasmanian Greens and the 2006 State Election


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Crowley, K 2008 , 'So close, and yet so far?: The Tasmanian Greens and the 2006 State Election' , Environmental Politics, vol. 17, no. 3 , pp. 481-484 , doi: 10.1080/09644010802065849.

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Australia’s relatively wild island state, Tasmania, was described two decades
ago as a crucible of environmental conflict, providing in microcosm ‘a taste of
the likely shape of politics elsewhere in the world should the green agenda
reach the political frontline’ (Hay and Haward 1988, p. 435). In the 25 years
since the Greens were first represented in the Tasmanian parliament, the House
of Assembly’s preferential proportional electoral system (Mackerras 1995)1 has
ensured their consistent presence (see Table 1). Since then, they have supported
two minority governments, one Labor (1989–91) and one Liberal (1996–8)
(Crowley 2003a). A key issue dominating the 2006 state election was whether
the Greens would again assume the balance of power.
The electoral system changed in 1998 when the Liberal minority
government, as one of its last acts, supported the Labor opposition’s
amendment to the Parliamentary Reform Act (1998) which raised the quota
for election of a member of the House of Assembly (MHA) from 12.5% to
16.7%. The impact on green parliamentary representation was immediate. At
the 1998 election, under the new quota, the Greens’ 10.2% of the state vote
delivered only one seat (to its leader, Peg Putt) instead of the four seats that
would have been won under the old quota (Crowley 1999). The reform not
only raised the electoral quota, but cut the numbers in the Lower House from
35 to 25 members, leaving the government and opposition severely benches
depleted. At the 2002 state election, the Greens, following Putt’s effective
representation, were rewarded with a record 18.1% vote that returned four

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Crowley, K
Journal or Publication Title: Environmental Politics
Publisher: Routledge
ISSN: 0964-4016
DOI / ID Number: 10.1080/09644010802065849
Copyright Holders: K Crowley
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2008 Taylor & Francis

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