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GREENS WORST NIGHTMARE: Julian Assange could slash the Greens Senate vote

Julian AssangeIf Julian Assange does run for the Senate in Victoria, as his Wikileaks twitter account today decreed, it could be dreadfully inconvenient for recently preselected Greens party Senate ‘lead’ candidate Janet Rice.

While Assange says he hasn’t decided which state to run in as a Senate candidate, sources familiar with these matters have told VEXNEWS (and the AEC site confirms) he will have no choice but to run in Victoria because that’s where he most recently resided in Australia before wandering the world with a backpack, laptop and bad attitude, encouraging hackers to bust into confidential information networks and vigorously allegedly declining condom use with hand-picked Scandinavian groupies.

Wikileaks are also raving about forming their own party.

Assange’s Senate bid and Wikileaks’ foray into elective politics – if it occurs and it’s often the case with Assange that nothing is as it seems – could be very disruptive in Victoria for the Greens and probably anywhere else Assange’s group nominates.

VEXNEWS has noted a rising tide of disenchantment and disillusionment with the Greens political party, which often pulls in votes from progressive young people while very often putting up candidates from an older demographic, such as Janet Rice and sixty-somethings Lee Rhiannon, Christine Milne and Bob Brown himself, who refuses to discuss when he’ll be retiring from party leadership despite being nearly 70 years at old at the expected time of the next federal election. It’s a sweet Baby Boomer scam on Australian youf, some have suggested.

Assange’s candidacy would be novel, hip, groovy and global news, especially if it occurs while he’s contesting sexual assault charges in Sweden or espionage charges in the US, as could quite possibly be the case. Many of the eager, impressionable, gullible and naive who swelled Occupy’s ranks last year could easily be attracted to his candidacy.

Assange’s new TV show, to be broadcast globally on the Kremlin-backed slavishly Putin-friendly “Russia Today” satellite channel is due to be launched in March. If elected, the Wikileaks founder could perhaps become the first Australian politician to officially have received cash from the Kremlin, unless you count Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon. And she, of course, denies all.

By comparison, the Greens party’s selection of yet another unexciting serial candidate, another former councillor, another fifty something, albeit one with an unconventional personal life at home (her partner Penny was previously Peter) will all seem rather uncompelling for the Millennials and Gen-Y’s to which the Greens party often appeals.

Assange has been worshipped by many of the Greens, especially his devoted fan-boy Senator Scott Ludlam from WA, who has flown over to have an audience with him in what most assumed was a publicity stunt/photo-bombing opportunity.

Sources familiar with the murky world of Greens politics have told VEXNEWS that some in their circle are pointing fingers at Ludlam for the whole schemozzle. It could inflame tensions between the Victorian Greens (seen as pragmatist sell-outs) by the more traditionally hard-core leftist WA Greens.

Interestingly, Ludlam visited Assange in December. Just a couple of weeks after Ludlam met him, the first Tweet emerged from the Wikileaks account exploring the possibility of a Senate run with the hashtag “#ja4Senate”

Unlike the Pilger-reading Greens, who love a good conspiracy theory more than a wash, we think this was unlikely to have been Ludlam’s intention and that it is, more likely, a potentially very spectacular own-goal.

UPDATE: Sassy Sunday Age political scribe Misha Schubert herself attempted to probe the novel Ludlam mystery relating to Assange and it appears he was putting a brave face on it:

Senator Ludlam, who has spoken with Mr Assange’s mother, Christine, to raise awareness of the legal wranglings abroad, told The Sunday Age it was great news Mr Assange wanted to run.
“It’s going to give the issue more profile and anything that raises the issues that WikiLeaks has campaigned on … can only be positive.”

Even if it costs his party a seat in the Senate? Not so much.


Comments are disallowed for this post.

  1. To generalise, people vote Green because they’re the party they trust on protecting the environment (routinely poll around Green 40% – Labor 20% – Coalition 15%), addressing climate change (routinely poll around Green 30% – Labor 25% – Coalition 20%) to highlight two core issues though there are of course more. Protecting the environment attracts more votes than ever because it has also become tied to the idea of a steady-state economy (for obvious reasons) which has become an increasingly popular notion (though lets not turn this into a discussion of that). If you’re suggesting that Assange is going to run on issues such as this, which he’d need to in order to peel away Green votes in any significant way then I’ve got a bridge to sell you.

    Note, for example, that the Green vote polled 16% for the first time under the Rudd Prime Ministership almost in line with when he dumped the ETS – not because young people wanted to look trendy or whatever – keeping in mind that the L/NP opposed the legislation as well there was only one other major place for people who care about environmental issues to go.

    Greens run plenty of younger candidates. Josie in Niddrie (a 26 year old biologist) being a most recent and obvious example in the upcoming Victorian by-election. And then there’s Sarah Hanson-Young and Larissa Waters who could hardly be called ‘boomers’.

    You’ve got a very strange and out of touch narrative on the Greens. Your criticism might be of interest were to take a more constructive approach but its just too fun and easy to respond to at this time. You give the impression that you view the Greens result in 2010 as a ‘fluke rise’ of some kind that occurred as a result of the way Labor had been governing, yet from 1996 to 2010 there has been a progressive and pretty much sustained rise: 1996: 2.4%, 1998: 2.7%, 2001: 4.9%, 2004: 7.7%, 2007: 9.0%, 2010: 13.1%…

    Personally, I suspect Assange will try and revive a Democrats-esque platform – a ‘keeping the bastards honest’ line would certainly fit him credibly. And if that’s what he does and it works his votes will be coming from disaffected centrists from the majors. That’s what I expect to see.

    Posted by Brenton Eccles | March 17, 2012, 18:20
  2. You caught Leakyboy having a 007 moment, Andrew!
    “The name’s Assange. Julian Assange.”

    Posted by gregoryno6 | March 17, 2012, 18:57
  3. Happy to wager with you Comrade Brenton, up to my usual limit.

    If Assange runs for the Senate in Victoria, he will win, and if he wins, the Greens will not. That’s my proposition.

    As for the rest of it, I have seen polling that shows the Greens much further in front on those issues than you say, which is why the major parties waste their time talking about climate change/environment.

    None of that changes from the obvious point that Assange’s appeal would massively eat into the Greens party vote, maybe a little bit from Labor too. It is a fantastic (as in fantasy) proposition to say he would take votes from the Liberals, unless Liberals includes that zany Charles Richardson bloke who is I think still a Liberal member but has been in a business arrangement with a Green, writes for the left-wing pay-walled email newsletter Crikey, has defended *virtual* sex with children and probably has a Rob Hulls autographed copy of the Human Rights charter on his bookshelf of liberal works. Other than that, I’d reckon the conservatives are pretty safe from the competitive threat that Julian Assange might represent.

    As for the issue of the Greens and its retirement age leadership, you’re right that they run a few candidates approximating the age of their voter base but if you look at the people in charge, they’re mostly a lot older. There are exceptions but they are exceptions. Perhaps the Greens party membership (still very small) is quite old, I’m not sure. But it’s certainly a strange situation, and I always chuckle when Bob Brown refers to the “old parties” when the Greens are dominated by politicians in their 60s unlike Labor and the Liberals.

    Posted by VEXNEWS | March 17, 2012, 20:33
  4. Dean I eagerly await your rimming later this evening seeyou shortly Tiger.

    Posted by Delores the She-Male | March 17, 2012, 20:46
  5. Commo Eccles, perhaps hipsters like you and Nick Carson, can run a campaign for Greens generational change against Banger Bob and Moscow Milne, from your commie, left, social injustice, hipster enclave of Brunswick. Just think about the great opportunity you have to amass a group of over idealistic young hipsters to come together and talk about inconsequential bs minority issues. Coupled with a good dose of extremism, I’m sure you can repell the threat from Just Julian and get Banger to see its time to retire to some Tasmania hinterland cave. That will drive your percentages sky hi.

    Posted by Benito M Hipster | March 17, 2012, 21:33
  6. Benito dearest, you couldn’t have included more phrases you don’t know the meaning of in one paragraph could you? (And no, that is not a challenge).

    To VEX: You didn’t understand what I said about the L/NP. I said that Assange could very well take a small percentage of moderates from their base, you know, people that are Liberals (people that really despise Abbott) and not conservatives. As you would be aware there was a difference in the pre-Howard era. It is perhaps less visible now, but it is there.

    I wouldn’t yet discount the other possibility, though, and that is that he runs as a Greens candidate. It’s possible considering they’ve been the sole recognisable political force supporting him.

    It’s also worth mentioning that the Greens have nothing to lose (in terms of the Senate in Victoria) at the next election but only to gain – unless there is some Green Senator up for re-election in Victoria next election that I am unaware of. Although I’m sure you know that.

    I think it’s very unlikely that he’ll run Independent. The other possibility of course is a new party.

    As for Greens and age, you really floundered then didn’t you? You know that the reference ‘old parties’ is a policy and not a demographic comment. I see what you were trying to do though.

    Posted by Brenton Eccles | March 17, 2012, 23:13
  7. Assange in, Greens out. Good for Australia if it happens.

    Posted by The Truth | March 18, 2012, 1:08
  8. The would-be Greens Senator Janet Rice married a guy called “Peter”, had children with him and then he becomes a trans-sexual “Penny” and Janet Rice still lives with him/her as her partner?

    How fcuked up is that?! Green weirdness at its best.

    Posted by Greens are WEIRD ! | March 18, 2012, 1:22
  9. Brenton:

    The Greens party fraud on young voters where they are running an increasingly geriatric leadership team is obviously troubling you. Don’t get me wrong, i hope this continues and that Bob Brown and Christine Milne and Lee Rhiannon and the other sixty somethings stay on – Beijing style – into the 80s and resolve leadership disputes with their Zimmer frames. The Greens are getting old, in every way.

    Assange is too extreme-left to pull many Liberal wet votes at all, I think but who knows.

    Assange has already contemplated forming his own party, could rustle up the 500 members necessary from the Occupy smellies and would be able to raise more money than his competition, the Victorian Greens.

    BTW, the Sunday Age, esteemed journal of record that it is, agreed with pretty much my entire analysis and with our always insightful top-shelf sources.

    So the only flounder I’m seeing on the hook is you. And Janet Rice. She’ll be steamed because she certainly seems cooked.

    Posted by Andrew Landeryou and the VEXNEWS Orchestra | March 18, 2012, 1:50
  10. It will be interesting to see how many votes Assange pulls off the Labor pile. There are many traditional labor votes I’ve heard share sympathies with his “battler” status. Mind you the guys a grub and I have no respect for him.

    Ps. I think Labor is having far more trouble attracting the youth vote or participation than the Greens. Although Labor’s representatives are young and have much more capability, the Party uses sh@t social media and is struggling to come into a modern form.

    Posted by Anon | March 18, 2012, 7:05
  11. Any Australian can contest any Senate vacancy, you are not limited to the state where you are enrolled. Assange’s nominators would have to be enrolled in the state he contests, but he doesn’t have to be on the roll in the state. He is not limited to Victoria.

    Posted by Antony Green | March 18, 2012, 9:26
  12. The age demographic of currently elected Greens doesn’t trouble me at all. I am in-fact uncomfortable with too young representatives.

    To the person above Mr Landeryou, the fact that you would seek to denigrate a persons gender identification speaks volumes about you don’t you think?

    To the person below Mr Landeryou, speak to young people who do vote Green. It’s almost exclusively on policy issues, in my experience anyway. The demographic doesn’t give a damn about the age of their representatives, but that their priorities are where theirs are or at least closest to where theirs are.

    Posted by Brenton Eccles | March 18, 2012, 10:47
  13. Anthony Green – you answered my question before I asked it here.

    If Julian Assange stands in Victoria he will get my vote but for others here at Vexnews it will interesting to see who they hate more – the Greens or the Wikileaks founder.

    Posted by Adrian Jackson | March 18, 2012, 13:43
  14. please don’t tell Mr Assange about my exploits in the private rooms at parliament house with a special friend from the gallery. .

    Posted by Sarah in the Shite | March 18, 2012, 14:08
  15. Can’t be in the Senate if you’re in jail.

    Posted by Anonymous | March 18, 2012, 14:44
  16. He has not committed any crime in Australia and he has not committed any crime in little Sweden. He also has not been charges as far as I know.

    We all know that many Swedish womyn have loose morals, are porn stars or are lesbians that do not really like men.

    Julian was set up by US agents just like the Russian spies that were deported from the USA a few years ago

    Posted by Adrian Jackson | March 18, 2012, 17:30
  17. In fact he will totally ‘f’ the ALP vote the Senate many in the ALP love him as do many who traditionally vote Labor but now thanks to Gillard will not vote Labor next election. After the next election the ALP will be able to hold shadow cabinet or caucus meetings in a toilet cubicle and there still will be plenty of room!!

    Posted by anon | March 18, 2012, 18:43
  18. Didn’t the mad Doc Evatt also receive cash from the Kremlin?

    Posted by Anon | March 18, 2012, 19:34
  19. Smithy couldn’t organise a cake stall let alone run Australia’s defence forces.

    Posted by Spew | March 19, 2012, 1:32
  20. […] crime, and that his accusers are former WikiLeaks volunteers. A recent addition to this stable is a VEXNEWS blog post perpetuating the myth of Assange as an anarchic vagabond “wandering the world with a […]

    Posted by 2012-03-18 The word as virus: Myth-making in the syndication age | wikileaks | March 19, 2012, 9:01
  21. @ Brenton.

    If he does run-there is no chance he won’t take votes off the Green. People looking for a protest vote tend to vote Greens, now they have another alternative who is incredibly high profile.

    To characterise the Greens as an ‘environment’ party is not entirely accurate and people vote the Greens for other reasons.

    Posted by John Stirling | March 19, 2012, 9:43
  22. I wouldn’t mind copping a look at S H-Y’s “boomers!

    Posted by Bill Calvin | March 19, 2012, 14:57
  23. To generalize, people vote Green because they are either insane or just don’t care about politics in general.

    Assange is more than capable of appealing to the insane and disinterested.

    Posted by Mick | March 19, 2012, 15:40
  24. Do we want an [alleged] rapist in the Senate?

    Posted by Toad of Toad Hall | March 19, 2012, 17:49
  25. Who cares, greens, labor or liberal, they’re all spineless fuckers with indistinguishable policies.

    The only real choice is what brand of bullshit rhetoric and what you want them to rattle their sabers at.

    And to Mick, I don’t understand how you could care about politics and vote for the Libs or Labor.

    Posted by Dave | March 19, 2012, 19:49
  26. @John: of course people vote Green for various reasons, I’m talking about the bulk of their vote. Based on the growth of their vote from 1996-2010 you could only suggest that a small amount of their gain in 2010 represented a ‘protest’ vote – either that or they peaked in 2007 and all that gain in 2010 was a protest vote, but the trend wouldn’t suggest so I don’t think.
    Most people who wanted to protest the ALP at the last election took Latham’s advice.

    @Mick: you don’t ‘vote’ because you ‘care about politics’. I do not think even the deepest ‘insider’ would think/speak like that.

    Posted by Brenton Eccles | March 19, 2012, 20:22
  27. Julian Assange should run for parliament. He can replace Andrew Wilkie as the politician who has done the most to put the lives of Australia’s troops at risk.

    Posted by Giuseppe De Simone | March 19, 2012, 20:52
  28. Having said that, I did enjoy reading some of the diplomatic cables from the US Embassy in Australia that Assange leaked.

    Posted by Giuseppe De Simone | March 19, 2012, 20:53
  29. If this guy runs and wins, he still has to come to the Senate to take the oath and you cant do that when you are under house arrest in the UK !

    Posted by Anonymous | March 20, 2012, 1:03
  30. ‘Vote for creepy traitorous metrosexual Matrix Guy!’

    That’s gonna be hard to fit on a corflute.

    Posted by Byron in Wahroonga | March 20, 2012, 11:35
  31. Hmmmmm….and of course Assange will then vote with the Coaliation and against Labor and the Greens. No? If not, what difference does it make who gets that progressive seat – in fact Assange is likely to be even more radical and uncompromising than the Greens. Be careful what you wish for.

    Posted by Zaf | March 21, 2012, 13:20
  32. Are people forgetting that Nick Xenophon and Sarah Hanson-Young are both elected on the same S.A. ticket? He’s an independant and she’s a Green – both get in! I imagine Vic would yield the same result.

    Posted by Graeme | March 21, 2012, 20:05
  33. Greens voters vote for the brand, not the policies. As time passes, and voters get to see what wacky policies they have, support will continue to diminish.

    Posted by Maverick | March 27, 2012, 13:22