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Election 2004: Greens candidate is confident she will win seat of Melbourne; Shadow Minister is concerned about support for Greens.

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Tuesday 5 October 2004

Election 2004: Greens candidate is confident she will win seat of Melbourne; Shadow Minister is concerned about support for Greens


MARK COLVIN: The political tussling over Tasmanian's old growth forests reflects the key role that the Green vote may play on Saturday. The Greens' preferences will be crucial in a raft of lower house Coalition seats. 


And polls have estimated the party's primary support in a number of inner-city seats in Melbourne and Sydney is as high as 25 per cent.  


Commentators say it's only in the Senate that the Greens will pick up seats. But as Nick McKenzie reports, those lower house inner-city seat battles are still giving the Labor Party some serious headaches. 


RESIDENT 1: You're the popular girl at the moment. 




RESIDENT 1: Are you going to win against Lindsay? 


GEMMA PINNELL: We're giving it a good shot. 


RESIDENT 1: Your chance is pretty good, isn't it? 


GEMMA PINNELL: Yeah, yeah. 


NICK MCKENZIE: On the campaign trail on a trendy inner-city Brunswick street with the Greens candidate for the seat of Melbourne, Gemma Pinnell. 


The people here are predominantly young. There's university students and young professionals who've moved into the once working class but now upmarket surrounding suburbs.  


There's a fair share of dreadlocked hair and interesting piercings here as well. 


As John Howard might say, its Melbourne's "kooky" heartland. 


A recent poll put the Greens support in the seat of Melbourne at 27 per cent, a level Gemma Pinnel says is reflected on the hustings. 


GEMMA PINNE: I'll give you one of my flyers for Gemma, and think of the Greens when you go to vote on Saturday. 


RESIDENT 2: I will be, I'm voting Green anyway, definitely, so, good luck with it. 


GEMMA PINNEL: We see the seat of Melbourne as a very strong seat for the Greens. Certainly we've always maintained there is an outside chance of the Greens taking the seat from Labor. It's been a strong Labor seat for a long time, and the growth of support and our strong campaigning has now seen that it's a Green-ALP marginal seat. 


NICK MCKENZIE: The Greens are polling strongly in four lower house seats, including the seat of Melbourne and, in New South Wales, the seats of Grayndler, Sydney and Cunningham. 


And the Labor Party says it's taking these battles between it and the Greens very seriously. 


LINDSAY TANNER: Oh, it's very possible, even on that poll that was published a week ago, it would only take about a five per cent movement away from me to the Greens on that poll and I would be history. 


NICK MCKENZIE: Lindsay Tanner is Labor's member for the seat of Melbourne.  


LINDSAY TANNER: There is no doubt that the Greens are now within striking distance of winning seats like mine and like a couple in Sydney. And the key to it is getting Liberal Party preferences. John Howard wanders around calling the Greens kooky, John Anderson calls them Communists… yet they're hypocritical enough to give them their preferences because they know that that will distract Labor resources, Labor energies. 


NICK MCKENZIE: The latest poll put Lindsay Tanner's support at 49 per cent. If that reflects Saturday's result, it's enough to keep the Greens well at bay. 


Recent polls put the Greens lower house vote at around seven per cent nationally. A poll yesterday put the Greens support in the Senate at 12 per cent, up five per cent from the last federal election.  


Analysts says while it's unlikely the Greens will ultimately pick up any more seats in the lower house, the party could increase their Senate numbers from two to around seven. 


The real threat from the Greens is how they'll direct their preferences, especially after Labor announced its Tasmanian old growth policy. It was welcomed by the Greens and that could affect marginal Coalition-held seats like Richmond and Page in northern News South Wales. 


As a result, the scare campaign from the Coalition and minor conservative parties is likely to intensify in the last days of the campaign, with ads like this from Family First: 


FAMILY FIRST AD: Don't risk it. A vote for the Greens is a vote for extremes. 


Heroin, ecstasy, the Greens want to legalise the whole lot. 


GEMMA PINNELL: Clearly there's been a smear campaign against the Greens, but we've also seen the Greens support rise as people do look at the broad range of environmental and social justice policies that we have. 


MARK COLVIN: Greens candidate for the seat of Melbourne, Gemma Pinnell, ending that story by Nick McKenzie.