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Election 2004: polls show Green vote gaining momentum.

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Monday 4 October 2004

Election 2004: polls show Green vote gaining momentum


TONY EASTLEY: The polls in today's Age and Sydney Morning Herald newspapers show the Green vote surging to 12 per cent in the Senate. 


But the Greens will be influential elsewhere. Their preferences will be crucial in a raft of lower house Liberal held marginal seats, and with that in mind the Government will step up its advertising campaign this week against the Greens. 


The party's leader Bob Brown says he believes the Government is ahead, but he says the environmental vote will be crucial in influencing the large number of people still 'undecided'. 


Chief Political Correspondent Catherine McGrath asked Bob Brown to assess the latest poll results. 


BOB BROWN: That's 12 per cent in the Senate. I hope it's a good poll, the Senate polls are very often unreliable, but this is the first specific Senate poll we've had in a while, and it's a very strong one for the Greens. 


CATHERINE MCGRATH: Bob Brown, in the House of Representatives the survey has you with 8 per cent. That's an enormous surge from last time. 


BOB BROWN: It's a very strong Greens vote and the feedback we're getting on the streets is terrific. People are very friendly, they're saying they're going to vote Green on Saturday and it's particularly strong when it comes to the Senate, where people I think are going to vote in record numbers away from the major parties. 


CATHERINE MCGRATH: Now, the Government is warning that it's going to launch campaigns this week aimed at the Greens. They're going to advertise what they say is an unholy alliance between you and Labor. 


BOB BROWN: Yes, I see that Mr Howard is going to get into vilifying the Greens and that's part of the democratic process, of course. So I think what while the Government might boost the advertising industry in the coming week, the voters out there are very savvy. 


CATHERINE MCGRATH: However, a party with roughly 8 per cent of the vote, determining which party possibly wins the election through its allocation of preferences in the House of Representatives in marginal seats, could easily skew this election result. 


BOB BROWN: No, it won't. This is a democracy and it won't be the Greens Party that determines those preferences, it'll be voters. 


CATHERINE MCGRATH: Forests is going to be a big issue this week, Bob Brown, with the release of policies from both major parties. Labor MP in Tasmania Dick Adams says it could cost Labor one to four seats in Tasmania. 


BOB BROWN: Dick Adams is a chainsaw driven woodchipper and he's simply losing grip because in Tasmania three times as many people want the forests saved as want them woodchipped. He's been caught out. He's on the wrong side. 


CATHERINE MCGRATH: The polls are showing the results too close to call, but consistently showing the Government slightly ahead. Is that your reading of it? 


BOB BROWN: Yes, Catherine, I think that's how it is. I think, however, there is a mood change going on and the feedback I get is that Labor may pick up on that. There is a mood for change and I think that will express itself right through to election day. 


In fact I think many people will still be determining whether they're going to vote for a Howard Government or a Latham Government as they walk up the garden path to the school come next Saturday. 


TONY EASTLEY: Leader of the Greens Senator Bob Brown, speaking with our Chief Political Correspondent Catherine McGrath.