News National Richard Di Natale defiant as data shows Greens vote on the slide

Richard Di Natale defiant as data shows Greens vote on the slide

richard di natale
Greens leader Richard Di Natale has held the party's top job since May 2015. Photo: AAP
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The Greens vote across the nation has declined under the more moderate leadership of Richard Di Natale, The New Daily can reveal.

Senator Di Natale is standing firm despite calls from party members for him to quit the leadership over the party’s ailing fortunes.

Analysis by The New Daily reveals the Greens have suffered a collective primary vote swing against the party of 0.33 per cent across all major elections held since he was appointed leader.

The analysis of federal house and senate results, as well as state upper and lower house returns, also shows that, when compared with the party’s 2010 peak, the result is far worse – a loss of support of nearly 3 per cent.

Although some of the decline took place under former federal Greens leader Christine Milne, the data suggests the Greens leader’s concerted effort to present the party as a more mainstream, moderate and pragmatic outfit has so far failed electorally.

The figures do not includes comparisons to results in New South Wales or Victoria, where voters have not gone to the polls since Senator Di Natale took the leadership in May 2015.

Focus on the Greens’ electoral performance has increased following Saturday’s surprise loss in the Batman byelection, which the party was expected to win.

The Greens also suffered disappointing results in Saturday’s South Australian election, and in the recent Tasmanian poll, where it lost an MP and lost 3.5 per cent of its primary vote.

The results come as internal party ructions spill out into the public arena, underlined by the divisions between Senator Di Natale’s moderate direction and the party’s left flank and, separately, by the internal leaks against Alex Bhathal during the Batman campaign.

Senator Di Natale, who has vowed to find those responsible for the leaks and expel them, said on Monday he was confident he had the full support of his parliamentary colleagues to remain as leader.

But the move against the alleged leakers prompted Grahame Bowland, a former convenor of the WA Greens, to publicly call on him to quit the leadership.

Mr Bowland’s comments followed a warning on Sunday from former NSW convenor Hall Greenland, who said the fact the Greens vote had fallen since federal Labor lurched to the left could “no longer be ignored”.

When Senator Di Natale took over the leadership, he said he believed the party could hit a 20 per cent primary vote by 2025.

The following year, he said the Greens could hold eight lower house seats in a decade, while in November last year, he unveiled a hit-list of 25 seats the party aimed to win as it sought to become a major party.

He has pointed to the party’s strong result in last year’s Queensland election, in which the party picked up the inner Brisbane seat of Maiwar, as well as the byelection victory in the Victorian state seat of Northcote last year.

But Associate Professor Kate Crowley, a political expert at the University of Tasmania, said the Greens movement was in “real trouble”.

“The Greens membership is split,” Ms Crowley, who has written extensively on Greens politics, told The New Daily.

“Some are not quite ready to be a political party, and [care] more about advocacy and being a protest group while others are more pragmatic people, but are not so wedded to environmental issues.

“We have seen fracturing in New South Wales and thought, ‘It’s always been like that’. But now there’s been fracturing in Victoria as well.

“A return to the previous double-digit results now looks uncertain. Some reflection is definitely needed.”

Senator Di Natale’s office was contacted for comment.

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