The Greens would emerge with a stronger voice in both the parliament and the community as a result of last Saturday’s election, MLC Lee Rhiannon told Sydney Star Observer yesterday.

The party doubled its vote in the lower house and trebled it in the upper house. They increased their Legislative Council representation from two to three and challenged Labor’s Sandra Nori in the seat of Port Jackson, where candidate Jamie Parker received 29 percent of the primary vote.

Rhiannon disputed comments that the vote spike was attributable to current anti-war sentiment.

The vote in [the Victoria state election] was just slightly higher than what we got in New South Wales, so in that sense there’s no argument to say that we just got a one-off protest vote, she said.

She said the party would be investigating a direct mail campaign by the Unity Party in Port Jackson.

The Unity Party sent a letter to voters in that seat relating to the Greens policy on drugs. It was a scare tactic that we did not get enough time to respond to as it was done on the Thursday before the election. We query how a small minor party could pay for such a letter. It’s curious, given that Unity knew they couldn’t win in that seat, that they went to so much trouble, Rhiannon said.

The Greens drug policy, which was widely reported in the mainstream media, was largely responsible for the party being locked out of Liberal Party preferences -“ preferences that could arguably have helped them win the seat of Port Jackson.

But the party’s campaign director, John Kaye, said that there was no way the party would backtrack on its drug policy to win Liberal Party preferences.

We won’t compromise our principles to win lower house seats, he said. People don’t want us to blow about in the wind. There is a yearning in the community for a party to take a stand on these issues.

Rhiannon said the Greens MLCs would be writing to the premier shortly seeking his position on a number of GLBTI policy areas, including the age of consent, anti-discrimination act reform and the formation of a ministerial committee on the health needs of gay men and lesbians.

We’ll be writing to the premier very soon on those three matters to gauge their response and that will determine what our program is with regard to these matters, she said.

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