Greens’ Grayndler candidate Sam Byrne says his strong show in the federal election bodes well for the party’s prospects at the coming state election.
The Greens secured 45.6 percent of the vote after preferences in Grayndler to sitting ALP member Anthony Albanese’s 54.4, transforming the once safe Labor seat to a marginal.
“It was a very strong showing for the Greens, and to take the seat from a 25 percent very safe seat to a 4 percent marginal is a great result,” Byrne told Sydney Star Observer.
“I think it’s now a very winnable seat for us at the next election.”
Byrne said the result was a pointer to the Greens prospects in Balmain and Marrickville in March.
“We’ll be running a great campaign with great candidates, and I think we’re now very close to winning those seats,” he said.
Byrne said same-sex marriage had been a key factor behind the level of support for the Greens in Grayndler.
“The Greens were out and proud in their support for marriage equality,” he said. “Labor and Liberal were offering up the same old discrimination and I’m sure that had an impact.
“If politicians like Anthony Albanese and Tanya Plibersek haven’t got the message that one of the things they need to do to hold onto their seats is to achieve marriage equality then we’re going to get closer and closer to winning them.”
Byrne said the Government’s policies on asylum seekers, a failure to put a price on carbon, and Albanese’s support for expanding the number of planes flying into Sydney airport in an electorate already affected by aircraft noise were also key factors.
Albanese agreed the Government’s failure to make more progress on climate change had been an issue for, voters but was unsure of the effect same-sex marriage.
“It’s difficult to tell,” he said. “Certainly it wasn’t front and centre in the campaign.
“Obviously its an issue which is of concern to some voters [but] I think there were a range of people concerned with equality for same sex-couples who recognised what the government did in changing 84 pieces of legislation to remove discrimination in our first term.
“I think there’s a recognition that a prospect of further reform is much greater under a Labor government than it would be under Tony Abbott, particularly given some of the comments he’s made in recent times.”