ROBERT BURTON-BRADLEY

Alex Greenwich is looming as a likely victor in the forthcoming Sydney by-election after the Greens revealed they will preference only independents.

Greens candidate Chris Harris revealed to the Star Observer that he will still direct second preferences to Greenwich after the other independent candidate, Glenn Wall.

“We feel our responsibility to the electorate is to do everything in our power as the Greens to make sure there is a progressive member for Sydney,” he said.

“We’re asking the voters to vote 1 the Greens and we will allocate our preferences to the two independents; they will first of all go to Glenn Wall, the other independent, then to Alex Greenwich. We wont be preferencing the Christian Democrats or the Liberals so our vote will be exhausting after Alex Greenwich.”

Greenwich told the Star Observer he would not direct preferences himself because he did not believe an independent should tell people where to send their votes.

“It’s clear to me that people in Sydney want to vote for an independent not a party and that has formed my decision,” he said.

Greenwich has been endorsed by outgoing independent member for Sydney, Clover Moore, whose strong voter support base he needs to hang onto if he is to take the seat at the by-election later this month.

A recent Reachtel poll of 422 voters in the electorate, commissioned by Greenwich, gave him 31.4 percent of the primary vote, Liberal Shayne Mallard 30.6 percent and the Greens’ Harris 24.4 percent, while 12.5 percent remained undecided. Labor is not contesting the seat.

Harris said he had sought a deal with Greenwich and was surprised by the decision not to direct preferences to the Greens.

“We are surprised because [Greenwich] has said publicly that he supports Green’s values, and it’s hard to understand why he’s not preferencing the greens,” Harris said.

ABC election analyst Antony Green told the Star Observer Greenwich was likely to finish in either the first or second position on primary votes meaning preferences would be crucial, especially if he found himself just behind Mallard.

“With Alex it does not matter what he does with his preferences because he will finish first or second,” Green said.

“I presume large numbers of people will follow that recommendation for preferences by the Greens [to Greenwich], probably about half.”

“If he’s only a couple of percent behind the Liberal candidate… it’s probably enough.”

However Green cautioned against the accuracy of the Reachtel poll when attempting to predict the outcome of the by-election.

“The Green vote in that opinion poll was completely wrong, I can’t see them getting 25 percent,” he said.

At the last state election the Greens polled 12.8 percent, the Liberals’ 36.2 percent and Moore 36.3 percent, with Moore winning on preferences.

The Sydney by-election will be held on Saturday, October 27.

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