Greens eyeing inner-city seats, but is it with rose-coloured glasses?

The Greens party traditionally talks up its chances before every election, so boasts of winning four inner-Brisbane seats are not surprising.

Oct 28, 2020, updated Oct 28, 2020
South Brisbane Greens candidate Amy MacMahon. (Photo: ABC)

South Brisbane Greens candidate Amy MacMahon. (Photo: ABC)

However, as usually happens, the Greens are peering into the electoral chicken coop and counting the feathered birds before the votes are all cast.

According to the Greens’ advance notices, not only will sitting Maiwar MP Michael Berkman hold his western suburbs seat, the party is all but claiming victory in South Brisbane, McConnell and Cooper.

It seems, for the Greens’ A-Team, this election has been run and won. The political quartet even posed for a triumphant photo, which may have contained traces of hubris.

Berkman stood, smiling and presumptuous, with colleagues Kirsten Lovejoy (running for McConnell), Katinka Winston-Allom (Cooper) and Amy MacMahon (South Brisbane).

The last time we saw this sort of over-confidence was in a premature “victory shot” of Bill Shorten and his front-line colleagues Tanya Plibersek, Chris Bowen, Penny Wong and Jim Chalmers days before the 2019 poll. It was captioned “We’re Ready”.

Those five Labor MPs are still in opposition.

The Greens candidates were pictured together to illustrate an inside-baseball story about wheeling and dealing with Labor to form a government if Annastacia Palaszczuk and her team fall short of a majority.

They were talking up a big game before the last million or so votes were cast. Hubris, much?

The Greens’ confidence was founded in a poll showing a win for their South Brisbane candidate. While this survey showed a strong win for MacMahon over sitting Labor MP and former deputy premier Jackie Trad, it recalls a similar survey two weeks before the 2017 election which predicted a Greens’ victory.

That “Trad to lose” poll was filed under “inaccurate predictions”. This time Trad has a tougher fight on her hands but elsewhere the Greens should not be counting too many of those electoral chooks.

Stronger primary votes for the major parties – seen in published and private polling – could protect Labor in Cooper (the seat being vacated by minister Kate Jones) and McConnel (held by minister Grace Grace) and might return Maiwar to Liberal hands.

Labor’s polling shows the primary vote for its candidates in McConnel and Cooper climbing into the mid to high-30s while internal LNP research has that party’s chances in Maiwar boosted by a first preference number edging towards 45 per cent.

The Greens’ performance might live up to these boastful advance notices. The voters will have the last say on that.

However, there’s just as great a possibility the Greens will come out of this contest with just one MP – the same number they had in the last Queensland Parliament. The catch is, it could be Amy MacMahon rather than Michael Berkman.

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