With the issue of Green preferences, Green Coalitions and minor party preferences has come to the fore of the election campaign already. For all of those trying to follow it, here is what we know so far.
Liberals and the Greens
Victorian Liberal President Michael Kroger has floated the idea of an 'arrangement' with the Greens in certain Victorian seats. The Greens hold their only Federal lower house seat in Victoria in the seat of Melbourne. This seat was won on the back of the Liberals directing preferences to the Greens over Labor.
In 2010 when Liberal cards recommended Greens ahead of Labor in the federal seat of Melbourne, 80 per cent of Liberal votes flowed to Bandt in preferences and 20 per cent to the Labor candidate. In 2013, when the cards advised the other way, Bandt only received 34 per cent and Labor 66.
In other words, if Liberal to Green preferences from 2013 had of occurred in 2010, the Greens would never have won Melbourne. If the 2010 preference flows have of occurred in 2013, the Greens would have won Bateman.
Therefore, an arrangement with the Liberals is in the Greens interests, not only in terms of securing the seat of Melbourne against a major challenge from Labor but to try and expand the number of seats they hold. The Greens are eyeing off the seat of Wills after the retirement of long standing MP, Kelvin Thomson. Naturally the seat without a sitting MP is seen as a more vulnerable target for the Greens.
Greens voters are not remotely as suggestible as Liberal (or for that matter Labor) ones. They tend to be politically engaged and hyper partisan in the Labor versus Liberal contest. About three-quarters would never put the Coalition ahead of Labor.
So the deal essentially is, lucrative Liberal how to vote cards in Melbourne and Wills in return for 'open' how to vote cards in marginal seats such as Corangamite, McEwan and Bendigo.
Green Coalition agreements
Both Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten have ruled out Coalition agreements with the Greens with Bill Shorten capping off the week with the quote that the Greens are "dreaming" with the leader of the Greens, Richard di Natale saying that "dreams can come true".
However, after 2010 and the denial - the aura of the Gillard-Green agreement after the 2010 election being repeated has become a theme in the Liberals re-election campaign already. Expect to see more of this theme more in the campaign as we get to July 2.
Minor Party Preferences
As we get closer to July 2, voters are going to hear more and more about preferences deals between minor parties to try and win Senate seats and between minor parties and major parties. Today we have seen the first between the Sex Party and Labor in Victoria.
Victoria has a Sex Party MLA. The party has announced that they will be standing 10 House candidates across the Country including 5 that the Greens have eyes on winning (including Melbourne which they hold). So far the party has announced that they will stand in Melbourne, Melbourne Ports, WIlls, Bateman and Higgins and will be directing preferences to Labor.
The reason given: The Greens support for Senate voting reform.
Expect to see more minor right wing parties following suit and using the Liberals support for reforms to Senate voting legislation as a reason to either direct preferences to them after Labor, in the case of the 'Christian' parties, directing preferences to Labor candidates where the L/NP sitting MP has declared themselves as being for Same Sex Marriage or forcing the L/NP candidates to a 'hard bargain' in exchange for preferences.
Expect to hear more on this front as the campaign gets closer to July 2.