Australian Greens get power-sharing tips from New Zealand
New Zealand’s political parties are raking over the Australian federal election, divining meaning from results and even sending advice across the Tasman.
It is not yet clear whether Anthony Albanese’s Labor party will need support from the Greens or independents for a majority government.
However the chips fall, the Australian Greens will carry know-how from New Zealand after pre-election talks between the sister parties on navigating power-sharing.
“We’ve talked to the Australian Greens about how we work in government with Labour ... they’ve sought out advice on those issues,” foreign affairs spokeswoman Golriz Ghahraman told AAP.
The NZ Greens have held ministries for five years under Jacinda Ardern, including from 2020, when Labour won a majority and offered the Greens two portfolios outside cabinet as part of her consensus-building style.
Wielding power while holding those in power to account has long been a difficulty of Greens parties as they evolve from a protest movement to potential office-holders.
That tension has been a subject of trans-Tasman talks.
“It’s been good to have a proper sit-down chat with their whole caucus and our whole caucus,” Ms Ghahraman said.
“You can have some who negotiate hard for your policies and get wins, while you have others who absolutely maintain a voice of opposition where there is disagreement.
“Both are crucial so people can see your efficacy in government, but that you haven’t lost your points of difference.”
The election campaign has raised eyebrows among NZ Greens, who believed their Australian counterparts would poll well, but were denied media oxygen.
The election result aligns the trans-Tasman Labor and Labour parties in government.
Ms Ardern, who has just released a major emissions reduction plan with the help of Greens minister James Shaw, said she saw “a very strong message” from voters fed up with inaction of climate change.
“Gender, integrity and climate were three platforms of the so called teal candidates,” she said.
“You see in Brisbane as well, the Greens picking up seats in those areas that have been flood-stricken.”
On the flipside of the result, NZ opposition foreign affairs spokesman Gerry Brownlee, from the centre-right National party, said the election affirmed the need to stay in touch.
“The lessons for us are that you’ve got to be talking in the campaign about stuff that directly affects people’s lives,” he told AAP.
Mr Brownlee said the women’s vote was profound, showing politicians needed to speak to all voters.
“The way you present is important. If you come across as being a blokey bloke ... you’re stuffed.”
The Nationals were thumped in the 2020 NZ election but have rebounded under new leader Chris Luxon to be highly competitive in recent polling.
Mr Brownlee, a party elder, offered his advice to the Australian Liberals looking to rebuild.
“Firstly, don’t panic,” he said.
“Secondly, work out all the personal ambitions. If you’ve got a number of people who believe themselves to be the next prime minister of Australia and are just looking for that opportunity then you’ve got a problem.
“You have to be united. Discipline is everything and sometimes, that’s a function of just taking a bit of time.”
Another veteran of NZ politics, Winston Peters, said in typical quixotic style the Liberals needed to learn the lessons of history as they rebuilt.
“My advice for them is a repetition of the same advice they got from their greatest leader, (Sir Robert) Menzies. Don’t forget the forgotten Australians,” he said.
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