Green dawn rising?

Posted by Joshua Newton On September 29, 2010 0 comments

The Greens had a particularly good showing in the 2010 Federal election, winning their first lower house seat in a general election, receiving their highest ever share of the primary vote, and increasing their Senate representation to nine. Concerns have been raised in the Victorian state branch of the ALP, however, that these gains came at the expense of the ALP. So, how seriously should the ALP be concerned about the Greens?

To examine this issue, I created state-specific scatter plots tracking electorate-level results from the last four Federal elections. In each plot, the vertical axis represents the percentage of primary votes cast in favour of the Greens while the horizontal axis represents the ALP two candidate preferred vote.

Click on the image above or here to view the plots in full size.

As the plots indicate, the Greens primary vote has been rising since the 2001 election. These increases have occurred irrespective of whether the ALP two candidate preferred vote has trended towards the ALP (Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, ACT, NT), away from the ALP (Western Australia), or moved in every-which direction (New South Wales, Queensland). As such, there does not appear to be a consistent relationship between the Greens primary vote and the ALP two candidate preferred vote.

So, should the ALP be worried? Yes and no. In most electorates, the Greens are unlikely to threaten ALP candidates, at least in the foreseeable future. The exceptions are in inner-city electorates held by ALP MPs. In 2010, for instance, the Greens primary vote exceeded that of the Liberal Party in three electorates (Grayndler, Melbourne, and Batman), forcing a run-off between the Greens and the ALP. One of these electorates (Melbourne) ended up going to the Greens, and future gains in the Greens primary vote could also see the seats of Grayndler and Batman come into contention.

  • An explanation of the two candidate preferred vote can be found at the AEC website.
  • Four electorates (Kennedy, Lyne, New England, and O’Connor) were not included in the plots because the ALP was not represented in the Two Candidate Preferred Vote.

The environmental impact of a roast dinner

Posted by Joshua Newton On September 12, 2010 0 comments

Roast lamb and roast beef are classic Australian dinners, and both are, in their own right, quite delicious. In recent years, however, there have been a growing number of articles in the popular press examining the environmental impact of eating meat. Which got me thinking: is it more environmentally friendly to eat lamb or beef? And how do these meats stack up against the other ingredients that are commonly used in a roast?

The data presented in the graph below relates to the amount of water (in cubic metres) and CO2-equivalent emissions (in tonnes) required to produce one tonne of the selected ingredients in Australia. Lamb appears to be more environmentally friendly than beef, at least when evaluated in terms of water and carbon emissions. Nevertheless, both meats have a substantially greater impact on the environment than vegetables. So, next time you are making a roast, think about using lamb instead of beef and consider reducing the amount of meat that you use.


  • Yes, pumpkin and onions are essential elements of a roast, but I couldn’t find Australian water consumption figures for these vegetables.
  • The Peters et al. (2010) paper provides several estimates of the CO2-e emissions associated with both beef and lamb production. The means of these estimates were used in the graph above.
  • The CO2-e figures relate only to the production of the raw ingredient. Thus, the energy required to transport and prepare these ingredients is not considered.