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Greens opposition to Israel is costing them votes

A new survey shows a quarter of Greens voters in Melbourne’s most Jewish electorate say they would not vote for the party again.
Deborah Stone
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Man in front of a flag and poster reading "Free Gaza now"

Greens leader Adam Bandt at a pro-Palestinian rally in Canberra two weeks after the October 7 massacre (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas).

Published: 2 July 2024

Last updated: 2 July 2024

The Greens hostility to Israel, particularly in the wake of the October 7 attacks, is projected to hurt them at the polls.

A new survey found 26% of Macnamara voters who recall voting for the Greens in 2022 now intend to vote for a different party.

About 10% of Macnamara voters are Jewish, most reside in the suburbs of Caulfield and East St Kilda, making it the second most Jewish electorate in the country, after Wentworth in Sydney, which is 12.5% Jewish.

The seat is held by the ALP’s Josh Burns, a Jewish MP whose office was recently attacked by antisemitic vandals. The electorate, previously called Melbourne Ports, was held for 21 years by Jewish ALP member Michael Danby.

But the Greens came close to winning the electorate in 2022, with a 5.5% swing bringing them to 29.7% of the first preference vote, compared with 31.8% for the ALP and 29% for the Liberal Party.

It’s now looking like the electorate will swing heavily away from the Greens at the next election, cleanly delivering the seat to Labor.

Of those who say they voted for the Greens in 2022, 12% would now vote Labor, 9% would vote Liberal, and 5% would vote for other parties or candidates.

The Jewish Independent

The survey was conducted by Red Bridge between Thursday 13 June and Thursday 20 June. Burns’ office was attacked in the early hours of Wednesday 19 June.

Director of Strategy and Analytics Kos Samaras commented that while the Greens loss of ground could be due to older Millennials moving to Labor and, to a lesser extent, to the Liberal Party, it was likely also a result of Jewish Greens voters moving right to the Liberal Party.

The Greens refused to support a parliamentary motion condemning the October 7 Hamas massacre last year. Leader Adam Bandt has been heavily involved in pro-Palestinian protests, leading both the government and opposition to accuse the party of inflaming tensions in Australia.

In the latest incident, Greens senator Jordon Steele-John yesterday refused to support a motion from Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie to condemn pro-Palestinian protesters who graffitied Australian war memorials last weekend.

Bandt refused to condemn Steele-John, telling the ABC, "A genocide is taking place. We have an extremist government [in Israel] that is subject to orders to stop genocide — and the thing that the prime minister and the leader of the opposition seem to get most agitated about is graffiti today". 

Liberal leader Peter Dutton has been outspoken in support of Israel. Labor’s Anthony Albanese and Foreign Minister Penny Wong were strongly supportive of Israel in the immediate aftermath of October 7 and have stood firm on not recognising a Palestinian state, but have become more critical of Israel as concern over civilian casualties in Gaza grows.

Labor is facing dissent within its ranks over its refusal to support the Greens stand on Israel-Palestine. Last week Labor senator Fatima Payman broke party rules to vote with the Greens on a motion in support for a Palestinian state.

Payman was initially punished with a short suspension from the Labor caucus but on Sunday she told the ABC’s Insiders program she would cross the floor again to support Palestine. Following the interview, she was called to The Lodge and indefinitely suspended from the caucus.

Muslim groups have warned Labor may face a backlash in Western Sydney over the Payman issue, but the strong Muslim seats are among Labor's safest so, in contrast to Macnamara, the issues are unlikely to change the outcome.


Albanese had to act on Payman, but doing so creates new headaches for Labor (SMH, paywall)
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and the Labor Party leadership team have made the right decision by indefinitely suspending Senator Fatima Payman from the caucus.

When uni goes back, Renee won’t be there. She’s been banned for protesting (SMH, paywall)
When university students return after the winter break, Renee Nayef won’t be joining them. She is banned from setting foot on the campus for the semester.

Pro-Palestinian groups urge Australia to boycott a military exercise (ABC)
Australia is joining almost thirty nations, including Israel, for large scale military exercises which begin today off the coast of Hawaii.

About the author

Deborah Stone

Deborah Stone is Editor-in-Chief of TJI. She has more than 30 years experience as a journalist and editor, including as a reporter and feature writer on The Age and The Sunday Age, as Editor of the Australian Jewish News and as Editor of ArtsHub.


  • Avatar of Ann Elizabeth Fink

    Ann Elizabeth Fink4 July at 05:36 pm

    The electorate has changed. So many of the Labor voting Jewish community have aged. Or and are dying. In the Southbank and South Melbourne area, young Asian professionals now inhabit the tall apartment blocks. Much more likely to vote Green. Albanese is far too rigid. Democracy is surely about diversity,

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