THE federal government’s latest position on asylum seekers might be aimed at the politics of marginal electorates but it could harm its highest-profile marginal seat holder.Lindsay Tanner’s seat of Melbourne represents the Greens’ best chance of winning a House of Representatives seat in the federal election.And the man gunning for the Finance Minister, the barrister Adam Bandt, says Friday’s move on asylum seekers – suspending the processing of Sri Lankans and Afghans for three and six months respectively – would backfire in the inner-city electorate.”It is distressing and disappointing and if they think it will neutralise it as an election issue, it is going to have the opposite effect in Melbourne,” Mr Bandt said yesterday.Mr Bandt, once a partner at Julia Gillard’s old law firm, Slater and Gordon, needs a 4.7 per cent swing to topple the minister. He said the Tampa issue in the 2001 election put the Labor Party on notice in Melbourne.Then there was a 10 per cent swing against Mr Tanner. Almost all of those votes were transferred to the Greens candidate, a refugee advocate, Pamela Curr.Mr Bandt said when he knocked on doors at the weekend, refugee policy was the prime issue. ”The number of people expressing extreme disappointment, verging on anger, that we are having to live through this again but this time under a Labor Government was palpable,” he said.”I will be campaigning on increasing the humanitarian intake. I was intending to do that anyway and this has just brought the issue to the fore.”Mr Tanner has conceded the Greens threat in his electorate. Writing in the Herald last month, he argued the Greens did not represent a realistic avenue to get progressive political results, and were just as opportunist as any other party.”They feed off Labor’s need to make compromises to marry progressive reform with majority government,” he wrote.Some Greens have lamented their best chance of winning a lower house seat would be to topple the socially liberal Mr Tanner, who has earned a solid reputation in the finance portfolio.But Mr Bandt said voters were looking for a politician who did not just share their views but was prepared to voice them: ”It is obviously the case that whatever views Lindsay Tanner might have, they don’t carry weight within the Labor Party.”The ABC election analyst, Antony Green, said Mr Tanner, who won 49.5 per cent of the primary vote in 2007, needed only a small swing in his favour to retain the seat. Mr Tanner’s higher profile would help in this election.”There would be some people thinking of voting Green who would not want to vote Tanner out of office,” he said. ”Labor no doubt will run a campaign that if you vote Green you will deprive the government of one of its best left-wing members.”The Greens hope to put on a strong show in Tanya Plibersek’s seat of Sydney, but have little chance of claiming it. The candidate, Tony Hickie, said many people in the electorate were appalled by Labor’s new policy.
Nanjing Night Net