Since the federal election where the Greens picked up the seat of Melbourne they haven’t done well in state elections. At both the Victorian election and the NSW election the Greens have massively under-performed their stated goals of winning seats in the lower house and they have lost ground in the upper-house.
I have long argued that Liberal voters should preference the Greens in the seat of Melbourne ahead of the ALP for strategic reasons. Lindsay Tanner is out of the parliament* and the ALP have had to go into coalition to form government. This makes life difficult for them. It has also had the effect of concentrating attention on the Greens. Malcolm Farr explains
A second factor in NSW probably was the seeping secret that not all Greens are like that nice Bob Brown. Some are tending towards the loonier edge of town.
Economists differentiate between information goods, experience goods and credence goods. Information goods are those that we can discover the important characteristics about the good by seeking out more information. Experience goods are those goods that we can only discover the important characteristics by actually consuming the good, while credence goods are those we cannot be sure about the important characteristics even after we have consumed them. As a political party the Greens are experience goods. Many voters seem to the like the fuzzy hippy approach to public policy that the Greens seem to advocate without looking too closely that their actual policies. Having the Greens in the thick of things is working well and will continue to provide a valuable experience for some time.
Another might be that the Green experiment in influencing government federally has not impressed voters and they do not want it repeated in NSW.
The Greens have worked closely with major parties in other state governments, notably Tasmania, but it could be the exercise in federal politics has not been seen as a triumph by mainstream voters, or [b]y so-called progressives.
* Tanner didn’t run, probably because he knew the writing was on the wall.