For the better part of two decades the Victorian Greens have continued to exist by relying on the financial indulgence of its cashed-up members. Following a strong federal vote in August, it has received about $2 million in public funding and is likely to qualify for a further $1.3 million if its vote holds up as expected in the state poll. As a comparison, public funding to the Greens after the 2006 state election totalled $788,000.
It will be no comfort to the established political parties, but the Greens are about to become a self-sufficient, on-going political machine. Indeed, the Greens have a growth trajectory unmatched by any minor party in Australian politics. The party will remain a machine dependent on public funding and an army of volunteers, but the days of tapping individuals for bridging finance appear to be over.