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Bob’s Caravan = “Deplorables”


When Hilary Clinton was aiming to win the US Presidency, the world watched in fascination to see if Americans were able to vote for someone who wasn’t a rich white bloke twice in a row. After all, they had already voted for Barack Obama, so one challenge had been met, and we were interested to see if the gender challenge could also be overcome. History shows us it was a bridge too far, but the use of the term “deplorables” by the 67th Secretary of State, Clinton, secured the outcome for the now President Trump.

After the post mortems were done and dusted, it was generally considered, in Australia at least, that using the term “deplorables” was a rookie mistake. A harsh outcome, but the fact remains that a woman aspiring for high office has to be perfect where blokes can just muddle through.

Fast forward to Australia’s recent federal election, and we now have our own version of the “deplorables” in the well-intentioned, but ultimately destructive, anti Adani caravan.

The most glaring error has to be a publicity stunt that didn’t bring a message of hope for those who currently make their living from coal. It personalised the problem, challenged the locals directly, and even worse than that, it was aimed at the wrong people. Those with the least amount of power to effect change.

With the luxury of hindsight, Bob’s caravan should have been directed at whichever financial centre is most involved in providing a lifeline to the troubled coal mine. Those with the power to end this environmentally damaging project. This should not be news to Bob and the Greens because there has already been great success in discouraging financial houses from supporting Adani with even the US’s Rothschild and Co walking away from the troubled miner recently.

Since the election, I have heard the Green’s Di Natali saying publicly that he is proud of the result because they held their existing seats, but that’s an extremely low bar for measuring success in my view. In an election with a reputed high level focus on the environment, I would have thought their aspirations of winning 4 more seats would have been an easy target. Simply holding their own suggests that they are not viewed as a viable option to bring about change.

I can’t imagine Aussies no longer want to see the end of the Adani Coal mine, and I still think it’s chance of getting up and running are very thin, but it looks like the Greens are not going to be the powerhouse they believe themselves to be. The end of the Adani mine will come about due to economic reality, and the efforts of many different groups working together.

I guess there is always the possibility that the Greens will learn from this misadventure and realise they have to be offering a way forward, the way they used to operate when education used to be their focus, but if they really are as happy as Richard Di Natali claims, then we could be looking at a Senate that has already reached Peak Green.


Rothschild withdraws from advising Adani on Australia coal project – Reuters

On the road with Bob Brown’s Stop Adani Convoy: Hobart to Clermont – in pictures – Guardian Australia

Mixed Greens’ result disappoints, but could deliver Senate balance of power – SMH

This article was originally published on

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  1. king1394

    It is quite difficult to criticise the Greens in the hope of having them recognise some of their errors. As a purist group, they perceive themselves as doing no wrong and even their most serious missteps are not recognised or analysed amongst party faithful. Previously they have sabotaged the Labor Party effort to introduce a price in carbon while their decision to support the Changes to Senate voting in a self-interested manner has opened the doors to a number of loud right wing groups which will encourage anti environment and libertarian and far right sections of the community.

  2. corvus boreus

    Personally, I think Di Natale is probably somewhat justified in displaying relief, if not joy, at the recent electoral outcome, at least as far as the Green vote went.
    I am surprised that factors like some piss-poor screening of candidates, the recent displays of public acrimony in the NSW branch shenanigans, and the tactical misfire of Bob Brown’s ‘caravan of courage’ didn’t significantly erode the Green primary vote.
    And yes, the Greens as a party, need to examine both their internal conduct and their own contributions to the current counterproductively adversarial relationship with the ALP.

  3. John Boyd

    Seems like the same sort of ‘judgement’ Brown used to block the original CPRS…and yes, I know all the arguments about why it was deficient.

  4. corvus boreus

    It is difficult to offer valid criticism of any party when addressing the ‘faithfull’.
    Party rust-ons tend to be like the worst behaved team fans at sports games; full of vinegary piss, over-fond of loudly braying slogans and sledges, and completely unable to conduct any impartial or even rational analysis of the actual state of play.

  5. Josephus

    While the comments re the Greens of king1394 are pejorative and little evidence based, in fact a sensible post mortem is emerging. As part of this, Di Natale and others have recognised the problem overall: neither of the major parties has devoted much attention to the imperative to retrain workers likely to lose their jobs because coal mining and gas drilling/fracking are short term, toxic, and water hungry. As such they are not regarded by banks as a solid investment, in part because they require large subsidies by the taxpayer to make them viable at all.
    Consequently, away from the climate denialists and the donations-hungry, it must be recognised that in the event that some miners and allied workers cannot be retrained locally so that small towns may survive, then whatever the government in power there must be revived the social contract that protects workers liable to be retrenched. Changing technical and environmental realities necessitate this, as otherwise social cohesion will fracture, as has occurred in the US, the UK and elsewhere. PM Hawke understood the importance of all this.
    Labor must admit its mixed messages that have engendered distrust and frustration, and instead be honest with both its blue collar and its enviro-sympathisers. And that is precisely what Labor is cogitating right now. For some time already Di Natale has advocated this and suggested a common front in this regard to the extent that this is possible. There is, indeed, a growing convergence between the Greens and farmers fearful of the prospect of yet more large scale shale- and coal -gas and coal mines that affect our food producers, struggling as they are with the little water they receive in a changing climate.
    There has to be a reconfiguration of the political landscape. This is what both Labor and the Greens are striving for. Both are now explicitly aware of the need to respect and cater for the working classes impacted by the changing climate and its repercussions for the ‘dinosaur’ industries.
    This will not be easy, but the process now in train must succeed, as otherwise we are stuck with a mediocre, populist and farming/wildlife destroying ruling class, to the present and future detriment of life forms both on this continent and ultimately globally.

  6. Keitha Granville

    I love Bob dearly, he is genuine and resolute in his fervent desire for the future of the planet.
    But it was a mistake no doubt, the wrong time and the wrong place.
    The Greens have been shooting themselves and Labor in the foot now for years, when in fact they should be finding common ground – the fight against the conservatives.

    Probably a pipe dream.

  7. corvus boreus

    For the record, I, as a voter, completely support the ‘below the line’ aspects of the 2016 senate voting reforms, which increased my electoral choices without impinging upon any existing rights.
    I take the effort to carefully research not only party policies but the specific pedigrees of the individual candidates on offer, and, in making my informed choices regarding who to cast my vote towards, appreciate not having to undertake the pointlessly onerous task of sequentially numbering every single phriggen box on the bedsheet.
    I am a bit more ambivalent about the ATL reforms

  8. Alan Nosworthy

    Better inside the tent than outside pissing in?
    Greens do focus on matters worth serious discussion, but not unqualified acceptance as revealed truth.
    The assumption of holier than thou attitudes by animal rights and vegan activists was never going to play well with a rural population living hand to mouth, day by day.
    Whilst the Greens may survive associated with such extreme idealism the A.L.P. struggles to manage the backlash from questioning the future viability of the obscenity that is the live animal export trade.
    That great labor strength, the authority of the caucus is unlikely to be respected by extremists convinced that only they are pure enough to hold the Grail.
    If state Labor Government can be held to their stated guidelines regarding the viability of Galilee Basin mining that will achieve far more than the caravan stunt ever could.

  9. whatever

    The only ‘stunt’ part of this would appear the MSM frenzy of hate directed towards some inoffensive environmentalist protestors.
    Who calls any ambulatory group of people a ‘caravan’, well the MSM do. They describe refugees entering the U.S. thus.

  10. Keith

    Queenslanders living in the vicinity of the Carmichael Basin are concerned about job creation, unemployment is high. The anti Adani cavalcade polarised Queenslanders; and Labor did not make it clear about their attitude to Adani. There was a good dose of lies being perpetrated against Labor with the push suggesting that Labor was for death taxes. When boiled down the franking changes effected only a very small percentage of voters. Young people were forgotten in the election in relation to access to buying homes and climate change; resentment on their part can be expected. Clive Palmer’s huge spend on advertising shows how elections can be bought.

    The LNP offered little else than tax refunds, they can hardly claim to have a mandate to do much in the next 3 years.

  11. Kaye Lee

    I understand people being passionate about the environment. I understand people being passionate about animal welfare.

    I also understand people being perturbed about their space being invaded and I understand their concern about their employment.

    But I am getting heartily sick of hearing about drought assistance and flood assistance and bushfire assistance and cyclone assistance from people who vote to do nothing about climate change.

    I also have zero sympathy for the guy who asked about tax cuts for people like him who earn $250,000 a year.

  12. Matters Not

    Perhaps political decision-making by the voting citizen is best explained via reference to emotion rather than rationality? If so, then Labor may reconsider its future policy thrust which is forever rational but does not talk to real (selfish) people in real situations.

    It’s what guides the Nats and has forever. (Sad but true).

    But perhaps it’s best to remain pure? Politically impotent but so, so good and right …

  13. Bollocks

    Well done Bob et al.

  14. corvus boreus

    It is hard for the Greens to dis-associate themselves from the electoral consequences of the backlash against the Adani protest convoy, since Adani is such a ’cause celebre’ for them and Bob Brown is still very much part of the Greens brand.

    There is, however, as far as I can see, far less cause to link the Greens with the recent spate of vegan actions, where militant non-meatists disrupted city traffic in order to promote a movie, and occupied an abattoir in a tense stand-off that resulted in the negotiated liberation of a couple of goats.

  15. Miriam English

    king1394 I am so sick of brainwashed Labor faithful repeating over and over again the bullshit about the Greens blocking Rudd’s awful carbon pricing legislation. Rudd was playing politics. His carbon pricing rules would have locked in terrible policies that would have given billions of dollars to the worst polluters and would have done nothing to reduce carbon pollution. Rudd was running a scam. He wanted to appear to the public as if he was doing something good, while in fact siding with the worst corporations. He set up the LNP and Greens to take the fall. If the Greens blocked the crappy rules he could blame them; if it passed and the public realised it was a con he could blame the LNP.

    But progressive politics has paid for it ever since, for purely selfish reasons, he drove a division between Labor and the Greens, who should be allies, but will now probably never join forces because we have weak-minded Labor faithful popping constantly repeating this stupid crap about the Greens being bad.

    The Greens simply promote the ideals that Labor used to. Have a look at their platform and look back a few decades at Labor’s ideals. That’s why so many Greens voters used to vote Labor.

    Cue the excuse about Labor being practical and moving toward the right-wing side because of the voters. Okay, if that’s what you think, then fine, but don’t whinge about the Greens “betraying” Labor, or “stealing” Labor votes, and don’t criticise the Greens for standing by their voters when Labor so easily abandons theirs.

  16. Adrianne Haddow

    Miriam…. Bravo !

    I, too, am heartily sick of defending the Greens and their policies, in the face of the hatred and misinformation that is so casually spread by the likes of Alan Jones, Miranda Devine, Andrew Bolt and others of the Murdoch mafia, and then taken up by supposedly politically aware people. and treated as gospel.

    The Greens, supposedly, have no policies, until Labor takes up a watered-down,”pragmatic” version, and then it’s all keyboards to the rescue to laud and applaud the progressive Labor policy, that will restore our rights, and pave the way to the preservation of life on the planet, at the same time as jobs for all and infinite economic growth.
    The continued lies that the Greens support all coalition policies, when the Labor opposition have voted in and passed so many of those assaults on our freedoms and rights, sometimes at the last minute ( the encryption policy) merely to save face.

    It is disingenuous to blame the existence of the Greens party for the loss of voter support for progressive policy when the gerrymandering of electorates ‘in the bush’ allow the real ‘loonies’ and racists to gain more seats in the Senate while attracting far less of the vote. Then to conflate the activities of some vegan activists to the Greens is downright woolly thinking.

    It is disingenuous to continue that lie in the face of the massive LNP donor advertising blitz and fear campaign that has eroded our democracy, again and again.
    Murdoch and his campaign for ever more wealth and influence, and his megalomaniac status of kingmaker has been extremely successful in dividing this society into partisan little groups, snarling around protecting their tribe, their tiny slice of the job market, their tiny slice of the economy.

    I was a Labor voter ( 40+ years) until the ‘faceless men’ machinations that saw the downfall of two Prime Ministers, and it seemed like the votes, and seemingly, the satisfaction of many in the electorate were not as important as the political ambitions of some factions within the Party.
    The Greens platform and policies, which DO exist offered a seemingly fairer, more socially just, more environmentally conscious approach to the governing of this country.
    But it will never happen… because they are all ‘loonies’. Ask anyone.

    It is time for us to wake up to the fact that our country and our democracy have been well and truly played by the Rineharts, the Forrests, the Roskams, the Downers, the Murdochs and sundry others hiding behind the most cashed up, insidious organisation for the oligarchs, the IPA.

  17. Kerry

    Perfect response Miriam, I’m also sick and tired of the blame the greens diversion. Its so much easier than having a backbone. I liked some things Kevin Rudd did or tried to do, but he was a neo-liberal as was Julia.

    I do not think there are any socialists left in labor. It is very amusing to me that the Labor faithful are actually now died in the wool centre left AKA right wing voters but they don’t realise it or won’t admit it 🙂 And to boot socialism is seen to be some kind of evil …go figure!

    All that is left for socialists to vote for are the Greens, yes they have faults but they are far and away the only party with a conscience.

    Labor’s “conscience” was on display this election for all to see, they wouldn’t stand up for an increase in Newstart and they wouldn’t give a clear message on Adani. The Greens stood up for both and they gained voters.

    It should be a no brainer for Labor to end its war with the Greens. Di Natale is constantly offering the olive branch….but no…. Labor Elites are far too self interested to actually co-operate with the left. I honestly do not understand what they think they can achieve with this strategy.

  18. Kerry

    Adrianne, yes thank you. Those “faceless men” where the end of Labor voting for me too. Many of us have long memories and do not trust Bill Shorten because of what he did.

    Of course Labor has many many policies that are better than the Libs but the fundamental issues are not. Here is a list of just a few issues that both parties are in lockstep and no questions asked or answered.

    Security and the growing police state
    the Military and Arms industry
    more or less the TPP
    US influence over Australian politics
    No referendum on the Republic
    Refugee detention
    unchecked destructive capitalism as seen in Banking, Coal, gas, Electricity etc
    Water privatisation, privatisation of everything they can get their hands on
    sale of all of our Ports
    Julian Assange,
    The so called War on Terror.

  19. Adrianne Haddow

    Kerry, thanks for the reminders, we’ve been living with these injustices and social engineering constructs for so long that we have forgotten, after the initial affront, just what life was like without them.

    In all the fury of the post election navel gazing and blame game, we have all forgotten the poor, bloody sacrificial lamb that Julian Assange has become.
    And we can thank the ‘coalition of evil’ for that.
    The allies that hunt like a pack of wolves for the next economic opportunity in whichever country the fancy takes them. Then with ‘truth and justice’, of the media- manufactured sort on their side, affect the regime changes that are causing the impossible social conditions most of the world is facing, while helping to maximise the profits of those who really direct their governments

    Of course, Julian Assange must be held up as an example to any upstart publication that thinks they can actually publish facts and evidence to challenge the supremacy of the oligarchs. No wonder we have the sort of toothless journalists we do in MSM.

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