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We have a conundrum: The Greens want to flex a bit of muscle, and Labor wants to exercise its authority

In his interview with David Speers last week, the leader of the Greens in the Australian Parliament, Adam Bandt, came over as a contemptuous young man of little diplomacy.

He would do well to read the now old book by Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People. One would have thought his party had won the election; such was his obnoxious manner.

They indeed increased their position in the House of Representatives and have a healthy presence in the Senate, but they are not the Government.

Whilst not for one moment do I doubt his sincerity for the beliefs he holds; he needs to tone down how he demands his right to them.

In the interview with Speers, he outlined these demands and the conditions under which he would negotiate climate and energy policy.

Speers: “Will the Greens support a 43% target?”

Bandt: “It’s too early to tell yet.”

On the draft legislation:

“It doesn’t compel the Government to do anything.”

“We have seen the Legislation, and there are a number of problems with it, but we are willing to talk about it.”

“The 43% becomes stuck in law, and the parliament would have to come back to change it.”

Referring to new Gas and coal power stations:

“You don’t put the fire out while you’re pouring petrol on it.”

“You can’t even have this discussion if the Government is saying. It’s my way or the highway.”

Speers: “If they can fix the wording or amend the wording to give you some sort of assurance about coal and Gas in the future. Would that be enough?”

Bandt: There are four issues: 1) There can’t be a ceiling, 2) There must be a genuine floor so that we can’t go back to it, 3) Is it just symbolic, and 4) What about Coal and Gas?

“We will put them on the table in a good faith way, but there has to be an end to the “It’s my way or the highway” or else it’s going to be a very long three years.”

This sounds at worst like a man demanding he gets his way, or at best demanding he gets it even when he isn’t in Government. A man with an attitude that grates.

Note: I have taken these quotes from a video of the interview. For complete accuracy, I’d recommend viewing it.

Also critical was David Wu from Sky News:

“Greens leader Adam Bandt hopes he can sit down with the government to improve the wording on the climate legislation – but only once Prime Minister Anthony Albanese drops the ‘take it or leave it’ approach.”

After more than 10 years of debate, Anthony Albanese wins Government for the Labor Party. After being thwarted by the Liberals, the National and the Greens from implementing their policy, it now has the Greens telling it in no uncertain way what it can and cannot do by a disagreeable leader who needs to learn some political manners. You can explain your grievances without demanding their implementation.

By precisely submitting the policy, they took to the election. Labor intends to introduce its legislation when Parliament resumes on 26 July. It will lock in the emissions reduction target of 43 per cent by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen met with independents and representatives from the Greens on Thursday, 21 July, to introduce Labor’s draft of the bill.

If Adam Bandt wants to change it, he won’t be doing so in the Lower House and in the Senate. Newly elected ACT former Rugby star David Pocock has indicated he will support the legislation.

Staying too far from what the government desires would invoke memories of 2009 when the Greens voted against a bill that would have promoted action but voted against it because it couldn’t get its way. The Greens wouldn’t want to do it again. Labor has never forgiven them.

Labor legitimately claimed that if the Greens hadn’t voted against its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS), Australia’s carbon emissions would have been more than 200 million tonnes lower, and electricity would have cost less.

The Prime Minister has said that:

“If the Greens Party haven’t learned from what they did in 2009 – that was something that led to a decade of inaction and delay and denial – then that will be a matter for them.”

Having said that, Labor doesn’t have to do anything it doesn’t want to. It can proceed with its policy without any legislation.

The Prime Minister promised a new politic. It would be better, however, if it did agree with the Greens where it can. Here is an opportunity to rise above their natural dislike of them and demonstrate it.

But if Labor isn’t willing:

“… to negotiate on even this minor tweak from the Greens, who now seem resigned to accepting the 43 per cent target, what kind of sensible, good faith amendments will it listen to? Surely not the minor party’s demands for a moratorium on new coal and gas projects, an essential part of the Greens platform that doesn’t particularly gel with Labor’s position.

And so we have a conundrum. The Greens want to flex a bit of muscle, and Labor wants to exercise its authority.

Labor should be flexible enough to concede a little to the Greens by finding a way to prove that its 43 per cent target is just a minimum commitment. And the Greens should take whatever they can get in “sensible’ good faith” (their words) or be “crucified” as a spoiler.

Who knows, the Independents might have some viable suggestions.

As reported in The Guardian, they have had briefings with the climate and energy minister, Chris Bowen, late last week and have outlined some things they want to be included in the legislation.

They also want to include what they describe as a “Dutton insurance” policy. A clause that would make it difficult for future governments to ease up on action for climate change.

I have often written that the world won’t act on climate change until something really catastrophic happens. On that, we are edging closer.

My thought for the day

In terms of the environment, I wonder what price the people of tomorrow will pay for the stupidity of today.

(Often repeated since 2013)

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23 comments

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  1. Terence Mills

    Morrison said to the faithful at the Margaret Court pentecostal church :

    We don’t believe in Governments

    That had a few people sitting up and taking notice. It has now been clarified that he was talking about his own government and himself after the release of a report showing that Morrison personally broadcast confidential on-water information on election day concerning the apprehension of a boat load of Sri Lankan asylum seekers.

    He did this for cynical political gain : no wonder he doesn’t like governments, they tell lies and create conspiracies when he’s involved.

    If you remember later that day the ever helpful Liberal Party sent a text message to millions of Australian voters reading :

    “BREAKING – Australian Border Force has intercepted an illegal boat trying to reach Australia. Keep our borders secure by voting Liberal today.”

    For once I agree with Mr Morrison, we should never have believed in (his) government !

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-07-22/home-affairs-report-confirms-scott-morrison-pressured-department/101262984

  2. Josephus

    Yes Morrison’s cynicism was insufferable. Re the Bandt speech: I have not listened to it yet but thanks for the link. I had not encountered rudeness in Bandt’s manner so far, but note that ad hominem criticism of a speaker’s manner, while undiplomatic, does not invalidate an argument or the evidence behind it. I note too the speeches by Albanese and Plibersek claiming what sound like Green credentials. Why then does the writer state that the Greens and Labor are ‘natural’ enemies, presumably opposed to relations with other parties or individuals? Labor approving huge new coal and gas projects in the face of protests by farmers , environmentalists and First Nations undermines its placatory rhetoric at home or in the Pacific as well as warnings by the UN and numerous reports. A scientist friend tells me warming is certain to rise by c four degrees if humans continue their present trajectory despite the efforts of some countries.
    The Greens are not demanding the immediate closure of existing mines, despite the emissions and water pollution. The author’s somewhat hostile article omits this; one might invite him also to dust off his Dale Carnegie paperback.
    Finally, no doubt the Greens have to support the 43% target, at least until more climate catastrophes occur. Summer fires for example.
    Perhaps we will have to see Sri Lanka type desperation here before rhetoric translates into more action.
    Certainly the politically created but no doubt inevitable rush to acquire oil and gas is not conducive to an ever more necessary retreat from fossil fuels.

  3. pierre wilkinson

    the greens are ideologically committed to reducing greenhouse gases and much as i admire their commitment to stopping new coal mines and gas fields i recognise the need for transition to this platform
    as you mentioned, in 2009 they shot themselves in the foot with their bloody minded insistence on all or nothing, achieving nothing but 10 or more years of inaction, yet have they learned the benefits of compromise and negotiation? doubtful
    “the world won’t act on climate change until something really catastrophic happens”
    but will we notice it before it is too late to remedy? gradual attrition, diminishing returns, once in a hundred years, ah but it happens every year ho hum, nothing unusual going on here, nothing to worry about

  4. Terence Mills

    When Bandt refused to be photographed with the Australian flag as a backdrop – he only accepted the Aboriginal flag and that of the Torres Strait Islands – I started to get a bit worried about the direction the Greens were taking.

    Pontificating is all very well but when it comes to climate change we can’t afford ideological posturing – that’s my view !

  5. John Lord

    Josephus. Ì’m of the view that we urgently need to make a start. When success is achieved more will follow. I don’t believe my criticism of Brant is unjustified. Watch the interview in full. He always seems to be agitated when he cannot have his way. As I said, l don’t for one minute doubt his sincerity but he comes over as demanding. I don’t want this opportunity to go the way of others.

  6. Baby Jewels

    Bandt is doing his job. The vast majority of us voted for an end to climate inaction. Going from 9 years of no action to just a little action, isn’t good enough. We need more. Science is telling us 43% isn’t enough. In fact, most of us no longer need science to tell us, we can see it clearly for ourselves. Not just in Australia but in the Northern Hemisphere as well, it’s starting to look like a climate catastrophe. If Labor allow the opening of massive new fossil fuel ventures, as it seems they will, then the next election, The Greens and the Teals will hold the balance of power. Thank you Adam Bandt and all Greens and Teals who are putting their necks on the line against msm, LNP and other naysayers. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=1480955709011557&set=a.123628461410962

  7. Josephus

    Having carefully listened to the Insiders interview, I do not detect any arrogance or obduracy on either side. May I please ask readers of the AIMN to listen/ listen again? Bandt several times declares his party’s wish to negotiate with government , adding an emissions target without outlining the roadmap to achieve it is symbolic. So Bandt requests details of how the 43% is to be attained. Discussion and careful improvements is what Parliament does in a liberal democracy. Bandt asks for good faith, documented action. This alone will improve our poor global reputation in this respect.

  8. wam

    Wow, lord, there is an old saying denoting shock surprise:
    ‘Well F me dead’
    It was my reaction when I read your post today. I am glad you haven’t read my letters to the editor, or posts here, over the last 12 years since back stabbing tanner gave the bandit a free run in 2010.
    There are catastrophic events every day from the greenhouse effect but they can be ignored by the big pictures like statements from politicians just before the election:
    “Coal & gas corporations are fuelling the climate crisis and communities are footing the bill.
    Flood victims should be able to sue them for the damage they’ve done.
    It’s time the culprits were held accountable & paid up.
    5:32 PM · Apr 25, 2022”
    clever successful politics but disingenuous all the same.

  9. Terence Mills

    wam

    The Europeans who were to a greater or lesser extent dependent on the Russian Nord Stream1 gas pipeline have accelerate their efforts to move away from fossil fuels entirely.

    The Russian Federation (Gazprom) recently took the pipeline out of commission for ten days ‘maintenance’ and then only reinstated forty percent flow. With winter around the corner and heating demand rising who can blame the Europeans for attempting to move away from a reliance on fossil fuels which are not only polluting but are subject to political whims and profiteering – have you been into a petrol station recently ?

    What the Greens in Australia must realize is that we are in a global transition process and we have a role to play to ensure that the transition is as seamless as possible and if that means opening a new gas field as an interim measure then that may be the way we have to go – on the other hand there is no substantive argument that I’m aware of for opening any new coalmines.

  10. Keitha Granville

    I am a greenie in the sense of stop chopping down trees for woodchip, stop digging up coal, stop fracking – all the stuff that spoils the natural environment for nothing other than profit – but the Greens MUST stop shooting themselves and us in the foot. Labor is their only shot at achieving ANY of their aims. We have to start somewhere and it doesn’t start by saying not good enough. Work together, that’s the only way to totally wreck the Coalition for decades.

  11. Lawriejay

    In reality the Labor Party is a Progressive ideology the Greens are an Aggressive Progressive ideology! Their stance in 2009 was a matter of advancing backwards.

  12. Greene

    On the one hand I will miss my current lifestyle when our economy buckles under a 43% cut to emissions in the next few years. On the other hand I will have the memories of driving to the beach on weekends or to the shops at any time. Australia has a carbon footprint > 6 times that of China per capita, so we have a lot of leeway to surrender our unsustainable activities. I doubt if many people would feverishly support the climate change hysteria if they pictured how much they will need to give up. If town planners had designed cities centered on communal activities and not cities centered on access to cars, the transition would be painless. Maybe that is on the drawing board now, the planning of functional cities without cars.

  13. wam

    Excellent words from the dance of the cuckoo(Terrence), Keitha and Lawriejay. I too believe in the greens original purpose but wish I could have produced such lucid comments over the years warning labor people of the change in aim, purpose and method which leaves the tassie greens’ beginnings long gone.

  14. Baby Jewels

    Josephus, I have also listened to that interview and I agree. What has since been made of it is mischievous. The willingness to listen and negotiate was there. But a determination also, to ensure the 43% is a floor, not a ceiling…And he made it plain that new fossil fuel ventures, especially the massive ones that Labor is likely to wave through, are a no go. Nor they should be.

  15. grae

    The author obviously can’t see beyond his Labor blindfold.
    What happened in 2009 was that the Greens voted down a terrible policy which would have only provided more money to the fossil fuel industry, without reducing greenhouse gas.
    Then, in 2011, in a hung Parliament, the Greens negotiated a much better policy with Julia Gillard, a policy which actually reduced emissions. Abbott then comes in and dismantles it.
    Rewriting history to denigrate the Greens position on reducing Greenhouse gases is a new low here. Read some science, since that’s what informs the Greens policy.
    Labor are just posturing to keep their donors happy.
    Once the Pacific Island Nations see that the new ditto Government have no intention of addressing Climate Change, they will look to other countries that do.

  16. RoadKillCafe

    Terence, are you fucking serious? New gas field? We have ample gas now, check it out, dude, it’s all being exported. Multi nationals are reaping the profit. I’m stunned that you, of all people, would make that statement. Fuck sake, what part of climate change don’t you understand, what part of destruction of the ecosystems don’t you understand, what part of the destruction of the environment don’t you understand. You do realise climate change is happening now, that there is a very strong recommendation for no more coal or gas if we are to have any chance for an habitable world for those that come after.

    Shit, even the Washington Post has a story on the inexplicable mass deaths of various frog species, we also have varroa mite running loose, so what, you may say, but, check it out, these are but two species that we need, that the environment needs, we push these critters to extinction we merely hasten our own demise. But, fuck, let’s go for more gas.

  17. Susan

    Honestly, Labor claiming a mandate is more grating than Bandt’s attitude. Labor seem to forget they won government off the back of green preferences – they didn’t exactly win over the majority of voters. Perhaps Labor would do well to look at where first preferences were actually directed. And Bandt isn’t wrong -there has to be a floor which can’t be simply moved when politically expedient. Australian voters showed they were sick and tired of the two party argument for arguments sake politics – a collaborative approach is what is required if we have any hope of a future. The hostility towards the Green in every Labor members statements is not going to serve them well at next election, the Greens aren’t the enemy here

  18. wam

    Wow grae you are ancient if that was true the greens would have used it to rationalise their behaviour.
    My memory is:
    The policy was ‘bipartisan’ between howard’s turnbull and rudd’s wong. It had not included brown whom, in a fit of pique, voted with the rabbott.
    But my bias is strong???
    Mark Butler”:
    Had the CPRS passed the parliament in 2009, an emissions trading scheme would likely have been operating for some years before Abbott was able to become prime minister. And it’s likely that Abbott would not have been able to build a platform to tear down such a large reform after that time.”

  19. Stephengb

    Using a megaphone to show willingness to negotiate, is not a genuine request, it is merely political posturing.

    Who the hell does he think he is

    4/150
    12/76
    These are a good result for the Greens but that doesn’t give them the right to make demands and actually downright rude.

    Sorry but Bant is behaving like a spoil brat

  20. Fred

    Susan: Labor winning off the back of the Greens preferences is a bit rich. A lot of voters gave the Greens their primary vote, to signal both Labor and the coalition that they were p…ed off, then gave their 1st preference to Labor. The reason why the Greens preferences came into play is because their primary vote was 3rd or more – that’s how the system works. Stephengb is correct.

  21. Josephus

    This belligerence is minimally evidence based. Bandt ( note spelling) is not ego tripping a la scomo. Nor does he think god is in charge. Can’t speak for albo’s religion but I recall the nasty remarks about Gillard’s atheism and lack of self reproduction.
    Bandt is trying to wrench Labor a tad back from right wing nastiness of the previous lot but seems Labor is more scared of the Murdoch sycophants than of the death of bees, bobong moths , frogs and countless other creatures on whose existence we have evolved to depend.
    Labor got only 31% and it was the greens helped get rid of the Jesus freaks. Bandt has the right to ask for clarification. To say my way or the highway is much more what Labor is in danger of doing, not Bandt ‘s.
    The Labor party needs to acknowledge that without the Greens we might still have Smirko, or Dutton the ex Queensland policeman and now wealthy autocrat. At least have the decency to admit this and behave like a negotiator not an entitled pollie . Have we not had enough of that?
    43 is less than the COP 26 target ! So why not read the recent report on our country?show our pacific neighbours as well as the Greens and independents that hot air a la scomo is now a nightmare we may consign to oblivion.

  22. leefe

    Lord:

    You lost me with this
    “Labor legitimately claimed that if the Greens hadn’t voted against its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS), Australia’s carbon emissions would have been more than 200 million tonnes lower, and electricity would have cost less.”

    How many times does it have to be repeated before the Laborites stop dragging out thiis canard? Rudd’s CPRS would have paid polluters to pollute, and would have had no effect on CO2 levels until 2025. All the sciientists said it was garbage.
    And it was only a few months later that the Gillard government, by negotiating with the Greens, came up with a far superior – and highly effective – suite of legislation that was repealed by Abbott and his science-deniers.

    Partisanship is fine, but don’t let it come at the expense of truth.

  23. Geoff Andrews

    Fred,
    The majority of Green preferences have historically always gone to Labor. I’m sure that, in the past, there ware plenty of successful Labor members because of Green preferences and the last election is no exception. when if only ONE sitting Labor member is there because they got their 50% because of the Greens, Susan’s observation is correct: Labor would be a minority government. You imply that it is the disaffected Labor voters who voted 1 Green, 2 Labor that made a difference. Grasping at straws, mate: You’re party is there because the regular Green voters supported you the way they always do.
    As you are obviously a student of the electoral system, what percentage of Labor voters gave the Greens their first preference in the seat(s) the Greens won where the Liberals came second?
    How “the system works” also includes the concept of the balance of power and I don’t see the voters in 2025 being too happy with Labor if they ignore the more sensible 50% reduction and insist of the fossil fuel friendly figure of 43%.

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