What will it take for the Greens to be ‘mainstream’?
After today’s shock Greens leadership change, new leader Richard Di Natale has been quoted as saying he wants the Greens to be ‘the natural home of progressive mainstream Australian voters’. Fine. I can see where Di Natale is going with this. This is code for ‘I want the Greens to challenge Labor as the left-wing major party’. The Greens have always wanted to replace Labor and now Di Natale is being more straight talking about this than previous Greens leaders Milne and Brown. But what does this mean for the Greens, this new ‘mainstream’ mission? I’ve got a suggestion as to what the Greens will have to do in order to make this statement more meaningful than an election slogan.
Mainstream political parties cannot pretend they are above politics.
From what I can tell, a large appeal of the Greens to Greens voters is that they are not a ‘political party’ in the sense that they eschew the messiness and politicking of the Labor Party and the Liberal National Coalition. Whereas Labor, Liberal and the Nationals are portrayed by the Greens as being full of politicians, who act politically, the Greens like to frame themselves as above all this nonsense, and as real people who really get the electorate and what the mainstream progressives want. However, being a pure, uncompromising, non-negotiating non-politician, and appealing to mainstream voters is not, in my view, possible to do at the same time. Because politics, and more importantly, getting things done in politics is by its very nature, a political process.
Show me someone who’s never had to behave politically and I’ll show you someone who talks a lot but achieves nothing. There is politics in all productive action, from debating, negotiating and compromising with your children about what time they should go to bed to positioning yourself for a promotion at work, to running a large multi-national corporation. It may sound crass, and I’m sorry to break the hearts of the bleeding hearts who refuse to believe the world works the way it does, but the tooth fairy doesn’t exist. Shit doesn’t get done without political nous – and this means giving in to the understanding that achieving something is better than achieving nothing, that sometimes you don’t get exactly what you want, that compromise and negotiation is an inevitable reality of mainstream politics and that, to use the philosophy of Tony Judt, sometimes the best we can hope for is incremental improvement to unsatisfactory circumstances. The mainstream do not want revolution and if you try to push it down their throats, you’ll soon learn just how much they don’t want it. What are some of the practicalities of this reality for the Greens? Here are a few:
- The Greens need to release a fully costed budget reply that shows exactly how they will fund their policies and what tax will be paid by various segments of the community in order to make all these policies actually happen. The mainstream care a lot about how much tax they pay. Whether you like this or not, it’s inescapable.
- The Greens need to stop taking credit for policies that they didn’t create. Sure, they can pat themselves on the back for voting for a policy they like, but this is a different concept than actually stealing the credit for Labor policies that Labor has developed, Labor has got through the parliament (through a political process) and Labor has implemented.
- Related to the above, if the Greens want to be able to take credit for their own policies, they need to implement policies, not just ideas. When I step out my door every morning, I can see Labor policies everywhere. Public transport. Health services. Public schools. Maternity leave. Workers’ rights. Infrastructure. Labor policies touch every aspect of my life. Greens ideas might sound nice, but they amount to little more than soundbites, or thin air if you like, until they are actually implemented.
- On the subject of policies, a mainstream Greens party will need to acknowledge that a mainstream political party cannot ignore that they need to have a working relationship with business. It’s all very well to wish and hope, as some Greens supporters seem to, that businesses would just pay more tax and not pollute the environment, and not treat their workers badly, and keep creating jobs and keep investing in the economy without political parties working hand-in-hand with them to get the best outcomes for everyone. This is never going to happen. Working constructively with the business sector is a political reality of mainstream politics and if the Greens don’t recognise this, they’re not a mainstream political party, they’re a lobby group or perhaps an activist organisation.
- Lastly, the inflexible positions that the Greens have taken in some policy areas will need to be more compromising if they are to appeal to mainstream Australians. For instance, it’s not good enough to just say ‘we can solve the asylum seeker policy by just letting everyone come by boat’ and ignoring deaths at sea. It’s not good enough to simply say that there will be a cap on the number of humanitarian visas, and that if that quota, however high it is, is filled up with people who can afford to pay a people smuggler, and are lucky enough not to drown on the journey, who ultimately take the place of someone who may be just as desperate yet can’t afford a boat journey, then so be it. Bottom line is, there is no simple solution to complex policy problems such as the arrival of asylum seekers, and a mainstream political party should be able to discuss this type of problem without being accused of being heartless, murdering, bastards. Are the Greens up for this challenge? Are they ready to stop screaming in people’s faces when they try to discuss achievable solutions?
I guess this advice leaves me with two final questions. If the Greens were able to achieve all of the above, how would they be any different from Labor? And would Greens voters still support them? And I’ll throw in a final question just to keep the conversation interesting: do we, as intelligent, progressive, mainstream voters really think it’s a good idea to use all our political courage, resources, money, support, motivation and energy to split the progressive vote, to fight a war amongst ourselves? If someone could tell me how this stops Tony Abbott winning the next election, I would be interested to hear it.
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Yes I agree, we would now have a carbon trading scheme if they had negotiated with labour
my understanding ( and I believe Richard stated this today) is the Greens have already prepared there own fully- costed budget.
I am really fed up today with journalists patronising the Greens: you have done it here in spades Victoria, Leigh Sales did it on 7:30 Report and Chris Uhlmann did it throughout coverage of Christine Milnes’s resignation and whilst awaiting the Greens Leadership announcement.
I can only come to the view that many Journalist are in a cosy club with the two- party system and don’t want Interlopers. you will have good reason to modify your tone with Mr Di Natale and the Greens as time goes by.
"The Greens have always wanted to replace Labor.."
Breaking news !
No one gives a rats arse about Shorten and the Labor party with him captaining the good ship "Labor Titanic".
I voted for the Greens for the first time ever in a recent by-election in Victoria, I had no other choice really Labor didn’t even put a candidate forward to vote for, all the other candidates were either the liberal party or other idiots.
I will continue to vote for the Greens or an acceptable independent because Labor has helped Phony Tony and Co bring in some draconian laws and have forgotten their base of voters for years now.
Mr Di Natale has leadership qualities that already shows through,
he is a threat to labor and Phony Tony and they know it,
and the attack will start on the man and his party, out come the knives and the dirt files…….
labor colourless tasteless and odourless, The greens under milne lunatics.
Now they need to do nothing except to have a laugh at the major parties in order to regain the balance and if they can perform a less loony DLP – style challenge they will sink little billy and labor.
That’s right. The Greens should drop their compassionate stand against the Abbott govt’s “turn back the boats” policy and join with the Labor party in adopting the Libs’ cruel policies towards asylum seekers, er, I mean, illegal immigrants. Now that’s mainstream!
Oh, and thank you, Victoria, a Labor voter, for sticking your nose into the business of a more progressive party than your own.
I openly admit to having ‘sympathy’ with the Greens and usually give them my first preference (and therefore effectively voting for Labor) but I wonder why they:
Wow. Perhaps one might provide some historical example(s) where that was ever done and where the numbers were actually valid?
Simply, the Greens and other Oppositional parties don’t have the resources to go down that track. Sure we now have the Parliamentary Budget Office but to expect that Office to respond in any short time-frame is unrealistic.
Re the Greens, you set the bar too high.
At the same time, re the ALP, you set the bar too low.
I think diNatale made good point about the available consciencious conservatives / small L liberals. The policies Victoria refers to as Labor are historical not current – she neglects to discuss the vacuum of progressive policy in Labor ranks now – and what about Gillard putting single mums on newstart? Labor faltering is what has the Greens trying to stand up. Rather than splitting progressive vote, I think the Greens can and will articulate progressive values in a way that can invigorate Labor who have become ingrained with the neocon stench from the NSW right. Shorten is equal with Abbott as preferred PM (unthinkable – neck and neck with a psychopathic liar?) for a reason – he is a vacuum of progressive ideas. There are many outcomes to the ascendancy of the Greens – a labor/greens coalition is one that would definitely empower a period of progressive reform without the sort of gutless pandering to the centre-right that Labor have been doing for a decade or two.
What a sad piece; if this represents the views of a “true believer” it is small wonder that the Labor Party fails to engender greater enthusiasm.
Nothing wrong with a bit of old-fashioned competition between mates. …. I don’t think for one moment, the Greens wish to undermine the Labor camp or ‘replace it’, but rather to perhaps fill in the gaps that Labor is currently showing … because the Greens – at this time cannot hope to win outright, the leadership of this country.
So – whether they argue between themselves or not – it is a win / win situation for the left of centre progressive thinking people in this nation, towards the future.
Have to say sadly, that your article Victoria, sounds too right wing for my liking and you certainly have ‘patronised them ( the Greens ) in spades’ here …. but then it’s your right to see them whatever way you want to …. and to write about it. !!
Politics – no matter who anyone follows, still remains the dirtiest ” legal” ?? game in the country / the world. …..
It is refreshing to see someone like Di Natale with at least an ability to ‘over-talk’ the likes of Leigh Sales …. ( she interrupts ‘guests’ every other 1/8th minute !! ) and I just hope it is not a honeymoon stage for him at this time; that his ideals particularly for equality, better-best health considerations, and upward living standards for all Australians – continues. …. Not to mention his stand against the ridiculous notions the LNP have about climate change.
We shall see …………
I agree with much of what Victoria Rollison says, but it must be added that the ALP appears too close to neoliberalism these days for that to sit well on the stomachs of many thinking people.
Labor also has to compromise a bit, or certainly act a bit more open mindedly than they did over native old growth forests, for example.
Their failure to do this in the early nineties and since is actually the factor that largely ensured the (probably necessary) survival of the Greens, even if this meant them being a thorn in the side of the bigger party, with its addiction to expediency and apparent lack of political consciousness.
Sometimes, the vested interests also need to compromise a bit also.
Seems to me, the Greens are the only Australian Party with principled opposition to the practices of asylum seeker children being locked up in appalling conditions in off-shore detention centres for months or years. That has been their consistent position for 15 years. Their views are not mainstream opinion in Australia, but the Greens stance is in line with the UN Human Rights Conventions, to which Australia seems to have become a desultory signatory.
How is it we can we effect such awfulness on children ?
Part of the answer perhaps lies in our historical precedents.
As a nation in the early 20th century, we found ways to seriously traumatise thousands of Aboriginal children (and their parents).
As we are finding out now via the Royal Commission on Child Abuse (and elsewhere), the guardians of disadvantaged youth in mid 20th century and later, often subjected their young charges to practices of deep cruelty and to different forms of serious and serial abuse.
In channelling our worst cultural memes, we seem intent since 1999, in doing something similar with asylum seeker children.
The Greens provide some welcome relief from the grey conceptual policy mediocrity of the two major parties in this country, and their rationalised cruelties.
Greens influence will grow however, as it is youth that are more attracted to their policies.
Di Natale as leader, is a positive development for them.
GO GREENS! We need a Party that isn’t beholden to the CSG & coal mining industries. The ALP & LNP receive so much in donations and personal benefits, they will not act in the interests of Australia and totally ban CSG and new coal mining. They are destroying our water, our land (farmland, forests etc.), wild life, Great Artesian Basin, Great Barrier Reef to name part of the destruction. Both those large Parties have a sorry record, including the legal crimes exposed by the ICAC, which unfortunately is only in exitence in NSW and is extremely vulnerable thanks to weak legislation. The Labor Party needs a thorough clean out, and the LNP appears to be beyond hope with regard to decency, equity and people working in Australia’s interests.
A thought provoking column, I’m pretty much along the lines of Paul Walter here.
A stand out example of Labor totally selling out is the role they have played in paving the way for Health Insurance Giant, Bupa’s public health system takeover.
Labor were so aggreable on this in Bupa’s Chief Medical Officer at the time, Dr. Christine Bennet, Chaired the
National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission released in 2009, a far reaching review of the entire health system.
Ultimately pretty much a waste of time and money, thank god for that. Here’s one of the headings:
“Rethinking the universal service entitlement”
So Medicare is no longer a basic right, its now a privilege. Here’s an extract:
“One element of this community debate about the universal service entitlement is creating greater
transparency and public understanding about spending on health. We currently live in a ‘magic
pudding’ world. We ‘see’ that 1.5 per cent of our taxable income goes toward the ‘Medicare Levy’,
yet many people do not realise that governments spend much more than this.”
Now the 1.5% number is very misleading but that has nothing to do with Universal health funding, but she subtley points the finger, “Medicare is not a Magic Money Tree…” snake skin underhand Insurance speak at its most vial.
All of this con act revolved around driving through Bupa’s bait and switch, Medicare Select. If they succeded in pulling it off all Aust citizens would have had to take out Private Health Insurance with Medicare reimbursing the Insurer. That would have planted these criminals right in the center of the health system.
What a hideous, cynical banker driven NEO CON Labor party that is. This is where a party like The Greens can show up how compromised a mainstream party has become. That said, I don’t recall The Greens making much of a song & dance about it but I would need to confirm.
Either way I’m hoping The Greens will start getting on Bupa’s case pretty soon, they are setting up a global criminal enterprise, its that black and white.
I’ve got news for you Victoria- it’s far more often than not, on both the local & state level- as well as the federal level, that Labor takes credit for polcies that the Greens have developed and often spent many, many years advocating and doing the heavy lifting for.
I see it right here in my own community, where a Labor/Green coalition now controls council, thanks to ICAC revelations and a series of byelections. We don’t mind that much really, because we are in fact (and as Di Natali said today) interested in outcomes, far more than any sort of credit.
As to the rest of the article- it read like a litanny of “mainstream” media talking points. Sadly vacuous, ill supported and tasting of sour Labor grapes.
Having said that, I’ll reiterate the often made point that we (The Greens and Labor) cannot defeat the right wing ideologues in the LNP without working together tactically and strategically.
Gillard putting single mums on newstart?
That was the last straw as far as I was concerned, I doubt that Labor (at least in its present incarnation) will ever get my first preference again.
Perhaps The Greens will never be able to govern in their own right but very vote that drifts from Labor to The Greens sends a message the we want Labor to return back to the left. (or maybe at least to centre right). currently we seem to have a right wing major party and an extreme right wing major party.
Personally I don’t think that Labor will ever govern in its own right again and we will probably end up with a LAB/ Green coalition and a Lib/Nat coalition with a substantial amount of the drift being from Nat supporters to Greens. The Nats no longer represent the agricultural side of the rural community.
Bruce said “Gillard putting single mums on newstart?
That was the last straw as far as I was concerned, I doubt that Labor (at least in its present incarnation) will ever get my first preference again.”
Yep that was the last straw for me too, I wrote to her and expressed my disgust with her decision to cut single mothers off at the knees after all the studies showing single mums were already doing it tough, then she banters on about girls and education, well she had no idea what it takes to raise a child let alone a female in this country
as well as to educate them at the cost of education these days,
the hypocrisy coming from her was gob smacking at the least, it was a disaster of a decision made by her and Labor for my family being a single Mum paying a mortgage and many more thousands of single parents just trying to give their kids a decent life an education and a roof over their heads, this country is in a sad state of affairs and has been for a long while now…..
What an ignorant ill-informed piece.
Why is that, Jimbo?
Third try : wtf is wrong with AIM’s posting system?
Rollinson does make several mistakes, the worst being to fall for the old idea that big business is always right. When it threatens the sustainable base involving things like gas fracking, deforestation and the water resource, it must back down when scientific criticism identifies real world problems and community concerns are justified on a rational basis. No more neoliberalism.
It is a pity the Greens have forgotten their original raison d’etre, but even they are in front of the major parties as to most of these things.
With asylum seekers, the advocates must realise that global poverty and asylum seeking are issue that can’t be solved just by Australia.
What is really needed is for the Big Powers and the mega rich to cease resource wars that create refugee flows, waste $trillions on defence spending and instead have money instead put into the the Third World to ensure life becomes bearable for hundreds millions of people-at source- so they are not forced to flee from where they now live.
On the other hand, the egregious brutality and political footballing concerning the asylum seeker system must surely be put an end to immediately and those already detained here or offshore, or marooned in Indonesia and Malaysia are finally dealt with fairly and efficaciously.
IF there’s one thing I dislike about Di Natale it’s………. that he’s mainstream. The mainstream is going straight over the cliff from here. We need to turn the flow sideways, and nobody’s doing that….
This was released in November 2012 and will no doubt be updated before the next election:
The Australian Greens will raise an extra $41.2 billion of revenue to invest in education, healthcare, clean energy and more, by:
Fixing the mining tax, so the multi-national mining corporations pay their fair share for mining our natural resources. An improved mining tax will raise $20.8 billion over the three years from 1 July 2014.
Abolishing tax breaks for the fossil fuel industry and assistance to carbon capture and storage programmes. This will raise an additional $12 billion over the forward estimates.
Introducing a Public Support Levy on the big banks. A 20 basis point levy on bank assets over $100 billion will raise $7.9 billion over the three years from 1 July 2014.
Increasing the effective marginal tax rate on incomes over $1 million. Increasing the effective rate to 50 per cent from 1 July 2014 will raise $500 million over the forward estimates.
Congratulations Victoria. I didn’t think it was possible for you to write more verbal diarrhoea praising Labor and dissing the Greens, but it appears you can.
The Greens have always been willing to work with Labor, Labor isn’t interested in working with the Greens. Labor often won’t recommend that preferences go to Greens on their how to vote cards.
Keep on voting for people who are more concerned with feathering their own nest by pandering to the big end of town rather than representing people like you. It’s people like you who are giving us the crap government that you deserve.
Politics has taken over from governing. Politicians aren’t experts on anything at all really but, if elected, they have access to the best expert advice available.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we just elected people of integrity who would represent their constituents by both raising local issues and listening to informed advice and then agreeing on the best available course of action on current evidence and future projections.
Does it really matter who comes up with an idea? It seems to me that having mediocre people entering parliament with rigidly set platforms that they must adhere to and argue for regardless of changing circumstances or new developments is detrimental but it is what party politics and career politicians have handed us.
If they all thought of themselves as members of parliament rather than winners and losers would be a good start. If the goals they were trying to achieve were more important than elections and party allegiance we might get somewhere.
Kevin Andrews on Twitter
Does it really matter who will lead the freedom hating @Greens? Their anti-family & community destroying policies remain.
And the Roman Catholics wonder why the pews are bare.
The other known is that Nick McKim, currently Tasmanian state Green’s minister, has not ruled out throwing his hat in for a tilt at federal senate. Seriously, this bloke has to be ignored. Two pounds of worthless salt. He is a politician first and foremost and a failed state Green’s leader, responsible for confusing the issues and getting waylaid in the Tasmanian forest outcomes.
“Kevin Andrews on Twitter
Does it really matter who will lead the freedom hating @Greens? Their anti-family & community destroying policies remain.”
Yeah that was rich coming from someone whose party locks kids in detention, fear mongers to turn Australians against each other and wants to collect our metadata – all aided and abetted by the ALP.
@Kaye Lee May 7, 2015 at 8:34 am Totally agree with your entire post. When Sir Thomas Playford was the Premier of South Australia, the Labor leader Mick O’Halloran worked with him to achieve many good outcomes for all South Australians. O’Halloran was more concerned with serving the electorate than being in power and reaping lifelong undeserved benefits for himself. Those days are long gone.
I am sorry Ms Rollison. What you advocate is for the greens to become just as ethically/morally bankrupt as either of the majors.
If people wanted more of the same bullshit that you promote, they would just vote for the same old tired corruption based parties.
Like many I appreciate a lot of what Victoria writes but in this instance I agree with all of those who have taken umbrage over her disparagement of the Greens. It has been in the interests of both Labor and the Scumbags to paint the Greens as extremists, with a lot of help from the MSM but like many, I am giving them first prefs where possible because I believe their positions —asylum seekers particularly– align with my feelings and I think that their influence could help a Labor Government back to where it should be on the political/ social spectrum. I thought Di Natale on 7.30 was quite explicit on where some of the money would come from and I thought he handled Leigh Sales contempt pretty well. (Mind you giving him a hard time allows/forces him to show his credentials, which people sometimes forget is one of the roles of an interviewer)
A number of things to say here.
First congratulations to Christine Milne on a fine career in public life. Because of her age she was always going to be a short-term transitional leader of the Federal Party. She had a difficult gig in the last three years replacing the canny, avuncular Bob Brown who had somehow morphed into everybody’s favorite uncle (well perhaps not Victoria’s). She effectively managed a far larger team of talented, energetic, ambitious colleagues than uncle Bob ever had to deal with. In the process, despite constant provocation from the Newscorp rags, she by and large avoided public bickering likely to damage the Party in the eyes of the punters. The most obvious example of her capacity to manage is the smooth, seamless and apparently conflict free baton passing exercise the Greens presented us with yesterday. An object lesson there for the Laborals d’you think Victoria? She came out of an activist background and was a warrior from beginning to end. This was both a strength and a weakness. Confrontation and bloody minded intransigence, necessary when dealing with pulp mills and loggers, isn’t always an effective strategy. Nevertheless, well done Christine.
Richard Di Natale who I have heard speak a few times, is different in style but no less committed and principled. He is a safe pair of hands and a good choice for the Party as it moves forward. Anyone (mikestasse?) fearing that he will be too easily manipulated by the forces of darkness need only to have listened to what he was prepared to say about policy directions (and the manner in which he said it) as the journo’s tried desperately to trip him up yesterday, to be re-assured. The Greens’ determination to stick to process in policy formulation and keep quiet about what is said and done behind closed doors as the political process unfolds is an object lesson for the Laborals don’t you think Victoria?
Victoria trots out the extremely tired old assertion that the Greens pretend they are above politics meaning I presume they state their principles and refuse to negotiate. It may be that this is based on the tired old Labor lie that the Greens refused to negotiate on Rudd’s CPR. Anyone listening to Richard DiNatale yesterday heard the truth spoken on that issue. Rudd as always too clever for his own good, sought to wedge both the Liberals and the Greens on this. He and Penny Wong feeling that they could get what they wanted from Turnbull repeatedly refused to negotiate with Milne and continually lied about it. Yes that nice Penny Wong telling porkies! Who’d have thought it? After the experience of the Gillard years it is difficult to believe anyone would still make this claim but Victoria apparently paid no attention to what was going on. She and many others have been fulsome in their praise of the sainted Julia Gillard for her success in getting so much of a minority Labor Government’s program passed. Well minority governments’ don’t last and don’t get anything done without the co-operation of those who hold the balance of power – in this case this included Adam Bandt who energetically horse-traded and assiduously negotiated amendments where necessary but supported all that legislation that Gillard’s supporters laud so vigorously. You can’t have it both ways. Gillard did OK in difficult circumstances but she did well BECAUSE Mr Bandt with a couple of others engaged in the process. Do catch up Victoria.
Victoria accuses the Greens of taking credit for what is really Labor policy (without giving an example) We are left to guess what she might be referring to but my guess (because I have heard other Labor apologists bleating about it also) is that she is talking about the Clean Energy Legislation. Let’s have a few facts. A Minority Labor Government announced before the election that it had NO INTENTION in its term of office of undertaking any effective action on this vitally important issue. I see the hand of bloody Martin Ferguson a mentor of Gillard’s in this – not that she needed much encouragement . Remember her role in talking Rudd out of taking action on this matter. By virtue of the weakness of the government’s position it was dragged very reluctantly into acting as a condition of support from Bandt, Windsor and Oakeshott. Forced to do something they were confronted with the problem of what that should be. They had no policy in the bottom drawer. Remember they weren’t intending to do anything at all (other than talk) in this term of government. The starting point for the multi-party negotiations was the Greens’ policy. Labor and the independents had nothing. There was no alternative. Brown Labor then got busy watering down and weakening targets. The really useful parts of this legislation, those bits which still survive in fact, were forced on Labor by Milne, Bandt Oakeshott and Windsor as a condition for not walking away from an increasingly compromised process. The Clean Energy legislation was Greens policy distorted by the meddling of the Labor right. Do stop peddling fairy tales Victoria.
More to say but the rest of my life beckons so this’ll have to do.
Failing to recognise Labor’s achievements under Julia Gillard is as bad as dismissing the Greens. This sort of bickering achieves nothing. It’s hardly an example of the negotiation you both so wish to claim party credit for (lord knows why).
For most of us, we would like to see a coming together of Labor and the Greens to agree on goals and work together towards achieving them.
You might note that I wrote Julia Gillard did OK in difficult circumstances. I don’t deny the achievements of her government. I simply wanted to point out to the author of this piece that Gillard did what she did because there was co-operation not in spite of the lack of co-operation. As to the Greens and Labor coming together – well tell it to the Labor Party. They HATE the Greens for STEALING votes that they KNOW are RIGHTFULLY THEIRS. That won’t change in our lifetime unless they start to feel their power base slipping further to the Greens at elections. Then we’ll see some movement. But until disappointed Labor voters start to register their disapproval at the ballot box nothing will happen. In Victoria we have a new group, I gather driven by James Button (son of John) called ‘Open Labor’. Modeled on Greens style of activity – plenty of grass roots action and policy discussion, lots of emails into my inbox. They would talk to the Greens but it all ends at the National Conference with the dinosaurs stamping out any movement towards meaningful reform including co-operation with the accursed Greens. ‘Open Labor’ will vanish like ‘Green Labor’ did before them. I bought and read that little book with the funny title ‘Why Labor should savor its Greens’ by Brad Orgill. Perfectly fine logical, reasoned argument in support of reasoned co-operation. Not going to happen. Emotion swamps logic every time.
The article reveals more about Labor’s problems with promoting social democracy, openness and equity than the Greens. Labor looks more and more like LNP Lite.
While the Greens have made plenty of mistakes they still stick to their principles under pressure, and are learning to make strategic compromises without selling their souls. Labour is so riddled with compromise and corruption by factional, corporate and union bosses that it lacks coherence and credibility. The best are brilliant but the rest are mediocre sell outs.
The Greens could actually be very good for nudging Labour back to its progressive roots by competing for the progressive vote. They might pick up Labor’s dropped torch to re-ignite “the light on the hill”. Australia needs reminding that it was created as an independent commonwealth, not a corporation.
Victoria, I don’t think for a millisecond that The Greens see themselves as taking Government in the next election? Their base is small, but well supported for nearly all the reasons listed by the posts above. They will need time to grow and more members in either house before their time in Government could evolve. Rather like yourself, they will mature over time and grow into an even more worthwhile contributor to Australian life. I for one will be voting Green until I can recognise The Labor Party that was once the light on the hill and the party of the worker and the party of the left, the non religious, the environmetally concerned, the socially conscienced.
Victoria, it must be noted that over a million Australians vote for The Greens in the Senate, those votes are reality. The Labor Party is viewed by many to be a weak conservative driven party, certainly not progressive led by a former right wing union official who achieved his position via a gerrymander. Obviously many Labor voters vote Green in the Senate for a reason. Whether The Greens become a mainstream party will be due to the performance of the ALP under BS. Obviously the goal is to rid Australia of the ultra right wing LNP power brokers who are crushing we poverty driven pensioners, after having a look through The Greens policies, I don’t see much that I disagree with, luckily the ALP have a good candidate in my electorate so I’ll probably stick with Labor this time, the future of The Greens will probably hinge on Richard Di Natile and his representation.
philgorman2014 the old bogie man ‘union bosses’ is pretty funny in this day and age. Union bosses are just people who have worked their way to the head of their organizations – the organizations who represent employees against the dark forces of extreme capitalism – you know the people who collectively rob the Australia Treasury of approximately $10 Billion each and every year.
What will it take for the Greens to be ‘mainstream’?
Oh we already know the answer to that one!
Become a bland, unthreatening bunch of tepid, populist chameleons. Dump any real concern for social justice. Pander to the darker side of the human spirit. Start accepting large donations from corporate interests. Show no real concern for social justice or the environment. At every opportunity support American policies and actions. Refuse to endorse marriage equality. Pursue a neoliberal economic agenda. Maintain a ridiculous level of military spending. Show disregard for the individual’s privacy. Support the dubious TPP. Demonise asylum seekers. Refuse to take a stand on anything which might be considered controversial. Refuse to unambiguously, clearly and loudly differentiate themselves from the Coalition.
Ok… And we also know one of the reasons that the Greens couldn’t follow that path, even if they wanted to! The ALP has planted itself firmly in that position!!!
Labor intentionally abandoned the progressive voters a long time ago. The Greens filled the vacuum.
Just stop whining and get used to it Victoria. Labor decided it could do without a certain type of voter and decided to play to a different crowd. What passes for “mainstream” these days was considered seriously “right wing” a couple of decades ago. FFS! Even Malcolm Fraser was more progressive than today’s ALP. Deal with it Victoria… we didn’t abandon the ALP…. rather, Labor turned it’s back on us! Despite our calls to reform, Labor kept shifting to the “mainstream” right… courting more agreeable (and less demanding ) voters. Please have the guts to admit it.
Victoria, one thing happened yesterday which hasn’t happened in Labor for generations. The Greens have a leader who has actually done something other than politics and who has lived and worked in remote Australia. I have a Labor track record but Labor has been losing me for almost two decades. Why does a Labor party want to fund private schools? No wonder budgets are bent when government exceeds its traditional responsibility to provide public education and extends it, to gain votes and kudos, to private schools of all shapes, sizes, and creeds. Why did Labor pick up the oppressive NT Intervention? Because none of the leadership had ever lived (as far as I can tell) within cooee of a traditional Aboriginal community. Why has Labor been doing its best to oppress refugees and asylum seekers since 1992 when the left winger Gerry Hand established the Curtin Detention Centre to get people out of Sydney and Melbourne and away from support networks? Over the past decade Labor has been doing its darnedest to oppress the vulnerable. Oh, I forgot! The rent-seeking Martin Ferguson, the corrupt Northern Land Council, and the imposition – now, hopefully, foiled – of a nuclear waste facility on a traditional Aboriginal land. I have a personal reason for favouring Richard di Natale. I used to live in Tennant Creek, in the middle of the Northern Territory, where I worked for the then Labor Member for Barkly and Opposition Leader, Maggie Hickey. Tennant is a very creative and neglected by govt place. I loved TC then and have the fondest memories of it – as do many of my friends. I did not live there at the same time as Richard di Natale. He came after I had left. I have touched base with him since though. I don’t expect that Richard di Natale will forget what he has seen out there in the grasslands of the Barkly Tableland and the desert heartlands of the Northern Territory. As for the deputies, I’ve watched Scott Ludlam for a while and like what I see. While I don’t know a lot about Larissa Waters, she seems a savvy woman. I think the three person leadership team is a good idea. I think it will have the smarts. I look forward to seeing it at work. And there is another thing that the majors can’t provide but I think The Greens under this new leadership will: flexibility and adaptability.
Political parties will do whatever the electorate give them the courage to do. I am tired of the labels that divide us and am more interested in the goals that unite us.
What mars08 said.
Yep me too ” What mars08 said”,
The words are cutting about Labor and the truth. couldn’t have said it better myself
No one abandoned labor, they abandoned their voter base and the chickens are coming home to roost for them now
Electing little Billy was another huge mistake for Labor, he is a bland little yes man with no vision for a better Australia.
You seem to be copping a bit of flack Victoria. The majority seem to be taking the position that they don’t want the Greens as a mainstream party. A pity as that is what the new leader implies he wants them to be.
No Labor is not perfect. Neither are the Greens. My reading of what Victoria wrote is what she believes the Greens will have to do to become mainstream. If you disagree why not put what the Greens will have to do to become mainstream not just bag Victoria and Labor.
Actually Dan, for all of Chris Bowen’s “democratic” bluster yesterday, we should all remember that the Labor rank and file- by a considerable margin, nearly 60% to 40% -chose Anthony Albanese and NOT Bill Shorten.
Only to be overruled and have their choice of party leader dismissed by the factional causus.
Not sure what Mr. Bowen’s definition of a democratic process is, but I daresay most folks would call that a rigged election. Certainly not something to be boasting about- or using a basis for a whinge about the Greens.
If you take a look at poll numbers on issue after issue, you’ll see that Greens policies ARE mainstream in that they have majority support and not infrequently overwhelming majority support, as in the case of privitisation, death with dignity, marraige equality, coal seam gas fracking, to name but a few.
Moreover, as Di Natale alluded to yesterday, Greens policies are evidenced based and where possible are derived from successful working models that have been implented elsewhere (as opposed to policies that have proven to have failed in their objectives- or created worse problems where they’ve been attempted).
Jexpat I gave up on labor years ago, the zig zagging and the double speak from them is too funny
The whole political system is a three ringed circus, the in politics of the parties themselves, the in politics of the Gov in charge
There is a pattern that has been repeated in major political parties for years now and its nasty business,
But overall the country has suffered more than individual leaders and politicians have as I see it,,,,,,
I will go back to not voting like I did for bout 18 years before I voted to try and stop Phony Tony and Rabble from getting into Gov…..
and I give up again now…… and they have to find you first to fine you for not voting 🙂
Very encouraged by the general tenor of the comments to this article. A couple of final thoughts.
@ townsvilleblog 1 for more than a decade I managed to swallow my reservations about what Labor actually did between elections (as opposed to what it said it would do just before elections) because we had a ‘good candidate’. In my case this was Lindsay Tanner. A waste of a vote. Tanner was/is a good man – intelligent, articulate, compassionate even ethical but as a cabinet member he was completely bound to support the majority decision of cabinet deliberations (to the extent that they occurred) and ‘Captains’ picks’, when they did not. These were not necessarily the product of people who were intelligent, articulate etc etc. Eventually the penny dropped for me and I changed my vote. If your ‘good candidate’ is a front bencher he/she will be required to eat his/her shit sandwich, keep smiling and sing from the approved song book like the rest of them. If your good candidate is a back bencher he/she is not in a position to change anything in any time frame that has meaning. My conclusion? Justifying voting for crap policy on the grounds that you are supporting a ‘good candidate’ is a mug’s game.
So how do we encourage change in a Party like Labor? Working within the organization? See my comments to Kaye Lee re: Green Labor and the current version ‘Open Labor’ above. It won’t happen without substantial leverage from the outside. This means shifting your first preference to a Party whose policies better reflect your view of the sort of Australia we should live in. Any died in the wool Labor voter living outside central Melbourne or perhaps central Sydney who would like to send a message to the ALP need only vote Greens 1 and Labor 2 to get the message across. You won’t be electing s Green (more’s the pity) and your vote will still end with your ‘good candidate’ who will then be in the usual two way tug of war with the coalition. But if enough people voted in this way the forces for change within the Party would begin to have a little traction and heaven help me, in the lifetime of my grandchildren perhaps, we might even begin to see a little willingness from Labor to co-operate with the Party that should be its natural ally.
@townsvilleblog2 Over a million Australians vote every darn election for the Greens in the House of Representatives as well. Ten percent of the vote gets the Greens and their supporters 0.66 percent of the available Lower House representation.
@townsvilleblog 3 ‘Union bosses are just people who have worked their way to the head of their organizations’. Yeah that’s right. Like Kathy Jackson at the HSU, Like Joe de Bruyn at the SDA – just honest toilers – give me a break! Most of ’em are good enough but as their membership dwindles they maintain their hold over ALP policy through the committees and factions and more and more often the short term well being of the members takes preference over the overall well being of the wider community. Case in point – trenchant CFMEU support for the Victorian coalition government’s socially, economically and environmentally disastrous plan for the East-West freeway Link on the strength that it would have meant a couple of thousand temporary construction jobs. On the other hand the mining division of the CFMEU has been constructive and co-operative with the Greens in their push to close the disastrous – world’s worst practice – Hazelwood brown coal mine and generator. They can see the writing on the wall even when our brand new Labor State government is closing its eyes. So I guess Unions and their bosses have to be taken case by case personality by personality.
Well said, Victoria. The cold hard truth is that the battle in politics is for the centre, not the left. The Greens can never win that battle without compromising their left wing holy writ. As such, they will never replace the Labor Party who the Greens love to criticise in an attempt to cannibalise Labor lefties..The more the Greens move to the centre, the more disillusioned their supporters will be. Rather than displacing Labor as a major party, I doubt they’ll still be around in ten years time.
Good point Marian Saines
“I am really fed up today with journalists patronising the Greens: you have done it here in spades Victoria, Leigh Sales did it on 7:30 Report and Chris Uhlmann did it throughout coverage of Christine Milnes’s resignation and whilst awaiting the Greens Leadership announcement.”
I wrote to Media Watch about Chris Uhlmann’s performance yesterday:
I was apalled by Chris Uhlmann’s obvious dislike for the Australian Greens today. He was on ABC NEWS 24 reporting from Canberra. The following comments he made are just two examples of his bias against the party:
1. He stated that no other political party operates in the same way, ie, by changing Leaders without consulting rank and file members. This is false, both major parties have in recent times have had spill motions and leadership changes that have essentially been wholly decided within meetings of the sitting members. His language and tone reported this “lie” in a negative manner.
2.He proposed that with a new leader the Greens may now support the current government in raising the fuel excise. He wrongly claimed that the Greens had voted against their own policy in regards to this matter when they clearly have not. In 2013 they quite explicitly stated that they want to raise fuel taxes for the mining and agriculture sector – this is not what has been proposed by the Abbott government. Again his language and tone was negative.
Chris Uhlmann was reporting on the scene in a news program, it is surely inappropriate for reporters in this context to offer up opinion and value judgements, especially with highly dubious “factual” claims.
Victoria, you would fit in nicely at the ABC with your bagging of the Greens
@dandark one of Labor’s many pressing problems is that all of their leaders are fully owned subsidiaries of one or other of the factional groups that have carved the Party up between them. Shorten is a sock puppet but notwithstanding the difference in the atmospherics so are Albanese, Wong, Dreyfus, Butler, Conroy and unfortunately even my favorite Labor politician Tanya Plibersek. Where should the leadership emerge from when the system is as it is?
Douglas said “Where should the leadership emerge from when the system is as it is?”
Douglas your guess is as good as mine.. and that is I have no feckin idea where they are going to pull a leader from
that is not beholden to something other than the people who vote in this country, but the Libs have the same problem
The two party system is stuffed, broken, knackered and f*cked quite frankly 🙂
I am just looking to get the kids and I out of the country, Its all over for people like me in this country we call Straya…..
One last go
Uhlmann’s a smirking disgrace – has been for years. The question of the process for choosing leaders was put to bed by Richard Di Natale in the press conference. The Greens had a lengthy debate about whether the wider membership should have a greater say in the most recent round of policy reviews which are open to the participation of all members. They voted to keep things as they are so this was the process that was applied in this case. End of story – for now. Some members, Lee Rhiannon is apparently one, would like to see wider representation in this matter. Doubtless the debate will continue. Uhlman is just too lazy to do his homework and make sure he knows what he is talking about. As for Chris Bowen – the man who wants to re-badge Labor as ‘Social Liberals’, he is making a good fist of becoming the Labor Party’s answer to Kevin Andrews – smarmy, snide and fundamentally nasty.
Chris Uhlmann thinks it’s somehow attractive and fashionable to mimic the obnoxious and factually challenged model of the US cable “news” blowhard.
Chris whatever his name is cant say anything else but bag the greens, he is married to a Labor member in opposition ,
he has no idea what he is talking about, what a waste of space that bloke is.. a journo my ass, he is a fool that’s all……
I enjoyed Mars 08’s terse comments also.
Labor is not quite at Kevin Andrews and co’s level, to become that low must have taken the conservatives a monumental effort. However, it has become intellectually lazy, denialist and evasive about the real world as well as somewhat venal, now seemingly unable to still understand anymore what the Greens have to say, having nearly forgotten what was once their own reason for existence, ethically speaking.
The Greens themselves are in danger of losing their connection to reality also, that has sustained them so far and determined their approach..if they are sucked into playing constituency games and harvesting demographics, they slip to Labor’s level or go the way of Meg Lees’ Democrats, being smaller.
And as a number of people here have observed, the chance for any improvement in consciousness as to both the public and its representatives daily fades under the suffocating influence of dumbed down media and press, with its arrogance, ignorance, blandness and designed informational deficit.
From Victoria’s closing para…. “…I’ll throw in a final question just to keep the conversation interesting: do we, as intelligent, progressive, mainstream voters really think it’s a good idea to use all our political courage, resources, money, support, motivation and energy to split the progressive vote, to fight a war amongst ourselves?
So why look at the current situation as a “war amongst ourselves” Victoria? Why not accept that there are those who will never consent to Shorten’s actions? Why not accept that there are those who will stand by THEIR (unfashionable?) principles and maybe, perchance, perhaps, possibly…. that the ALP should consider making some effort to SINCERELY accommodate those ideals. Otherwise, suck it up. The Labor strategist set the course, time to own it!
As far as splitting the “progressive vote”…. haha! I suspect the truly progressive voters gave up on Labor long ago.
Yes Mars. I agree. What is with this mulishness and lack of “give” when challenged by situations or new ideas over the last decade or two?
Others have commented that much of the old Labor left has deserted Labor out of frustration with the new distaste for ideas (comfortably numb?) and if it is true that one component of a two-part dialectical mechanism is now absent, where are meaningful debates that pave the way for intelligent responses going to come from?
“When I step out my door every morning, I can see Labor policies everywhere. Public transport. Health services. Public schools. Maternity leave. Workers’ rights. Infrastructure. Labor policies touch every aspect of my life.”
I agree Labor was progressive …… until they moved to and past the centre. They are now politically where the Democrats met their demise.
Ah Victoria.. you have fought the hard fight and held the banner for Labor.
So sad that Shorten has not done the same for many Australians. If Labor votes in favour of the TPP, I for one will know for sure, just how far they sold us down the river.
Greens = new hope.
For years I have thought had farmers been able to look at the present without continually relating to the past they would realise that The Greens is a better fit for them than The National Party.
A lot of their policies may have majority support of the population but they are not a “mainstream party”. Like the farmers, voters are basing their opinion of The Greens on issues of the past, not the present. Can they maintain the “purity” and become a “mainstream party”. I think not.
I wonder if Victoria actually looked at the Greens policy platform for the last election.
In the month before the last election the Greens sent 74 policies to be costed by the PBO. The costings revealed the assumptions behind them and also the risks involved. They put everything on display for voters and the media to see and evaluate.
The Guardian said “Their approach should be the benchmark by which all parties in future elections are judged.”
As for a relationship with business, a couple of weeks ago the Greens announced their policy for “a small business tax cut of two percent, raising the instant asset write-off threshold to $10,000 and restoring the provisions that allowed companies to carry-back up to $300,000 as a refundable tax offset for up to two years.”
They have championed the renewable energy industry with the establishment of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
There is nothing wrong with lending support to small business rather than large – it improves competition and employs many more people. There is also nothing wrong with preferring ethical sustainable businesses and taxing superprofits.
I first detested The Vile Rabbit in the mid-1990s when he said: “let’s keep the unemployed in poverty because it strengthens their zeal to get a job”. And I was horrified when the mob of Labor rent-seekers under Gillard did exactly the same: admitted Newstart was below the poverty line but refused even a miserable $50 increase; (when by my estimation it needed to go up by $150+). Now the Carpet Baggers in Labor have allowed The Toxic Rabbit to lead the country again. The ALP needs a good clean-out and the more power to The Greens the better.
Using loaded language like ‘purity” isn’t rational argument.
Regarding your observation about farmers, well, that seems to be coming around as we saw in Northern New South Wales -and also in the exodus from the Nats in Victoria. Eventually, interests will align, particularly as the economics of renewable energytake hold.
Note that renewables are now beyond grid parity with coal and gas (which are diametrically in oposition with farmers’ interests).
See. e.g., : https://independentaustralia.net/business/business-display/revolutionary-tesla-battery-heralds-end-of-fossil-fuels,7677
That is bloody awesome and there is a lot more development o be done so smaller size and higher efficiencies will probably emerge. Cheaper to with economy of scale.
This is a real game change.
It surely is.
What’s more, we have major financial institutions both touting the explosive growth in renewables (e.g. Baird’s own Deutsch Bank) AND issuing dire warnings putting money into fossil fuels (e.g., Bank of England).
As it stands, rural communities are facing huge opportunity costs (and even worse, and more expensive externalities) by being stuck with the LNP’s (and to an extent, old guard Labor’s) coal and gas policies.
Be in Australia in 2016. Elon Musk is a modern ‘genius’.
Already AGL announced plans to ‘try’ to do something similar, but certainly not at this price
Miss Eagle, ah yes, TC and all its charm.
The petrol sniffers banging the high tin fences from sunset to sunrise.
The mob returning home every night of the week arguing, fighting and yelling.
The stench; the cars roaring around the streets at all hours; the women screaming from being abused either in-house or in-street; the spitting in the streets and dodging the mess; the night patrol, ambulance and police sirens going all night.
The searing heat in the after-lunch hours, especially when one has to work out doors for a living.
The cost of food from the only supermarket for 500kms.
The dogs. And Dion Beasley is doing well out of Cheeky Dogs.
The clients at El Dorado have turned the motel into another town camp. Rebecca is doing very nicely out of that little earner.
And the full moon bringing that glorious sky to the desert nights; the desert breezes whispering in the apple gums and desert oaks. The silence, away from town.
Appreciate that the discussion around this piece is drifting onto other matters but reading the Guardian today found an article by Jason Wilson which I thought very relevant to comments Kaye Lee made above about being more interested in what unites Parties (specifically Labor and the Greens) than what divides them. After considerable first hand experience of Labor’s visceral irrational hatred of the Greens I remain sceptical. This quote from Wilson’s article was pertinent:
” Shorten’s send-off for Milne was, to borrow a phrase, “weird and graceless”. After a couple of lines of perfunctory, clearly insincere congratulations to Richard Di Natale, he vented the issues he shares with large sections of the ALP’s leadership:
“Labor’s priority is to protect living standards, jobs and a secure economic future. The Greens have other priorities. I’m proud to lead the only political party that gives members a say in choosing their leader.”
Why draw attention to an election where members voted overwhelmingly for his opponent, and where his own supporters’ conduct has been under scrutiny? Because none of this comes from a rational place.
Why choose this moment to indulge in bromides about jobs and the economy? Because of a compulsion to repeat the only real rhetorical response that Labor have ever really managed to generate to the smaller party. The fact that it has no discernible effect does not seem to have led anyone to think that it should be abandoned.
The stimulus in this case was a successful, drama-free leadership transition from Milne to Di Natale. Remember that a large part of the reason that Labor is now in opposition is Shorten’s own role in the undermining Rudd, and then, eventually, Gillard. The contrasting spectacle of a party negotiating this process with goodwill and a modicum of maturity may have been too much to bear.
It’s one of a long series of desperate helicopter punches that the ALP have thrown at every hint of Green success. Just over a month ago they added two lower house seats in NSW and maintained a strong upper house contingent. Labor sources were reported as saying they were the kind of people who “go to restaurants and are more worried about how the chicken was treated than whether the waiter is earning the minimum wage”.
Time and again, we see the ALP desire to lash out at the Greens triumphing over good sense. It’s all ultimately self-defeating because, as Osman Faruqi pointed out in Guardian Australia at the time, all the best evidence points to the fact that Greens voters are overwhelmingly former Labor supporters.
They have become disillusioned with Labor for a variety of reasons, not least because, as a parliamentary library study puts it, because of Labor’s “diminished commitment to full employment and economic redistribution”.
The issue is important because, given the long term trend in voting, I can’t see any real possibility of any form of progressive government in Australia without collaboration between these Parties. Labor simply has to stop trying to live in 1983 (cf the silly article at the head of this comments column) and acknowledge the current realities.
The whole article is worth a read.
Tesla on marijuana?
You have to understand that our intrepid Aussie in the flannel shirt, Jason Wilson, currently lives in and comments from (and often about) a strange, unusually rational and progressive place called Oregon.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch….
PM’s Chief Business Advisor Sees Communist Red Over ‘Climate Change Hoax’
The United Nations is bent on world domination and climate change is the “hook” in this global conspiracy, the chair of Tony Abbott’s Business Advisory Council (and former chairman of the ABC) wrote in The Australian today.
The UN “is not about facts or logic,” Maurice Newman declared without a hint of irony. “It is opposed to capitalism and freedom and has made environmental catastrophism a household topic to achieve its objective.”
I find it hilarious people still think there is a difference between the LNP and the A nother L iberal P arty
Shorten and the dirty little grub John Roskam from the Institute of Pricks and Arseholes (IPA ) are best mates , Bill was best man at Roskams wedding and are still very close.
Bland Shitbag is just another right wing puppet social climber , you only need to look at his friendship with Roskam , his marriages and his lacklustre attempts at policies that hit the rich , to see his true agenda.
I sincerely hope The Greens actually take the on both Liberal parties , and actually become a genuine contender for government , so we can have people with integrity and morals running the show for once.
Sorry, I missed a “?”. It was suppose to be a rhetorical question, not an argument.
Newstart policy was Howard’s that kicked in under Labor going through a GFC..So the whining Greens created a hate Gillard page which influenced many fools to vote for the LNP and Greens. The Greens then gave preference votes to the LNP in three States at the last erection..and Adam Bandt got his cushy Melb seat from Liberal preferences..Natali is now doing deals with Abbott/Turdbull to destroy the retirements funds of working class pensioners and lest we forget the Greens gave us Tony Abbott instead of supporting Labor’s world acclaimed alternative/solar energy industry when they had the power to do so ina minority govt, which is now wiped out thanks to the Lib/Greens..I don’t see the Greens putting up a hate page for single mum’s who are worse off than ever now under Abbott/Turdbull..I’ll never vote Greens again.