Brown green with envy over the rise of redneck Katter
Greens founder Bob Brown is using the colourful reputation of the fledgling Katter’s Australian Party to scare voters into staying Green. This is rich, considering how his party has raised its middle finger to democracy and been so pious and uncompromising it has hurt causes its members claim to love.
In a letter to ACT voters Mr Brown recently wrote “This year’s election we can decide whether Bob Katter’s views remain on the margins – where they belong – or whether they will be catapulted front and centre of Australian politics”.
Nearly 86 per cent of votes at the last election were for Labor or Liberal, who both went to electorate saying “No” to a carbon tax, “I don’t” to marriage equality and for a firmer line on asylum seekers. Despite this thumping mandate on regressive social policies, and as disappointing as this was, that was the will of the people. The Greens knew better.
With gross opportunism and overt disrespect for democracy in a hung parliament, they tried to jam through their agenda. The Greens have conducted themselves like activists, not as elected representatives of the people.
Even though they turned the balance of power into an abuse of power, the Greens have been a startling failure for causes near and dear to their heart.
In June 2011, Mr Brown told ABC’s Insiders “We’re just 10 out of 240 but I tell you what, we’re giving vigour and vision to this period of Parliament”.
The arrogance that Mr Brown’s 10 could bestow “vision” on the seemingly otherwise blind 230, sums up why the untested Katter’s Australian Party is alternative enough for Mr Brown to pen a note to the citizens of the nation’s capital.
Even if we ignore the Greens’ desire to destroy the $36 Billion coal industry; their silence on Syria while bashing Israel; their championing alleged fraudster Jonathon Moylan over the Whitehaven Coal hoax; their hypocrisy about electoral donations while being the beneficiaries of $1.6 million from one source, and we just focus on their key platforms, how have they done?
The carbon tax was worse for the environment than the ETS that the Greens blocked during Rudd’s tenure as PM, despite their spin that it was more “flexible”. Now the carbon tax symbolises the disrespect the Greens had for the electorate. Even though it is neither a cobra strike or python squeeze, it is rightfully a hated policy because of how it came to be law.
The Greens made their most loved environment-saving strategy a poisoned chalice because of their cynical opportunism. An important policy needing international cohesion is on death row and most likely to be vanquished because the Greens’ impatience and lack of political savvy.
In September 2012, Greens leader Christine Milne danced on the grave of timber pariah Gunns when they went into voluntary administration. She claimed it would mark the death of the controversial pulp mill. A commercially viable, efficient pulp mill in the highly industrialised, completely lacking pristine, Bell Bay, that was planned to have some of the best environmental standards in the world, being fed by only plantation timber, does appear doomed as Ms Milne suggests.
Native, rather than purpose-grown plantation forests, are still being logged, with the woodchip being exported to China for pulping in highly pollutant mills. As far as the world’s environment footprint is concerned, we are worse off. Yet the Greens claim victory?
Marriage Equality was rammed into parliament by two pieces of legislation, one at the Greens’ initiative, forcing sympathetic Liberals into their corners. If they backflipped on this issue, it would have been a betrayal of an electoral promise. After the aggressive prosecution of the carbon tax “lie”, what did the Greens expect?
It also forced each Liberal to declare their hand, now making it so much harder for those that want to take Obama’s lead and “evolve” their position, but not in this term of parliament because of election promises, as they will be accused of back-flipping if they do anytime soon.
The majority of Australians appear to support marriage equality, yet it faced a brutal defeat on the floor of parliament, leaving entrenched discrimination for the foreseeable future. This was partly because the Greens showed no political smarts. The speeches in parliament and the forcing of MPs to take soundings from their electorate made for a nice consolation prize nonetheless.
Rather than join forces with their progressive colleagues within the Labor party, the Greens’ tantrum over the asylum seekers’ deaths at sea forced Labor and Liberal to become bedfellows. The Greens were irrelevant on a policy position they were so passionate about. The resulting laws made Howard’s approach look hippie-like.
Now there are tent cities on stinking hot, isolated, poor countries doing the heavy lifting for Australia’s humanitarian obligations. Despite indefinite detention being proven to harm some people’s psyche, we basically have that too. And where were the Greens? Well they took their bat and ball and left, only to return for tears in the senate.
The self-inflicted wounds of the Prime Minister stem much from the deal done with the Greens after the last election. In breathtaking narcissism, the Greens don’t hold back on attacking Labor, and letting us know that they are the real architects of certain policies. They don’t even let Labor, who burned so much political capital, take the credit. This was especially evident when it came to the carbon tax.
This hubris and the absence of goodwill for the party that is facing an electoral lynching, significantly because of the Greens’ deal, also says payloads about their character, trustworthiness and what it means to be Green.
On his exit from the senate Mr Brown borrowed Kermit the Frog’s line saying “It is not easy being Green”. To borrow from Mr Rudd: “Buncombe”. It is very easy to stand on ceremony and not budge from idealism, acting like a petulant teenager.
It is much harder to be at the adults’ table where black and white becomes grey, where you can’t get everything now, now, now and where you accept that getting 50% of what you care about is better than getting nothing, except our course for press conferences and the giddy high that comes from being righteously right.
Mr Brown, if the voters are now courting Katter, thank yourself for making him a viable alternative. Your activist party has treated the voting public appallingly and it has been ineffective in achieving on your key platforms, despite it having the balance of power and so much “vision”.
Find Miles on Twitter @Mileshef
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