Despite a recent surge in the polls, Labor has a shrinking and ageing membership base and is in need of some rehabilitation.

Gillard is now using her well-worn knife to sever the relationship with Christine Milne. Image: Krygsman

And typical in a case of poor health, there are plenty of well-meaning spectators hovering around, googling treatment options and offering up advice.

“Just join up with the Greens” is a good one. After all, they have progressive policies. And isn’t it crazy for parties of the left to squabble in the face of the serious threat on the right?

It’s a popular view… in Leichhardt, and less than a handful of other inner-city suburbs in Sydney and Melbourne that feature large populations of cyclists on retro bikes and vegetarian butchers.

Brad Orgill is the latest to advocate a formal alliance with the Greens, arguing a formal Labor-Greens partnership is the best way to deliver a progressive vision and prevent a split in the left vote.

This view, guided by a narrow focus on some areas of policy alignment, disregards the intense suspicion – hostility even – towards the Greens party outside its inner-city support base.

In Australia’s outer-suburban and regional heartlands, the Greens are electoral poison. Labor’s plunge in the polls over the carbon pricing scheme is largely due to its birth in a deal between Labor and the Greens.

Despite the fact it delivers better outcomes for industry and jobs than the 2010 CPRS negotiated by Labor and the Coalition – blocked by the Greens in the Senate because they wanted less protection for blue-collar workers in exposed industries – the current scheme is seen as a Greens scheme. Therefore it must be extreme and bad news for ordinary people.

Reality is, while there might be some areas of policy cross-over for the Labor and Greens on environmental and economic issues, other area of Greens policy reveal just how out of touch with ordinary Australians they really are: their opposition to competitive sport, their introduction of foreign policy boycotts into local government, their refusal to compromise on refugee policy, their disregard for protecting people’s jobs.

As for Orgill’s proposition Ben Chifley would be just as likely to join the Greens as Labor today, he obviously hasn’t met any train drivers from Bathurst lately. Does he really think Chifley would be in the same party as Lee Rhiannon?

Australians look for leaders that reflect and understand their values and aspirations – they don’t see that in the Greens.

Advocating a partnership with the Greens presumes the party’s future success. Yet the Greens are in decline in the polls and with the departure of Bob Brown – whatever your politics a charismatic and impressive leader – support is likely to continue to slide.

Labor’s past – and its future – is as the party of the many, the party of working Australians. It’s through its engagement with working people, not deals with fringe parties or policies dreamt up in inner-city cafes, that Labor has delivered great progressive reforms like universal healthcare, compulsory superannuation and affordable higher education.

Labor’s future relies on rebuilding a dynamic engagement with working Australians as the driver for policy reform.

That’s not just Labor’s future, it’s the future of mainstream progressive politics. After all, what’s the value in a progressive vision that ignores everyone outside a 10 kilometre radius of our capital cities.

There are no shortcuts to rebuilding Labor, it’s a difficult process and it’s fair enough that ideas are raised and tossed around. But there are some that should be killed off at birth – like a Labor-Greens pact.

Tony Maher is National President of the CFMEU

Comments on this post close at 8pm AEST

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43 comments

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    • bananabender56 says:

      08:24am | 31/10/12

      The recent tactics of the CFMEU in Victoria wouldn’t have had any affect on traditional Labor voters - would it?

    • Sync says:

      10:15am | 31/10/12

      No…of course not.

      After all, why on earth would blockading a building site and locking out honest emplyees, nevermind intimidating & threatening people who cross the blockade to earn their pay and feed their families, be a Bad Thing?

    • Jeff says:

      10:28am | 31/10/12

      The garbage in this post.

      1. “Bedfellows”? Occasional allies at best, and only in the sense that they both oppose pretty much everything the LNP stand for.
      2. The Greens’ “opposition to competitive sport”? What a total lie.
      3. “refusal to compromise on refugee policy” - you mean that they didn’t agree with the ALP’s sell-out scheme that has demonstrably not worked anyway.
      4. “the Greens are in decline in the polls” - yaaawn. We hear that every election. It does seem unlikely this election will be a highpoint for any smaller parties, but that doesn’t mean the Greens are in decline.
      5. “disregard for protecting people’s jobs” - rubbish. The Greens stand for better workplace protections for workers than the old unions like the CFMEU. The CFMEU’s only interested in pushing for industries that are genuinely in decline, and against industries that actually have a future.

      Anyway, Greens voters are long used to this sort of bullsh*t, and it hasn’t stopped us voting for the only genuinely, reliably progressive party in the Australian parliament. There’s certainly nothing that the ALP and Liberals have done recently to win our votes over.

    • Jeff says:

      10:32am | 31/10/12

      ...although I will ask one other thing.

      Who says the Greens would even WANT to join with Labor? Why would they want to sell out to the Labor Right the way the few Labor left MPs have?

    • craig2 says:

      11:33am | 31/10/12

      Jeff: thanks for the laugh today, nice riposte of delusion from a party whose survival ties with the fortunes of the labor party. Keep wasting that vote Jeff, I’m sure the democrats never saw their demise as well.

    • Climate Emergency says:

      12:05pm | 31/10/12

      Jeff speaks for many I’m sure, I for one couldn’t agree more. Unlike the ALP, we Greens are a genuinely grassroots democratic movement, and I’ve no doubt the first question many of us would ask is how could we join a formal alliance with a centrally directed party, let alone whether we’d want to. We are not there to keep the bastards honest, we exist to replace the bastards. The only fair and decent thing to do is to follow in the footsteps of most genuinely civilised democracies, and introduce a What-you-vote-what-you-get system of proportional representation in all Houses of Representatives. Or be honest and rename them as Houses of unRepresentative Gerrymanders?

    • paul says:

      12:14pm | 31/10/12

      @Jeff The greens are getting obliterated across the states, ACT were they should be very safe saw them lose 3 seats. Yaaaawn another know it all all.

    • Gordon says:

      12:46pm | 31/10/12

      @CE please don’t wish proportional representation upon us. Even more fragmented politics and little splinter groups influence-peddling. OK we have that with internal factions in the main parties now, but we can at least vote the bastards out en masse. Israel has PR and they are beholden to tiny far-right religeous conservative groups that trash the peace deals.

      PR benefits small groups by handing them the balance of power. Their influence outweighs their level of support. This is why the Greens and the Christian Right want it and nobody else does.

    • lower_case_andrew says:

      01:25pm | 31/10/12

      @Jeff

      “4. “the Greens are in decline in the polls” - yaaawn. We hear that every election.”’

      Not really.  The story for the Greens over the last decade has been growth, growth and more growth.

      It’s really only been the last few years that the Greens vote has started to slip.  And only now that we’re just starting to get some kind of media accountability levelled at the Greens. 

      (For such an important Party, with the balance of power in the Senate, and a vital vote in the Lower House, the Greens really have gotten away without scrutiny over the years, particularly by its friends at the ABC and Fairfax. Bob Brown, in particular, was coated in Teflon.  And when he was finally confronted with the consequences and contradictions of his own policies, he resorted to calling out the “hate media” and “hate speech”.)

      It’s pretty clear now that their partnership with Labor—who hate them even more than Labor hate the Coalition—has been a bad move for the Greens.

      Which, I’m fine with.  All it really means is that Labor’s natural constituency is returning to them.  Most of these votes were never going to go to the Coalition.

    • Jim says:

      05:38pm | 31/10/12

      “Media accountability”?

      I suspect you mean the Daily Telegraph style campaign of outrageous lies and shameless smears. Like the one in this post claiming that the Greens “oppose competitive sport”. What bullshit.

      But the Greens have been receiving that sort of “media accountability” for years anyway. Their voters are largely immune to it. They might lose some of the swingers who came across in 2010, but their core vote continues to build.

      As for PR - the present system ignores voters in safe seats and basically steals votes from smaller parties. The Greens got 12% of the vote in 2010, but fewer than 1% of the seats. In fact, they only just got that one seat, and only bc the Libs preferenced againts Labor. But they should, on their vote, have had 17 seats. The other 16 went to Labor bc the Greens’ vote was spread out across the country, and not concentrated in those 17 seats. In contrast, the Nationals got considerably fewer votes than the Greens (about a quarter of it), but because theirs is concentrated in a few rural seats they got 6 times as many seats.

      That’s not democracy.

      Oh, but it makes sure we have majorities, you say? Well, sure - it creates majorities in parliament for parties that do not actually have the support of a majority of the population. And then you whinge about how out of touch the Labor and Liberal parties are.

      Why would they change, when they can still get a majority in parliament, and all of their legislation passed automatically, with 60-70% of the country voting against them?

    • Achmed says:

      08:27am | 31/10/12

      The alliance between the Greens and Labor was one of convenience in order for Labor to remain as the Govt.
      This became a contentious issue because Labor conceded on the CT to get the Greens alliance.  Did they really need to? 
      Liberals are very practiced at alliances/coalitions as they have only ever held power once in Aust history without an alliance or coalition and rely on other parties to prop them up.
      Labor displayed poor negotiation skills and in reality could have held out waiting for the Independents, because in the end it was actually they who decided.
      What Australia really needs is a “keep the bastards honest” party.

    • Richard says:

      09:32am | 31/10/12

      What Australia really needs is a “keep the bastards honest” party.

      We had one it was called the “Australian Democrats”  and it imploded and now longer doesn’t exist. The Greens will go the same way as I believe their focus is too narrow and some of their other policies are too extreme. The greens are not a mainstream party

    • Murray says:

      08:40am | 31/10/12

      What a joke - we all know that the ALP would be better off with the Greens than unions like the CFMEU.
      These union stooges lost what little credibility they had when they helped knife Rudd.
      I look forward to the next election and can only pray that the Libs get rid of Abbott and put in someone electorally palatable - then we have a chance to totally destroy the ALP and to rid ourselves of these cancerous unions.

    • NESLIHAN KUROSAWA says:

      08:41am | 31/10/12

      Hi Tony,

      So mainly vegetarians will be voting for the Greens and that is a helpful hint. My brother is sort of a vegetarian however he has been a traditional Liberal Party voter all along.  Being a businessman himself driving a Mercedes Benz , surely in his case some real tax cuts could come in handy to pay for the petrol. What I mean by that real tax concessions that he can truly get his teeth into because he doesn’t eat meat, only joking.

      But seriously do we all know about the profile as well as the particular life style of a typical voter for any political party?  And by the way can we eat small amounts of meat and still vote for the Greens? Jokes aside, what are the original policies of the Greens right now?  Clean air, saving whales from those greedy Japanese fishermen and what else? 

      What is truly lacking right now in some political parties in Australia, they only basically bad mouth others most of the time while they fail to outline their own policies by stating their hopes and wishes to make Australia even better than China and India combined!  I will vote for clean air and less traffic on Sydney’s highways and streets. while some others dream of getting away in an expensive European made car.

      In conclusion I would like to add that most Australian voters do care about the real issues deep down inside.  We might just be reminded of what all those real issues happen to be.  Kind regards.

    • lower_case_andrew says:

      08:43am | 31/10/12

      This advice was needed years ago, before Labor coddled up to the Greens.

      “Labor’s future relies on rebuilding a dynamic engagement with working Australians as the driver for policy reform.”

      I’d argue Labor needs to stop rabbiting on about “working Australians”, and concentrate more on governing for ALL Australians.

      The “working Australians” rhetoric is noxious. By definition, it means you’re only interested in a certain segment of the Australian community; those people you can unionise, get membership fees from, use as a base for political careers.

      And if Labor and the CFMEU persist with this kind of small-minded thinking, they will continue to face electoral despair.

      Finally, the CFMEU needs to clean its act up.  Forget all the hatred of Abbott, the real problem with militant unions is the unions themselves. And more specifically, the leadership of those unions; people who use unions as a political springboard.

      There’s a reason why most Australians now distrust unions, and most Australians do not join a union:  union behaviour.  Fix the behaviour, and you go a long way to fixing your electoral problems.

    • I hate pies says:

      09:16am | 31/10/12

      There needs to be governance laws regarding unions. The CFMEU have been telling their members and the media out and out lies for years, but they aren’t held to account. Of course, this isn’t to their benefit, because they wouldn’t be able to convince their members that their employers are their enemy; but it would be a good thing for the country. Example - the “safety” representation issue at Grocon was all to do with controlling someone elses business, and nothing to do with safety.

    • Louise says:

      09:22am | 31/10/12

      lower_case_andrew, you always give such good, sensible advice.

      I agree: they need to stop bloody r-Abbott-ing on.

      (And what is it with these “Greenie” socialist ex-investment bankers?? delayed-onset Misguided Conscience Development Syndrome perhaps.)

    • Borderer says:

      09:09am | 31/10/12

      Apparently its because labor have finally worked out that an alliance with the greens is toxic for their brand. It only took two years, a great big tax and wasted billions of dollars to grasp the blatently obvious. The Greens were never going to back the LNP and they never needed a formal alliance, least of all one backed with massive funding.
      It doesn’t detract from Labor’s overall poor performance, they couldn’t poor pee out of a boot with instructions written on the heel….

    • AdamC says:

      09:17am | 31/10/12

      A lot of Labor people I know are quite anti-Green. They see them as impractical and extreme. There are also tribal differences. Laborites like to see themselves as being (or, at least, as representing) down-to-earth, working class people. The Greens, as we know, are middle-class, inner urban hipsters.

      On the other hand, there seems to be little policy difference between Labor and the Greens anymore. A formal alliance, or even a merger, may not be such a bad idea. As a conservative, though, I would like to see the left vote remain split.

    • Duncan says:

      09:47am | 31/10/12

      There needs to be a new centre-left party. Labor is dying and nothing can stop that. No one joins a union anymore and Labor is just an extension of unions. So let bygones be bygones and goodbye Labor Party.

    • kfr says:

      09:56am | 31/10/12

      And yet tony the cfmeu publicly supported the carbon tax which is a greens tax. Your 2 faced approach now is appalling.

    • David C says:

      09:59am | 31/10/12

      There was a lift in 1 poll, no change in Esential Media?

    • lower_case_andrew says:

      01:29pm | 31/10/12

      @David C

      There’s been a lift in several polls.  Nielsen, Newspoll and Morgan have all shown gains for Labor.

      Sadly, the overall trend over the last 6 months has been in Labor’s favour.  Team Gillard has been regathering those lost swinging votes from the last election.

      BTW, I’d normally discount Morgan—they are infamous for getting it wrong, badly—but their numbers are in line with the more reputable pollsters.

    • J. Hopper says:

      10:19am | 31/10/12

      I take it this author hasn’t actually read any Greens policies, or isquite happy to keep pushing the usual lies.

    • Two Cents worth says:

      03:35pm | 31/10/12

      @ J.Hopper. Who needs to read the policies of any Party,the Greens in particular. It’s what the Party/ies deliver when empowered to do so that counts, and we haven’t seen too much value coming out of the current ramshackle Labor/Greens/Independent fiasco.
      Likewise, the LNP Coalition, if elected, will need to sharpen up the tools and get this country back on an even keel before we list over into the mud.
      In my opinion the Greens are little interested in running the country, but happy to push their agenda on euthanasia, same sex marriage, one world government, shutting down any industry that bears a resemblance to pollution output, closing pulp mills, stopping any form of forestry etc;etc;
      In this day and age we have come too far to go back a few centuries when life seemed simpler and industry did not impose upon nature or bespoil the Earth. We now need to look at ways of doing things “cleaner”, not shutting industry down completely - unemployment is growing too fast no matter what the Government statistics state.
      We show an aversion to nuclear power generation, yet we are happy to sell uranium to India. Who has the better chance of building safe nuclear power plants? Where is nuclear material less likely to fall into the hands of extremists? Look at the employment opportunities in building this infrastructure and what it could do for Australia. These opportunities disappear quickly in the hands of the Greens as they want one foot in the past and the other in the future but don’t care much for the present, which incidentally is where we all live day by day.
      A vote for the Greens should be the last thing in the minds of sane, rational people come election day. I would rather endure the pain of the Labor Party all over again than have the Greens pulling the strings.
      We have all seen how dangerous they are when they become drunk with power.

    • LC says:

      10:29am | 31/10/12

      Tony, as a working Australian myself, I can say that even if Labor didn’t hop in bed with the Greens, the brand is toxic and I feel has stopped representing at least myself since around the tun of the century. The main reason for this is not the Carbon Tax, not their lack of ability to control our borders, not their various money pits and billions of dollars burned, not their not their incompetent leadership, but their desire to micro-manage all aspects of their constituents lives, yep, their nanny state mentality. Great examples include cigarette plain packaging, the internet filter, their internet snooping plans, through the roof alcohol taxes, their plan for plain packaging fast food etc etc. In a country that prides itself on allowing adults the freedom to choose what they want, this is unacceptable.

      I’m a worker, and the Labor party of today does not represent me. If getting the Labor I knew back, the one with decency, civility, competency, integrity and respect for individual rights means a decade under Abbott, so be it.

    • ghanga darin says:

      10:30am | 31/10/12

      The ALP has lost is soul. It was established as a party of the cultural mainstream based on self-reliance, merit over class identity, moderate civic nationalism and curbing the excesses of the free market by providing social welfare but only in times of genuine need. It was once committed to a mixed economy with key public assets in Government control, genuine full-employment (Doc Evatt even tried to get the U.N to adopt it as policy) and fair wages.

      Then the ALP changed. It was lured by the free market economics of Friedman, Thatcher and Reagan which demanded high unemployment and mass immigration to keep profits high (by keeping wages low and demand and prices high), sale of public assets and free market and free trade fundamentalism.

      It sold off private assets (including the Commonwealth bank), allowing capitalists to make massive windfall profits. It abandoned control of currency markets and banking and thereby lost effective control of interest rates and the dollar (don’t like high interest rates? change to another private bank charging the same rate! Dollar too high? Losing jobs to China? Drop your wages or go bust!). Keating and Hawke then abandoned full-employment - now accepting 5% as the official rate, (but with the real ABS rate of underemployment ie underemployment and underutilization of 10-15% kept effectively hidden). It intervened in wages disputes to force unions to accept price and wage accords and low minimum wages.

      As the ALP lost the true believers of the traditional ALP, it was infiltrated by inner city new left intellectuals and cultural Marxists who gradually seized control. Having abandoned its core values and constituency it needed to create a new electorate. Under pressure it caved in to big business demands for mass immigration. It decided that a low wage high price economy suited it because it meant that the population could no longer be self-reliant without Government welfare, welfare that it could use to control it and secure votes. The solution? Abandon nationalism, merit and the work ethic, and instead embrace identity and grievance politics and welfarism. Abandon the cultural mainstream, embrace instead multiculturalism based on cultural relativism. Use grievance politics and allegations of racism, to make high immigration rates palatable or compulsory (for a complete guide to this, see submissions 479 and 479(1) from Pluralists for a Referendum (entitled ‘How the ALP abolished itself’) to the Federal Governments enquiry on Multiculturalism at the APH website).

      Open borders immigration suited both big business and new labour’s need for a new immigrant and welfare dependent constituency. It decided to make mass immigration popular by dressing it up as a sustainable population policy thus appealing to the token environmentalism of inner city intellectuals. This is how the ALP came to adopt its current disastrous refugee, environmental, immigration and population policies. Its pursuit a ‘low wage high welfare economy’ has made working simply uneconomic. To address this it has raised the tax threshold, thus losing the revenue needed to pay for its welfare policies! Result? A stuffed economy. Lacking basic competence and any ethical framework it is now caught between the demands of the new electorate it is creating and the old electorate that is not yet gone. It has effectively abolished itself.

    • SOTON says:

      11:18am | 31/10/12

      An own goal

    • Esteban says:

      01:55pm | 31/10/12

      We have had the problem of these so called intelectuals for a long time now.

      It would be ironic if the source of these intelectuals was the ALP’s own policies regarding tertiary education.

      Of course when the intellectuals were spread evenly through the burbs they never had the electoral clout to influence the ALP.

      By concentrating them in inner city suburbs they have created their own electoral power.

      Thank you for raising these confronting issues.

      In terms of self reliance it is frightening if you review stories with your grandparents on how much self reliance we have lost in the last few generations.

    • Jim says:

      05:42pm | 31/10/12

      Wait, the ALP went too far to the right, then somehow became dominated by the left even though it hasn’t done anything left wing for years?

      In what way is the offshore processing “left”? What “left” immigration and population policies”? Since when has pursuing low wages been “left”?

      Mad.

    • the moor says:

      11:37am | 31/10/12

      Bob Brown understood that achieving something was better than nothing and thus he was able to negotiate to achieve sensible outcomes.  Milne’s attitude appears to be it is our way or not at all.  That is naive and usually leads to no outcome at all.  Worse still it can result in impasses like the boat people where people drowned whilst she grandstanded.  She can slice and dice that whatever way she likes but the cold hard reality is that her bloody mindedness cost people their lives.

    • George Orwell says:

      12:32pm | 31/10/12

      “[T]he intellectual, book-trained (Green)... is drawn… entirely from… a rootless town-bred section of the middle class…. [I]t includes—so much so that to an outsider it even appears to be composed of—... the foaming denouncers of the bourgeoisie, and the more-water-in-your-beer reformers of whom Shaw is the prototype, and the astute young social-literary climbers who are Communists now, as they will be Fascists five years hence, because it is all the go, and all that dreary tribe of highminded women and sandal-wearers and bearded fruit-juice drinkers who come flocking towards the smell of ‘progress’ like bluebottles to a dead cat.”

    • Stormy Weather says:

      12:36pm | 31/10/12

      “Labor’s future relies on rebuilding a dynamic engagement with working Australians as the driver for policy reform”

      Here we go again, “working Australians”.
      What about primary carers, volunteers, unwaged workers, the disabled, the marginalised, even business owners dare I say it?
      You have to engage in business’s so you can do something about creating more flexible work conditions esp. for mums (re-entering the workforce) and dads wanting to spend more time caring for their children.

      Labor needs to do something about the ridiculous high cost of living and work/life balance if it wants more productivity.
      Shouldn’t Labor be engaging with all members of the community, voters, all their constituents?

      Unions play an important role in society, protecting the rights of workers, influencing decision makers.
      We will always need unions because we see how rights are eroded if we aren’t forever vigilant.

      However Labor isn’t just for union officials. Any political party is still suppose to represent ALL Australians, not just their mates.

      What Labor needs to do is get rid of the right-wing element, the rewarded self-interests of it’s power trippers. They are Labor’s downfall.
      Labor seems to have lost it’s core ideals because most of the politicians haven’t got a clue and are so out of touch with the public.
      They need to stop ignoring their backbenchers, their constituents/community and their own review committees.

      I would rather see Doug Cameron or Penny Wong as the leader of the Labor Party then Gillard or Rudd.
      Then it may stand a chance of recovery.

    • ghanga darin says:

      02:53pm | 31/10/12

      Minister Penny Wong epitomizes the ALP’s problems. She knows no national or cultural loyalty. She is primarily loyal to her homosexual and Chinese identities. It is not racist or sexist to tell the truth. The sad truth is that most people are most loyal to what makes them rich and powerful and pays their wages. That is simply human nature, more so in the context of a borderless globalised and diverse multicultural world where no strong national identity exists and affirmative action based on minority status and identity is the passport to economic and political success. Affirmative action and minority identity politics has made Ms Wong rich and powerful. She has every legal right to hold these loyalties dearest. But as a public servant and politician these views are poisonous since identity politics is deeply divisive. Ironically is the ‘new ALP socialists’ who now wish to champion identity politics which makes a united, integrated and harmonious society, impossible. In the name of socialism these new labor extremists are destroying society!

    • Dustin says:

      01:07pm | 31/10/12

      In many ways the Nations are right-wing nut jobs and yet the Libs continue in a Coalition with them. We’ve had Barnaby Joyce predicting all sorts of doom and gloom from the US, suggesting it would lead it to a sovereign debt crisis (more fluke than foresight, after all it was the radical right-wing Tea-partiers that led America to the precipice earlier this year). Then there’s Ron Boswell with his outrageous comments about same-sex couples raising children and, of course, the Nationals’ unflinching protectionism (for example in the wheat trade) and extreme positions on water and climate change (again, Joyce has had some corkers on this one too). Even now we read the Coalition cannot settle on a cohesive Murray Darling River policy because of their recalcitrant National party colleagues. Yet no one lines up to condemn the Liberals’ alliance.

      Turning to your other point, in many ways, the Greens have the interests of blue collar workers at heart also and their new leader, Christine Milne, has a lot more in common with Australians from the outback, herself having grown up on a farm (which is more than what even Tony Abbott can claim, and just as Senator Bill Heffernan what he thinks about Milne). The old, emissions intensive, polluting, low-skilled, blue collar industries of the past are dying out. Even Julia Gillard acknowledges Australia’s future is as a high skill, high wage economy. Also, if you care to look over the Green Gold Rush report which was sponsored jointly by the ACTU and ACF, Tony, you will see the broader Union movement would agree with the Greens on where Australia’s future technological – and even manufacturing – bases lie; and it’s not in saw milling, logging, aluminium smelting and coal. Therefore the labour movement and the greens have a lot of common ground to tread; we have even seen in the US talk about a Green New Deal which links the traditions of Roosevelt to the emerging trends of the progressive politics of today. It is totally doable!

      Finally, I can tell you, right now, Labor does not represent my values like it once used to and it will only keep alienating more and more of its left base the more it abandons genuine progressive policies on things like climate change and even its policies on refugees and our public education and healthcare systems. Labor’s choice is clear, it can either transform itself (as the joke goes) into the Alternative Liberal Party and see more of its base flock to greener pastures or it can regain the progressive, reformist, agenda-setting mantle it owned right up until Whitlam’s time.

      If you look at Labor’s long history, once upon a time, it genuinely was a national leader, when just one term of Labor government could not be undone by ten years of conservative rule. Hell, Whitlam’s reforms remain with us today. Yet, sadly, Labor has been chasing the Liberals further and further to the Right for a long time now. I will not allow my vote to become a proxy for the Liberal party.

    • Ten says:

      01:09pm | 31/10/12

      The real thorn in Labor’s side isn’t the likes of Adam Bandt or Christine Milne but the rightwing, socially conservative union heavyweights like Joe de Bruyn, Don Farrell et al. These dinosaurs are preventing Labor from appealing to a younger, more educated demographic. Labor here HAS to go through what Labour in the UK did and drastically reduce union influence on the party, only then will it be able to speak for ALL left of centre people in Australia. The ALP has plenty of decent people - Plibersek, Roxon, Wong, Garrett, Rudd, Ellis, Lundy etc but it also has far too many old men who are well past their use by date and too many party hacks of which one is their leader.

    • lower_case_andrew says:

      01:34pm | 31/10/12

      “The ALP has plenty of decent people - Plibersek, Roxon, Wong, Garrett, Rudd, Ellis, Lundy e”

      Just my opinion, but this list encapsulates most of what is wrong with modern Labor.

      This list is a roll-call of self-promoters, ideological warriors and handbag police from the Department of Thoughtcrime.  Many of them with very little work experience in the real world; campus politics going in to law, comfy union gigs moving in to staffer jobs, branch stackers, union selectees, in to Parliament.

      In comparison, the union dinosaurs look positively benign and tolerant.

      We need less of the likes of Wong and Rudd and Plibersek.  And more people who are centrists, who live in the real world, who aren’t consumed with personal ambition, who don’t use weasel words even as they dictate the language and behaviour of others.

    • Steve of QBN says:

      01:39pm | 31/10/12

      Why would anyone see an ALP and Greens alliance as a good thing?  While they may be “of the left”, basic policies will tell you that the ALP is more “to the right” than the Greens.

      Then you have Milne on TV proclaiming that the only reason there is a Carbon Tax is because they forced the ALP into it!  While Gillard may have wanted to “price carbon”, a shotgun wedding to keep Labour in power meant Gillard had to roll over.  The original ETS failed because the Greens wanted a much bigger reduction target.

      And when will Swan release the costings of the Greens policies?  He used Treasury to cost it and, as they are a government body, their work should be available to the public for their review and analysis.

      Lastly, with the track record of unions in general and the CFMEU in particular (any truth in the story about $500K to $1 million ripped off from Foundation House by members of the NSW CFMEU?) what makes you think the Greens would want to ally themselves with you?  They are getting more bang for their political buck by playing king (or queen) maker.

      Something about dogs and fleas…..

    • Jim says:

      05:47pm | 31/10/12

      Have they been adopted by the Greens? No? Then they were just proposals, and the Greens may have decided against them after receiving the costings. The only reason News Ltd wants them is so they can run misleading smears claiming the Greens are going to do something they they may have decided against once it was costed.

      I have no doubt the policies they go to the next election with will be costed.

    • Tom says:

      03:00pm | 31/10/12

      I wouldn’t worry to much about Brad (Business Council of Australia) Orgill. I think he’s just trying to create some mischief.

    • KimL says:

      03:04pm | 31/10/12

      I just turned on Sky News and there is a topic about The N.S.W Liberal Party or my state Government . Instead of being in deficit , they bungled big time, they obviously can’t add up, they misplaced!! 1 billion dollars. I found astounding, so now the state has a surplus, they are still cutting health and education. I won’t be voting for them again and I doubt many will. Obviously The Liberals can’t add up and when your talking of millions or a billion that is a disaster for us all. This is what we can expect if The Liberal Party Federally is elected.. slash slash slash and burn and bad accounting.

    • Tator says:

      03:58pm | 31/10/12

      So you would rather have a government like the Gillard Government which has to borrow more money creating more government debt because they stuffed up the 2011/12 budget by underestimating the deficit by $21 billion that will cost around $1 billion a year in interest payments alone. And you are whinging about the state government finding an extra $1 billion in treasury.  Nice priorities because as a net taxpayer, I prefer a government who is more accountable with taxpayers money than one who just blows their budgets further into deficit because they cannot predict what effect their policies will have on the economy.

    • James says:

      04:22pm | 31/10/12

      This is very funny. The greens aren’t anti sport. On the
      Local government motion did he forget that every ALP Councillor on Mkville council voted for it too? Oh yes and the Greens hate workers.

      Is that is? Just don’t talk about the toxic numbers game in the party and abandoning working and not working people. After knifing single parents the ALP is now the party of social justice?

      With Abbot so strong wouldn’t everyone be trying to work together? Or is this a story to help secure the numbers or his preselection to the Senate?

 

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