Rude Greens give red light to Gillard
Antipodean Greens have established themselves as the rudest on the planet, with the New Zealanders easily winning the local derby.
Tomorrow Prime Minister Julia Gillard will address the New Zealand Parliament in Wellington in what her Kiwi counterpart, conservative John Key, had hoped would be a first.
However, NZ Greens co-leader Russel Norman and colleagues have made sure the Parliament won’t be in session when she arrives, making it just another speech and not a high-level honour.
She will be speaking in the Parliament, but technically the Parliament will not be in operation. The Greens have robbed the Australian PM of the distinction of being the first overseas leader to address the national legislature.
Norman has gone to some lengths to insist he has nothing against Gillard, thus displaying a degree of affection towards her not shared by about 50 per cent of Australian voters.
It’s just that she would be a precedent and if Gillard were allowed to be the first head of government or head of state to address a sitting of the Parliament, then you never know who might want to do it next.
If Norman invited you to dinner he would feed you on the porch in case some time in the future a mass murderer asked to come in for a meal.
So who does he fear might be in line after Gillard? It might be one of those awful Chinese leaders the NZ Greens find so offensive. It might be that man Norman considers ``unpleasant’‘, George Bush.
Why Bush would even be considered for the gig was not explained. But the reference to the former US President does provide a link to the rudeness of the Australian Greens.
Bob Brown in person is most polite, gentlemanly even.
But in October, 2003, he and Greens colleague Kerry Nettle heckled George Bush as he addressed a joint sitting of the Australian Parliament. They were protesting the jailing in Guantanamo of Australians David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib.
Brown shook the President’s hand as he left the Chamber but Coalition MPs held Nettle back from approaching Bush.
Both Greens were tossed out of Parliament for 24 hours for the disruption they caused, with Tony Abbott demanding their removal.
The ejection prevented them giving a similar performance for Chinese President Hu Jintao when he addressed a Joint Sitting the following day.
If Brown back then had the electoral leverage he has now, would those speeches have gone ahead at all? The actions of the NZ Greens indicate they would not.
There is an old saying along the lines of: If you want to speak in Parliament, get elected. This means you have to receive the authority that only voters can grant to address the legislature.
But the importance of a parliament as the voice of a nation makes allowing an outsider to address it a special privilege which the nation can confer.
To want to confer it on the leader of a close friend such as Australia would reinforce that friendship. To withdraw that privilege would be a snub, and a devaluation of the significance of the parliament. It then become just another function room hired for another speech from a politician.
Gillard and most Australians won’t be bothered by Norman’s isolationist bad manners, but other New Zealanders might start to think about the display of narrow-mindedness, and the reflection on their otherwise-generous national hospitality.
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